Information Society Observatory Newsletter, May 2015

Table of contents

In focus: Internet in Emerging and Developing Nations – an interesting survey
In the end of March, Pew Research Center published a report called „Internet Seen as Positive Influence on Education but Negative on Morality in Emerging and Developing Nations.” The report contains some really valuable information, taken into consideration that quality, reliable, recent and comparable data is not easy to find on the use of the internet, especially in developing nations. Among basic penetration data, the report also examines internet activities and public opinion regarding the internet’s impact on society. We present here some of the more interesting findings of the report.

Highlighted articles
- Cleanweb For Development - An Introduction
- Mobile for Development - mHealth Country Feasibility Report: Zambia
- Gender Issues & Information Communication Technology for Development (ICT4D): Prospects and Challenges for Women in Nigeria
- Development as Freedom in a Digital Age: Experiences from the Rural Poor in Bolivia
- Somalia Impact Report: The World Citizens Panel
- The importance of effective governance in implementing national broadband plans – Overview
- Key themes in national educational technology policies
- Call Me Educated: Evidence from a Mobile Monitoring Experiment in Niger

New documents in the Observatory
In this chapter you can find a list of every new item which has been added to the Observatory in the last period.

The downloadable newsletter in pdf format:
Newsletter

Somalia Impact Report: The World Citizens Panel

Title: Somalia Impact Report: The World Citizens Panel
Author: Peter Huisman
Source: Oxfam GB Policy & Practice
Date (published): 01/04/2015
Date (accessed): 27/05/2015
Type of information: research report
Language: English
On-line access: yes
Abstract: The "World Citizens Panel" (WCP) was established by Oxfam Novib to measure the impact of its programmes among people living in poverty and injustice. The approach combines quantitative research (impact surveys) with qualitative research (stories of change) and gives participants a voice in evaluation, and the opportunity to learn how programmes can be improved and to contribute to public debate on the effectiveness of development cooperation. This impact study of the programme in Somalia was carried out by Oxfam Novib, HIRDA and partners in Somalia in 2013/2014. The study included a broad set of indicators, covering major dimensions of poverty and injustice. Data collected by partners with the help of a smart phone app was transferred into a central data base, managed and analysed by the Oxfam Novib World Citizens Panel team.

The importance of effective governance in implementing national broadband plans - Overview

Title: The importance of effective governance in implementing national broadband plans - Overview
Authors: Mark Williams, Santino Saguto, Richard Sedgwick, Emmanuel Durou, Davide Strusani, Michael Brook
Source: Deloitte
Date (accessed): 27/05/2015
Type of information: research report
Language: English
On-line access: yes
Abstract: Connectivity through universal broadband infrastructure is a key social enabler and a policy priority for many governments around the world. In common with all national infrastructure investment programmes, the implementation of National Broadband Plans (NBP) requires the management of significant complexity around government, technical, financial, social, private and public sector agendas and often carries a material risk of programme delay or cost overrun. Access and security regulation can create further challenges to providers working with governments, adding complexity to the programme and increasing the risk of delays in delivery.

Key themes in national educational technology policies

Title: Key themes in national educational technology policies
Author: Michael Trucano
Source: The World Bank
Date (published): 15/05/2015
Date (accessed): 27/05/2015
Type of information: research report
Language: English
On-line access: yes
Abstract: The World Bank is concluding an analysis of over 800 policy documents related to the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in education from high, middle and low income countries around the world in order to gain insight into key themes of common interest to policymakers. This is work is part of the institution's multi-year efforts under its Systems Approach for Better Education Results (SABER) initiative to provide policy-relevant guidance for education decision makers in a number of policy 'domains' (including areas such as workforce development; school finance; teachers; management information systems; equity and inclusion; and student assessment).

Call Me Educated: Evidence from a Mobile Monitoring Experiment in Niger - Working Paper 406

Title: Call Me Educated: Evidence from a Mobile Monitoring Experiment in Niger - Working Paper 406
Authors: Jenny C. Aker, Christopher Ksoll
Source: Center For Global Development
Date (published): 21/05/2015
Date (accessed): 27/05/2015
Type of information: research report
Language: English
On-line access: yes
Abstract: In rural areas of developing countries, education programs are often implemented through community teachers. While teachers are a crucial part of the education production function, observing their effort remains a challenge for the public sector. This paper tests whether a simple monitoring system, implemented via the mobile phone, can improve student learning as part of an adult education program. Using a randomized control trial in 160 villages in Niger, we randomly assigned villages to a mobile phone monitoring component, whereby teachers, students and the village chief were called on a weekly basis. There was no incentive component to the program. The monitoring intervention dramatically affected student performance: During the first year of the program, reading and math test scores were .15-.30 s.d. higher in monitoring villages than in nonmonitoring villages, with relatively stronger effects in the region where monitoring was weakest and for teachers for whom the outside option was lowest. We provide more speculative evidence on the mechanisms behind these effects, namely, teacher and student effort and motivation.

How Technical Communities Are Helping Engineer Better Responses to Global Crises

Title: How Technical Communities Are Helping Engineer Better Responses to Global Crises
Author: Jennifer Chan
Source: Huffington Post
Date (published): 21/05/2015
Date (accessed): 27/05/2015
Type of information: blog post
Language: English
On-line access: yes
Abstract: One resource many humanitarian organizations turn to during a crisis is the Digital Humanitarian Network (DHN), a group of digital volunteers who expand response capacity during humanitarian crises such as the recent Nepal earthquake and Ebola outbreak in West Africa. DHN has volunteers ready to assist at a moment's notice. The network offers a variety of skill sets for supporting the work of humanitarian organizations. A few include mapping, data visualization, translation, and emergency telecommunication. DHN brings people together to respond to crises and helps alleviate potential backlogs of resources by streamlining the overall process and increasing the speed of response.

Well being in Digital Media– conference videos available!

More than 50 international experts representing 20 countries from across 5 continents gathered in Israel for the first international conference Well Being in Digital Media. The conference was held under the auspices of UNESCO and its intergovernmental Information for All Programme (IFAP). Some of the presentations are available now on YouTube!

The Well Being in Digital Media conference was held from 17 - 19 February 2014 in Beer Sheba, Israel. The event was organized by the Israel National Commission for UNESCO and its National IFAP Committee along with the Department of Education at Ben Gurion University, the Sammy Ofer School of Communication at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya and the Open University of Israel.

The conference took place in two phases consisting of a two-day expert conference followed by a one-day conference aimed at raising awareness amongst the general public. The participants sought to deepen understanding of how the long-term interactions between digital media, on one hand and individuals and society on the other, are affecting well-being. The experts also focused on the development of indicators and the establishment of a program to measure and assess well-being.

For those who were not able to attend, some of the more important and more interesting presentations were made available through the Well-Being in Digital Media YouTube Channel. Notable presentations include Roni Aviram’s Well Being in Digital Media: What it is all about , Yoram Eshet’s Digital Literacy and Well Being , or László Z. Karvalics’ The Long Tail of Online News , among others.
For other lectures, visit the Well-Being in Digital Media YouTube Channel
Conference website

Cleanweb For Development - An Introduction

Title: Cleanweb For Development - An Introduction
Authors: Anna Lerner, Oriol Pascual, Zhenia Viatchaninova
Source: The World Bank
Date (accessed): 18/05/2015
Type of information: research study
Language: English
On-line access: yes
Abstract: The growth of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) and the increased importance of clean technology has allowed for a new cleantech paradigm. Traditionally, clean technology investments in renewable energy, mobility, and water management hardware have required high upfront capital and long implementation periods. Cleanweb, a sub-category of cleantech is a rapidly deployable, relatively low-cost alternative leading to a more efficient use of re- sources and a reduced environmental impact.

Lens turns smartphone into a microscope: Costs only 3 cents

Title: Lens turns smartphone into a microscope: Costs only 3 cents
Source: ScienceDaily
Date (published): 04/05/2015
Date (accessed): 18/05/2015
Type of information: blog post
Language: English
On-line access: yes
Abstract: Researchers have created an optical lens that can be placed on an inexpensive smartphone to magnify images by a magnitude of 120, all for just 3 cents a lens.

Mobile app helps teachers to support literacy efforts

Title: Mobile app helps teachers to support literacy efforts
Source: Development Innovations Cambodia
Date (accessed): 08/05/2015
Type of information: case study
Language: English
On-line access: yes
Abstract: Each year Cambodian schools struggle to recruit enough teachers to meet the growing school-age population. The average student-teacher ratio is approximately 46 to one, with classrooms in some provinces exceeding 62 students per instructor. The shortage is particularly acute in primary schools. In order to mitigate the critical shortage of teachers and promote strong foundations for literacy in Grades 1 & 2, World Education’s Technology for Education Systems Transformation project (TEST) developed a mobile application that automates student reading assessments using mobile tablet computers.

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