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Information and Communication Technologies

Mobile adoption in Africa and rethinking the mobile web experience

Sameer Vasta's picture

Amir pointed me towards this great presentation by Christian Kreutz that shared some thoughts on mobile activism in Africa. A few facts from the presentation that jumped out at me:

  • 99% of Tanzanians are in direct reach of a mobile phone.
  • The highest traffic to the BBC mobile websites comes from Africa.

 
You can see the whole presentation here:

The Reading List: May 8

Sameer Vasta's picture

Every day, there are a ton of really great articles and posts on the web that pique our interest here at the Web Program Office. We've decided to start a delicious.com account to keep a track of a few of them that we'd like to share.

Every Friday, I'm going to try and post a selection of the links from our delicious.com account so you can get a quick snapshot of what we're reading this week. Here goes:

 

What have we learned from OLPC pilots to date?

Michael Trucano's picture

CC licensed photo courtesy of Daniel Drake via Flickr It's been four years since the The One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project (known then as the '$100 laptop) was announced.   According to recent unconfirmed news reports from India, one quarter million of the little green and white OLPC XO laptops are now on order for use in 1500 hundred schools on the subcontinent.  Four years on, what have we learned about the impact of various OLPC pilots that might be of relevance to a deployment in India?  Thankfully, preliminary results are starting to circulate among researchers.  While nothing yet has approached what many consider to be the gold standard of evaluation work in this area, some of this research is beginning to see the light of day (or at least the Internet) -- and more is planned.

Education and Technology in an Age of Pandemics

Michael Trucano's picture

image used according to the terms of its Creative Commons license; image courtesy of Edgar Antonio Villaseñor González via FlickrFor some people in other parts of the world, it was the picture of two top Mexican futbol teams playing earlier this week in an empty Estadio Azteca (one of the world's largest capacity stadiums) that made clear the severity of the current swine flu outbreak.  While the sporting passions of the 100,000 missing spectators could presumably satisfied by watching the game on TV, it was less clear how to immediately satisfy the learning needs of over seven million students who were sent home after their schools were ordered closed.

Many educational reformers have long held out hope that computers and other information and computer technologies (ICTs) can play crucial and integral roles in bringing about long-needed changes to education systems.  Indeed, many see the introduction of ICTs in schools as a sort of Trojan horse, out of which educational reform and innovation can spring once inside the walls of the traditional (conservative) education establishment. While not denying the potentially transformational impact of ICT use to help meet a wide variety of educational objectives, history has shown that bringing about positive disruptive change isn't achieved by simply flooding schools with computers and related ICTs.

As a result of swine flu, many Mexican schools are experiencing quick, disruptive change of a different sort right now.  How might technology be relevant in cases like this?  Given the status quo, the use of technology in schools isn't enough to bring about systemic change.  But: How might ICTs be useful, even transformational, when this status quo is severely disrupted by some other exogenous factor ... like a pandemic disease outbreak?

On video players and video services.

Sameer Vasta's picture

If you've taken a look at our Meetings blog, you may have noticed a series of videos called "VOICES" that we've been posting all week. The videos feature quick interviews with some of the people attending the 2009 Spring Meetings (from inside and outside the Bank) shot by simple handheld Flip Video cameras.


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