Hi-Tech Technology, a Strong Enabler for Nigerian Education

Online Learning Update leads me to this article: Hi-Tech Technology, a Strong Enabler for Nigerian Education, which I find interesting but rather biased.

Its focus – or Kayode Jegede’s focus – is that ICT will enhance students conditions in general, for having better access to better materials, interactivity and so.

Ok, right, this is obvious. But I guess this is not the point in bringing ICT to Nigeria or wherever in sub-Saharan Africa (and other underdeveloped places). And the key is no in “enhancing” but in “making possible”.

  • First thing ICT will or can do in underdeveloped countries, before enhancing education, is making it possible in some places where education there’s just not

Ok, ok, we’ve got education everywhere. Yeah? You really think so? Let’s imagine this is true. What conditions? And I don’t mean the classroom has poor materials, not up-to-date, not attractive to students, etc. I mean there’s just one teacher that reaches the little village twice per week and teaches kids ranging from 5 to 15 years old.

Thus, when talking about “enhancing” education I think we should talk about this kind of enhancing, not making classes that actually work more attractive – I don’t say this is not to be done, but it is not what I’d call a development primary issue.

  • Enhancing deals with content and teaching segmentation for students of different ages and different education levels
  • Enhancing deals with training the trainers so that they can specialize or deepen their generic training
  • Enhancing means creating a virtual network of trainers/teachers so they can reach one another in order to solve problems, share best practices and be present – even virtually – in places they wouldn’t instead

Once this is reached, then we can talk about multimedia materials and interactive elite e-learning. Doing it before is just frivolity.

Nonprofits Move On in Fundraising

Curious article (via World Changing).

It explains how some organizations – and NGOs should follow the path – d0n’t ask for money but give information or services instead, and then ask for support.

Quote:
By building an e-mail list around news or information, an organization is cultivating those people to become donors, Allen said.

“Most people coming to the site are not looking to give money,” he said. “They are looking for information.”

It seems to me this is the same thing some blogs or freeware developpers do in their sites: “Hey, come and read or download whatever you want: I do it for free and for my pleasure. BTW, any income will be welcome: I too have a mortgage”

An interesting idea and surely a good way to correctly value how much worth is what you.

NGOs don’t invest in ICT nor e-learning

A few days ago I wrote about a degree project I tutorized.

Well, yesterday I was at the presentation of another project I also tutorize (there’s just two of them, I promise) entitled “Desing of an Internet Portal about cooperation and solidarity for NGOs, citizenship and other organizations”, by Francesc Xavier Soler Casanovas.

The work is quite right but the external evaluator pointed that the introduction talked about portals offering services for the third sector but missed information about NGO websites.

I pointed that this information appears in the study of the Fundaci Un Sl Mn entitled CONECTADAS? Las ONG espaolas en la red [Connected? Spanish NGOs in the Net] and that the results are quite sad: everyone has a site but maintenance is not a must, most of them are poorly designed and had no in mind any updating at all, etc.

And then I thought I had to blog the idea of NGOs and investment: in my own experience, and always thinking about small and medium organizations, NGOs don’t usually invest but only focus on short term expeditures – this is also true, or true in part, even for some of the largest NGOs or some of their departments.

Short term benefits, in terms of social benefits, makes them think that investing in infrastructure or capacitation for staff and volunteers is something not of their concern. And this is especially true for those working in the field of humanitarian aid, but cooperation for development organizations do similarly.

And it is weird to see how some NGOs invest in their counterparts to supply them with computers, connectivity, capacity building and so and they have their own headquarters at the poorest level. Well, I don’t think it is selfish nor less transparent to build your own structure the appropriate way.

In my opinion an NGO must be treated – managed – as some other enterprise and must maximize their profit. Of course, it is not an economic profit the way we use to think of it: it is the profit of maximizing your goals on your target (the poor, the underdeveloped, etc.), your own staff and the ones that gave you part of their savings to save some souls abroad. These are your stakeholders and they deserve the optimization of your resources.

I guess our own digital divide (are NGO connected? is NGO staff able to work networked and in the Net? etc.) is reachable only by bridging our managing divide: be more efficient home.

Can ICT bridge this managing divide? ;)

The electronic pony express

[Via Gizmodo]

cambodia.jpg

E-mail on wheels:

    You write an e-mail
    Send it – it stays in the outgoing mailbox
    A motorbike passes by near your computer carrying a laptop on his rear: both computers “speak” one to each other and your mail is transferred wirelessly to his laptop
    The biker goes round and round delivering the mails from his laptop to other computers and gathering more outgoing mails from these other computers
    Start the loop n-times
    At the end of the day the motorbiker reaches the big city were long distance mails (!) reach out for the Net and its furthest mailboxes and out-of-the-motorbike-network mails enter his inbox

Heartly thanks César for pointing this to me :)

Free materials of the UOC International Master Programme on Free Software

Well, pretty good news at “home”: the UOC just just released for free two materials from the International Master Programme on Free Software:

  • Introduction to free software
  • Basic operative system GNU/Linux

it here:

(both in spanish)

Pretty nice :)))

CSS fixing and links managing

Well, hum, er… a week since last post. Quite a lot of work, no time to connect from home, dissappearing modem drivers and no connection possible during weekend… :((

Just time to fix some styles that were making my bookmarks look as hell since last update to WordPress 1.0 (I’ve been told it’s time to update to 1.0.1…) and reorganize them to make them more readable and understandable (why are they there, why should one go and look into them, etc.)

I have plenty to be done: 3 articles at Linia Valls, my speech at my last seminar (two hour long, wow!) and two more articles, one of them republished several times in different places.

I guess it’s time for a break… :PP