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)

Third Annual ICT4D Postgraduate Symposium (VIII). Thematic session 5: Regulation, Education, Wireless

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

Andrew Mollel, University of Joensuu: The legal and regulatory framework for ICT in developing countries

ICT Regulation at the international level: no distinct international ICT body of laws, but a gathering of different related issues: WIPO, UNCITRAL, ITU, WTO, UNDP, etc.

But the changes that the Information Society brings in, they affect the national regulation of Tanzania, e.g. Tanzania Evidence Act, 1967; documentary evidence, electronic signature…

So, national rules are affected, but there is not such a thing as an international agreement or framework to have a common legal framework.

More info

Andrew L. Mollel & Zakayo N. Lukumay (2007) Electronic Transactions and the Law of Evidence in Tanzania

Temtim Assefa, Clint Rogers, University of Joensuu: Integration of ICT in Education

  • What assumptions do you have?
  • What are the questions you put?
  • What is your point of view?
  • Is there some inherent good/benefit in the ICT?
  • In the context of limited resources (time, money, brainpower), does the enhanced benefit of ______ justify the cost?

Recommendations

  • Implementation should be participatory
  • Solutions should be prioritizided
  • Monitoring a mujst
  • Projects implemented though pilonting
  • Change attitudes that see ICT4D as magic solutions
More info

William Easterly (2006) The White Man’s Burden: Why the West’s Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Ill and So Little Good

David Hollow, University of London: Working collaboratively with private-sector partners in the evaluation of ICT for education initiatives: reflections on challenges encountered in the field

Partnerships to enhance ICT based education for development. The goal of the research is mainly focused at monitoring and evaluating ICT4D projects that the private sector was carrying about in the field of education (e.g. providing content for $100 laptop projects) in partnership, either with other private sector institutions (e.g. nonprofits) or with the government).

Challenges, dilemmas and lessons from working with a partnership: parameters, mindset, time, language, ethics.

Conclusions:

  • Compromise is vital but decide what is non-negotiable
  • Conflict will occur
  • Critical analysis is the foundation

Jinchul Choi, Ajou University: Smart Environments using Wireless Sensor Networks in Developing Countries

Use of ubiquitous sensor networks (USN) combined with RFID technology in developing countries:

  • USN could suit the low-labour cost locations of developing counties
  • Environmental monitoring
  • Natural disasters prevention
  • Landmine clearance
  • Agricultural management
  • Surveillance and tracking at supply chain management

Case studies: bridge health, to test the conservation state of a (big) brigde; blood & anti-cancer drug monitoring system; earthquake and volcano monitoring system; flood warning & water quality monitoring system; u-Health monitoring systems

Third Annual ICT4D Postgraduate Symposium (2008)

Third Annual ICT4D Postgraduate Symposium (VII). Thematic session 4: impact measurement

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

Raimo Haapakorpi, Tumaini University: Directing the IT department at Tumaini University in Tanzania

SWOT methodology to analyse the work of an ICT director in a Tanzanian university.

Some of the strengths/weaknesses are based on cultural issue. Sometimes highest (personal) commitment is not liked to the sufficient knowledge to achieve some specific goals. And while strong opportunities seem to be coming in the horizon because of the deployment of ITs and IT training, loss of key staff and the cost of management are threats to be seriously taken into account.

How to motivate IT professionals… and retain skilled ones in the country, avoiding them to get away to more appealing professional opportunities?

Ismael Peña-López, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya: From e-Readiness to e-Awareness. Design of and evidence from a comprehensive model of the Digital Economy

Henrik Hanson, Peter Mozelius, Florence N Kivunike: An analysis of Best and Worst Practices in Aid Projects

Jan Mosander (2008) Pengarna Som Förnsvann. The money that disappeared, abuse of the Swedish aid (SIDA).

Worst practices:

  • Investment in a local entrepreneur… that will take the production abroad.
  • Engage in the restoration of a building without the local community being aware of it
  • Telecenter with all facilities provided… but no means to maintain it (not even to pay the electricity)

Best practices:

  • Technology adapted to the local needs and possibilities
  • Clear business model, sustainable
  • Find synergies with other local initiatives (e.g. telecentre + healthcare centre)

Shilpa Sayura telecentres in Sri Lanka:

  • Enthusiasm
  • Commitment
  • Local ownership
  • Government support
  • Public-Private partnership

Conclusions

  • Bottom-up approach
  • In depth pre-study
  • Partner commitment
  • Local skilled coordinator
  • Communication strategy
  • Iterative monitoring
  • Openness and flexibility
  • Sustainability

Florence Kivunike, PhD Student, DSV-Stockholm University: ICT Implementation in Rural Communities in Developing Countries: Towards a Quality of Life Perspective

Rural communities in developing countries: majority of the population, poor, isolated and based on farming.

Generic ICT4RD model: to increase the impact in rural communities through ICTs, mainly to alleviate poverty and isolation.

Findings

  • Unintended, innovative use of personal/simpler ICT (mobile)
  • Limited or no use of externally motivated ICT (computers, internet)
  • Attributed to focus on the supply side, not in quality of life improvement

Need to go back to the roots and perfectly define what is quality of life: subjective, multidimensional:

  • Cummins: Subjective Well Being Homeostasis (SWB), quality of life is maintained at a level of stability — Cummins, R.A. (2001). The subjective well-being of people caring for a severely disabled family member at home: A review. Journal of Intellectual and Developmental Disability, 26, 83-100.
  • Amartya Sen: capability approach, development as freedom

Methodology: description — qualitative approach to refine indicators and concepts — quantitative approach to get proper data and perform analysis.

Uduak Okon, Royal Holloway, University of London: Communicative Ecology in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria: Findings from the field study

Participatory Action Research combined with Ethnography.

What is a ‘sustainable community’? Existing and future residents meet their needs, are sensitive to the environment and contribute to high quality of life… a ‘western’ definition difficult to apply in developing countries.

Methodology: redefining ‘community’ and ‘sustainability'; understanding the communicative ecology; engaging communities in critical dialogue.

‘New’ definition of sustainability: equal opportunities, standards of living…

‘New’ definition of community: geography, language, culture, social norms and values, collective responsibility, shared leadership…

Communicative ecologies (Tacchi and Slater): the complete range of communication media and information flows in a community.

Postma Louise, North West University: Analysis of a Higher Education Virtual Learning Community in South Africa for the Emancipation of Faculty

How to empower faculty in a changing environment, where integration is needed?

The objective of the analysis will be how integration and debate can take place in virtual environments, heavily relying in Habermas in the sense that communication can be improved by avoiding distortions.

Textual and contextual analysis, to see how discourse is constructed — and distorted.

Third Annual ICT4D Postgraduate Symposium (2008)

Third Annual ICT4D Postgraduate Symposium (VI). Seugnet Blignaut: ICT development in South Africa, a comparison between Finland and South Africa using SITES 2006 project data

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

Keynote speech
Seugnet Blignaut: ICT development in South Africa, a comparison between Finland and South Africa using SITES 2006 project data

Sometimes education (specially syllabuses designed in the “North” for the “South”) do not takes into account everyday skills, skills and literacy used during daily tasks: reading, writing, numeracy skills, social skills, information literacy, communication, Internet browsing, etc.

So we have to design — as South Africa is doing right now — an e-Education Policy that aims at the achievement of such ICT or digital skills for everyday life. And a priority of this policy is equity: poverty and equal opportunities is a must.

SITES

SITES, fostered by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA), studies measure the evident of impact of ICTs in education, based on a comparative international quantitative studies.

  • How ICT affects learning and tgeaching in schools
  • Is there any indication taht education policies make any impact on pedagogy

Main problems found in Module 1:

  • Computers not connected to the Interent
  • Lack of peripherals (e.g. printers)
  • Licensed copies of software
  • Teachers’ inadequate ICT knowledge and skills

Module 2 was more based on a constructivist approach, which means the design of surveys and activities followed this pedagogical model too.

Findings
  • Major concern in preparing students to use the Internet “responsibly”
  • Out of five, most countries score around 3.3 in ICT vision, connectedness,…
  • Almost 100% of kids in the sampled schools had access to both a computer and the Internet
  • But the student/computer ration varies within a wide range depending on country and even inside each country
  • A majority of teachers believe they need more computers and, actually, more technology in general, as e.g. smartboards

There is content, there is technology… but it does not reach the non-initiated (non-geek) teacher. So more effort should be put not in creating more content or installing more infrastructures, but on making the existing ones more findable, known, accessible, etc.

ICTs in Education is still an add on at two levels. First, it has to be integrated in curricula. Second, it has to be integrated in the teachers’ mindset by, among other things, providing them with digital literacy too.

Third Annual ICT4D Postgraduate Symposium (2008)

Third Annual ICT4D Postgraduate Symposium (V). Erkki Sutinen: Innovations workshop

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

Workshop
Erkki Sutinen: Innovation

Two ways/branches to engage in ICT4D:

  • Departure point: existing technologies. Check the developing context where to put the existing technologies so that something new arises
  • Identify a developing context. Develop a new technology appropriate for that developing context.

Other infos

Third Annual ICT4D Postgraduate Symposium (2008)

Third Annual ICT4D Postgraduate Symposium (IV). Thematic session 3: sustainability and performance

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

Pieter Joubert, University of Pretoria: Socio-Technical Assumptions and Sustainability in ICT4D

High rate of failure or information systems in developing countries (Heeks, 2002). Due to several reasons: skills, infrastructure management, etc. What makes a project sustainable?

Several projects in South Africa were evaluated to find major trends. Methodology: semi-structured interviews, document analysis, direct observation. Some findings:

  • Assumed the technology would work
  • Assumed only technical skills were required
  • Reported to have patience with digitally illiterate users
  • Assumed there would be technical support

Level of technical maturity model:

  • assumed
  • recognised: recognition of importance of technical skills
  • dedicated: dedication of resources to technical skills
  • integrated: integration of technical skills into the social base
P. Clint Rogers
P. Clint Rogers, chair of the session

Tuija Tiihonen, HIS-unit, University of Kuopio: Socio-technical IS context in Organizations – How to Figure it?

To map Information Systems context, to see why do failures (and their stronger effect) in implementation happen, cultural environment and work habits, map user needs, see how IS perform at the different levels of the organization…

For IS professionals, for IS education, to classify and divide different categories and systems…

Levels of context: individual, group / activity, organizational, societal.

Marcus Duveskog, University of Joensuu: Development of Digital HIV/AIDS Learning material based on Tanzanian students real life stories

Goal: develop a platform for HIV/AIDS counselling and information.

Flash chosen as main platform: portable, online, powerful in graphics and animation. Major problem with flash is that is no free software, so to develop something you need the licensed software [my comment: and, besides, flash is a non-accessible black box (though there have been recent improvements in this field)].

HIV/AIDS materials based on students real stories that get involved in the project, so they generate relevant material and develop a sense of ownership.

Next challenges: how to go mobile? how to make it simple for students to share their stories online? how to make material more interactive?

Kari Valkama, Helsinki University: Sustainable development on language tools / Usability of language tools

Technological challenges for development: complexity.

Language tools is software for documenting and developing languages.

Usable Language Tools based on trust: protecting the user’s data, easy to use, consistent, following the user’s mental model

Jef Raskin’s adaption of Isaac Asimov’s robotic laws applied to software:

  • A computer shall not harm your work or, through inaction, allow your work to come to harm
  • A computer shall not waste your time or require you to do more work than is strictly necessary

Third Annual ICT4D Postgraduate Symposium (2008)