ict4dev

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

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.

Social Change - to go, please

Cross-posted at the FrontlineSMS Blog

The recent Technology Salons have been on local and sectoral implementations of mobile technology in development.

Mobile is hardly "new" anymore, but we're seeing increasing tools for peer-to-peer communications and decentralized development. Instead of SMS reporting for mHealth metrics or election observation (both amazingly powerful), we have Ushahidi and a team of volunteers from colleges and Haitian diaspora communities across the world saving lives in Haiti after the earthquake by synthesizing and translating reports from on the ground into actionable, trustable pieces of information.

Instead of training-and-visit agricultural extension work, we have tools like Patatat which are building group email lists through SMS messaging, enabling farmers (or anyone) to collaborate on their work, market prices, crop diseases, and so on - with increasingly little need for anything at the center. And of course there's twitter, which, while still "centralized" as a website, enables un-mediated communication amongst basically anyone in the world with a cell phone and a good text-messaging plan.

infoDev releases Survey of ICT and Education in the Caribbean

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.