Top EduTech posts for 2009

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we look forward to serving up more food for thought in 2010 | image courtesy of the Wikipedian Lisarlena, used according to terms of its CC license, see bottom of post for more infoThe World Bank EduTech blog has just completed its first year of publication.

To celebrate our first birthday, we thought we'd look back at the top posts for 2009.

The blog was initially conceived as a year-long experiment to share information and perspectives on a topic of increasing relevance -- and hype -- to many countries around the world.   Its goal, as is stated at the upper right hand side of each page, is to explore issues related to the use of information and communication technologies to benefit education in developing countries.  By doing so, it is one modest attempt to highlight particular initiatives, studies and emerging trends that we think, based on our regular interactions with government officials, NGOs, researchers and companies active in this area in developing and developed countries around the world, might be of interest to a wider audience.

With that said ...

10. From the Learning & Technology World Forum
The blog's short second post found a wide audience -- perhaps because of the announcement of the launch of a new initiative investigating the "21st Century Skills". While there appears to be general consensus on the types of things that fall under this general heading, there is little agreement on just how to measure them.  The follow up post -- What's new, and what isn't: Observations from the BETT show (2009) -- generated the most email responses over the course of the year (although admittedly many of these were from vendors angling for a product mention!).

9. On-line safety for students in developing countries
As more schools come online, a world of new possibilities opens -- and so do potential dangers.  Unfortunately, we don't yet know a lot about what what threats are real and immediate, and what are more theoretical or far-off, in learning environments in most developing countries.

[extra] Tweet tweet -- Twitter in education
Given its topicality -- and the fact that its clear title made it an ideal candidate for re-tweeting after it was published via our Twitter account, @WBedutech -- it is perhaps not too surprising that this post from July generated a large readership.

8. Finding (useful) research on ICT use in education in developing countries
This post, which perhaps belongs in a 'general reference' category, was re-posted to many email newsletters and listservs, as was a companion post on Tracking ICT use in education across Africa.

7. Why we need more (not fewer) ICT4D pilot projects in education
This post -- which runs against the grain of thinking in many donor agencies these days, where there is frustration that many of the small pilot projects supported over the last decade have been difficult to scale -- provoked a great deal of discussion.

6. How to measure technology use in education
With increasingly large investments in computers in schools in many countries, including those with acute resource constrints -- a group of organizations came together to share research and plans on how such use could, and should, be measured. This was a topic explored in a number of other posts as well, including two from South America: The Use and Misuse of Computers in Education: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment in Colombia and How do you evaluate a plan like Ceibal?

5. Surveying the use of mobile phones in education worldwide
There lots of talk about the potential use of mobile phone in educational settings ... but what do we actually know about such use?  This will be the subject of a World Bank paper in 2010, which this post announced.

4. What have we learned from OLPC pilots to date?
The OLPC project remains, almost five years after burst onto the seen after the World Economic Forum meetings in Davos, a topic of fascination, criticism, adulation and disagreement by people involved in the use of technology in education around the world.  We are now starting to get reports from early stages of implementation of the initiative in many places; this much-forwarded post reviewed some of them.

3. Computers in secondary schools: Whither India?
Sometime in the next decade or so India will surpass China as the world's most populous nation.  In addition to potentially impacting the education of more young people than anywhere else, educational technology trends that emerge from India will no doubt resonate far beyond its borders. 

[extra] The Use of ICT in Education Reform: Sharing the experiences of Jordan and Indonesia -- and Singapore
The World Bank helps promote knowledge sharing between countries -- this post highlighted one such activity.

2. What do we know about using mobile phones in education? (part 2)
A continuation of the year's most popular post (see next item), this topic always generated a reliably large audience -- as evidenced by this post, and others like Mobile Phones: Better Learning Tools than Computers? (An EduTech Debate). 

1. What do we know about using mobile phones in education?
By far the most read post of the year was this one, which is representative of the interest that topics related to the use of mobile phones in education received in 2009 on the World Bank EduTech blog.  This is no doubt a topic that will receive a great deal of attention in 2010 as well.

Thanks for reading -- and Happy New Year!

Final note: Most weeks, the EduTech blog features images that are made available via a variety of Creative Commons licenses for broader use.  We consciously utilize such images not only because it is easy to do so (although that of course is true as well), but also to highlight the fact that different approaches and mechanisms for the sharing of  information and media resources are emerging that may be of special relevance to our counterparts and partners working in the education sector in developing countries.  The final image of 2009 comes courtesy of the Wikipedian Lisarlena; it was found and accessed, like most of the images we use, via Wikimedia Commons (we provide the specific image link every week to let people know where they can go to download the image and learn more about its provenance and how it can be utilized), and is used according to the terms of its Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 license.


Michael Trucano

Visiting Fellow, Brookings, and Global Lead for Innovation in Education, World Bank

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