Technology, Cost, Outcomes: The Open Source debate does matter in ICT4D

Submitted by Jon on Fri, 05/25/2012 - 07:39

The ICT_Works blog has come out swinging: Linux vs. Microsoft is the most useless debate in ICT4D

As would any sane-minded person after being subjected to a shouting match in Kyrgyzstan. And the core point is absolutely valid - when you're talking about educational outcomes, there is no effective difference:

Educators stressed that teachers already had extensive training on Windows software and would be confused, even lost, in the Linux environment. Students who learned Linux and LibreOffice would be at a disadvantage in the job marketplace as employers would only hire staff that are fluent in Microsoft applications. [...] All of the adults in the conference learned how to use computers back when Windows 98 was in vogue, some even started with Basic, yet no one complains they cannot use an iPhone, iPad, or even MacBook without training.

Mobiles vs. Computers in Education

Submitted by Jon on Thu, 06/11/2009 - 09:15

This is my response to the current EduTech Debate on the role of mobiles Vs. computers in education. Join the conversation and disagree with me!

I'm sure I sound like a broken record by this point; but there are roles for both mobiles and computers (be it 1:1 computing as with the OLPC, or 1-computer classrooms, or simply computer labs). Mobiles have high penetration rates (but how young? elementary school?) but limited capabilities beyond 1:1 or expensive 1:many communication. Computers are much more fragile and require more infrastucture, but have such a wealth of educational software and information (especially if you add in the Internet).

Neither are silver bullets to heal a failing education system, but both could play a role in extending education (call-backs to listen in to class for rural youth unable to attend school regularly?) if implemented with a reasonable and maintainable budget and good integration into the existing education processes.

ICT4Dev Reading List

Submitted by Jon on Thu, 05/28/2009 - 10:54

Here's a hastily-constructed Amazon store of some of the books and essays I've read which provide great insight and contrarian positions to modern development approaches, backed up with hard data, well-written, and sometimes painful reminders of the darker stories of US's history with international development:

infoDev releases Survey of ICT and Education in the Caribbean

Submitted by Jon on Wed, 03/04/2009 - 10:30

The study reveals opportunities for improving ICT skills in the Caribbean among school dropouts and through promoting employer-sponsored professional development to strengthen both the employability of individual youth and the competitiveness of businesses.

Over the course of the past decade, many Small Islands Developing States (SIDS) in the Caribbean have made significant efforts in relation to both ICT skills instruction and more general use of ICT in education. However, these efforts have not yet been rewarded by substantial impact due to regional challenges such as limited ICT capacity of the private sector (where those skills might be used) and the more traditional exam-focused orientation of instruction. At the same time, these efforts have done much to increase student access to ICT at the secondary level, while in the process knowledge, capacity, and experience have been gained by the region’s education personnel, especially among those now responsible for furthering ICT.

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