It is part of our mandate at the Ontario Ministry of Education to build capacity at the school board level. In my opinion, public policy should support local initiatives, particularly those developing open educational resources which can be shared with the community, and which could be featured as best practices once they demonstrate success. I am a supporter of grassroot approaches that have the potential to energize the key players, in that case the teachers which are the adopters and users of the technology in the classroom (whether virtual or physical).
As a professional working on educational resources, I am strongly convinced that we must move as quickly as possible to digital and open resources. We have to build this culture of collaboration (team-work, expertise sharing, professional learning network, etc) that we have been fostering for years. Web2.0 technologies and digital resources finally give us the tools to make that happen.
The corresponding move in the software world is to rationalize spending. The U.S. public sector has spent 12 billion dollars in 2009 in software alone (without counting maintenance and upgrade cost), of which 63% has been spent in office productivity software (7.4 billion dollars). At the same time, there exist a Free/Libre Open Source Software, feature-rich and low-cost, alternative that is being successfully adopted by governments (e.g. France parliament, Brazil, the city of Munich) and businesses (e.g. Ford Europe): OpenOffice.org. Source: Novell Senior VP and CMO, John Dragoon. Budget reduction has been identified by ABI as a priority for CIOs this year (not so surprisingly). Rationalizing IT spending and capitalizing on software solutions to build innovative, custom-tailored solutions that meet local needs is our next challenge. To get there we need to establish solid governance and architectural foundations in which interoperability will play a key role.
Finally, the locus of ownership of public data must be questioned, as well as its availability. The concept of ownership must be redefined to be less exclusive (which it often is by default). Governments must look at Open Data. For example, the cities of Vancouver and (very recently) Toronto publish data streams that can be exploited by citizens in mashups, or in plain value-added services.