Sakai 2.0

Just gathering info…

Just remember that

The Sakai Project is a community source software development effort to design, build and deploy a new Collaboration and Learning Environment (CLE) for higher education.
[…]
The Sakai Project has its origins at the University of Michigan and Indiana University, where both universities independently began open source efforts to replicate and enhance the functionality of their existing CMSs . Soon after, MIT and Stanford joined in and, along with the Open Knowledge Initiaitive (OKI) and the uPortal consoritum, and a generous grant from the Mellon Foundation, they formed the Sakai Project.

International Journal of Education and Development using Information and Communication Technology

The International Journal of Education and Development using Information and Communication Technology (IJEDICT) is an e-journal that provides free and open access to all of its content.

IJEDICT aims to strengthen links between research and practice in ICT in education and development in hitherto less developed parts of the world, e.g., developing countries (especially small states), and rural and remote regions of developed countries. The emphasis is on providing a space for researchers, practitioners and theoreticians to jointly explore ideas using an eclectic mix of research methods and disciplines. It brings together research, action research and case studies in order to assist in the transfer of best practice, the development of policy and the creation of theory. Thus, IJEDICT is of interest to a wide-ranging audience of researchers, policy-makers, practitioners, government officers and other professionals involved in education or development in communities throughout the world

Not time to read it yet, but the summary of Volume 1, Issue 1 looks pretty good.

21st Century NGO

21st Century NGO is a paper published by Sustainability after a research about the future for NGOs, how they will increasingly do business, and the challenges that their ‘markets’ increasingly present.

Surprisingly — at least for someone heavily ICT-biased as me ;) — Information and Communication Technologies are rarely treated, just when one should expect them to have an important role in the new relationship among markets and organizations.

Though I’ve not digged enough in the paper to know it by heart, I only found just two explicit references to ICTs in the section Networks, a strength shown in the SWOT analysis (page 39):

In turn, New Economy technologies — among them the internet and mobile telephones — have powerfully fuelled activism with some interviewees suggesting that in the same way that the printing press served to drive the growth of the early Protestant Church, so the internet is supporting the capacity of NGOs and civil society to network and grow. 104 As Sabine Leidig of Attac Germany put it, ‘We are the Linux model NGO.’

I guess the Internet has done — and is doing — much more than just giving a loudspeaker to NGOs. In fact, just the same concept of “network” relies on much more things than just one-to-many communication, being capacity building, exponential increase of productivity and instant and ubiquitous many-to-many communication, maybe the most important ones just to mention some of them.

I guess Sabine Leidig means by “the Linux model” the way the free software community works. I think it is quite a good example, but it can only be applied to few NGOs, being Attac one of them… but most will consider Attac not an NGO just because of its decentralization, lack of an stablished structure and budget, etc. which, in the end, was the target of the research.

ICTs are not mentioned, for example in the External Agenda, point 9, when talking about New technology:

Closely linked to trade, health and environment concerns, a number of new technologies (e.g. GM foods, human genome work, nanotechnology) will continue to spark major
controversies.

I do agree that these technologies are very important and are the debate on technology and the society — and thus, NGOs. But in the third sector, the digital divide is also the debate, fare more than in developed countries. I guess ICTs should be included in this point.

Nevertheless, besides my ICT-bias, the report is very worth reading and very rigorous :)

More info:

  • Piece of news about the report release
  • PDF file 21st Century NGO (1.27 Mb)
  • ICT4D Journals

    Putting in order one’s bookmarks takes me to post a short list of ICT4D Jornals I know about.

    Here they are:

    id4 – Information for Development

    The i4d (Information For Development) print magazine is one its kind, and is intended to provide a much-needed platform for exchange of information, ideas, opinions and experiences, both inside and outside the Information and Communication Technology for Development (ICT4D) sector. While several electronic publications do currently exist, i4d is perhaps the first that addresses the need by utilizing the strength and potential of the print media.
    […]
    i4d encompasses the role and relevance of ICT in various development sectors such as Rural Development, Gender, Governance, Micro-finance, Education, Health, Wireless Communication, ICT For Poor, Local Content, Culture and Heritage, and more.

    KM4D Journal

    KM4D Journal focuses on knowledge management in development. It includes diverse knowledge management approaches in development organizations, large and small, in the South and in the North, and aims to facilitate cross-fertilization between knowledge management and related fields.

    KM4D Journal offers peer-reviewed practice-based cases, analysis and research concerning the role of knowledge in development processes, and provides a forum for debate and exchange of ideas among practitioners, policy makers academics and activists world-wide. By challenging current assumptions, it will seek to stimulate new thinking and to shape future ways of working.

    Information Technologies and International Development

    Information Technologies and International Development will be the premier journal in its field, focusing on the intersection of information and communication technologies (ICT) with international development. We aim to create a networked community of leading thinkers and strategists to discuss the critical issues of ICT and development, an epistemic community that crosses disciplines (especially technologists and social scientists), national boundaries, and the North and South hemispheres.

    Online Volunteers of the Year 2005

    The United Nations Online Volunteeering Service announced just a week ago the winners of the “Online Volunteers of the Year” award for 2005.

    Besides the prize itself, these events are interesting because they help to promote online volunteering and give real examples of what’s going on and what one can do volunteering through the Internet: translators, website management, fundrising, information and news reasearch, reporting on proceedings, team coordination, etc.

    And also to remark not the results or the goals achived, but also how this was done. A couple of examples:

    • One of the winners is, in fact, a four people team belonging to Australia, Pakistan, USA and India working in Syria. This kind of networking is just one of the things OV is about.
    • Another winner is also a mother and son team, but the point here is that he’s got cerebral palsy and spastic quadriplegia and is using a wheelchair, he simply cannot “just” go to Zambia and volunteer on-site. As an online volunteer, he found himself actively involved in a development project that he had not imagined before to ever be able to be part of. And this is also one of the other things online volunteering can do: bring back people excluded from volunteering because of different reasons.

    More info:

    Article: e-Learning for Development: a model

    “Today” I ended my research period in the Doctorate in the Information Society at the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya.

    And thus, I submited my dissertation to get my advanced studies diploma (and start the long road to the Ph.D. all along my thesis).

    My dissertation deals with something I have talked before plenty of times: how can nonprofits use free software, open access content and online volunteers to set up e-learning training programmes in a free way (in the meaning of free as in free speech and in free beer.

    You can see a complete abstract and download the 80 page paper here. It has also been added to my articles section.

    I do welcome positive and negative feedback!