Using Affordable Technology for Digital Storytelling in Rural Africa
A workshop was developed to educate on HIV and AIDS issues. The workshop was designed as a game, combining storytelling with HCG gaming concepts. The workshop used a platform that was collectively designed on a participatory design basis, and was used with XO-1 laptops.
The course run on 10 sessions in several weeks, with 11-15 y.o. children in Tanzania, and its theme was dreams, figuring out ambitions and interests of children, and figuring out the treats in reaching goals/dreams. Children were asked to come up with strategies to overcome potential life challenges.
Some of the threats were death of parents, keeping the health, not being able to get school fees, bad performance at school, becoming a prostitute, etc.
The workshop consisted in sharing the dream, sharing the challenges, one of them related to HIV and friendship and another one related to choosing a life partner/marriage.
The “HIV” challenge was about how will being infected with HIV affect reaching one’s goals, interaction with their peers (family, friends, etc.), having a life partner/marriage, etc.
More information about the workshop can be found at http://www.cs.joensuu.fi/games/ukombozi/.
The workshop succeeded in enabling students to use the technology in creative and expressive ways. It was good that everything started from the student, and that the whole story came from them, as the conclusions on HIV/AIDS became more legitimate as they came from their peers.
Vanessa Frías-Martinez: can the workshop scale? can other schools implement it? A: The workshop is being modellized (publication forthcoming) and should provide some guidelines on how to reuse it, thought the project the workshop is part of does not plan to repeat it anywhere else.
Ugo Vallauri: did the workshop depend heavily to the technological solution chosen? A: It does not seem that the kids felt they were tied to a specific solution, but used it in a very natural way.
Development, Capabilities and Technology – an Evaluative Framework
What is the development potential of Open Content and Internet Resources? But… what is development? And how can we measure it?
There are several evaluation frameworks that aim at measuring development, but they usually are complex and hard to be put into practice. Besides, many frameworks are more about enabling development rather than development itself: enabling of freedoms, removal of barriers to such freedoms, etc. That is, indeed, the core of Amartya Sen‘s Capability Approach.
Some of the problems of the Capability Approach Framework is that it does not take into account the role of technology, the importance of context, and the difference amongst potential functionings and achieved functionings. Enabling something does not mean that people actually choose to do something.
A proposed framework would link initial intervention with a capability set of potential functionings (intended and unintended) that would open up a choice. This choice would determine actual achieved functionings restricted by some conversion factors (personal, social, environmental). Indeed, Conversion Factors both affect the capability set and the achieved functionings.
The framework is being tested in the Bangladesh Virtual Classroom, where e-learning is provided through mobile phones. And the test has shown that the technological part of the project works perfectly, and that the main problems come from the Conversion Factors.
As concluding remarks, it can be said that the framework can be used for planning and evaluation of projects; it definitely shows the importance of context, and that bottom-up is needed. The problem with the framework is that it is very difficult to capture capabilities and make them part of the scheme.
Christopher Foster: how can the different factors be integrated, how can the individualist approach turn into a collective approach and vice-versa? A: It is not solved: so far, the framework looks very much into the context and some individualities scape at its scope.