Mediating voices and communicating realities: Using information crowdsourcing tools, open data initiatives and digital media to support and protect the vulnerable and marginalised

Title: Mediating voices and communicating realities: Using information crowdsourcing tools, open data initiatives and digital media to support and protect the vulnerable and marginalised
Author: Evangelia Berdou
Pages: 83 pp.
Publisher: Institute of Development Studies
Date (published): 14/04/2011
Date (accessed): 06/09/2011
Type of information: research report
Language: English
On-line access: yes (pdf)
Abstract:
"Increased access to the internet combined with the lowering cost of digital media, such geographical positioning systems and video cameras, are supporting a wave of social and technical innovations aiming to empower citizens in developing countries to access information and organise themselves to affect positive social change.

These developments have gained momentum in the last three years, through the use of 'open' information and communication technologies (ICTs), which include open source software programmes and digital data repositories that can be freely used and modified. These resources are seen to support new architectures of participation that are enabling citizens in the South to produce and access critical information for the lives and livelihoods in settings where formal development actors have failed to do so.

This collaborative research project provides a basis for critically evaluating these claims through a detailed case study of the Map Kibera project, a citizen mapping and media project, in Kibera, Nairobi and a examination of similar initiatives in Haiti, Peru and Georgia.

The research, which was supported by the UK Department for International Development (DFID), examines whether and how open ICT projects designed to support the poor can make a difference in their lives and livelihoods. In the context of the study the benefits of these initiatives are understood in connection with the actors and partnerships that drive their development, their governance arrangements, the provisions and capacities of community stakeholders for meaningful participation and for translating information into action.

The study also sought to facilitate learning between technologists involved in the design and implementation of these initiatives, researchers and development practitioners. This was based on recognition that this latest wave of innovations offers great opportunities for the development of practices that are informed by an in-depth understanding of technology, insights from participatory approaches to development and scholarly work on citizen action and mobilisation."

International Experiences With Technology in Education: Final Report

Title: International Experiences With Technology in Education: Final Report
Authors: Marianne Bakia, Robert Murphy, Kea Anderson, Gucci Estrella Trinidad
Publisher: U.S. Department of Education, Office of Educational Technology
Date (published): August 2011
Date (accessed): 05/09/2011
Type of information: research report
Language: English
On-line access: yes (MS Word)
Abstract:
"In a 2009 speech to education researchers, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan stated, “Just simply investing in the status quo isn't going to get us where we need to go…We’re competing with children from around the globe for jobs of the future. It's no longer the next state or the next region.”  He challenged education leaders to focus on four areas of education reform:

* Adopting rigorous standards that prepare students for success in college and the workforce;
* Recruiting and retaining effective teachers, especially in classrooms where they're needed most;
* Turning around low-performing schools; and
* Building data systems to track student achievement and teacher effectiveness.

To help meet these challenges, the U.S. Department of Education issued the National Education Technology Plan 2010, which includes technology-related recommendations for states, districts, the federal government, and other stakeholders to use in helping to achieve these reforms. In an effort to learn from the experiences of other countries, particularly counties with high-performing education systems, the Department of Education funded this study, International Experiences with Technology in Education (IETE).
The IETE project focused on primary and secondary level education and was conducted in two phases in 2009-10. During the first phase, researchers conducted literature and Internet searches for multi-national data collections. The purpose of the searches was to identify methods, instruments, and available data on key government efforts to integrate information and communications technologies (ICTs) into teaching and learning. In the second phase of the IETE project, available data were updated and extended through a survey and interview of representatives of 21 governments (Exhibit E-1)."
via https://twitter.com/unescoicts/

Information Society Observatory Newsletter, August 2011

E-Government Adoption in Developing Countries; the Case of Indonesia

Title: E-Government Adoption in Developing Countries; the Case of Indonesia
Author: Ali Rokhman
Pages: 9 pp.
ISSN: 2079-8407
E-ISSN: 2218-6301
Source: Journal of Emerging Trends in Computing and Information Sciences, Volume 2 No. 5, May 2011
Publisher: ARPN Publishers
Date (published): May 2011
Date (accessed): 31/08/2011
Type of information: research paper
Language: English
On-line access: yes (pdf)
Abstract:
"Huge benefits and usefulness that offered by e-government and increasing number of Internet users Indonesia has raised government of the Republic of Indonesia to issue several policies on e-government development. The government has obligation to deliver better and faster public service through e-government. Since 2003 some e-government policies has been issued by the government but in facts year by year, the global rank of e-government readiness as well as regional rank of Indonesia still in low rank. Some previous studies found that success of e-government implementation is dependent not only government support, but also on citizen’s willingness to accept and adopt e-government services. The research is to find out how the acceptance of Indonesian Internet users to e-government services, in terms of relative advantage, image, compatibility, and ease to use variables. Online survey has been published and collected 751 respondents. There are more than 93 percent of the respondents who have intention to adopt e-government. Relative advantage and compatibility variable were proven as useful factors to predict intention of use of e-government, otherwise the variable of image and ease to use is not proven. This study provides a trigger for the Indonesian government both central and local governments to develop and implement better e-government since 45 million Indonesian Internet users have been waiting for e- government services."

Information policies in Asia: development of indicators

Title: Information policies in Asia: development of indicators
Author: Kavita Karan
Pages: 123 pp.
ISBN: 978-92-9223-362-4
e-ISBN: 978-92-9223-363-1
Source: UNESCO Bangkok Asia and Pacific Regional Bureau for Education
Publisher: UNESCO
Date (published): 26/07/2011
Date (accessed): 29/08/2011
Type of information: report
Language: English
On-line access: yes (pdf)
Abstract:
"The scope of information policy is broad. For the purposes of this report, information policy can be defined as the collection of policies and strategies that are designed to promote the development of a better-managed information society. These policies include, but extend beyond, those that are concerned with processes, management, promotion and use of information and communication technologies (ICTs). The need for building a knowledge-based society requires significant contributions from its stakeholders – governments, communities, businesses, civil society and international organizations among others. The role of policy makers is critical because it involves an ability to assess the demands of the stakeholders objectively, equitably and cost-effectively, and, above all, create systems of governance that ensure stability, predictability, rule of law, and fair competition that open up avenues for investments from the private sector and international organizations.
...
Across the Asia-Pacific region there has been a steady development in the information policiesthatsupporttheinformationsector.Thissectorisexpectedtogrow–incrementally in those countries that have been early starters, and exponentially among those who started later – if policies keep abreast of needs. As such, government initiatives are seen in the establishment of information/ICT ministries at the apex level and/or departments in others. In most of the countries of the Asia-Pacific region, the acquisition of technology, creation of infrastructure and improving the quality of human resources are significant engagements, but a lot has yet to be achieved. Lesser-developed countries like Bhutan, Lao PDR, Kazakhstan, Mongolia and Tajikistan, among others, appear to be putting together blueprints for the development of information sectors.
It may be noted that despite low levels of socio-economic development and grappling with problems of widespread poverty, social unrest, political instability and economic distress, there appears to be a desire to build and expand information systems/networks in a majority of countries through concerted government policies, infrastructure development and international support.
This report focuses on assessing country information policies on seven broad dimensions in the context of achieving the goals of information-based societies. These cover (a) overall national policies; (b) telecommunications infrastructure and networks; (c) the content and delivery of information; (d) the information industries in the public and private sectors; (e) legal and regulatory frameworks; and (f ) the skills and competencies of human resources – providers and consumers.
...
The report is divided into two parts where Part I covers three sections. In the first section contains the objectives and methodology of the data; the second focuses on indicators contributing to information policies across seven dimensions; and the third section concludes the report. The report provides an organizing framework that can be adapted to the needs of information policy initiatives in any given national context. The significance and results of such an analysis provide a blueprint for state interventions to promote an information-rich environment, the efficient running of government and other development projects of the country. Part II is on implementing the indicators and some examples of measurement including a questionaire for household access to information given."
via zunia.org

What Makes Educational Technology Successful in the Developing World?

Title: What Makes Educational Technology Successful in the Developing World?
Author: David Risher
Source: ReadWriteWeb
Date (published): 22/08/2011
Date (accessed): 24/08/2011
Type of information: article
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
"I've been thinking about simple machines a lot recently, while in Africa working in education. You probably remember simple machines from elementary school science. They're the basic building blocks of mechanical technology, from the inclined plane that helps move equipment easily from one height to another, to the pulley that enables everything from hoists to the modern bicycle, to the wheel. Simple machines are technology at its most elemental form. Think of a bike climbing a hill and you can see all of them working together gracefully; imagine a dump truck and you see how they allow us to create the tallest buildings and the longest highways. Without them, we'd still be carrying water in pails.

Technology helps us advance, but in education it has often been a source of false hope, peddled by people who promise to revolutionize learning. The problem often is that the technology ignores the basic configuration of any classroom in any school: the triangle that connects students, teachers, and ideas. My experience is that technologies that reinforce the relationship between those three poles represent opportunities for stronger classrooms and better education. But those that interrupt that relationship stall and ultimately fail.

E-readers are a fascinating example of a technology seems to be working in the developing world. At a very basic level, having an e-reader is equivalent to having a set of books at hand. Happily, even in schools with only the most rudimentary learning tools available, both teachers and students are well-versed in the importance of books and the ideas within, and readily recognize the value of having great access to them. This represents an enormous improvement over the status quo, where access to books is extremely limited: Botswana, a country the size of France, has fewer than 10 bookstores, and the village library of Kade, Ghana, is nearly empty of books. Imagine for a moment the power represented by e-readers: Students can walk around holding a library of books larger than all those in the bookstores and libraries of their country.
...
The cost to donate e-books to the developing world is essentially zero, and might even represent a way to create a new market of readers in a generation. The early results we have seen using e-readers in Kenya and Ghana are very promising, with children spending up to 50% more time reading than before the introduction of e-readers, and reading fluency scores increasing quickly. But what's most exciting is that the children and teachers are using e-readers even when not being asked to, downloading books and samples and coming to voluntary summer reading programs to have access to the e-books."

UNESCO Media & Information Literacy: Report 1

Title: UNESCO Media & Information Literacy: Report 1
Author: Sheila Webber
Source: Information Literacy Weblog
Date (published): 11/08/2011
Date (accessed): 12/08/2011
Type of information: blog post
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
"On Thursday (11th August) I participated in the meeting organised by the IFLA (International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions) Information Literacy Section and UNESCO IFAP (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization Information For All Program) on Media and Information Literacy Indicators and Government Action Recommendations. It was held at the Universidad Politécnica de Puerto Rico, in San Juan, Puerto Rico. I will do several separate blog posts about it.

The day started with a presentation via video link from Mr Janis Karklins, Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information at UNESCO. The picture above shows the video feed. He identified reasons why UNESCO is working on literacy issues. Namely, in order to succeed in fast changing societies, and tackle the challenges of the knowledge economy, people needed various literacies. These literacies should support diverse people to succeed. Information Literacy was still seen as part of people’s basic human right which helped people achieve their personal and professional goals.

UNESCO felt that they needed to look at a combination of literacies, and felt that it would be “interesting from a conceptual point of view” to link the two essential literacies: media literacy and information literacy. "

See also:
UNESCO Media & Information Literacy: Report 2

ADL Mobile Learning Handbook

Title: ADL Mobile Learning Handbook
Author: Judy Brown, Jason Haag
Publisher: The Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) Initiative
Date (published): 2011
Date (accessed): 12/08/2011
Type of information: handbook
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
"ADL Overview

The Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) Initiative is a collaborative effort to harness the power of information technologies to deliver high quality, easily accessible, adaptable, and cost-effective education and training. ADL uses structured and collaborative methods to convene multi-national groups from industry, academia, and government who help to define the specifications and standards for the learning industry and then develop tools and content to those standards.

ADL is sponsored by the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness (OUSD P&R). This is an official app of the U.S. Government Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) Initiative.
...
This ADL Mobile Learning Handbook is compilation of mobile learning resources. This is a living document and will be regularly updated.
...
This Handbook is separated into ten sections:
Basics - What mobile learning (or mLearning) means, its capabilities and use opportunities, potential benefits and common concerns.
Planning - List of choices to consider for appropriate use of mobile devices in learning, including questions to assist in planning.
Examples - Examples of mobile learning projects and initiatives of interest.
Best Practices - Lists of tips for instructional designers and developers.
Learning Content - Tips and best practices for mobile learning.
Development Options - Tools, native applications and mobile web apps; pros and cons of both types.
Design Considerations - Information on hardware models, features, operating systems, displays, accessibility, connectivity and other advanced mobile capabilities.
Mobile Learning Tools - Products available for the creation, deployment and management of mobile content.
Resources - Recommended links for additional information on mobile learning.
Glossary definitions."

Saving On The Mobile: Developing Innovative Financial Services to Suit Poor Users

Title: Saving On The Mobile: Developing Innovative Financial Services to Suit Poor Users
Source: AppLab blog (Grameen Foundation)
Date (published): 11/08/2011
Date (accessed): 12/08/2011
Type of information: blog post
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
"Grameen Foundation’s Sean Krepp and Dr. Olga Morawczynski recently published this paper on Saving on the Mobile in the World Economic Forum’s Mobile Financial Services Development Report 2011.

Savings on mobile money
A recent survey of over 2,000 Kenyan households found that 89% of respondents used M-PESA, a Kenyan mobile money (MM) application, “to save” (Suri and Jack, 2010). Dr. Morawczynski confirmed this finding after spending over 18 months studying the financial habits of resource poor M-PESA users in two locations: an urban slum called Kibera and village in Western Kenya called Bukura (Morawczynski, 2010). The study found that M-PESA was integrated into the financial portfolios and acted as a complement, rather than a substitute, to other mechanisms. This paper expands on these findings by disaggregating the term “savings” and focusing on behavior.

Four scenarios have been developed to explain how and why resource poor individuals use MM as a savings mechanism. These scenarios describe the frequency of transactions and the costs associated with each form of savings. A case study accompanies each scenario to explain the circumstances leading to the savings behavior.

Two MM applications are central to this analysis— M-PESA in Kenya and MobileMoney in Uganda. Product ideas are derived from analysis of practices. To “go beyond payments” and be relevant to poor users, mobile applications must be designed to fit into existing practices rather than trying to change or displace them."

Mobile Financial Services Development Report 2011

Title: Mobile Financial Services Development Report 2011
Pages: 221 pp.
ISBN: 978-92-95044-80-7
Publisher: World Economic Forum
Date (published): 16/05/2011
Date (accessed): 12/08/2011
Type of information: research report
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTMl + pdf + zip)
Abstract:
"The Mobile Financial Services Development Report 2011 provides a comprehensive analysis of more than 100 variables across 20 countries in Africa, Latin America and Asia. Developed in conjunction with the Boston Consulting Group, the report measures the critical factors necessary to achieve meaningful scale of mobile financial services and to meet the needs of billions of individuals excluded from the formal economy.

Defining mobile financial services devel­opment in terms of the key drivers across the institu­tional, market and end-user environments that lead to adoption and scale, the aim of the Report is to build consensus by proposing a taxonomy and analytic structure for assessing the mobile finance landscape in addition to the provision of a comprehensive data set.

The report takes a wide-ranging view in assessing the factors that contribute to the long-term development of mobile financial services. Along with including mobile payments and transfers, vital financial services such as savings, credit, and insurance are also within the Report’s scope.

Measures of mobile financial services development are captured across seven pillars:

Regulatory proportionality
Consumer protection
Market competitiveness
Market catalysts
End-user empowerment and access
Distribution and agent network
Adoption and availability

The report highlights that the adoption of mobile financial services is currently confined to a few countries where access to financial services has been historically constrained and the scope of services limited to mobile money transfer. The findings also suggest that the adoption of financial services such as savings, credit and micro-insurance are nascent and that regulatory environments, market competitiveness and the financial literacy of end-users all need to be collaboratively addressed before meaningful scale can be achieved.

Countries such as Kenya and the Philippines are among the few countries covered by the report that have achieved adoption levels of more than 10% of their total adult population. A defining characteristic of these countries is a dense network of agents – retail access points that are capable of registering account holders and handling cash transactions. However, as these countries look to achieve scale beyond payments, focusing on factors such as government disbursements through the mobile platform, the competitiveness of their financial and telecom sectors, and better data collection to facilitate “test and learn” approaches will need to become a priority.

Several countries such as Brazil and India demonstrate relative strengths when compared to those countries that have currently achieved scale in mobile payments. The ability to leverage existing agent networks and consumer protection in Brazil may facilitate the development of more complex financial services through the mobile platform. The widespread availability of mobile phones within India, the degree of competition within its telecommunications sector and recent regulatory changes may drive dramatic improvements in adoption levels."

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