culture

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."

IT professionals want local content

Title: IT professionals want local content
Source: IT News Africa
Date (published): 07/08/2011
Date (accessed): 09/08/2011
Type of information: article
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
"Global survey reveals Business to Business (B2B) marketers must produce localised IT content to engage IT professionals outside North America.

IDG Connect’s global content survey of 3,217 IT professionals in 114 territories reveals that whilst 72% of respondents find vendor white papers extremely useful, the majority outside of North America still struggle to find the localised content they need.

Results suggest that although this is an issue worldwide, it is a greater problem in developing markets.
“Engagement levels with our audience soar when we supply content which relates to their region. This is especially true in emerging markets where this information is thin on the ground.
These results show high levels of frustration in IT professionals outside North America and prove that even modest amounts of localisation will help technology marketers enhance engagement,” said Matthew Smith VP of IDG Connect International.
· Asia: 74% of IT professionals say they would prefer localized content, but 79% say they “struggle” to find it
· South America: 81% struggle to find local content
· Africa: 75% struggle to find local content
· Middle East: 67% struggle to find local content
· Australia and New Zealand: 69% struggle to find local content
· Europe: 55% struggle to find local content"

Anthropology: Taking it mobile

Title: Anthropology: Taking it mobile
Author: kiwanja (Ken Banks)
Source: Build it Kenny, and they will come…
Date (published): 08/05/2010
Date (accessed): 10/05/2010
Type of information: blog post
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
Anyone taking more than a passing glance at the kiwanja.net website shouldn’t need long to figure out my four key areas of interest. I’ve always maintained that if your ideal job doesn’t exist then you have to create it, and being able to combine my passions for technology, anthropology, conservation and development is for me – through kiwanja.net – that dream job.

Saying that, it doesn’t go without its challenges. Putting aside the difficulties faced by the global conservation and development communities, most of my thinking today centres around the sometimes uncomfortable tension between appropriate technology and the mobile phone, and the potential role of applied anthropology in helping us understand what on earth is going on out there. We can’t always rely on Indiana Jones, Hollywood’s answer to anthropology, to get us all the answers.

Bringing e-Books to Africa and the Middle East. Infrastructure, economics and censorship are major issues

Title: Bringing e-Books to Africa and the Middle East. Infrastructure, economics and censorship are major issues
Author: James Turner
Source: O'Reilly Radar
Publisher: O'Reilly
Date (published): 19/01/2010
Date (accessed): 20/01/2010
Type of information: blog post and voice interview
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML and voice files)
Abstract:
In the United States, Western Europe and Asia, e-Books are becoming a major player, especially now that e-Readers like the Kindle and Nook are available. But people living in the Arabic-speaking world or Africa haven't been invited to the dance. Two of the keynote speakers at the upcoming Tools of Change conference are working to improve access to e-Books in these areas: Arthur Attwell in South Africa and Ramy Habeeb in Egypt. We talked to each of them about how e-Books are important in their area of the world, and the challenges that they are facing.

via http://twitter.com/jafurtado

Arab Knowledge Report 2009: Towards Productive Intercommunication for Knowledge

Title: Arab Knowledge Report 2009: Towards Productive Intercommunication for Knowledge
Pages: 332 pp.
Publisher: Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation and United Nations Development Programme/ Regional Bureau for Arab States
Date (published): 27/10/2009
Date (accessed): 18/11/2009
Type of information: research report
Language: English
On-line access: yes (several pdfs)
Abstract:
Foreword, team and table of contents
Preamble
Chapter 1: The theoretical framework: Concepts and problematic of the knowledge society
Chapter 2: Arab knowledge performance environments: Expanding freedoms and building institutions
Chapter 3: Education and the formation of knowledge capital
Chapter 4: Information and communications technologies in the Arab countries: The pillars and tools of knowledge
Chapter 5: Arab performance in research and innovation
Chapter 6: Building the knowledge society in the Arab world: A vision and a plan
References
Annex 1: List of background papers
Annex 2: Project for a database on knowledge in the Arab region
Annex 3: Measurement of the Arab countries’ knowledge economy
Statistical Annex

See also:
Arab world 'long way' from knowledge society
Science and Development Network

Kontax, a teen m-novel in a local African language

Title: Kontax, a teen m-novel in a local African language
Author: Steve Vosloo
Source: mLearning Africa
Date (published): 16/10/2009
Date (accessed): 18/10/2009
Type of information: blog post
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
On 30 September 2009, the world’s first mobile novel – or m-novel – published in both English and isiXhosa was launched. Kontax, a teen mystery story, was created for the Shuttleworth Foundation’s m4Lit project, lead by Steve Vosloo.

Standing for “mobiles for literacy” the project aims to explore whether teens are interested in reading stories on their cellphones, whether and how they write using their cellphones, and whether cellphones might be used to develop literacy skills and a love of reading. The hope behind the m4Lit project is that by researching the role of cellphones in teen reading and writing, educationalists and publishers can better understand the opportunities and challenges for literacy practices presented by the most popular communication device used by any teen today.

See also:
m4Lit: a teen m-novel project in South Africa
Conference paper describing the project (in pdf)

The state of the nation: A snapshot of Australian institutional repositories

Title: The state of the nation: A snapshot of Australian institutional repositories
Authors: Mary Anne Kennan, Danny A. Kingsley
ISSN: 1396-0458
Source: First Monday, Volume 14, Number 2
Publisher: University of Illinois at Chicago University Library
Date published: 02/02/2009
Date accessed: 10/08/2009
Type of information: scholarly article
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
This paper provides the first full description of the status of Australian institutional repositories. Australia presents an interesting case because of the government’s support of institutional repositories and open access. A survey of all 39 Australian universities conducted in September 2008 shows that 32 institutions have active repositories and by end of 2009, 37 should have repositories. The total number of open access items has risen dramatically since January 2006. Five institutions reported they have an institution–wide open access mandate, and eight are planning to implement one. Only 20 universities have funding for their repository staff and 24 universities have funding for their repository platform, either as ongoing recurrent budgeting or absorbed into their institutions’ budgets. The remaining are still project funded. The platform most frequently used for Australian repositories is Fedora with Vital. Most of the remaining sites use EPrints or DSpace.

Public library revitalization in India: Hopes, challenges, and new visions

Title: Public library revitalization in India: Hopes, challenges, and new visions
Author: Ajit Pyati
ISSN: 1396-0458
Source: First Monday, Volume 14, Number 7, 2009
Publisher: University of Illinois at Chicago University Library
Date published: 06/07/2009
Date accessed: 10/08/2009
Type of information: scholarly article
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
With India’s growing economy and status as an emerging world power, a new consciousness is developing in the country about the need to reinvest in public services. The National Knowledge Commission (NKC) is an advisory body constituted by the Prime Minister to provide recommendations for improving India’s knowledge infrastructure. As part of this Commission, a set of recommendations has been developed to improve India’s long neglected library system. This article explores the implications of these recommendations, with a specific focus on India’s public library system and the social development gains that are often associated with public libraries. The potential of India’s public libraries to serve as community information centres (CICs) is highlighted, as well as the challenges that lie ahead in implementing a new vision for public library revitalization. The article serves as an invitation for concerted action, reflection, and dialogue with regard to this important and pressing issue.

Smithsonian Web and New Media Strategy v 1.0

Title: Smithsonian Web and New Media Strategy v 1.0
Publisher: Smithsonian Institution
Date published: 31/07/2009
Date accessed: 09/08/2009
Type of information: strategy paper
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTLM and pdf)
Abstract:
"The strategy talks about an updated digital experience, a new learning model that helps people with their "lifelong learning journeys," and the creation of a Smithsonian Commons—a new part of our digital presence dedicated to stimulating learning, creation, and innovation through open access to Smithsonian research, collections and communities. This strategy was created through a fast and transparent process that included workshops, the Smithsonian 2.0 conference, Twitter, YouTube, and ongoing collaboration through the wiki...This strategy will feed into the Smithsonian’s comprehensive strategic plan, currently under development."

See also:
SI Web and New Media Strategy wiki

Proceedings of DigCCurr2009: Digital Curation: Practice, Promise, and Prospects

Title: Proceedings of DigCCurr2009: Digital Curation: Practice, Promise, and Prospects
Editors: Helen R. Tibbo, Carolyn Hank, Christopher A. Lee, Rachael Clemens
Pages: 221 pp.
ISBN: 978-0-578-02215-4
Publisher: School of Information and Library Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, US
Date published: 2009
Date accessed: 22/07/2209
Type of information: conference proceedings
Language: English
On-line access: yes (dowvnloadable e-book, pdf)
Abstract:
DigCCurr2009 was held on April 1-3, 2009 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina as part of the Preserving Access to Our Digital Future: Building an International Digital Curation Curriculum (DigCCurr) project. DigCCurr is a three-year (2006-2009), Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)-funded project to develop a graduate-level curricular framework, course modules, and experiential components to prepare students for digital curation in various environments. Contributions to DigCCurr2009 take the form of long and short papers, posters and panels.

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