ICTs for Development

April 20, 2009

Hacking Democracy: The Problems with Electronic Voting

Filed under: Uncategorized — nerdelt @ 2:53 pm

Since we were talking about not-trusting E-governments, I thought this documentary might interest the class. I posted a link to the synopsis. 

http://www.hbo.com/docs/programs/hackingdemocracy/synopsis.html

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April 16, 2009

African Women using ICTs on the rise

Filed under: Uncategorized — mgarafola @ 5:45 pm

I found an article today reporting that the number of women in Africa using ICTs is on the rise. We have talked a bit in our class discussions about the sense of empowerment women can feel by using these technologies, and I think this marks another positive step in the right direction. The study conducted found that women are using non-computer ICTs, like mobile phones and community radio. While there is still a large gap in between male and female access to ICTs, I am glad to see progress. I hope that through the right programs, more women are able to take advantage of these technologies. You can read more about the study here.

What do you all think? What is the best way to go about reaching women in developing countries, and encouraging ICT use?

April 9, 2009

“The Future of Learning Manifesto” by Christian Long

Filed under: Uncategorized — rafael lazarini @ 2:08 am

Check this provoking manifesto out. It is a very interesting approach to the future (or is it already a reality?) of learning/teaching. It is not meant to be a coherent and/or final set of answers. Just questions. ..

1.  “Playing Small  Does Not Serve the World.”– Your Brain is Your Brand.

Marianne Williamson wasn’t being cheap with words [when she said that].  Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.  Or that we’re simply being measured by small dreams. 

You’ve got one choice.  Play big or stay home.  Serve the world or be forgotten. 

Ultimately, you’ve got your heart and your brain.  Both can serve. One will do so when nobody is watching.  The other is your brain.  It needs attention.  Give it fuel.  Make it stand out.  Be the brand that makes a difference.

2.  What Would Socrates Do?

If Socrates could Google, what questions would he have asked?

Am I being rhetorical?

Does it matter?

Ask Jeeves.

3.  Nobody Cares if You Walked Up Hill Both Ways Barefoot in the Snow and Could Diagram a Sentence.

I get it.

You were a noble student of the highest caliber ‘back in the day’ before text messaging and cell phones and this wacky Internet business.  You were a fine speller, you kept your notebook neatly on your desk, and you always answered something “above average” with your hand politely raised in the air.  You memorized the multiplication tables all the way to 12, you studied Latin (and its sus scrofa domesticus-Latin brother), and you believed Sputnik was the cat’s meow.  You had neat penmanship, you knew all the dates of all the battles and all the dead people, and you kept a glorious stash of index cards with obscure library resources neatly bound by a rubber band. 

And if you’re dead set on helping me master ‘your past’, please realize I’m going to need a nap.  And something to fidget with.  And a bus token to get to my job down at the buggy whip factory where I’ll be standing at the front of the line. 

Or, you can help me prepare for my future. Your choice.

4.  Got Passion?  If Not, I’ll Tell You What To Care About.

I have a right to [complain] about this class only if I have a dream I can articulate and am willing to put my life on the line for it. Otherwise, I might as well color between the lines, sit up straight, and take great notes.

And get out to recess on time.

Keep in mind, I may be young so I may have a hard time with that “r-tickle-a-shun” thing.  That’s your job.  Give me the words.  Give me the tools.  Give me the examples.  And then get out of my way. 

But the second you see my passion start to go from curious lit match to smoke-jumper forest fire,  stop giving me handouts and worksheets and become my Jerry McGuire.

5.  My Memory Is Only As Big As My Heart.  Otherwise, I’ll Stick with Google.

I could memorize your facts, but I got Google for that. 

Yeah, completely outsourced my entire “traditional fact memorization” protocol to this  upstart  search engine.   Yeah, like a library, ‘cept that there ain’t no dust and much, much bigger.  Yeah, it’s not perfect, but I’m not going on Jeopardy, either.  Yeah, there isn’t a librarian holding my hand, but then again I need answers now. Not after a lecture on the Dewey Decimal thinga-ma-bob.

Sure, I’ll do that memorize thing for you.  Just one catch.  Tell me a story.

Seriously.  Put away the chalk.  Get out from behind the podium. Look me in the eyes.  Reach deep into my gut.  Massage my heart.   Get the hairs on the back of my neck to stand up.  Get me to tell the flavor of clouds.  Tell me to close my eyes and go somewhere bold.

I’ll remember anything you tell me.  Swear it.

6.  Look it Up or Die.

It’s old skool but sometimes remind me to look it up.  Or die.

But don’t stop there.  Don’t pat yourself on the back quite yet.  I may be pretty quick on the Google or the Wikipedia, but I have no idea how to make sense of what I’m finding.  That’s your job. 

Back in the day, if it was in a book, you taught me how to write down some copyright details on a note card.  But things got funny on the way to the Internet forum.  Facts don’t just come in books anymore, and I need more than copyright details to help me make sense.

Are you teaching me to think?  Or just to take notes?

And one day when you’re nowhere to be found and I got a kid with a fever and he’s vomiting and its 3am and I got 15 minutes to figure this crazy thing out, I got Google.  And I need to know NOW what will keep my kid alive and what will instead send us over the edge.

Can you do that?  ‘Cause that’s one part of my future and I won’t have time for index cards.

7.  Collaboration Ain’t About Holding Hands.  It’s about Going Cool Places Fast.

How big is my classroom?  4 walls or the horizon line?

I need friends.  And fast. 

Don’t get sucka-punched by all the ‘flat’ earth hype.  You’reexcited because someone in a foreign country leaves a comment on your blog.  Really?  Really?  Seriously?  Sure, it’s sexy to suddenly be in cahoots with someone in Tokyo and Texas at one time, but I was born in that world 2.0 so I’m kinda used to it.  Yeah, I get that you were born before things got interesting, but your digital immigrant accent is making it hard for me to understand you, and harder for me to remain relevant.

And I’m kind of selfish when it comes to my future vs. your past. 

So, please stop making this so Friedman-esque and suggesting I need more math so my job isn’t outsourced to Calcutta one day.  And I ain’t got time for your geek blog-penpal moment, either.

What I need is a network.  And yesterday-fast. 

Are you helping me get networked?  Are you helping me become one talented hombre when it comes to partnerships and brainstorming with a team and finding talent when I need it and learning how to step up big as a leader and then slide seamlessly into the role of teammate and be the go-to guy on 20 projects at one time?   Are you helping me build and position my brand?  Are you helping me be relevant?  At all?

Are you making sure I’m going cool places?  And fast?

8.  This Will Go Down on Your Permanent Record.

You used to worry about the manilla folder.  Then things really got interesting.

Today you worry about filters and predators and firewalls and the MySpace boogeymen. 

Okay, I want to be safe. And I appreciate you wanting me to be safe. I just don’t want to live in a locked box in the process.

So, maybe it’s time we had a sit-down and talked about the ‘how-to’ strategy for social networking.  What?  Oh, I mean blogging.  What? Yeah, like a diary. Sort of.

Instead of shutting off every virtual connection I have with the world once I step onto campus, why don’t you teach me how to ‘blog smart’?  Why don’t you bring in some CEO’s into the classroom to talk about the really ‘great’ kid they almost hired, until they Googled her and found those clever spring break shots from Padre Island?  Why don’t you get a MySpace account and come see what I’m writing, even if it p***es me off at the moment?  Why don’t you make me agile, rather than weak?

Oh, and why are you asking my teachers to deliver a world class education for the 21st century knowledge economy but you’ve censored every virtual tool they have at their disposal?  Frankly, I’m not sure why they give a damn.  I wouldn’t if I were them. 

But then I’d be blogging my brains out at home after I punched out at the end of the school day. And then become a consultant and get 10x the pay from the same superintendent who hired me to come in and do a professional development day when “blogging” was trendy for 5 minutes.

9.  It Ain’t About the Technology.  It’s About the Story.

  • Laptops?  (Yawn)
  • Blogging? (Yawn)
  • PowerPoint? (Snore)
  • Multi-Media Center with a Starbucks ‘coffee house’ espresso shot in the backside? (Daring?  21st century school?  Yawn.)

How about we stop talking all giddy-like about the technology.  For us, it’s not about the box.  Not even about the iPod in pink or black. And it’s definitely not about the email (psst:  we don’t email ‘cept when old people need help).

It’s about the conversation.   The ricochet of words.  The energy. The fact that its happening right here right now and it ain’t coming back.

You tell me to turn off the game.  Because you’re staring at the box.  I can’t turn off the game.  Because the game ain’t in the box.

So, stop making technology such a big deal.  You want laptops. I got a cell phone.  And you still don’t get it.

’cause no matter what you spend your money and professional development time on, for us it’s about being inside the game, inside the story, in real-time

Everything else is over-priced and ready for recycling.

10.  Nobody Knows the Answer.  Get Comfy with the Questions.

If you’re so smart, why are you asking me to give you the answers?

More importantly, are you teaching me how to ask great questions? 

How to be Socrates?  And the guys who actually code Google by asking the questions nobody else dreamed of?

I can tell you an answer.  But my future isn’t going to care for what I memorized.  It’s only going to care if I can adapt.

Are you ready to help me?

And can I trust you to help me get there?

The manifesto was originally published by Hugh McLeod’s “gapingvoid” blog (a top-100 blog in the world, with a specific focus on marketing and design).

April 6, 2009

Cell Phone Charges

Filed under: Uncategorized — kehogue @ 12:01 pm

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/06/technology/06cell.html?ref=technology

This New York Times article discusses how cell phone companies can charge for media that is otherwise free, such as finding it on your computer.  While I do not see a problem with this in developed countries, I do think it is problematic for people in developing countries.  Cell phone distribution is supposed to help development, but a poor farmer for example would not want to spend tons of money to hear the weather report when it is free to find it on a computer.  However, these people might have to spend the money if the closest computer is far away.  Therefore, is cell phone distribution really helpful for development if the cell phone companies continue to charge for media for a profit?

March 19, 2009

The future is now…

Filed under: Uncategorized — rafael lazarini @ 2:56 pm

Take a look at what people from MIT’s Midia Lab are working on…

http://video.computerworld.com/services/link/bcpid1351827287/bctid14706015001

It’s awesome!

March 11, 2009

Good news from Brazil

Filed under: Uncategorized — rafael lazarini @ 3:06 pm

Portability

  

 

mobile_market

Since last Monday, 03/02, all users from landline and mobile telephones got the benefit of number portability. The last phase of the gradual implementation process was concluded with the inclusion of 37.827.320 users (19,60%) from the state of São Paulo.

According with the ABR, the governmental agency that supervises the portability implementation process, from September 1, 2008 until last Monday, March 2, 623.940 users requested the service. From this total, approximately 35% are users of landlines and 65% of mobile phones.

The last numbers disclosed by ANATEL, the Brazilian Telecommunications Agency, indicate that Brazil has 150.641.403 mobile and 41.051.372 landline telephone users. The expectations are that portability will increase considerably the competition among mobile carriers in a market already highly competitive. 

ICT Training

Luis “Lula” da Silva, Brazil’s president, signed last Wednesday a law that allows ICT companies to deduct a percentage of their expenses with employees’ training from the total of taxes due. It is expected to be a great incentive for companies to invest in programs attempted to promote practical training and complimentary technical education in the field of Information and Communication Technologies, what can be considered an important movement towars the raise of ICT standards in the country.

 

February 25, 2009

Right here, right now

Filed under: Uncategorized — rafael lazarini @ 6:00 pm

I was thinking about the existent gap between the two different approaches to technology and development: “passive diffusion” and “active innovation”. The passive diffusion perspective supports that the combination of private companies’ search for profit and poor’s search for value will produce ICT development without outside intervention. The active innovation, on the other hand, supports that intervention in form of innovation is required, since the market will not efficiently deliver ICT to the poor.                                                                                                                                            

There are already a lot of work to be done, RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW… instead of waiting for new policies, investments, and infra-structure, it’s possible to combine creative solutions to accelerate the passive diffusion with the study and development of innovative projects. I can’t see these two approaches as divergent, but as convergent and complimentary issues.

The matter is not only how to raise the standards of ICT in developing countries, but how to use available ICTs to raise the standards of human development in those countries. For instance, how to converge pervasive platforms such as mobile (SMS), social (Orkut), and broadcast tv networks, to deliver relevant content to Brazilian low-income users? The technology is already there, certainly not in the same standards of developed countries, but it is there. Is it necessary waiting until broadband connections covered the whole country? Or governmental policies force wireless networks to lower their fees? Probably not…instead of high end infra-structure, creativity, relevance, and timing can be the key for ICT  projects in developing countries…

This is the core idea of my research project and I’d love to hear your comments!

Also I’d like to share with you this MIND BLOWING video. Check it out!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jpEnFwiqdx8

February 18, 2009

Global Economic Crisis and ICTs

Filed under: Uncategorized — mgarafola @ 2:49 pm

Hamadoun Toure

I think we can all agree that the current economic crisis has had its effects on several different industries. However, how does it effect ICTs? Many would think that investments in these technologies may decrease, but Hamadoun Touré, Secretary-General of the UN International Telecommunication Union, sees reasons to be optimistic. Citing the need for innovation to get out of economic hardship, Touré stressed, “having contributed consistently as a high-growth sector in its own right, ICTs can now power economic recovery across all sectors.”

Find out more in the article, located here.

Virtual Volunteering

Filed under: Uncategorized — nerdelt @ 2:32 pm

http://www.slate.com/id/2211412/

 

Here is a kind of silly yet intersting article I found on Slate. I’ve never heard of “Virtual Volunteering” before, but I think its an interesting way to use technology to help others. This article also provides great links and resources so you can learn more about virtual volunteering. Enjoy!

The Story of Stuff

Filed under: Uncategorized — nerdelt @ 2:22 pm

http://www.storyofstuff.com/

 

Here, as promised, is “The Story of Stuff” website. Please take 20 minutes to watch the animation, it’s really fun to watch and very insightful. 

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