Africa

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."

ICT, Financial Inclusion, and Growth: Evidence from African Countries

Title: ICT, Financial Inclusion, and Growth: Evidence from African Countries
Authors: Mihasonirina Andrianaivo and Kangni Kpodar
Pages: 45 pp.
Source: IMF
Date (published): April 2011
Date (accessed): 10/08/2011
Type of information: working paper
Language: English
On-line access: yes (pdf)
Abstract:
"This paper studies the impact of information and communication technologies (ICT), especially mobile phone rollout, on economic growth in a sample of African countries from 1988 to 2007. Further, we investigate whether financial inclusion is one of the channels through which mobile phone development influences economic growth. In estimating the impact of ICT on economic growth, we use a wide range of ICT indicators, including mobile and fixed telephone penetration rates and the cost of local calls. We address any endogeneity issues by using the System Generalized Method of Moment (GMM) estimator. Financial inclusion is captured by variables measuring access to financial services, such as the number of deposits or loans per head, compiled by Beck, Demirguc-Kunt, and Martinez Peria (2007) and the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP, 2009). The results confirm that ICT, including mobile phone development, contribute significantly to economic growth in African countries. Part of the positive effect of mobile phone penetration on growth comes from greater financial inclusion. At the same time, the development of mobile phones consolidates the impact of financial inclusion on economic growth, especially in countries where mobile financial services take hold."

Pan-African training guide on Linux System Administration

Title: Pan-African training guide on Linux System Administration
Source: FOSSFA & GIZ
Date (published): July 2011
Date (accessed): 10/08/2011
Type of information: guide
Language: English
On-line access: yes (pdf)
Abstract:
"Training Guide on Linux System Administration, LPI Certification Level 1, Supporting African IT-enterprises to get Open Source skills and certification on level 1 of the Linux Professional Institute (LPI) Certification

INTRODUCTION BY FOSSFA AND GIZ
“How do I know that this IT company from Kampala will be able to maintain my IT server infrastructure?” asks a contract-giving government agency in Uganda. The answer lies in a trust-building certification, a crucial ingredient of any economic development agenda. Therefore, FOSSFA and GIZ are proud to present “ict@innovation: Training Guide on Linux System Administration - LPI Certification Level 1”. The guide is part of “Linux Certification in Africa - the ict@innovation Training of Trainers Programme”. It aims to help African small and medium IT-enterprises (SMEs) involved in Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) to improve the quality of their services offered as well as the level of trust of customers through certification of their FOSS skills.
The ict@innovation programme builds capacities in African small and medium ICT enterprises to make a business with Free and Open Source Software (FOSS). ict@innovation aims to encourage the growth of African ICT industries, through three main actions: spreading FOSS business models for enterprises, fostering FOSS certification and supporting innovative local FOSS applications for social and economic development. ict@innovation is a partnership of FOSSFA (Free Software and Open Source Foundation for Africa) and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), Germany [until 2011: InWEnt, now part of GIZ].
We hope that the “ict@innovation: Training Guide on Linux System Administration - LPI Certification Level 1” together with the associated training-of-trainers scheme will contribute to remove a major barrier against adoption and deployment of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) in sub-Saharan Africa: the lack of human resources with FOSS skills demonstrated by recognized certificates.
In order to support a wide range of capacity needs and training environments in Africa, the training material and the training-of-trainer programme builds on the Linux Professional Institute (LPI) Certification as a world-wide recognized distribution and vendor-neutral standard for evaluating the competency of Linux professionals with the possibility to hold low-cost paper-based examinations.
The “ict@innovation: Training Guide on Linux System Administration - LPI Certification Level 1” has been released under an open licence (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Germany License) allowing for free distribution, remixing and updating of the material. Our goal is thereby to empower local African training institutions to offer low-cost trainings. And we are looking forward to further building and updating of this Training Guide in the spirit of sharing and mutual capacity building."

African Cashew Initiative: Cooperation to Use ICT for the Benefit of Cashew Growers

Title: African Cashew Initiative: Cooperation to Use ICT for the Benefit of Cashew Growers
Source: ict4d Newsletter
Publisher: Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH
Date (published): July 2011
Date (accessed): 10/08/2011
Type of information: short notice
Language: English
On-line access: yes (pdf)
Abstract:
"We recently published, in collaboration with our colleagues from the African Cashew Initiative, a short paper “Virtual Cooperatives: ICT for African Cashew Farmers” on a development partnership with SAP Research in Ghana.
The development partnership utilizes Information and Communication Technologies to provide the means to enhance the productivity of Cashew farmers, to strengthen farmer cooperatives, and to enable them to do collaborative business with the established economy in a transparent and sustainable way.
To learn more, you can download the paper here or visit the website of the African Cashew Initiative. Also, Deutsche Welle, the German international TV channel, has produced a short video about the pilot of the project in Brong Ahafo, Ghana."
via https://twitter.com/#!/ictdev

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"

Top Ten Opera Mini users in Africa

Title: Top Ten Opera Mini users in Africa
Source: IT News Africa
Date (published): 31/07/2011
Date (accessed): 01/08/2011
Type of information: article
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
"The “State of the Mobile Web Report” by web browser company Opera Software puts a spotlight on the African region. Here are the top trends in Africa for mobile handsets and usage of the Opera Mini mobile web browser, which is used by 72% of all mobile web users in Africa.

The top 10 countries using the Opera Mini browser in this region are Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya, Ghana, Sudan, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Zambia and Morocco.
Some numbers: From June 2010 to June 2011, page views in the top 10 countries of Africa increased by 187%, unique users increased by 184% and data transferred increased by 199%.
Growth rates in Africa: Zimbabwe and Morocco lead the top 10 countries of the region in terms of page-view growth (4964.8 % and 1598.4 %, respectively).
Zimbabwe and Ethiopia lead the top 10 countries of the region in growth of unique users (4483.3 % and 989.5 %, respectively).
Zimbabwe and Morocco lead the top 10 countries of the region in growth of data transferred (3449.7 % and 1385.9 %, respectively).
Zimbabwe leads the top 10 countries of the region in page views per user, with each user browsing 713 pages on average each month.
Among the countries of Africa, the most popular sites include Facebook, Google, YouTube, Yahoo and Wikipedia."

Gender Equality in Free and Open Source Software

Title: Gender Equality in Free and Open Source Software
Source: Wikigender
Date (published): 22/07/2011
Date (accessed): 01/08/2011
Type of information: wiki post
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
"Gender Equality is one of UNESCO’s global priorities, together with Africa. Within this framework, UNESCO seeks to promote women empowerment and to mainstream gender in all UNESCO policies, strategies and programs.
UNESCO’s believes that the Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) model provides interesting tools and processes with which women and men can create, exchange, share and exploit software and knowledge efficiently and effectively. FOSS can play an important role as a practical instrument for development as its free and open aspirations make it a natural component of development efforts in the context of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
The Community “Gender equality in free and Open Source Software” aims at creating a network of different institutions, networks and actors that deal with the Gender Gap in FOSS."

via http://www.ictdev.org/

Orange, Google launch sms service in Africa

Title: Orange, Google launch sms service in Africa
Source: IT News Affrica
Date (published): 28/07/2011
Date (accessed): 28/07/2011
Type of information: article
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
"Telecommunications provider Orange and global search giant, Google have signed a partnership that aims to facilitate access to Google’s services across Africa, by leveraging Orange’s networks.

This will enable Orange’s mobile customers to stay in touch with their Google services and Google users to extend their network by using SMS-based services.
The Orange and Google partnership will leverage Orange’s SMS platform to bring Google’s services to African customers.
...

Through the development of SMS-based services that operate on all mobile networks (including GSM), Orange and Google will extend the reach of a wide range of internet services that were previously limited to smartphone and broadband users (through 3G, CDMA or WiMax networks) to all Orange mobile customers.
The “Gmail SMS Chat” service, which will eventually be launched across Orange’s footprint in Africa and the Middle East is already available in Senegal, Uganda and Kenya. It will be launched in four additional countries – Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea Conakry and Niger – in the coming months, and will be launched as a trial in Egypt (Mobinil). Orange and Google are now looking to extend this partnership to include other services."

Q&A: Google wants more African content online

Title: Q&A: Google wants more African content online
Author: Denisa Oosthuizen
Source: IT News Africa
Date (published): 27/07/2011
Date (accessed): 28/07/2011
Type of information: article
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
"In an interview with ITNewsAfrica, Brett StClair, Head of Mobile, Google South Africa, talks about the evolution of mobile media in Africa and the exciting times ahead for Google on the continent.
...
Brett StClair: Gmail SMS is a great platform for both users and mobile operators. What is great about the service is that it provides internet-like services to more ubiquitous technologies like SMS, which have a reach across 500 million African mobile subscribers. These sorts of services are an important stepping stone to diverse services on the mobile Web, helping consumers understand what’s possible, and showing why smartphones are so useful and relevant. We offer SMS services across a number of our products, for example, SMS Search (using SMS to search for services and content), and Google Trader, which is a classified platform to allow consumers in Ghana to trade goods on phones, therefore creating business via mobile.

ITNewsAfrica.com: In a recent article published in The Africa Report, “Is Google good for Africa”, one of Google’s VPs for the region speaks about the lack of information in Africa. How would you comment this statement?
Brett StClair: Our VP Carlo D’Asaro Biondo’s statement referred to the fact that Africa has only one web domain for every 10,000 people, versus a global average of 94 domains for every 10,000 people. In other words, information that is important and valuable to Africans is not yet available online. At Google we want to help create and enable more African content online. For example, we are launching Google products in many African languages, including the wide-reaching Swahili, Amharic, Zulu, Afrikaans and more. We launched MapMaker across the continent so that anyone can map their local roads, village, hospitals or schools. Great recent examples include mapping health locations in Korogocho in Nairobi and mapping new parts of South Sudan. These efforts and many more will help bring information online, and make the web more useful and relevant to Africans. And of course, before long they will be accessing this info on their mobile phones."

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."

Syndicate content