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Information and Communication Technologies

Why we need more (not fewer) ICT4D pilot projects in education

Michael Trucano's picture

a different kind of pilot ... | image courtesy of World Bank via Flickr, used according to terms of its CC license.One message that is heard consistently at many ICT4D gatherings is that 'we have too many pilot projects', and that this is especially true for the education sector. 'What we need', or so the sentiment usually goes, 'is to scale up the pilot projects that have been on-going'.  Indeed, 'scaling up' seems to be the answer to the funk that many prominent ICT4D organizations currently find themselves in these days, with changes in funding priorities in international donor organizations, foundations and the international private sector provoking many groups to re-examine many of their current practices. Scaling up is then a way to demonstrate (and re-affirm) the relevance of what many organizations have been doing since their inception, and by pursuing no more pilot projects such organizations can better orient themselves to working at scale. Or so the story goes.

I would like to sound a contrary note:

What we need are more ICT4D pilot projects,
not fewer,
especially in the education sector!

Mobile Phones: Better Learning Tools than Computers? (An EduTech Debate)

Michael Trucano's picture

Photo courtesy of the World Bank | Photographer: Eric MillerinfoDev and UNESCO have teamed up to sponsor a series of monthly on-line discussions on low-cost ICT initiatives for educational systems in developing countries.  The debate for June is titled Mobile Phones: Better Learning Tools than Computers? 

Radio Development and Indonesia's Democratic Transition

Antonio Lambino's picture

More than a decade has passed since Indonesia embarked on the transition from authoritarian rule to building democratic institutions.  This week, CommGAP met with Santoso, Managing Director of KBR68H, a Jakarta-based radio news agency founded in 1999, at the dawn of the country’s democratic transition.  In addition to its long roster of domestic and international awards, KBR68H is the first media and Southeast Asian organization to receive the King Baudouin International Development Prize, named after the former king of Belgium (click here for a video on KBR68H prepared by the prize sponsor).

A case for contextual data filters?

Sameer Vasta's picture

This afternoon, I had the pleasure of sitting in a session on information visualization by Ben Shneiderman of the University of Maryland Human-Computer Interaction Lab. In his presentation, Shneiderman shared one of his mantras when it comes to visualizing information:

Overview, zoom & filter, details on demand.

Computers in secondary schools: Whither India?

Michael Trucano's picture

CC-licensed photo courtesy of World Bank via Flickr, SDM-IN-097The German scholar Max Müller famously remarked that "If I were asked under what sky the human mind has most fully developed some of its choicest gifts, has most deeply pondered on the greatest problems of life, and has found solutions, I should point to India."

No doubt there are many other countries also deserving of similar sorts of accolades, but the challenges that India currently faces related to providing universal access to a relevant and quality education for everyone -- and the solutions it deploys to meet such challenges -- are of increasing interest and relevance to people around the world.  This is especially true as it relates to the use of ICTs to meet a variety of educational and developmental objectives.

Open data: is it really worth it?

Sameer Vasta's picture

The launch of Data.gov last week brought back a slew of discussions on open data and the importance of opening up access to data for it to be used in new ways on the web.

One of the conversations that I haven't heard often, however, is about the true value of open data. I was talking to a friend of mine and we asked the question:


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