Future of FLOSSE: Interview with Antti Kauppi

"Decreasing the Digital Divide is the Question to be solved. How to integrate
the ICT and internet services to be accessed for everybody, how the communities
and citizens can participate in decision making using internet, by all meaning
how to get the technology and its services closer to the citizens. The remarkable progress can may be found in libraries or … the integration of the ICT and
Television. TV is something that almost all people watch every day"

Listen (MP3)    – 29min – 13,2Mb

Antti Kauppi is the Director of Palmenia Continuing Centre for Education in the University of Helsinki, which
is the  largest continuing centre in Europe. Palmenia offers services
from hard sciences to information skills in teaching and learning including ICT.
At the early 1990’s Antti was developing the open learning enviroments for
business colleges: the business projects, the business simulations and the
business games. They developed the business game for the Helsinki Polytechnic
and the University of Hawaii where students studied by using business game through the internet.
The students also used other appications to communicate (email, fax, and so

Mr. Kauppi is interested in integrated,
wireless technologies and services. Maybe PDAs, mobile phones and TV at last opens up the interactive enviroments for
everybody. Learning
enviroments will also be affected by
technology: the learning enviroment will be integrated with multimedia and ICT and as a result, will have a huge influence in education.

When we talked about the FLOSS, Antti took
the practical and experienced point of view on that issue. The benefits of
FLOSS enviroments are yet to be realized. Today, Antti perceives that the
visible benefits can be found from good e-Learning
enviroments for schools. Antti remarked also, that Open Source will unify
people who are using software in content
production. That means that a greater amount of the content will be produced by the users themselves.

This frees the content for
different uncontrolled purposes, but at the same time the reliability and validity cannot be
guaranteed. However this development
can lead to a situation where there might be closed systems beside those
open content alternatives. At the moment it is difficult to see which one of these will
take the lead in the future.

Another interest of Antti is the progress
of “the Open World” and “the Business world”. How to combine FLOSS and business?

Antti believes that the educational world will be much more closely connected
to the “everyday” life in the future. The school is not anymore just the
building where students are studying in 45 minute periods, but schools
can be seen as learning resource
centers that are related to the objects of learning.  The enviroment is open and has different
working places including the virtual enviroments and simulations. The computer desktop is a way to access the world. Most important benefit of the technology in education is an opportunity to bring
the world closer to the schools where it can be seen as a wider working enviroment, where the
students no longer work in a closed classroom.

The reverse of this development is the digital divide which can
already be seen in our society. Our Discussion was very fruitful and gave me
many things to deliberate.

Some questions asked in the interview:

  • Who are you?
  • ICT in the past, first memories?
  • The state of the technology and education today?
  • Future ways of using technology?
  • Technology changes,
    impacts on education in the future?
  • Media Convergence and education?
  • Open source and
  • Education and the future?

"Read more" to see the extracted future events and analysis.

Future events

Here is a list of
fictional future events extracted from the interview with Antti Kauppi. If you want to comment or have additional future events to present
based on the interview, please do so.

Disclaimer: The
future events were constructed from the ideas presented in the
interview and do not represent the ideas of the interviewee. No crystal
ball or time machines were used in the construction of these events.
Bear in mind, it’s the future and everything is possible.

Year 2006

Networked applications used more often than closed

There will be several more fashionable
blog/wiki/decision making sites for different kinds of organisations and
communities. The solutions which are rapidly taking advantage of  these internet tools will strengthen to
flexibility and development of the information process and have also the
advantage of competitiveness. However, these tools are managed by administrators who try to prevent  misuse of these open tools. At the same time schools, universities and other educational institutions continue discussion and debate on how to work with these tools.

Students take temporarily  the power of learning processes by using open

The students have already involved in the use of
different kind of communication tools, including chats, forums, virtual
enviroments and communities they feel necessary. The content used in school
education and what is available in the network conflict. Teachers feel powerless in
checking the validity and reliability of the study contents they receive from students. Teachers get tired and frustrated because of technology and bad design. Another source of unmotivation is the decereased resources to teach.

Year 2007

FLOSS opens education

FLOSS role in education is the way to open the world. It
learners possibilities to learn, discuss, argue
and reflect on issues from different perspectives. It also connects learners with similar interests to produce new software and content. The popularity of FLOSS is not only affecting the ideal world scenario but also frees certain financial
resources on the field of education.

Year 2008

Open source world and business world struggle for markets

The contest between free and open peer-production world and commercial business world is greater but some businesses have found a way to integrate FLOSS in their business models in a meaningful way. Mainstream still continues to
develop ICT in two directions: Open source connects people who are using
software more in content production. The tools of content production will be created more by the users themselves. This development
has lead to a situation where there is a thicker line between the closed
systems and the open communities. 

Year 2009

Learning everywhere

The school is not anymore just a building
where students are studying in 45 minute periods. Schools can be
seen as learning resource centers which are related to elements of
learning. The enviroment is open and contains different working places including virtual enviroments and simulations.
The virtual desktop is an access point to the world of education. The most important benefit of technology in education is the opportunity to decentralize learning from closed classrooms to open spaces.

Year 2010

Business world and open communities nearing each other

ICT, TV and other media devices have
been integrated as one centralised entity. These models of controllers have
been developed for the need of citizens to manage all the micro-processed  equipments. Open Source communities and business actors have agreed that education
is the key to fair and ethical competition. Education is one that can’t
be measured by the quantitative variables like financial costs, quantity of
courses and mass education.

Education changes from individual learning to
collaborative learning

The evolution of behaviorism is only a reflection of the past, found from museums and collections. There is worldwide understanding and practises of powerful collaborative working methods binded geniously with
individual thinking. Technology enables easy utilization of such methods in education. Renaissance and glorification of traditional interaction and face-to-face
meetings will increase.

4 replies on “Future of FLOSSE: Interview with Antti Kauppi”

(Digital) TV is old fashion educational technologyWhen it comes to use of ‘Digital TV’ in education I would be much more critical than Mr Kauppi. I do not see that the Digital TV of Finland will provide anything new to teaching and learning that the analogical TV is not already offering. Millions of euros are put to the national digital TV network. One reason used to justify the investment has been the possibilities the Digital TV will offer for education.

Digital TV – in Finland and most part of the world – is just a simple broadcasting network with a narrowcast ‘return channel’. The term ‘return channel’ tells how the developers of Digital TV see the people’s interest to publish and speak out. The video on demand, better quality of picture and sound etc. are just minor improvements to the analogical TV.

The Digital TV just do not empower people to ‘rip, mix and learn’, to be active knowledge builders, to read and write. It is not only the technology they are using. It is also the culture of usage of TV. TV is TV! When I watch TV I want to be passive receiver of information and relax, even when watching news or documentary. When I use Internet I want to meet people, argue, watch, read, learn and teach people.

What we really need as citizens, educators and students are two way broadband IP networks – no broadcasting networks. The IP network is the basic infrastructure for learning, playing, living and for business, too.

Actually South Korea has been strongly investing on the ‘broadband for all’ and it seems to be that this is why they are according to several indicators now the leading information society in the world. Could it be that in Finland, in a certain point, we just got it wrong? Are we able to learn from our mistakes?


I'm on the same track with digital TV as mr. Leinonen is. Another reason I perceive TV as unimportant in the foreseeable future is that no real business models have emerged from the digital TV business. Investors should be careful in their investments and so far they have.Digital TV for education is, with the current technology, just a reflection of the past methods of perceiving students simply as only receivers of information. My forecast is that it will flop in education faster than digital educational content delivery channels on the internet.As with traditional media, people are sick of sitting silent and being only perceived as consumers of broadcast content. Cluetrain will take care of providing the paradigm shift.


Oh well, Kauppi never actually said that Digital TV (as we undertand it now) is the thing in education in the future (listen what he says). What he said was more in lines of digital convergence. Digital TV could actually emerge in a different form, through the IP network on your phone, on broadband in home appliances or something else. So Kauppi is probably right, "TV" as we know it, will converge with other technologies and that's the point and it might not have anything to do with broadcast. The impact on learning is still to be measured, but sure there will be some use.


hmm… Well, well. I don’t want to put words on Kauppi’s mouth but for me his arguments are very much in line with the Finnish information society jargon. And the development of the Finnish information society, still relying on Digital-TV and mobile phones, is pretty much lost – If you ask my opinion.There is also “convergence” and “convergence”. The good convergence is that the different digital devices and tools are able to communicate with each other. Example: If I want to use my TV as a screen to read my SMS messages received with my mobile phone, I should be able to do it. Then there are these silly people who think that the Swiss Army knife is the humankind’s greatest innovation ever. They want to advance the bad convergence. They want to merge different digital tools in one device. This means that in the end of the day the all-in-one-digital-device is no more a tool that you can use for something. It becomes a souvenir. Example: You can watch football with your mobile phone’s 176X208 pixels screen. I still do not see how the Digital TV will support the good convergence. So far the vision has been that the Digital-TV should be the “information society device” of the common man – just like Kauppi said. Money lost! I think the mobile phone may actually become a common mans information society tool. The culture of usage of mobile phones emphasises activity: you write messages, you even call for some people, you check your contacts, etc. In some developing countries there are great examples how the mobile phones has changed the ways people work and do business. Still there is no reason to start to build “mobile PCs” – like the PDA industry is now doing. What we need to do is to come up with models, services and tools that are just relying on the strengths of the mobile phones.


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