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Futures Gateway

Futures Gateway Portal v Budushee Passage a Futur Einfahrt zur Zukunft La Puerta a Futuros
Go to the PROJECT
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What is Futures Gateway ?

Futures Gateway is a not-for-profit program for enhancing the education and future lives of children (primarily in the age group 8 - 18) and also their families through the use of highly interactive and collaborative activities. Most of the activity will be after-school and at-home using computers and the internet and thus the new and modified software has some additional requirements such as providing adequate performance and speed under irregular and challenged internet dialup conditions.

The Open Source aspect of this, and the project for which we apply for hosting and support from SourceForge, is the design, development, testing, and release into the world community of several software applications and libraries that are tailored for collaborative team-oriented educational projects by students in this age group coming from diverse ethnic, linguistic, cultural, and economic environments. The new software uses interactive and collaborative engines (especially Wiki and HTML document and media management software), videoconferencing, chat, blogs, forums and more.

The Program is aimed at instilling and cultivating creativity, innovation, cooperation, and group teamwork between children in different schools, neighborhoods, communities, and countries through both freeform and directed projects with encouragement and expectation for productive outcomes beyond the scope of the individual participants. We emphasize topics of common interest - family life, sports, games, towns, cars and transportation, health, space and ocean exploration, and more - all in the context of what the Future will Be and what kind of Future can be Made.

One primary objective is to cultivate and grow attention and interest in topics of science, math, engineering, geography, languages, and social studies. This is close to the common objectives of many educational programs including others using the internet and distance-based teaching and learning technologies.

Another and more ambitious objective of Futures Gateway is to cultivate and grow increased communication, cooperation, and collaboration - including completely ad hoc, self-organized, and spontaneous activities, but also some that are highly organized and controlled, such as formal science fairs and academic "Olympiad" style competitions (the Olympiad Odyssey) - among children of different ages and in different countries and cultural/ethnic communities.

For all of this and for the simpler and more basic interactions we have been taking several public-domain and privately-owned (by the project developers) software applications and working to integrate them into a cohesive whole that is also very easy to learn and use by students and teachers, and that will be robust and tolerant of "hard" use.

Futures Gateway aims to improve education, communication, and understanding among the people who are in the age group that is one of the most critical and important among the human race, namely the youth who will in ten years be either expressing voices of cooperation, synergy and peace as they enter adulthood or else taking up arms to fight and perpetrate the wars and conflicts that have been and increasingly are the bane of our global society. As such the Program and its projects have a focus upon children and schools in places that are often or significantly undernourished in terms of education, communication and world-outreach connections to outside communities. However, the project is truly open to everyone, everywhere, and is really not limited to children of any particular age.

As a result of the audience and activity focus, the software being used for the distance-based interactions, project work, games, simulations, and presentations must be tailored in many ways and this is the major part of the programming and other technical aspects of the SourceForge project. One example is in the use of games and simulations for learning, exchange, and experimenting with ideas by the teams of students. For learning about both ecology and conflict/crisis resolution, we are taking a public-domain internet "SimCity" style game and transforming it, removing the guns, missiles and aliens and replacing these with features appropriate to studying about pollution and natural resource depletion on the one hand and ethnic/regional conflict in the other case.

Technically and formally, the Program is sponsored and administered by a coalition of individuals and companies from several countries including the USA and Russia among the forerunners. The present website, http://futuresgateway.org, is in its early stages of development and the same holds true for the main software and internet components:

  • Chat Component
  • Forum Component
  • Collaborative Development Environment (CDE)
  • Content Management System
  • Videoconferencing Component
  • Translation Component

Wiki and HTML encyclopedia/collaboration tools of two flavors are being linked together along with PHP forum, store, and chat engines. Additionally, a system formerly developed by one of the founders of Futures Gateway, Martin Dudziak, for client-server video presentations and messaging (now called E-Presents and part of a separate new SourceForge project, OpenNet Tools Suite (opennetsuite)), will be incorporated directly into the Futures Gateway website.

The software is principally server-based and using standard browsers with an emphasis on accommodation of low dial-up internet access since that will be the case for many users. Server OS requirements are Linux, PHP, Perl, Apache, and MySQL. Tasks for the project will include the coding of a number of Java applets and some servlets and a large amount of HTML and media content. Tiki or Twiki will be one of the main CMS/CDE engines and an independent engine (Planeta-Zonus) will also be employed.

Futures Gateway is envisioned to be a long-term and permanent Program expanding into the hundreds of schools and thousands of children as direct participants. The software coming out of this project may be of high value for other educational programs and also for commercial applications involving communities and teams of users spread out across the globe.

While MySQL is used as the standard RDBMS, there are plans to develop code for Oracle databases as well when the demand exceeds the capabilities of MySQL. We are considering the use of dotLRN (also Open source and using openACS and AOLserver) for any formal course material that may evolve.

Approximately 50% of the new software emanating from the software project will be related to CMS, INcyclopedia (internet-based encyclopedia type engines), chat, forums, and videoconferencing. The other 50% will be mainly applets and servlets providing graphically-oriented games, charts, simulations, quizzes, and contests.

Visit the main site that is already up and running. You will be able from that material and the different presentations to see where we are heading in terms of the SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT that is specifically motivated by, tailored for, and needed for this project. Spend some time reading and viewing that premilinary material there and it will give you ideas on the software dev side of things for what we can do as an Open Source project team!

Applets, Simulators, Notes and Code

Notes on Translation - automatic and assisted

Early (precursor) demo design document (historical; Word doc)

Contact Information
Project Administrator: Martin Dudziak Forte Horizons LLC, prime contributor & financial sponsor

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