Third Annual ICT4D Postgraduate Symposium (IX). Thematic session 6: Education, Agriculture

Notes from the IPID ICT4D PG symposium 2008, Mekrijärvi Research Station, Joensuu University, Finland. 8 and 9 September, 2008.

Gudrun Wicander, Karlstadt University:
The Use of Mobile Telephones as a Tool for Capture Statistical Data

A need for efficient management of primary education, based on an education management information system (EMIS) in developing countries (Tanzania). But how do we collect data in these communities? Can mobile phones help in this?

First, a mapping of the information flow in primary education administration and the data flow within EMIS was drawn. Second step will be mapping mobile phone ownership and use.

Background: rise in enrolment rates in Tanzania, with retention and drop out problems due to overcrowding, financing and inefficiency problems, etc. Timely and accurate school data is necessary to allocate per-capita funding for the school and provide a central government with appropriate management information to support planning. Existing pilot study in Kenya run by John Traxler, University of Wolverhampton in 2006, showing many benefits from using SMS and mobile phones for data transmission: speed, (low) cost, etc.

Instead, if done by paper, a lot of data are not processed, as it has to run through (bureaucratic) many levels.

The idea would be how to use the mobile phones that everybody has — and not handhelds that almost nobody has — to make a more flexible structure of data collecting, sending and processing.

Ugo Vallauri, University of London: The Landscape of e-agriculture in the Kenyan context

e-Agriculture: is an emerging field in the intersection of agricultural informatics, agricultural development and entrepreneurship, referring to agricultural services, technology dissemination, and information exchanged or enhanced through the Internet and related technologies. More specifically, it involves the conceptualization, design, development, evaluation and application of new (innovative) ways to use existing or emerging information and communication technologies (ICT) (FAO).

Some critiques:

  • In Kenya there is a focus on (agriculture) market information through several devices and conduits… but who does it benefit? It involves empowerment of dealers.
  • e-Agriculture also focus on information on crops, on exportation, on higher sales. But the scheme can collapse if market behaviours are unreliable.
  • And third, most times projects are “technology hungry”, where relevance of content is let aside

Guiding lines in research:

  • work with communities choosing to integrate ICTs in their lives/works
  • participate, not impose a point of view
  • choose partners building on existing infrastructure, simple solutions

Teemu Laine, University of Joensuu: Contextual Mathematics Through Pervasive M-Learning Technologies for Developing Countries

Plenty of “smart” objects, connected through wireless networks, and with pervasive penetration.

What about: learning facilitated by a (smart) mobile device in a context-aware environment, providing contextualized content depending on your location.

The experience of SciMyst, a pervasive mobile adventure game with multi-player characteristics for supporting social interaction among the players. SciMyst system can be perfectly adapted for education.

MathMyst: ethnomathematics with pervasive m-learning. Should work with usual, cheap end-user mobile phones.

Joseph Kizito Bada, Makerere University/University of Joensuu: The Potential of Web 2.0 for building HIV/AIDS Preventive Knowledge network among students and teachers in Uganda

Strong commitment of the government of Uganda to fight HIV/AIDS. Lots of projects run by several and different institutions to do so by using ICTs to inform and raise awareness: discussion lists, websites, mobile games, etc.

The purpose of the research is to design, develop and evaluate educational web software to fight HIV/AIDS. What are the best practices, what has to be taken into account when designing such software, etc.

The pedagogical methodology followed is constructivism.

The development research approach is twofold: practical and innovative ways of solving real problems, by relying in problem solving; and proposing general design principles to inform future decisions.

Features: social networking, video on real life experiences, preventive educational content with online assessment, open source software.

More info

Joseph Kizito Bada (2006) An Empirical Study on Education Strategy to E-learning in a Developing Country .

Third Annual ICT4D Postgraduate Symposium (2008)

If you need to cite this article in a formal way (i.e. for bibliographical purposes) I dare suggest:

Peña-López, I. (2008) “Third Annual ICT4D Postgraduate Symposium (IX). Thematic session 6: Education, Agriculture” In ICTlogy, #60, September 2008. Barcelona: ICTlogy.
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