Writing

Professional

Calculating the Total Cost of Operation for 1:1 computing projects

I have been privileged to work with Roxanna Bassi on her most recent tool for GeSCI (Global e-School and Communities Initiative, http://www.gesci.org) to create some financial guidance towards Ministry officials considering a 1:1 computing education project, such as the One Laptop Per Child concept.

Roxana is an Information Systems Engineer that has worked in ICT for development for 20 years. She currently advises Ministries of Education on ICT4E issues as ICT Specialist for GeSCI.

GeSCI provides strategic advice to Ministries of Education in developing countries on the effective use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) for education and communities of learning. Adopting a demand driven, collaborative and comprehensive approach, we aim to improve the quality of teaching and learning through the strategic and effective use of ICTs, thereby transforming education, empowering communities and promoting development.

The TCO Manual and Tool

Deploying 1:1 educational models in large scale: a practical budgeting tool based on TCO
This manual complements the TCO worksheet and guides the creation of a TCO estimation based on local costs
Spreadsheet TCO Calculator
Combine with the manual above, this tool outlines budgetary information for 1:1 computing project for education

Academic

A Report Card for OLPC

Co-authored with Alex Kobulsky and Jake Paris, this paper looks critically at the One Laptop Per Child project :

[T]he OLPC project's top-down technology-push model counters locally-driven development solutions that have proven to be more effective. The OLPC project, in an attempt to capitalize from economies of scale, has required national governments to make large quantity orders of laptops rather than smaller orders for specific communities. Instead, local communities and governments should selectively apply some of the previously discussed alternative frameworks such as those utilized by the Global Learning Portal and the UNESCO digital divide project. These methods can be incorporated into a more localized strategy which can also employ specific acquisition, distribution, and usage techniques which will be more beneficial overall to a developing country.

Countries seeking to diffuse the laptops more naturally to communities with diverse needs may utilize micro-financing strategies to balance between egalitarian distribution and demand-driven technology adoption. Networking strategies can allow smaller nations or even communities to band together to take advantage of emerging economies of scale offered by both the OLPC project and its competitors. In addition, these groups will be better served by localized content and problem-solving generated by many teachers and policymakers alike working together within a community-based system like the GLP.

Developing countries are rightly skeptical in purchasing OLPC laptops to facilitate ICT and educational development. The total cost of the laptop, including delivery, set-up, and training, continues to increase, while the price of commercially-developed laptop computers with similar specifications continues to decrease. Additional uncertainties in implementation, networking, and financing, contribute to the risks involved in the OLPC project. Furthermore, the OLPC Foundation.s resistance to pilot projects casts an ominous shadow of doubt on its feasibility as an education project, considering fiscal constraints. The combination of factors that limit the control of both local communities and national governments question the large-scale purchase of OLPC laptops. Many developing countries will be better off waiting to see how the OLPC laptop technologies and costs develop vis-à-vis commercially-developed computers with similar specifications. Governments of developing countries should resist the temptation to adopt the OLPC project in its current state without either the development of proven metrics for success, or modifications to the project enabling demand-driven solutions addressing locally prevalent issues. Ultimately, a combination of both localized supply-push and demand-pull strategies must be implemented for any ICT-based education development plan to produce measurable and sustainable positive results.

Talk, Type and Text: Conversation on the Internet

My thesis for the Plan II Honors Program at the University of Texas. I treated interactive dialogues that appear on-line, in webpages, newsgroups, e-mail and IRC, but the focus of my paper is on IRC, as it is a medium which is incredibly diverse and unique among Internet conversations, and has recieved almost no academic attention whatsoever.

Abstract

Supervising Professor: Dr. Joel Sherzer

On the eve of Y2K, the extent that computers are interwoven with our lives is painfully obvious, yet only relatively recently has the academic eye taken interest in the events going on on-line. Despite this attention, there still remain new frontiers that have not been explored on the Internet. The phenomenon of real-time interaction is the best example of these. Some commentaries have treated the social aspects of MUDs, a special subspecies of real-time interaction, but more pure textual conversations have not been examined closely.

This paper seeks to remedy this. I will, by necesity, place my investigations into the frame of the Internet at large, and discuss
websites, e-mail and newsgroups. I will focus, however, on data from
real-time interactions which use text as their only channel of
communication.

Talk, Type and Text: Conversation on the Internet (PDF)

Action Verbs as Illocutionary Verbs on the Internet

This treats the weird functions of action verbs within an online context from a philosophy of language viewpoint.

Action Verbs as Illocutionary Verbs on the Internet (PDF)

Articles

OLPCNews.com

I write on the One Laptop project, focusing on technology diffusion and implementation issues at OLPCNews.com

JaLUG.org

I've written some content for JaLUG, such as Making the Most of Mozilla and Advanced Ad-Killing