The contextualization and implementation of a teacher competency framework for ICT4E in Guyana

Title: The contextualization and implementation of a teacher competency framework for ICT4E in Guyana
Author: Marcia Joy Thomas
Source: Educational Technology Debate
Date (published): 27/07/2011
Date (accessed): 28/07/2011
Type of information: blog post
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
"The Government of Guyana has recognized the huge potential of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to empower Guyanese to meet developmental challenges and strengthen the economy. The role of ICT in International Trade is making industries more competitive, in facilitating e-commerce, in the health and education sectors and in simply making a wide range of information and services available electronically is fully recognized.

The Government has therefore outlined various policies that are aimed at creating an environment that will foster technology use and encourage investment in ICT , with the Education sector being one of the most critical areas. This is because narrowing the digital gap is more than just providing physical access to computers and the Internet; people must understand how to put it to good use. The ICT in Education Strategy comprises the following elements:

Focus on Professional Development
Policy makers within the Education sector recognized that – in order for the government to achieve its objectives – emphasis had to be placed on teacher professional development in the areas of ICT in education, and therefore looked at ways to contextualize and implement the process."

Gartner: mobile payment market is growing slower than expected

Title: Gartner: mobile payment market is growing slower than expected
Source: Gartner, Inc
Date (published): 21/07/2011
Date (accessed): 27/07/2011
Type of information: press release
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
"Worldwide mobile payment users will surpass 141.1 million in 2011, a 38.2 percent increase from 2010, when mobile payment users reached 102.1 million, according to Gartner, Inc. Worldwide mobile payment volume is forecast to total $86.1 billion, up 75.9 percent from 2010 volume of $48.9 billion.

Despite these strong growth projections, Gartner analysts said the mobile payment market is growing slower than expected.

“In developing markets, despite favorable conditions for mobile payment, growth is not as strong as was anticipated. Many service providers are yet to adapt their strategies to local requirements, and success models from Kenya and the Philippines are unlikely to be translated to other markets,” said Sandy Shen, research director at Gartner. While developing markets have favorable conditions for mobile payments, such as high penetration of mobile devices and low banking penetration, this is no guarantee of success, unless service providers adapt their strategies to local market requirements.”
...
Gartner expects Short Message Service (SMS) and Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) to remain the dominant access technologies in developing markets due to the constraints of mobile phones. Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) will remain the preferred mobile access technology in developed markets, where the mobile Internet is commonly available and activated on the phone. Mobile app downloads and mobile commerce are the main drivers of WAP payments, and WAP will account for almost 90 percent of all mobile transactions in North America and about 70 percent in Western Europe in 2011.

Money transfers and prepaid top-ups will drive transaction volumes in developing markets. These are seen as the "killer apps" in developing markets, where people value the convenience of sending money to relatives and topping up mobile accounts. This is most obvious in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa, where these two services will account for 54 percent and 32 percent of all transactions in 2011."

Information Society Observatory Newsletter, July 2011

Sustainability First: In search of telecentre sustainability

Title: Sustainability First: In search of telecentre sustainability
Author: Harsha Liyanage
Pages: 171 pp.
ISBN: 978-955-599-507-8
Source: BookRix
Date (published): 05/04/2011
Date (accessed): 26/07/2011
Type of information: research report
Language: English
On-line access: yes (pdf)
Abstract:
"Sustainability First is a research project carried out to capture the key sustainability lessons emerging from this mix of dynamic and evolving efforts, which is unique due to the involvement of such varied participants, which include grassroots leaders, corporate executives, bureaucrats, and politicians. Although the word “sustainability” implies broader social, cultural, political, and environmental aspects, the attention of the current research was focused mainly on economic sustainability. The research was carried out over nearly two years, beginning in January 2007, and involved a deeper cross-section of the telecentre ecosystem, which started with telecentre operators from individual telecentres in South Asia, Africa, and South America and extended through the senior managers of selected corporate, civil society, and government institutions in Brazil, India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

Although this book derives its main lessons from five key case studies, which feature ATN (Brazil), Grameenphone CIC (Bangladesh), D.Net (Bangladesh), Drishtee (India) and Sarvodaya-Fusion (Sri Lanka), the overall content of the book was not limited to those lessons, but was derived from the broader spectrum of telecentre experiences studied in Africa, Asia, and South America. This book attempts to capture the rich lessons of that relatively complex larger research study in order to uncover the key constraining factors that work against telecentre sustainability, and then to derive key strategies for success from selected telecentre networks.
...
Table of Contents
...
Preface – Sustaining Telecentres in Development Landscape
Introduction
Research Methodology
Chapter 1 Sustainability Dream – Why is it Unsustainable?
Chapter 2 Sustainability – What Makes it Possible?
Chapter 3 The Silver Lining of the Sustainability Cloud; Building partnerships for telecentre sustainability, case study – ATN, Brazil; Tapping the bottom of the pyramid, case study – Drishtee, India Exploring the knowledge market at grassroots, case study – D.Net, Bangladesh • Telecentres as a corporate social responsibility, case study – Grameenphone CIC,
Bangladesh; Evolution of a social enterprise, case study – Sarvodaya-Fusion, Sri Lanka
Chapter 4 Social Enterprise Approach to Telecentre Sustainability
Conclusion and Recommendations
Bibliography "

Nigerian tech incubators set to mentor and train entrepreneurs

Title: Nigerian tech incubators set to mentor and train entrepreneurs
Author: Nmachi Jidenma
Source: TNW Africa
Date (published): 24/07/2011
Date (accessed): 26/07/2011
Type of information: article
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
"Two tech incubators in Nigeria, Co-creation Hub and the Institute for Venture Design are set to train Nigerian tech entrepreneurs in venture formation and entrepreneurship.

Co-creation Hub Nigeria, a non profit social enterprise founded by Bosun Tijani and Femi Longe aims to provide a shared work space for technologists, social entrepreneurs, government, tech companies and investors to collaborate on innovative tech ideas and solutions for the country. Located in Yaba, Nigeria, the hub is strategically located in the vicinity of prominent Nigerian universities such as the University of Lagos. This would hopefully help strengthen the hub’s collaborations with academia and give it the benefit of having student and faculty research in technology influence the hub’s ideas.
...
Another incubator set to train and mentor Nigerian tech entrepreneurs is The Institute for Venture Design. In partnership with the Center for Design Research at Stanford University, the Institute is poised to incubate a community of people with shared culture to create wealth in Nigeria."

Agricultural Information, the Global Food Crisis, and Effective Use

Title: Agricultural Information, the Global Food Crisis, and Effective Use
Author: Michael Gurstein
Source: Gurstein's Community Informatics
Date (published): 25/07/2011
Date (accessed): 25/07/2011
Type of information: blog post
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
"Community Informatics colleague Ajit Maru, in a posting on the Community Informatics Research elist suggests some disturbing questions concerning the relationship between “Information Access” and “effective use” and its possible links to the rising food crisis globally.
He comments on the increasing shift of governments to making agricultural information available primarily in electronic form via the web or through mobile access. This is inevitably linked to declining support for the provision of agricultural information through the more traditional face to face connections of agricultural extension...
...
To add to these very important comments… There is currently an overwhelming pre-occupation of donors and those concerned with ICTs and development with “mobiles for development” that is with additional means for the infrastructure for “accessing” information. However, there would appear to be little or no related concern (or resources) for ensuring that the pre-conditions for ensuring the effective use of this information particularly by rural small-holders—that the information to overwhelmingly non- or only marginally literate end users is in the multiple languages of the end users, is accessible on devices available to end users a, provides sufficient information context to be usable by end user, is structured in such a way as to enable necessary collaborative action by small-holders and so on."

Africa's mobile economic revolution

Title: Africa's mobile economic revolution
Author: Killian Fox
Source: The Observer
Publisher: The Guardian
Date (published): 24/07/2011
Date (accessed): 24/07/2011
Type of information: article
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
"Half of Africa's one billion population has a mobile phone – and not just for talking. The power of telephony is forging a new enterprise culture, from banking to agriculture to healthcare

Earlier this month, on a short bus ride through the centre of Kampala, I decided to carry out an informal survey. Passing through the Ugandan capital's colourful and chaotic streets, I would attempt to count the signs of the use of mobile phones in evidence around me. These included phone shops and kiosks, street-corner airtime vendors and giant billboard ads, as well as people actually using their mobile phones: a girl in school uniform writing a text message as she hurried along the street, a businessman calmly making a call from the back of a motorcycle taxi swerving through heavy rush-hour traffic. Not only were half of the passengers on my bus occupied with their handsets, our driver was too, thumbing at his keypad as he ferried us to our final destination. After five minutes, I lost count and retired with a sore neck. There was more evidence here than I could put a number on.

My survey underlined a simple fact: Africa has experienced an incredible boom in mobile phone use over the past decade. In 1998, there were fewer than four million mobiles on the continent. Today, there are more than 500 million. In Uganda alone, 10 million people, or about 30% of the population, own a mobile phone, and that number is growing rapidly every year. For Ugandans, these ubiquitous devices are more than just a handy way of communicating on the fly: they are a way of life.

It may seem unlikely, given its track record in technological development, but Africa is at the centre of a mobile revolution. In the west, we have been adapting mobile phones to be more like our computers: the smartphone could be described as a PC for your pocket. In Africa, where a billion people use only 4% of the world's electricity, many cannot afford to charge a computer, let alone buy one. This has led phone users and developers to be more resourceful, and African mobiles are being used to do things that the developed world is only now beginning to pick up on."

Draft ICT policy likely by Aug 15

Title: Draft ICT policy likely by Aug 15
Author: Kirtika Suneja
Source: The Financial Express
Date (published): 12/07/2011
Date (accessed): 24/07/2011
Type of information: article
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
"The draft National ICT Policy will be two pronged and based on ‘connected and unified government’ and ‘empowerment of citizens’. The strategy on connected and unified government includes mandating e-delivery of public services, development of shared platforms, public services, payment gateway, unique identifiers for persons, property and business, mobile enablement of services and standards and interoperability. On the other hand, the strategy of empowerment of citizens includes Bharat Nirman Common Service Centres in every panchayat, optical fibre network availability to every panchayat, collaboration for and promotion of content in local languages on education, health and agriculture and use of social media."

3G Breaks India’s Bandwidth Bottleneck

Title: 3G Breaks India’s Bandwidth Bottleneck
Source: TeleGeography
Date (published): 19/07/2011
Date (accessed): 24/07/2011
Type of information: blog post
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
"Fixed broadband services in India have grown at a steady, but unspectacular, pace since their introduction in 2003. Providers had signed up 11.5 million subscribers at the end of Q1 2011, up 31 percent from a year earlier. Nevertheless, Indian broadband penetration stands at only 5 percent of households. In contrast, 34 percent of Chinese households have broadband access.
While India’s fixed broadband growth is plodding along, data from TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database reveal that 3G mobile subscribers are growing at a breathtaking pace. The number of customers signed up to third-generation mobile services skyrocketed 400 percent between March 2010 and March 2011, reaching 12.2 million. This growth is particularly impressive in light of the fact that 3G services were only introduced in 2009, and 3G service has only become widely available from multiple providers in recent months. Indeed, growth has accelerated as 3G coverage and competition has increased, with subscribers increasing by an astonishing 73 percent in the first quarter of 2011."

See also:
In India, Broadband means a 3G connection, By Om Malik,

Closing the digital divide for Zambia's farmers

Title: Closing the digital divide for Zambia's farmers
Author: Georgina Smith
Source: New Agriculturist
Date (published): June 2011
Date (accessed): 24/07/2011
Type of information: article
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
"Rows of mobile telephones sit recharging in the Chinyunya community telecentre, an hour's drive east of Zambia's capital Lusaka. Powered by 67 1 x 0.5m solar panels and offering a photocopier, projector and three internet-connected computers as well as phone services, the centre is changing the way that farmers in the area receive agricultural information.
Whether it's investigating drought-resistant plants, choosing the best crop rotation, or learning how to retain water in the soil, the internet offers ideas and solutions which can be refined or adapted in discussion with extension officers. The telecentre acts as a point for sharing and accessing previously unavailable information on market prices, machinery and fertiliser availability, and is a networking hub for local agricultural training centres offering advice on organic farming and other practices."

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