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 Saturday, 27 February 2010

The partnership between the Ministry of Education and Fundación Omar Dengo in Costa Rica is seen by many as a model for introducing, implementing and evaluating technology use in education. The Omar Dengo Foundation (ODF) is a private non-profit organization that has been managing and carrying out national and regional projects in the fields of human development, educational innovation and new technologies since 1987. Its different projects have benefitted more than 1.5 million Costa Ricans, including children and young people, students, educators, professionals, people from the community, and senior citizens, contributing to renovation of the national educational processes by introducing and taking advantage of digital technologies. A few programs of  ODF are highlighted below. 
  Through, the unit responsible for creating proposals for programming and the products and services offered, the organization has gained expertise in ‘education informatics’, ‘cognition, programming and learning’, ‘digital government’, ‘robotics and learning’, ‘entrepreneurship and digital productivity’.
  “Labor@: Centers for entrepreneurial practice” teaches the high school students, office productivity software, logical reasoning and effective use of ICTs in business - by providing a simulation of working in a firm, a part from, business management and entrepreneurial skills.
  “Explor@: Using digital technologies to foster youth talents” is collaboration of government with Walmart and Microsoft aimed to target 20,000 youth inspiring them to use ICTs for innovation. The project organizes workshops for electronic game design, digital newspaper editing, web-designing, disaster prevention, data processing packages and software.
  The magazine is a digital newspaper distributed twice each year over the Internet, prepared by students in grades 7, 8, and 9 who participate in the Digital Journalism Club.
  CADE program is an educational program designed to promote active citizenship. The program seeks to strengthen and develop deliberative capabilities in children and adolescents using digital technologies as didactical resources.
  Robotica is an Educational Robotics Program providing a digital environment relying on digital technologies and inspiring innovation, creativity, thought, analysis, design and troubleshooting. The program also includes training for teachers and a discussion blog. The official website states the motive as:
  “The purpose is to use the work done on projects to create a scientific-technological culture where the students prepare significant programming products, build prototypes related to industrial or technological process simulation, or recreate sites and events linked to their socio-cultural setting.”
  New Millennium is a digital magazine for students published on the Internet in two annual editions. This project seeks for Costa Rican students to be creative and active Internet users, using this medium to express themselves and share what they have learned with boys and girls from around the world. In addition, it is an attempt for students to be able to appropriate the technology, i.e, know how to use it and build significant products.
  Edunov@ explores the use of mobile technology in education.
  Reviews of Omar Dengo Foundation’s project can be seen here, here and here.

Saturday, 27 February 2010 22:52:43 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, 17 February 2010

In March 2010, the Commission on the Status of Women will undertake a fifteen-year review of the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the outcomes of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly.   Emphasis will be placed on the sharing of experiences and good practices, with a view to overcoming remaining obstacles and new challenges, including those related to the Millennium Development Goals.  Member States, representatives of non-governmental organizations and of UN entities will participate in the session.  A series of parallel events will provide additional opportunities for information exchange and networking.

More information:


Source: WomenWatch


Wednesday, 17 February 2010 17:06:03 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, 11 February 2010

The USAID supported a pilot project known as the STEP program in three provinces in Madagascar: Toliara, Finarantsoa, and Tamatave for 2006 to 2008. STEP works with the Ministry of Education National and Scientific Research (MENRS) to build the capacity of its personnel to offer high-quality training and support to Madagascar’s growing numbers of teachers and schools. MEN is expanding the program nationally with technical assistance from EDC. The project involves the nationwide broadcasting of radio programs intended to invigorate teaching and learning in Madagascar.

Activities focus on four distinct but linked domains: (1) strengthening in-service teacher training, (2) increasing community support to local primary schools, (3) strengthening local planning for teacher professional development, and (4) supporting the introduction of English as a Second Language in primary schools.

STEP allows MENRS, USAID, and other partner NGOs to test and evaluate technology-based education support mechanisms that could add value on a nationwide scale as a means of maintaining educational quality and promoting a well-informed democracy.

The program used context-appropriate technology-interactive radio instruction, community radio programs, and digital applications as both the catalyst for action and the mechanism to build the capacity of MENRS personnel at central and decentralized levels.


Thursday, 11 February 2010 17:58:47 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Kenya’s private and public sectors have teamed with a thriving non-profit organization to provide secondary schools with refurbished computers and ICT training.

The Project
Computers for Schools Kenya (CFSK) collects, refurbishes and redistributes used computers to Kenyan secondary schools. A Kenyan adaptation of a Canadian government program, Computers for Schools Canada (CFS), CFSK differs from traditional computer recycling programs in two important aspects. First, the computers are refurbished by students who in the process acquire technical training. Second, as much as possible the computers are not imported from abroad but are donated by the local business community.

The Development Goals
Working closely with Kenya’s private sector and the Kenya Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, CFSK aims to give more students access to computer technology and to cultivate the skills that young people need to succeed in a knowledge-based society. CFSK is also helping teachers, school principals, volunteers and other stakeholders acquire computer training. It is prolonging computer lifespans by applying “thin client” technology, which minimizes the need for up-to-date desktop computers by having servers handle most processing. And it is beginning to introduce wireless Internet access into Kenya’s schools.

The Impact
CFSK has distributed computers to various public institutions across Kenya, including rural or disadvantaged secondary schools, homes for street children, community resource centers and educational institutions for students with special needs. Through its computer distribution program, not only is CFSK empowering Kenyan youth in an increasingly information-based society, but it is also equipping its young people with invaluable employment skills that will facilitate their future job prospects.

Through the CFSK program, disadvantaged Kenyan youth are discovering their inner talents and capabilities in addition to becoming aware of a world of opportunities available to them in the ICT sector. They are driven and motivated to maximise their potential and to aspire to goals and ambitions that are loftier than what they previously believed themselves capable of.

Computers for Schools Kenya video:
Part I
Part II

Source: IDRC1 Website , IDRC2 Website , The back of the moon Website
Wednesday, 10 February 2010 13:46:23 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, 09 February 2010

The Portuguese government is providing educational PCs to school children receiving basic education -- equivalent to elementary school -- in a memorandum of understanding with Intel Corporation. The Magellan Initiative, a program under Portugal’s education technology plan, targeted to deliver a half million computers based on the Intel-powered classmate PC to Portuguese children in the year 2009. The Magellan Initiative complements Portugal’s successful year-old e-School project, which provides educational notebooks and Internet access to teachers and students for the secondary level of school education.

The full-featured student laptop is specially developed by Intel for education. Regarded as the ‘rugged little laptops’ Intel’s Classmate PC comes in various versions in various developing countries, with educational softwares and high-speed internet connectivity options, designed especially for school children. The laptop is distributed in more than 50 countries. In addition to the Classmate PCs, Intel will serve as Portugal's technology adviser for the Magellan Initiative and currently plans to create a “Competence Centre” in Portugal to expand the use of mobile PCs and Internet access and use that knowledge to replicate pilot projects in other countries. Recently, Venezuelan government has also signed an agreement with Portugal that will bring 1 million low-cost Magellan notebooks to the South American country.

Link for Video about Magellan initiative in Portugal

Sources: Intel news release, Technology blog

Tuesday, 09 February 2010 19:28:03 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

In many parts of the developing world it is too expensive to lay the fibers and copper cable to deliver a standard internet connection. Wireless technologies also do not reach many remote places. Under ‘United Villages’ initiative, founded by Amir Alexander Hasson, vehicles equipped with Wi-Fi are being used to deliver web content to remote rural villages in the developing world. In rural India and parts of Cambodia, Rwanda, Costa Rica, Paraguay, the vehicles offer web content to computers with no internet connection.

The buses and a fleet of motorcycles update their pages in cities before visiting the hard-to-reach communities. The offline search system works in a very simplistic way: users search through a standard non-real time browser. Motorcycle drives by and collects all the searches and takes them to the internet connection which sends them to ‘United Villages’ server. The server conducts search, takes out information from top results and links, edits unnecessary ads and send the compressed information back to the users.

In Cambodia, this approach is serving many rural villages. The Internet Village Motoman was launched for 15 solar-powered village schools, telemedicine clinics, and the governor’s office in Ratanakiri, a remote province of Cambodia, using five Honda motorcycles equipped with mobile access points and a satellite uplink. The network was implemented for American Assistance for Cambodia, which is funded by the World Bank and Asian Development Bank, and operates over 200 rural schools. They had computers and solar panels in all these schools, and teachers teaching English on computers, but no Internet. The teachers learned how to do e-mail, and then they taught the students, and then that got shared with the rest of the village. Telemedicine clinics held by Operation Village Health, give patients access to physicians in Boston, Massachusetts. The patients’ information including digital photographs is transferred to physicians in Boston via satellite. So, those communities are able to do e-mails, offline Web searches and tele-medicine through this novel approach.

Link for some more information about this project.

Link for interview of Amir Alexander Hasson with Gartner


Sources: BBC news, press release American Assistance Cambodia, Internet Village Motoman network


Tuesday, 09 February 2010 10:36:15 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, 08 February 2010

Plan Ceibal, the education reform initiative that is aiming (most famously) to provide one laptop for every student and teacher in Uruguay. The initial goal was primary education and now its being extended to include the secondary education level. The presentation given by Brechner at IDB’s sponsored event describes the pillars of Plan Ceibal as Equity, Learning and Technology (video of presentation available here). The plan targets to provide one laptop per student and per teacher at all public schools, but is not essentially limited to laptops, rather it extends to development of contents and tools for improving education. The plan also includes efforts for provision of wireless internet at school and public places.

Summarizing the results of partnership with the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) initiative, Bechner stated that, when it came to individual access to personal computing for all students in Uruguay, "What was a privilege in 2006 is a right in 2009". The Uruguayan example, Brechner continued, shows that it is indeed possible to provide a laptop (for free) to every student, and how this can be done. In the case of Uruguay, "costs are manageable", he said, and "impacts are immediate". Uruguay's interest in serving as a global model for educational transformation enabled in large part by 1-to-1 computing for students is laudable. The presentation provides financial data to substantiate all the above claims.

The official portal of Plan Ceibal provides various
news of the subsidiary projects and initiatives of the Plan. The most striking feature of connectivity through laptops is their ability to connect rural and remote areas to the rest of the world, Plan Ceibal is doing the same. The Plan Ceibal Blog covers the latest news and updates on the project. The blog covered the impacts of OLPC on learning of children in schools and lives of children with disabilities through short anecdotes. A book on the Plan titled “Ceibal in the society of 21st century” was also published in collaboration with UNESCO giving a detailed account of the project and its evaluations.

See the detailed and complete analysis at Trucano’s

More information about Plan Ceibal and OLPC in Uruguay:

Monday, 08 February 2010 21:36:32 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Cisco is partnering with the government of Portugal under Technological Plan for Education, which aims to bring information and communication technology (ICT) literacy to students and promote the use of new technologies in the educational system. Cisco® technologies will be used to provide high-density local-area network and wireless access in every classroom in every secondary school in Portugal.

Cisco would be working in cooperation with Portugal Telecom, the prime contractor of the 'Internet in the Classroom' project, to equip 1,220 schools with 215,000 Ethernet ports and 15,000 wireless access points. The Portuguese Ministry of Education launched the Internet in the Classroom project as a foundation for the Portuguese government's Technological Plan to bring high-speed fibre broadband access to every school and put fixed and wireless networks in the classrooms to connect all students and staff. The Technological Plan for Education will also see a number of secondary schools establish Cisco Networking Academy® programs to teach key ICT skills to a diverse student population. Five academies are being set up with further plans to increase the number to 200.

With Technological plan for Education, Portugal is on its way to completely digitize the education system with several ICT- related activities. Provision of ICT skills to teachers, computers for schools and laptops for students are among key initiatives of this project.

Source: Cisco press release, Ministry of Education Portugal resources

Monday, 08 February 2010 21:07:44 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The ICT Village is an attempt at developing an integrated model on ICTs for sustainable development and poverty eradication involving a host of international organizations such as the FAO, IFA, ITU, UNDP, UNESCO, UNDESA, and the World Bank. The model considers the use of ICTs in producing clean energy and safe water.
The first ICT Village in Madagascar was in Sambaina. After two high-level missions in November 2005 and June 2006 were carried out, a digital classroom that will serve more than 600 students of the community was inaugurated. In order to accelerate the digital alphabetization of the community and create new jobs, a new community area has been made accessible to all and a refurbished health presidium has been equipped for pregnant women and newborn children.

Partners on this project include the UN Public-Private Alliance for Rural Development (UNPPA) and representatives from all stakeholders: universities (University of Oklahoma, Politecnico di Milano, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore), companies (Microsoft, Siemens, Telespazio, Pianeta, Water B2B, etc.), civil society (above all the community of Sambaina, which has been fully involved in the whole process), and the Government of Madagascar.

The next steps for the center are to gain connectivity by acquiring the broadband satellite signal that can be received and distributed bi-directionally, a Wi-Fi system for the whole territory, and teleconference equipment. As well, there are plans for a train-the-trainer program, to offer broadband services, and to act as an incubator and hub for economic activities.

Further Information:
ICT Village Project in Madagascar
ICT Village Model

Source: ICT Village

Monday, 08 February 2010 16:19:09 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Sunday, 07 February 2010


Australia's primary school students are now being equipped with the skills needed for the digital age. School students are now being switched on to some of the most up-to-date technology available, from laptop computers for students in years 9-12 to interactive whiteboards, video-conferencing equipment and even virtual classrooms.

The West Australian Education Department recently trialled a program that allowed students and teachers to download free information and resources through iTunes U - an area of the iTunes store offering free education content from top institutions around the world.

students using interactive whiteboard in a school in NSWSchools throughout Australia will be using the technology of interactive whiteboards, which have the capabilities of connecting immediately to the internet so students and teachers can access information immediately. By connecting the whiteboards to a laptop computer and projector, teachers can also convert freehand writing on the whiteboard into text, and then print it for students.

The Victorian education department is now trialing virtual classrooms - a computer accessible, online learning environment intended to fulfill many of the learning facilitation roles of a physical classroom. The Queensland Education Department has a similar concept in the Learning Place - a comprehensive online eLearning environment available to all staff and students with anywhere, anytime access through a dedicated portal.

Source: Sydney morning herald


Sunday, 07 February 2010 17:03:21 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Text-to-speech (TTS) is an application that converts text on a webpage to synthesized speech so that people unable to read the text owing to their visual impairment could understand the web content with their hearing ability. Over the years, the Malaysian Association for the Blind (MAB) has been working very hard to provide training in this aspect for blind people.

According to MAB's ICT manager Encik Silatul Rahim bin Dahman: developed countries have made it compulsory through legislation for web content operators to conform to a set of design guidelines called the Web Content Accessibility Guideline (WCAG) in order to facilitate the "reading" of their content with the help of TTS technology. For instance, every image on the web page must be tagged with an alternative text so that visually challenged web users could "listen" to the text read out to them by the speech synthesizer. Otherwise, what they might hear could just be jumbled up vocals that do not make sense to them. He pointed out that TTS is not only applicable to personal computers; it could also be applied to mobile phones.

Rahim was the first blind Malaysian to have received TTS training in the United States. He helped set up a training centre in Penang upon his return to the country in 1993, while the centre at Brickfields began its operation in 2005. Another training centre was recently set up in Kuching, Sarawak this July. "I may be 100% blind but the internet has taken away 50% of my disability," says Rahim.

Normally it takes a learner about five days to pick up the fundamental skills of surfing the net with TTS. There are some 30 computers at the centre open for visually handicapped individuals to use. There are currently 20,500 blind people registered with the Social Welfare Department, of whom some 2,000 people or about 10% have received TTS training from the MAB. Other than providing training courses for local blind people, MAB also offers courses for people from other regional countries such as Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar and Indonesia. In addition to IT training, MAB also provides a broad range of other services to help the blind people, including rehabilitation, recreational facilities, pre-school programmes, vocational training (woodwork, massage, reflexology, computer programming, etc.) as well as disaster relief.

Sources: MySinchew, The nut graph (image courtesy to nut graph)

Sunday, 07 February 2010 16:42:37 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The aim of the Digital Education Revolution (DER) is to contribute sustainable and meaningful change to teaching and learning in Australian schools that will prepare students for further education, training and to live and work in a digital world.  Through the DER, the Government is providing $2.2 billion over six years to completely revolutionalise the education system. $100 million is exclusively available for the further development of affordable, fast broadband for schools. Also the funds of up to $11.25 million of the total ($22.5 million) provided under the state and territory element of the Australian Government Quality Teacher Program (AGQTP) in 2009 were planned be directed to ICT-related school-based professional development for teachers.

Under DER in NSW, the New South Wales province in Australia is on a quest to outfit every Year 9 to 12 students with a customized Lenovo net book by 2012. It is expected that over 200,000 computers will be distributed to students and teachers. NSW Minister for Education and Training, Verity Firth says:“In a world first, Microsoft’s Windows 7 has been installed on every laptop which is  also equipped with $5,500 of the latest Microsoft and Adobe software and is wirelessly enabled to allow students to access the internet from anywhere within the school. NSW will also employ an additional 400 IT support officers to provide on-site assistance to students and teachers, providing more jobs in the current tough economic climate. The NSW Government has also invested $16 million over four years to provide secondary high school teachers with the same laptops, with another $10 million allocated for professional learning.”


Sources: Information extracted from Australian DEEWR, DER


Sunday, 07 February 2010 11:58:17 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
e-Sri Lanka is the project of government of Sri Lanka to provide access to “diverse and unrestrained” information and communication sources in a bid to strengthen democracy, peace process, quality of life and social and economic development. “Nanasala Project” refers to several models of tele-centres established all across Sri Lanka for provision of ICT based services. Information Communication Technology Agency (ICTA) has set up different types of Nansalas (Knowledge centers) with regards to the services being provided.
[Image:Colombo Fort Railway Station Nansala (left)

Rural Knowledge Nansalas (Vishwa Denuma Gamata or global knowledge to village) include multi-service ICT centers providing internet, telephone, fax, computer training classes and other services for socio-economic development and community empowerment.

E-library Nansala (community model) is the smaller version of the rural knowledge where few free and few paid services are provided. CBTs, books and lots of periodicals for students of all ages. The e-library concept has also been successfully evolved into mobile e-library which has solar panels on roof powering four laptops and travelling from schools to schools and village to village disseminating information to children, youth and local farmers.

Distance and e-Learning centers (DELs) provide networking facilities like Videocon, Mulitmedia and computer labs etc for connectivity to local and global development learning networks. DELs are specifically aimed at increasing skill level of the people at the suburban areas. [Image: E-learning Centre (above-right)]

Tsunami Camp Nansalas were the special types of kiosks setup in Tsunami affected areas providing information on health, education and similar content in local languages free of cost. “Tsunami Voices” database maintained records of Tsunami victims, their belongings, losses, diseases etc which was helpful in rehabilitation process. ICTA provided ICT training and vocational training to youth and got them involved in volunteer activities for making these nansalas permanent.

These Nansalas have made Sri Lanka stand tall in IT world, by empowering the disabled through ICTs for earning their livelihood and supporting the other disabled through effective use of ICTs.
They have provided equal opportunities for the visually impaired people too. [Image (above-left) Pushpa Rekha: The Nansala Operator]

These Nansalas have also empowered the women by providing them with education, employment and strong position in local communities. Several of the Nansala operators are women.

Counseling for a member of local handicapped community (right)
Sunday, 07 February 2010 09:12:59 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Saturday, 06 February 2010
Microsoft Oman, in partnership with the Ministry of Education (MoE), concluded a 'Training of Trainers' program recently, designed to aid teachers and ministry staff gain proficiency in a wide variety of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) skills. About 25 teachers from different schools and 25 MoE personnel attended an in-depth technical training program and workshop and gained proficiency in a wide variety of ICT skills from email and calendar support to group projects and communication tools.

The training comes under the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between MoE and Microsoft Oman to implement the globally successful Partners in Learning Program in Oman. The objective of the program, which covered different topics including Innovative Teaching Using Technology, Integrating ICT in Education, The Learning Process, Review of Software Tools for Innovative Teaching in the Classroom and Digital Lifestyle, provided the participants with the necessary skills and tools to manage, deploy and support Microsoft solutions in education. The program is aimed at providing teachers and MoE staff to integrate ICT into teaching and learning in a meaningful way and also empowering students to use ICT in their school work and learning.

Microsoft has been working with the Sultanate's Ministry of Education on a regular basis to improve access to and use of ICT in primary and secondary education and also to jointly improve both access to, and the use of, ICT for the support of teaching and learning.
Source:Microsoft Oman
Used with permission
Saturday, 06 February 2010 17:23:22 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Permanent Secretary Ministry of Education, Science and Technology Prof. Cryspus Kiamba, will officially open Teacher Education Program Conference organized by the African Virtual University (AVU), on Tuesday 2nd April 2010, 2:00pm at Ole-Sereni Hotel (Mombasa Road).

The AVU is facilitating a virtual training program for teachers in 10 African Countries. The program is already on progress in the Universit Cheikh Anta Diop in Senegal and Kyambogo University in Uganda. Other beneficiary countries are Kenya, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Mozambique, Somalia, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The program is funded by the African Development Bank (AfDB) and partly by the UNDP.

The conference will gather ministries of education, universities, teacher unions and strategic partners and will address the best implementation strategies in each country, the extension of the program to more universities and countries and the long term sustainability of this initiative. Teaching materials have been developed in collaboration with the 10 countries and a pilot phase conducted in Kenya, Senegal and Somalia.

As part of its strategic responses to the continental challenges facing the teaching profession and to contribute to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the AVU initiated in 2005 a continent-wide teacher education and training program which focuses on increasing the quantity and quality of Mathematics, Science and ICT teachers through the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). The goal of the program is to enhance the capacity of teachers in the use of ICTs as a tool for teaching and learning.

Source: AVU
Saturday, 06 February 2010 13:48:20 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The African Virtual University (AVU) is a Pan African Intergovernmental Organization whose aim is to significantly increase access to quality higher education and training through the innovative use of information communication technologies.

 As an African organization, the AVU has a mandate to increase access for tertiary education and training using Open Distance and eLearning (ODeL) methodologies.

 Over its 13 years of existence, the AVU has trained more than 40,000 students, has established 53 centers in 27 countries, and has acquired the largest of Open Distance and e-Learning (ODeL) network in Africa. Its greatest asset is its ability to work across borders and language groups in Anglophone, Francophone and Lusophone Africa conflict and post-conflict zones. In Somalia, AVU has graduated 4,000 students, 30% of whom are women.

The AVU has more than 50 Partner Institutions in more than 27 countries in Africa. The following orange-colored countries are host to current AVU partner institutions across Africa:

The AVU headquarters is situated in Nairobi, Kenya and a regional office is based in Dakar, Senegal in West Africa.

Source: African Virtual University

The Portuguese government is providing educational PCs to school children receiving basic education -- equivalent to elementary school -- in a memorandum of understanding with Intel Corporation. The Magellan Initiative, a program under Portugal’s education technology plan, targeted to deliver a half million computers based on the Intel-powered classmate PC to Portuguese children in the year 2009. The Magellan Initiative complements Portugal’s successful year-old e-School project, which provides educational notebooks and Internet access to teachers and students for the secondary level of school education.

The full-featured student laptop is specially developed by Intel for education. Regarded as the ‘rugged little laptops’ Intel’s Classmate PC comes in various versions in various developing countries, with educational softwares and high-speed internet connectivity options, designed especially for school children. The laptop is distributed in more than 50 countries. In addition to the Classmate PCs, Intel will serve as Portugal's technology adviser for the Magellan Initiative and currently plans to create a “Competence Centre” in Portugal to expand the use of mobile PCs and Internet access and use that knowledge to replicate pilot projects in other countries. Recently, Venezuelan government has also signed an agreement with Portugal that will bring 1 million low-cost Magellan notebooks to the South American country.

Link for Video about Magellan initiative in Portugal

Sources: Intel news release, Technology blog


Saturday, 06 February 2010 11:48:52 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Jhai PC, initially designed for Laos, now attracts interest of people in 65 countries. India, Vietnam, Cambodia, Ghana are among such countries. It is a project of Jhai Foundation. Founded in 1997 by Vietnam era combat veteran and a Lao war refugee Lee Thorn, Jhai foundation focuses on four key areas: education, technology, health and economic development. Jhai Foundation’s major funding has come from Cisco Systems, World Bank, Soros Foundations, Sweden, Canada and individual donors.  Jhai Foundation has been honored with a "Best Practices" award from the United Nations Secretariat, e-ASEAN, UNESCO (Bangkok), the government of Lao PDR and others.


JhaiPC is a tough, rugged computer, to withstand monsoon rains, humidity and extreme temperatures and linked to web by satellite; comes with Open Office, Firefox, ReMeDi telemedicine proprietary app, and Jhai Networks™ (at dial up speeds supporting audio, video, whiteboard, text, all file sharing, for peer-to-peer or groups up to 300), with a price under $ 200. When used off-grid, various power options can be chosen, depending on local conditions, including bicycle-generators, solar, wind, hydro, and others. The special thing about the low-cost, low-power JhaiPC is that it is matched to the needs and resources of rural people in clinics, schools or community centers. The JhaiPC supports voice and video conferencing through Jhai Networks, a new communication suite. The computer brings villagers weather reports, current prices for their rice crops and weavings, and contact with relatives living abroad. In collaboration with Schools Online, Jhai Foundation has established four ILCs in high schools since 2000. All, but one, are in rural areas. Each facility contains 10 new PCs linked in a LAN together with a printer, a scanner, four microphones/headsets, and a digital camera.

In 2001, Laotian villagers came to Thorn with a request: phone and Internet connectivity; they asked for a computer for Phonkham. Jhai had done computer projects in schools and hospitals, but Phonkham’s remote location demanded a whole new approach. Lee Felsenstein, a pioneer in the personal computer field, designed the first JhaiPC to work on very low power, using electricity generated by a stationary bicycle and connected by Wi-Fi to a relay station on top of a hill and then 11 kilometers [seven miles] to the nearest phone line. With funds from individual donors, the governments of Canada and Sweden, and the US State Department, Felsenstein assembled the first Jhai PC himself. "The Jhai PC is built of 'embedded' circuit boards," says Felsenstein, "of the sort that is used in industrial equipment. These are rugged and devoid of moving parts such as fans or disc drives, made to operate for long periods of time without service or attention.”

Link for Interview of Lee Thorn (founder of Jhai Foundation)

Link for video of paddled powered JhaiPC installed in Laos


Sources: Information extracted from Jhai Foundation website, Christian Science Monitor, Wi-Fi Planet

The African Virtual University (AVU) is a Pan African Intergovernmental Organization whose aim is to significantly increase access to quality higher education and training through the innovative use of information communication technologies.

Saturday, 06 February 2010 11:30:42 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Intel Rural Connectivity Platform (RCP) is a low cost, low power, low touch long-range Wi-Fi solution designed to bring connectivity to remote areas. The technology behind this research was developed by personnel in the Intel Research Berkeley lab. It is a wireless long distance back hauls solution that operates on non licensed spectrums to provide the perfect product for emerging markets.

"It is an appealing way to connect remote areas that otherwise would go without the Internet", says  Jeff Galinovsky, a senior platform manager at Intel. "Wireless satellite connections are expensive and it’s impractical to wire up some villages in Asian and African countries. The rural connectivity platform (RCP), will be helpful to computer-equipped students in poor countries. And the data rates are high enough–up to about 6.5 megabits per second–that the connection could be used for video conferencing and tele-medicine, he says.

The demo that was presented at the Berkeley Lab open house had two antenna transmitting video via WI-FI connection. One of the antennas was on top of the Space Sciences Laboratory (SSL) at the UC Berkeley campus which is about 1.5 miles (2.4 km) away from the lab in downtown Berkeley.

Already, Intel has installed and tested the hardware in India, Panama, Vietnam, and South Africa. One of the research projects connected rural villages in India with the Aravind Eye clinic to provide medical eye exams via the wireless antenna relay system. In Panama, it is bringing the internet to a remote village in the rain forest.

More details can be found in RCP product brief and this video.

Sources: Intel blog, Technology review



Saturday, 06 February 2010 08:48:40 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, 05 February 2010

The Education Development Center, in collaboration with World Links, iEARN and SOUL, a non-governmental organization (NGO) based in Yemen, implemented a project entitled “Internet for Yemeni High Schools”. The idea was to create a learning network between high schools throughout Yemen and connect them with high schools in the United States.

The primary objectives for the project are to:
  • Improve teachers’ ability to facilitate student-centered lessons through ICT;
  • Improve students’ learning, especially girls, by helping them to access information through the use of the internet for research;
  • Assess the potential of the internet to serve as a teaching and learning tool at the high school level in Yemen;
  • Create professional development networks for Yemeni educators, especially female teachers and students with limited mobility.
There are three phases to the project. The first phase involved installing computer laboratories, with internet connectivity, in the selected Yemeni High schools in Sana’a and Aden. The second phase of the project developed school level capacity in the basic principles and practices of student-centered computer and internet-based instruction in the classroom through providing training to teachers and school directors. Five teachers from each school were chosen through a competitive application process to become master trainers in their respective schools, which enabled them to train others. This ICT training was delivered by World Links Arab Region and iEARN. Finally, the third phase involved master trainers, with the support of their school directors, offering the same training they had received to the teachers in their schools.

Outcomes Impact Results

The following outcomes have been observed:
  • The project has trained 51 master trainers from 10 schools (18 female and 8 male in Sana'a, and 13 females and 12 males in Aden);
  • In Sana’a, the 26 master trainers have trained 547 teachers (438 female) on student-centered learning and 199 teachers (159 female) on how to use computers and the internet as instructional and learning resources;
  • In Aden, the 25 master trainers have trained 246 teachers (153 female) on the same topics; and
  • Utilizing the computer labs during summer break, master trainers and teachers offered computer courses to members of the community, especially women and girls who had dropped out of school for various reasons.
Source: comminit
Friday, 05 February 2010 10:08:46 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Wireless School Connectivity Project is an initiative that has connected a secondary school in a poor township of Harare, to the Internet using wireless technologies. The concept was developed as a result of participation in a wireless workshop in which the fundamentals of building wireless links was demonstrated as an alternative low-cost approach to connecting schools to the Internet. The wireless technology itself is a bundle of solutions that use the licence-exempt Industrial Scientific and Medical (SM) 2.4 GHz frequency band for connecting both the “first mile” to the Internet Service Provider (ISP) and distributing the internet using WiFi in the classroom.

The project team established relationships with four main stakeholders through whom they were able to deliver an Internet connection to the school: the Internet service provider; the backbone service provider; the regulator; and the school ICT training organization.

The plan for the future is to track the progression of wireless technology developments and to bring it to bear in the context of the school networking initiative in Zimbabwe. The project hopes to develop a “mesh network” using wireless technology, so that all schools in the Highfield’s Township have low cost Internet in their computer labs.

Source: WSCP
Friday, 05 February 2010 10:03:45 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

IT IS-LTAR e-Collaborative Learning Management System
This is an innovative e-collaborative project between professors in ITIS, an Italian technical school, and Lycée Technique Alessandro Rossi (LTAR), a technical school in Burundi, to utilise broadband Internet to experiment with new ways of distance teaching and learning through screen sharing, video-conferencing and voice over IP. The project has also set up a learning management system using Moodle where teachers from the Italian school can collaborate with their Burundian colleagues to exchange experience and design learning.

LTAR School Connectivity Project
The World Istituto Tecnico Alessandro Rossi, a small Italian NGO, has raised and invested almost €500,000 for the support of a twin technical high school – the Lycée Technique Alessandro Rossi – in Ngozi, Burundi. The school has now been equipped for students studying electronics, computer maintenance, and electromechanics. The school received a donation of a VSAT system for broadband Internet connectivity from Eutelsat, one of the largest VSAT service providers in the world. The school has a network of 25 PCs, laptops, and a Wi-Fi antenna covering the entire school area.

For more information: The Burundi Project: Mending the Digital Divide by Empowering Teachers

Computer Trailer: Burundi Youth Training Centre
In 2006 volunteers from the Burundi Youth Training Centre (BYTC) began a campaign to introduce ICTs in secondary schools by creating awareness among the school teachers, administrators, and pupils. The centre believes that ICT can play an important role in improving the quality of education in countries in development. The Computer Trailer project pilot phase equipped two secondary schools with 20 computers and a laser printer each. The second phase of the projects was to initiate computer clubs in these schools where volunteers will train the pupils in the schools. Those who receive training are then used to train others in order to spread the skills and awareness on ICT. This project is supported by African Computing and Webvolcans, both French NGOs.

For more information: bytc

Source: infodev , bytc
Friday, 05 February 2010 10:00:46 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The NEPAD (New Partnership for Africa’s Development) e-Schools Initiative was publicly launched in Durban at the Africa Summit of the World Economic Forum on June 12, 2003.

The NEPAD e-Schools Initiative has been adopted as a priority continental undertaking aimed at ensuring that African youth graduate from African schools with the skills that will enable them to participate effectively in the global information society.

The aim of the initiative is to impart ICT skills to young Africans in primary and secondary schools as well as harness ICT technology to improve, enrich and expand education in African countries.

From the outset, it was envisaged that project execution would be holistic, including at least the following components: infrastructure (including computers, communications, networking, power, etc.); ICT training for teachers; content and curriculum development; efforts towards community buy-in, involvement and ownership of the process; “health point” definition issues; organization and management of the project; partnership issues; financial and sustainability issues.

Aims and Objectives

The Initiative aims to impart ICT skills to young Africans in primary and secondary schools as well as harness ICT technology to improve, enrich and expand education in African countries. The aim is to equip all African primary and secondary schools with ICT apparatus such as computers, radios and television sets, phones and fax machines, communication equipment, scanners, digital cameras, copiers, etc, and to connect them to the internet. Each school is equipped with a ‘health point’.

Specific Objectives of the NEPAD e-Schools Initiative

  • To provide ICT skills and knowledge to primary and secondary school students that will enable them to function in the emerging Information Society and Knowledge Economy;
  • To provide teachers with ICT skills to enable them to use ICT as tools to enhance teaching and learning;
  • To provide school managers with ICT skills so as to facilitate the efficient management and administration in the schools; and 
  • To make every learner health literate.
Nine countries have already officially launched the NEPAD e-Schools Project in their respective countries. The countries are: Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Mali, Mauritius, Rwanda, South Africa, and Uganda.

Source: e_school , eafricacommission , 50x15 , infodev
Friday, 05 February 2010 09:53:00 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Computers for African Schools (CFAS) is a registered charity committed to improving educational opportunity in Africa . Redundant working computers, donated by firms and other computer users in the UK , are placed in to schools in southern Africa . Usually these are state and mission secondary schools and all schools receive the computers free of charge.

The Computers for Malawian School scheme is jointly administered by the British Council and SchoolNet Malawi, which is a registered trust within the SchoolNet Africa organization.

The British Council receives the goods exempt of duty in Lilongwe. They are transferred to the SchoolNet facilities in Blantyre where the SchoolNet staff check, process, and repair the equipment. Microsoft OS and MSOffice are installed by agreement with Microsoft. The SchoolNet team also sets up the computers at the recipient schools.

As in all recipient countries, strict criteria are applied to the candidate schools to ensure they have the right facilities and security to house the equipment. Each school receives 10 to 15 computers and a printer. Training of the teachers in ICTs has been arranged by the British Council, and UK trainers have travelled to Malawi to carry out training courses.

In conjunction with the scheme, the Malawian Ministry of Education has developed an ICT curriculum. Each recipient school is required to give a report on its experience with the computers and is subject to audit.

Source: ICT for Education in Malawi , CFAS
Friday, 05 February 2010 09:48:33 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

For Namibia the goal of ICT in education and teacher professional development is nothing short of transformative— vaulting this desert nation into a desert tiger by helping teachers and students attain the “21st century skills” of creativity and problem solving (Namibia Vision 2030).

Community Education Computer Society of Namibia (CECS) Namibia is not-for-profit training organisation that provides training and support for teachers and communities in ICT literacy. CECS currently focuses on basic computer literacy, and as communities and teachers become literate in the basic skills, advanced literacy and pedagogy courses are available.

Mission: To equip individuals and communities with computer skills, creating awareness of the political, social and economic implications of information and communications technology in its application for poverty alleviation and development among Namibians by giving them an opportunity to become computer literate.

Vision: Training Namibians at all Levels, through using ICT`s, to make informed decisions and improve the condition of their lives.

Source: cecsnamibia , Vision 2030
Friday, 05 February 2010 09:42:29 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, 04 February 2010
In an effort to “connect” more students and youths to the information superhighway and boosting their capabilities the field of ICTs, DST Group and Ericsson signed an MOU in July 2009 to provide internet connections for some 4,000 students from four different schools in Brunei Darussalam. Tanjong Kindana Primary School, Berakas Secondary School, Pengiran Jaya Negara Pengiran Haji Abu Bakar Secondary School and Sayyidina Othman Secondary School were selected by the Ministry of Education to be part of this pioneer programme.

The four selected schools will be provided with fixed wireless terminals, high-speed data SIM cards and laptops. DST Group Go! Broadband service supports Internet Access of up to 7.2 Mbps. Schools will be able to enjoy seamless and fast Internet connection effortlessly, through top-notch infrastructure and high-speed wireless networks at any one place without cables or landlines. At the same time, educators will also be able to take e-learning out of the classrooms and enjoy instant speed and flexible deployment anywhere around within the schools premises. This mega project is in line with the Ministry of Education’s system that aims to equip students with the necessary skills to compete in the new economy namely the “Internet economy”.

Sources: Brunei FM, The Brunei Times
Thursday, 04 February 2010 19:22:35 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Southern Sudan Interactive Radio Instruction (SSIRI) project is a program of the Southern Sudan Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MoEST). It is funded by United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and administered by Education Development Center (EDC). Four SSIRI activities which provide learning opportunities for children, adults, and teachers in Southern Sudan are mentioned below:
  • THE LEARNING VILLAGE: IRI programs based on the Southern Sudanese Primary School Syllabus. The lessons are designed to complement classroom instruction in local language literacy, English language, mathematics, and life skills for Grades 1-4.
  • RABEA: Radio Based Education for All provides an excellent opportunity for Sudanese to learn or strengthen their English language skills.
  • PROFESSIONAL STUDIES FOR TEACHERS: A non-traditional distance learning course to improve the teaching practice in Southern Sudan. The programs are based on the MoEST in-service teacher education program.
  • ALTERNATIVE LEARNING TECHNOLOGIES: Some classes are unable to use the radio lessons because of broadcast schedule times. SSIRI provides alternative digital devices for these groups.
Source: EDC Website , ICT in Education in Sudan
Thursday, 04 February 2010 17:41:21 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The British Council connects people worldwide with learning opportunities and creative ideas from the UK and builds lasting relationships between the UK and other countries. Education reform is a shared priority of the Middle East region and the UK, with an increasing emphasis on teaching students skills for work to tackle youth unemployment, creative approaches to learning, educational quality and leadership, teacher development and the education of girls and disadvantaged groups.

The British Council's education program is running across eight countries in the Middle East - the GCC, Yemen and Iraq. The program is called '1001 schools' and comprises three main projects:
  • school partnerships between the region and the UK, which we are actively supporting in the region at the moment;
  • leadership in schools, for which we run leadership programs for head teachers and deputies;
  • ICT in Schools, supporting training for teachers.
The ultimate aim is to exchange knowledge and experience in order to improve education and enhance relationships with the UK.

Source:AMEinfo Website , British Council
Thursday, 04 February 2010 17:35:14 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

A project aimed at supporting the introduction and effective use of Information & Communications Technology (ICT) in schools, has been launched in the UAE.

The UAE Ministry of Education, Abu Dhabi Education Council, Dubai Education Council and the British Council are collaborating on the project, which started with a three-day ICT training workshop for teachers from across the country, held at Abu Dhabi Education Council's Emirates National Centre for Educational Development. The project is part of the British Council's broader education program in the Middle East, where it is working in collaboration with Ministries of Education.

The 15 teachers (male and female) attending the UAE workshop were nominated by the Ministry of Education and the Education Councils and will share their experience with colleagues in their respective education zones, cascading their knowledge through ongoing training programs. The focus of the program is students aged 11-15 years.

The British Council workshop was organized in conjunction with UK education consultants and the group trained on ICT tools for education, including eLanguages and Global Gateway. At the end of the workshop, the teacher group was joined by seven policy makers from the UAE Ministry of Education and the Education Councils, to discuss the development of the UAE's working relationship with Global Gateway, a website managed by the British Council which is designed to help create educational partnerships between schools and colleges across the world.

The ICT training workshop aimed to increase the skills of teachers in the use of ICT in the classroom and to help develop the level of confidence in the use of online tools for international collaboration in education. The Global Gateway element was intended to help promote the UAE as an international partner for educational activities and school linking. The response to the workshop was excellent and through Global Gateway, the UAE will attract a lot of interest from schools around the world, which will help to share experience and knowledge even further.

Source: AMEinfo Website
Thursday, 04 February 2010 17:22:16 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

dot-EDU is an information and communication technology (ICT) intervention mechanism for USAID Missions seeking to improve education systems in their respective countries. dot-EDU seeks to assist developing countries in strengthening learning systems that improve quality, expand access, and enhance equity through carefully planned applications of digital and broadcast technologies.

The dot-EDU mission has two foci. First, dot-EDU provides training and technical assistance to support USAID Missions in developing and implementing technology-assisted applications. Second, dot-EDU conducts pilot projects and prepares knowledge products using available core resources. Activities result in improved understanding, strategic planning, and implementation of technology-assisted educational applications in developing countries. dot-EDU projects are currently underway in Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti, India, Kenya, Macedonia, Madagascar, Namibia, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, and Zambia.

Under the dot-EDU cooperative agreement, EDC and its partners establish learning systems pilots and applications, with gender equity as a priority throughout, that include:
  • Using Internet/ICT to increase the reach and quality of programs in basic education, teacher training, workforce development, and higher education;
  • developing centers of excellence for the production of interactive, multi-media instructional materials in national and indigenous languages;
  • applications of Internet/ICT for learning systems in countries suffering the effects of civil unrest, natural disasters, and HIV/AIDS;
  • developing distance learning programs using multi-media and CD-ROM technology; and
  • Establishing and enhancing networks of school-to-school programs to stimulate teacher and student use of CD-ROM and Internet technology for learning.
Source: For more information about partners of dot-EDU see usaid and also dot-edu
Thursday, 04 February 2010 17:19:46 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

USAID Djibouti Assistance to Education Project, also known by its French name Project AIDE (Assistance Internationale pour le Développement de l’Education), is a three-year effort to improve student learning. The objective will be pursued through three separate but interlocking sets of interventions linked directly to the three intermediate results of increased access to basic education, improved quality of teaching and learning, and increased opportunities for girls’ education. The SchoolNet and Cisco Academy initiatives fall under this project.

Through this project USAID donated 40 computers, printers and UPS’s to four schools in rural Djibouti. Djibouti Telecom, a partner in the project and the national telecommunications service provider, deployed local area networks and provided Internet connectivity to four schools.

Source: usaid , equip123 Website , ICT in Education in Djibouti
Thursday, 04 February 2010 17:13:12 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Center of Technological Development and Decision-Making Support has produced 68 multimedia films. 9,478 schools, 27 educational directorates, 239 educational administrative units, and 25 mobile technological teams have been equipped with receivers of the transmission of educational satellite channels for use in schools of remote areas. In addition, in an attempt to make use of all potentials of the Egyptian Satellite (Nile Sat), the thematic educational programs have occupied 7 satellite channels.

Transmission for schools started in November 1998. This will cover primary education, preparatory education, secondary education, technical education, languages and general knowledge. A special channel will cover the upgrading of teachers and another for literacy programs.

Egypt plans to expand the network of distance learning to cover its 260 educational directorates. The country also plans to connect the local centers with European and American institutions to train its teachers.

See also ICT in Education in Egypt for Current ICT Initiatives and Projects in Egypt.

Source: infodev Website
Thursday, 04 February 2010 17:10:29 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

In today's busy world more and more students want services, information and entertainment that they can keep with them and access whenever and wherever they want. This has led to a steep rise in the use of handheld devices such as digital mobile phones, pagers, personal digital assistants and palmtop computers which are truly portable because they are small, light and can send and receive information instantly using what is known as WAP technology. WAP stands for Wireless Application Protocol, an agreed-upon format for transmitting data between two devices set up by Unwired Planet, Nokia, Motorola and Ericsson. The introduction of these technologies in classrooms is likely to improve attendance rates of students.

The growing importance of mobile in emerging markets is an opportunity for increased access to education. Education in developing countries - particularly in rural areas - will benefit from the increasing population access to mobile technology.Wap-Education is free, accessible through all operators and types of phones.

From the end of primary school to two years after the baccalaureat, students can access lessons, revision, careers guidance, cultural and medical information on their mobile phone. It is a means of connecting students and teachers. 1,100 lessons and questionnaires prepared by teachers are already online. These solutions will soon be tested in Senegal.

100 students, i.e. 3 final year high school students from a school in Dakar, are going to be prepared with high performance mobile phones with which they may use WapEduc resources for a few months. After this test period, the Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS) – via its IREDU (Educational Research Institute) entity - will conduct a poll on these students to quantify their satisfaction.

Young Senegalese students will be particularly attracted as few have computers and landlines but many have mobile phones.

Besides the Ministry of Education, the project is also supported by Orange France and Microsoft Senegal.

Source:Nomadic Schools , WAP
Thursday, 04 February 2010 17:07:58 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Against the backdrop of a rising e-waste problem in developing countries, a sustainable and practical approach to refurbishing computers for donation purposes is absolutely indispensable. This is what Digital Links, a social enterprise founded in 2002, is aiming for.

The most recent project is the deployment of a scheme allowing teachers in Zambia, the host country of eLearning Africa 2010, to purchase computers. The idea is to equip teachers with around 30,000 notebooks, taking varying income levels into account. This will be done in partnership with the 50x15 Foundation and Mecer, South Africa. The laptops are specifically aimed at the teacher/education market and have exceptionally low power consumption. Ten thousand public servants and teachers have already signed up for the first year of this program.

Once this program is running, Digital Links will begin the planning of digital labs across the country. Out of an expected eligible number of 80,000 teachers countrywide, Digital Links expects to service around 60,000 teachers over the course of three years. However, this scheme has the potential (and the agreement of the government in principle) to involve more than 150,000 public servants. There has also been considerable interest in the digital lab model in Zambia. Digital Links partner Mecer is one of the three major corporate ICT distributors in Zambia. MDZ has entered into an arrangement with the Zambian government to distribute all its products to civil servants and has approached Digital Links to help deploy their large-scale computerization program.

Source: digital-links
Thursday, 04 February 2010 17:04:36 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Digital Links, founded in 2002, is a social enterprise situated in London and Johannesburg that provides IT equipment and solutions for education, small businesses and health units in the world’s poorest areas.

Digital Links brings the best technology available worldwide to disadvantaged communities at an affordable cost. Technology can provide incredible opportunities for improved health, education, and economic growth.

In the past six years through partnership with multinationals, corporations, governments and civil society actors, Digital Links have provided over 65,000 computers to 2,000 schools, hospitals and NGOs across Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe. Digital Links has also developed innovative products such as a solar powered computer system for use in rural schools.

Based on a sound partnership model with governments and international corporations, Digital Links wants to set up an efficient infrastructure, provide on-going support and maintenance, as well as access to eLearning tools, connectivity, and training in several African countries.

Key donors include UK based corporations such as: Barclays, BUPA, Cadbury’s, DfID, DHL, Lloyd’s, Nestle UK, Reuters, RM and over 100 UK schools, among others.

Thursday, 04 February 2010 17:02:01 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

This picture is got from wikipedia

Project director Ron Beyers of the Meraka Institute at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) will soon initiate a research component using SMART’s Bridgit conferencing software that allows a quick, easy and effective way to share voice, video and data over the Internet.

The original project was initiated in 2003 in association with St Alban’s College and has subsequently been adopted by the Meraka Institute. Interactive whiteboards were a major component of the infrastructure from its inception. An interactive whiteboard is a large touch-sensitive screen that works with a computer and a data projector. Interactive whiteboards engage students by providing immediate access to a wide range of digital materials and a common focus for the entire class.

Five schools in the Pretoria area of South Africa’s Gauteng province were linked by Motorola’s broadband Canopy radio connections to enable virtual interactive collaborative lessons using SMART technologies. The project has now entered its second phase with the inclusion of ten Dinaledi schools in a geographic area called the Mpumalanga Radio Corridor, which spreads to the northeastern borders of South Africa. The last of these schools to be connected was in the town of Middleburg at the end of April 2008.

The aim is to supply all the Ulwazi schools with interactive whiteboards as an essential component of the interactive, online education process. Other technology in the mix includes five-channel sound card speakers, webcams, microphones and video conferencing software. Initially the project was used to ‘web conference’ interactive online lessons between schools that encouraged participation by learners. This enabled schools to share scarce skilled resources. Learners and teachers were provided with access to information and top educators.

Rural clinics and business hubs can be connected to the network to assist with e-health and entrepreneurial services. There are many opportunities for social and community initiatives to use the technology installed at these schools.

What started out as a simple experiment in using connectivity to overcome a transport problem for learners has evolved into a project with key elements of promoting a social transformation process in rural communities.

Source: Interactive Classrooms , wiki , ulwaziproject , Education-smarttech , smarttech
Thursday, 04 February 2010 16:36:35 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

A substantial grant from Google has enabled notebook computers running Linux and a variety of open source software to be rolled out at rural schools in Fiji.

Google's Open Source Program Office made the donation via the Imara Project at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), which aims to expand the use of technology in developing communities. Details of the donation were revealed in a post on Google's official coding blog. (note that this project is separate from OLPC) "

The Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) component is central to the sustainability and adaptability of the project," MIT staffer Jonathan Proulx wrote in the post. "Since it's free, there's no additional software cost when the project expands, or if community groups wish to further leverage the technology." The machines use Edubuntu, an education-tweaked version of Ubuntu, along with common packages such as OpenOffice and The Gimp and specialist education software.

Open source advocates have long argued that developing communities will benefit from being able to use free software components to build their technology knowledge. However, choosing the hardware for use in Fiji proved to be something of a challenge.

Notebook PCs were deemed more suitable because of variable power supply availability in the different schools. The 10 Lenovo Thinkpads were taken to Fiji as carry-on luggage by three MIT staff members.

Future plans for the project include sponsoring additional training for local teachers, and rolling out printers and digital cameras.

Source: iTWire Website
Thursday, 04 February 2010 16:32:32 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

As part of the PacINET 2006 Conference in Apia, Samoa, PICISOC will be running a Wireless Broadband for Schools Project.

The broad objective of the project is to provide a pod of computers and broadband Wi-Fi Internet access to two remote schools in the northwest corner of the island of Upolu, Samoa. The project will train Teachers/Students in the schools on how to use the computers and provide ongoing technical support.

The feasibility of Wi-Fi over water will also be trialled by connecting the island of Manono to the Internet.

The project will be supported by a consortium of Donors, Businesses and Voluntary Organisations from the region. The various partners in the Project will provide initial funding and voluntary labour, and ongoing operational funding will be subsidised by commercial users using part of the service.

PICISOC Members attending the PacINET conference are invited to participate in the Project and gain first hand experience at installing broadband Wi-Fi networks as well as doing their bit for the local community.

This Project is possible through the kind contributions of the following consortium partners:
  • PICISOC ..........Project Host
  • 2020 Trust ..........Project Organisation
  • GKP ..........Project Funding
  • CSL ..........Project Technical Support and Logistics
  • Rural Link ..........Wi-Fi Equipment and Expertise
  • PATARA ..........Network Equipment
  • Samoa IT Society ..........Training and Support
Thursday, 04 February 2010 16:28:36 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Pacific Islands Chapter of the Internet Society (PICISOC: is affiliated to the Internet Society (ISOC). It covers 22 Pacific Islands Countries with a membership of more than 300 individuals in the region. PICISOC organizes a yearly meeting called PacINET. This meeting covers all the Internet aspects but will be focused on rural Internet.

The Pacific Islands Chapter of the Internet Society serves the Society’s purposes by serving the interests of the global Internet community through its presence in the Pacific Islands. It focuses on local issues and developments, and as an impartial advisor to governments and the public on matters of significant interest to Pacific Island people. The Internet SOCiety (ISOC) is a professional membership society with more than 150 organization and 16,000 individual members in over 180 countries. It provides leadership in addressing issues that confront the future of the Internet, and is the organization home for the groups responsible for Internet infrastructure standards, including the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and the Internet Architecture Board (IAB).


Special Interest Groups (SIG) have been setup to provide focus groups in different areas within PICISOC. Each SIG addresses specific interests of members, and organises activities around these interests. Activities include mailing lists and forums, newsletters and workshops and other areas of collaboration depending on the needs of members.

The following SIGs are currently available:
SIG Education
"As more schools, students and teachers are moving online in the Pacific, the role of the Internet in education is becoming increasingly important".

Formed in Feb 2007, this special interest group addresses the emerging needs of learners, educators, educational technologists and policy-makers in the region.
  • The first aim of the group is to encourage and share developments in internet-related education & training projects and programs in the Pacific region. The group will prepare an annual 'snapshot' of the themes, challenges and achievements of education-related internet initiatives, to be presented at PICISOC's annual conference and posted online. This 'snapshot' also draws from the work of the Univ. of the South Pacific's "Pacific eLearning Observatory".
  • A second aim is to promote the role of Internet connectivity and the PC for the benefit of education and learning in rural and remote communities.
  • A third aim is to promote the implementation of the Digital Strategy of the Pacific Plan in the education sector throughout the region

Source: PICISOC , wiki/PICISOC
Thursday, 04 February 2010 16:23:03 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

• International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Telecenters
This is an ITU project that has seen the establishment of 11 fesootai centers in 2006 intended to serve as access points to voice communication and ICT services for communities, businesses, and schools. The aim of this project is to provide local access to basic ICT facilities such as telephony, computers, Internet, and faxes. These centers are all managed by women’s committees in the villages, except for one in Savaii managed by a youth group. Another center is planned to be launched on one of the smaller inhabited islands (Manono Island) off the main island of Upolu, using wireless. One of these centers is piloting a solar-powered setup.

• Government Wide-Area Network (GWAN)
With its hub within the Ministry of Finance, the GWAN provides connectivity across government ministries allowing electronic transmission and sharing of data.

• National University of Samoa (NUS) Videoconferencing

Through a satellite link (PEACESAT), NUS has been able to receive distance learning courses for its science faculty. The Asia Pacific Initiative is a series of courses offered collaboratively by seven universities in the Asia-Pacific region (of which NUS is part) through videoconferencing and virtual classrooms. NUS has also provided courses on teaching mathematics to students in American Samoa. NUS, in collaboration with the Commonwealth of Learning and its associated Virtual University of the Small States of the Commonwealth, is developing online learning through its virtual classrooms and its online course development. The NUS communications link has recently been upgraded through the installation of a 1 megabyte satellite link through New Caledonia.

• Teachers’ Resource Center

In September 2003, a teachers’ resource center opened in Savaii. The center is the initiative of MESC with funding from New Zealand’s International Aid and Development Agency (NZAID) and supports teachers in their teaching preparations. Although the intention was to provide increased opportunities for teachers to use computers and Internet access, issues with hardware replacement have made it difficult for the center to be fully functional. A similar resource center was set up for teachers in Upolu and was the venue for the CMAD training workshops conducted as part of this study.

• USPNet

Its current capacity has made it possible for USP regional students, including those from Samoa, to study at a distance. Learning is mostly through print materials but the university law program is almost wholly online. Video and audio conferencing supplement the learning materials as well as an open source Learning Management Information System, based on Moodle. The Samoa Savaii Center now has Internet connection for its Savaii students to access courses and to enhance access to their tutors at the Fiji, Vanuatu, and Alafua (Samoa) campuses by e-mail. The Savaii Center Internet access is also used occasionally by high school students who visit the public library for research.

More innovative Information and Communication Technology in Education in Samoa is available here.

Source:Technology in Educaion in Samoa
Thursday, 04 February 2010 16:18:36 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

In 2004, a project was initiated to provide distance learning centers in the Solomon Islands. This project, established under the EU education sector program, was initiated following trials using email in 2002. In the trials, ten students (with two supervisors) studied for a university course module, sending and receiving papers by email; the trials were judged to have improved turnaround and tutor-student communications, but suggested that a larger project would need better connectivity.

By 2007, there were nine distance learning centers in special buildings attached to schools. Each centre has a short wave radio, a VSAT, six computers, a printer, a scanner and solar panels; the cost of equipment and installation of these centers is approximately 50,000 USD. These costs would now be significantly less with using cheaper VSATs (coverage has improved), fewer solar panels (the power consumption of computers is lower).

Each distance learning centre has a full time supervisor (often a former teacher with computing skills) who maintains equipment, provides basic computer training for users, and assists students with using the equipment and IP applications such as collaboration tools for distance learning. The VSAT receives course materials from education service providers in the capital city or elsewhere. VSATs in the distance learning centers, share a 256 kb/s downlink and 128 kb/s uplink satellite connection that cost 4,000 USD per month.

Distance learning centers need to be used heavily if they are to be commercially viable; making revenues exceed running costs is more difficult for them than for rural email stations. Intended primarily for reinforcing classroom learning, training teachers, and providing formal and vocational courses, distance learning centers are also open to the public every day as Internet cafés. The strategy for sustainable operation relies partly on partnerships that also contribute to the educational objectives; for instance, a bank branch in a distance learning centre would perform electronic funds transfer over IP (thereby avoiding electronic funds transfer using phone calls) and also be involved in financial training.

A distance learning centre has a management committee that includes members from the school, the school board, the community and various sectors of society. The management committee works with the supervisor in partnership with an NGO (PFNet) and the Ministry of Education.

Source: ICT Regulation Toolkit Website
Thursday, 04 February 2010 16:11:32 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

What is USPNet?
USPNet is a USP (the university of the south pacific) owned Wide Area Network (WAN) incorporating a 5MHz IP Satellite based technology to deliver and integrate distance learning, educational and administrative services throughout its 12 member countries.

The University owns and operates this private network, purely for USP use. For USP's distant students and staff, USPNet provides for the opportunity to participate in interactive audio tutorials, (conducted from any campus), communicate by e-mail with a lecturer/tutor or another student, access the World Wide Web, access online MIS and banner applications, watch a live Video multicast, access multimedia material via Server downloads and live video conferences (and tutoring) with the Laucala Campus in Suva. Also full two way telephony will be implemented in the near future.

Hub Station
The USPNet satellite earth stations are designed with different capabilities to meet the requirements of the University in an efficient way. The "Hub" is at the Laucala Campus in Suva with a 7.6m antenna, with maximum transmit power of 100 watts and is the master station. The Hub Station is responsible for synchronizing, controlling and allocation of all (Outbound) services above towards all the remote “Vsats” within the whole of USPNet. This is via a 1.9Mb/s bandwidth pipe allocation from Laucala Campus.


The Vsats (Very small Aperture terminals) “remotes” have reduced (Inbound) transmission capacity thus reduced throughput at any given time. The Remotes at the University Campuses, with 4.5m antennas have transmit throughput to the Hub via a 1.49Mb/s bandwidth pipe allocation. Since USPNet is contention based architecture, using various Access Schemes, it is a fully dynamic IP based system.


USPNet can assist in scheduling video conference sessions, coordinating these with regional counterparts, designing and installing video-conference equipment, and digitizing video-based educational materials for the delivery via streaming or download options. All video conference sessions within USP region are free to USP students, staff, management and affiliated researchers.


In addition to serving the University’s member countries via satellite, USPNet, also offers video-conferencing to non-USP countries via AARNet (Australian Academic Research Network), a fibre optic cable network.

List of the member countries

Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Niue, Samoa, Tokelau, Cook Islands

Source: USP
Thursday, 04 February 2010 16:08:31 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Tuvalu, a smaller Pacific nation, is supportive of educational ICT and aims to strengthen skills and access to ICT to provide opportunities for students to participate in the digital economy. Aside from extending ICT sills within the Ministry of Education itself, emphasis has been on the implementation of ICT in school administration, and on the strategic allocation of funding because of the high costs involved, the small, distributed population, and the difficulties in the provision of hardware and reliable infrastructure. The development of an administrative database for the Tuvalu primary school system began in 2002. Prior to the installation of the database, pilot questionnaires were sent out to all primary schools in Tuvalu for completion, and returned to the Education Department for analysis. The inputting of responses was hindered by the unreliable transport links and the distances to the outer islands.

The long-term objective of the Ministry of Education is to develop ICT as a curriculum course to be taught in classes at both primary and secondary level. Implementation depends on the ease with which funds can be raised from government and donor partners such as ADB, NZAid and AUSAid. In consultation with stakeholders, experts and teachers the Ministry has begun developing an ICT curriculum with a 5-10 year timeline. The policy would encourage the development of access and skills by enhancing students’ capability to explore, develop, communicate and present their ideas; providing a range of information sources to support their development knowledge; providing tools, equipment and components for designing, such as modeling; and encouraging design awareness using technology. The Education for Life program has been another important policy initiative, focusing also on lifelong learning.


  • Small population, widely dispersed
  • Inadequate infrastructure
  • High costs, Lack of expertise 
  • Increase training and skill development opportunities
  • Provide skilled experts to encourage development on the ground
  • Reduce costs of access
  • Raise awareness and participation at community level 
to implement the aspects of the ICT policy which are relevant to education include
  • promoting greater awareness of ICT,
  • developing and retaining a knowledgeable workforce in ICT,
  • developing and maintaining training policies and programmes to ensure ICT resources are properly managed,
  • providing equal access to ICT,
  • developing ICT infrastructure to promote universal access,
  • addressing affordability of ICT technology and
  • continually evaluating ICT plans and its impacts.
Other planned strategies include consultation with a wide range of stakeholders, developing exchange and vocational programs by the education sector, incorporating gender issues and developing community awareness programs to maximize benefits and minimize adverse social impacts. There are also plans to review communication tariff regulations to maximize benefits to communities.

Source: (Information here taken from the Meta-Survey paper ICT in Education: Tuvalu)
Thursday, 04 February 2010 16:05:33 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Deployments in Nauru have commenced on August 1st-8th 2008, and continue in April 2009 with the Minister of Education requesting assistance with a Country Program, from the OLPC Oceania Technical Working Group. The trials are being implemented in Yaren Primary School and Kayser College. The initial trials were made in collaboration with the University of the South Pacific (USP) Centre in Nauru, and the Ministry of Education. USP Centre have opened a community FM radio broadcast station, and the intention is to link the OLPC trials in the school with content development centered around the radio broadcasting. Missions were fielded to provide additional training and technical advice by SPC in September 2008 and by regional OLPC expert David Leeming in April/May 2009.

Teacher training

In April/May 2009, teacher training focused on curriculum integration and content development. Teachers learned how to integrate their XO usage into the rich task curriculum, and how to research for and start collaborating on open educational resources using the Wikieducator to use and download for their school server. Parents and community were also trained.

Video: Youtube of April 2009 OLPC teacher training in Nauru

Source: wiki.laptop
Thursday, 04 February 2010 15:55:18 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Since 1993, the IT industry has carried out a survey of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in New Zealand schools every one to two years. These surveys have been undertaken in co-operation with the Ministry of Education and with the support of other government agencies. Since 2005, the Trustees of the 2020 Communications Trust have coordinated the research.

This current survey builds on the information from the previous surveys and covers some of the key developments and issues with ICT in schools policy. These include:
  • School ICT infrastructure, including the use of networks, software in use by schools, and ICT related equipment and its teaching applications.
  • Internet access and usage.
  • ICT planning and funding in schools.
  • E-learning developments.
  • Professional development for teachers and principals.
  • Principals’ attitudes towards the use of ICT in schools.
  • ICT in schools and the wider community.
  • Use of social software.
This report is particularly timely as many schools in NZ are contemplating the opportunities presented by being connected to high speed broadband networks. Some interesting points from the report in this regard:
  • Around one quarter of schools have a fibre broadband connection, although one third of primary schools (29 percent) and secondary schools (38 percent) report that this option is not yet available in their area.
  • Three quarters of schools (76 percent) can be described as fully ‘networked’ (all classrooms connected to centralised resources). This year’s results also revealed that one third (34 percent) of all schools are networked wirelessly (that is 100 percent of the school’s classrooms are covered by a wireless network).
  • Secondary schools express interest in using cloud computing (43 percent of schools), or server virtualisation (30 percent) in their schools. Primary schools, on the other hand, are more likely to be unsure as to what cloud computing (38 percent), or server virtualisation (62 percent) refers to.
  • Awareness of KAREN has increased (Kiwi Advanced Research and Education Network) amongst secondary (62 percent, compared to 30 percent in 2007), Māori Medium (33 percent, compared to 16 percent in 2007) and primary schools (22 percent compared to 12 percent in 2007). 
All school principals were asked to rate how useful they found high-speed Internet connections in relation to a number of activities in their school. More than four-fifths of all the principals interviewed reported that high-speed Internet was somewhat useful or very useful for all of the ten activities that they were questioned about. The activities for which high-speed Internet received the highest ratings for usefulness included:
  • Teacher use of online teaching and learning resources
  • Use of the Internet by students for information gathering
  • Student access to online learning resources
  • Administration efficiencies 
The latest report on the state of ICT in NZ schools (PDF) has recenlty been published.

Source: 2020 Website , Derek’s Blog

Thursday, 04 February 2010 15:44:01 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, 03 February 2010
The e-learning initiative by Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) aims to modernize Vietnam's education system by 2011 and to provide opportunities for the country's teachers and students – especially those in remote and rural areas.The Ministry of Education and Training, Vietnam and Viettel are collaborating on a projecteducation network’, which will allow 39,000 kindergartens, secondary and high schools to have free access to the Internet. These schools will also be exempted from installation fees. Notably, they will enjoy this free service forever. For provincial and municipal Departments of Education and Training, universities, colleges and vocational training schools (around 600 units), Viettel will collect a portion of monthly Internet charges.

The MOET is also in partnership with Intel Semiconductor Ltd. Vietnam to accelerate the MOET's e-learning initiative. Under “Computer for Schools” project, Intel and local technology companies will make available 1 million affordable PCs during the next 2 years. The program's objective is to provide all Vietnamese teachers with a PC with educational software and broadband Internet connectivity. The MOET and Intel also announced a contest to encourage 1 million teachers nationwide to create e-learning content. In Vietnam, Intel has cooperated with the MOET in the past too, to increase Internet-connected PCs and development of rich, localized content and software applications among local schools, teachers and students. These efforts include the donation of more than 1,900 PCs; training 43,000 teachers to date under the Intel® Teach program; and an intention to train an additional 15,000 teachers in the year 2009-2010.

ViOlympic Elead, ViOlympic and Bkis would bring the ‘Computer-for-schools’ program another breakthrough product ViOlympic. ViOlympic is the especially significant computer, meaningful for those who wish to compete in the ViOlympic contest by the Ministry of Education and Training. This is the unique series to have onboard ViOlympic software for practice mathematical problem solving. The computer is also installed Myeqtext- mathematics software to meet the requirements of pupils in general and ViOlympic contest in particular. ViOlympic computer ensures the safety and protection for pupils from negative impacts when accessing the Internet as it is pre-installed with copyright BkavPro 2009 Internet Security antivirus software, which is able to control and prevent access to websites of bad contents.

Sources: VUFO- NGO Resource Centre Vietnam, Intel News Release, FPT Newsroom
Wednesday, 03 February 2010 21:26:10 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

September 2009 - The Education Department, Government of Punjab, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Microsoft Pakistan under the “Partners in Learning” global program. Both parties will work cooperatively to participate in a four-year program from 2009 till 2013.

It was decided under the MoU that Microsoft’s and the Education Department’s associates will provide a joint report to Government of Punjab and Microsoft every 90 days. The report will provide an assessment of the purpose, progress and impact of ‘Partners in Learning Program’ in Punjab, Pakistan.

Michael Robinson, GM Public Sector, Microsoft MEA, flew down to Pakistan to personally thank the Chief Minster and Government of Punjab to select Microsoft as their partner in this massive reform program. Michael articulated that, “Microsoft has always believed that investing in education is the best way to help young people achieve their potential. We are hand in hand in this program with the Education Department, Government of Punjab to ensure that students receive practical education of information technology that can help them get jobs in the market.”

According to the MoU, Microsoft will provide four weeks of internship to 4 students suggested by the Government of Punjab every year through Microsoft’s certified partners in Pakistan. The chief minister said under the agreement, the Punjab government would invest Rs3 billion in three years and Microsoft Rs1.5 billion, and resultantly the government would earn a profit of Rs500 million.

Sayed Hashish, Director Public Sector, Microsoft North Africa, East Med and Pakistan, stated that, “Over the past few years, technology has become a need in every field. Microsoft, realizing the challenges that institutions in Pakistan face to implement a quality technology program, came up with a very unique plan. We believe that importance of computer literacy cannot be overstated as technology continues to accelerate globally. Hence, this partnership between Government of Punjab and Microsoft is a worthwhile approach and will help the education system here in the long run.”

Kamal Ahmed (Country General Manager) “Microsoft aspires to introduce education related solutions which will enable the community of students and educators to realize their potential through the power of technology and to remove the barriers in the effective use of technology”.

Source: Link

Wednesday, 03 February 2010 20:42:52 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, 02 February 2010

Singapore is taking massive steps to integrate ICTs into education in a variety of ways. The FutureSchools@Singapore program seeks to develop up to 15 schools with up-to-date teaching and learning methodology through utilization of ICTS in education system. It is a joint project of Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) and the Ministry of Education (MOE) and vendors like Hewlett-Packard (HP), Singapore Technologies Electronics (ST Electronics), Microsoft, Singapore Telecoms (SingTel) are also involved actively in this project.

The Ministry of Education has also established its first interactive web-based Education and Career Guidance (ECG) portal for students. is a project, jointly developed by the Ministry of Education and the Center on Education and Work, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Pilot-tested in 2009 in 18 secondary schools, 4 junior colleges and Millennia Institute, the portal received positive feedback on its overall user friendliness and up-to-date and comprehensive features. was expected to be available to secondary and post-secondary schools by August 2009 and to primary schools by early 2010.

Ministry of Education (MOE), the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) and Microsoft Singapore, are also collaborating on BackPackLive! initiative. This initiative is an expansion of the previous five year IDA-Microsoft BackPack.NET initiative launched in 2003. BackPack.NET was the first education initiative where Microsoft, IDA and MOE collaborated to create a fundamental shift in the way a student experiences learning through the use of innovative Tablet PC (TPC)-based learning applications. The new collaboration will focus on inspiring, exploring and scaling innovative ICT practices among teachers. The Cyber Wellness Student Ambassador Programme, to promote safe and responsible use of Information-Communication Technologies (ICT) among students through peer education, is also a part of the BackPack LIVE! Education initiative. It plans to target students at Primary 4 and Secondary 2 levels, and was planned to kick off with 47 primary and 44 secondary schools in November 2009.

The Ministry of Education (MOE) is also working together with NCS Pte Ltd and Google to make available the Google Apps (Education version) suite of online communications and collaboration tools to more than 30,000 teachers and staff in over 350 schools in Singapore by end 2009. The successful implementation of this project would make MOE the first Ministry in Singapore to adopt an open standard cloud computing platform and the first in Asia to provide Web 2.0 communication and collaboration tools to all teachers in the public school system.

From as early as 2010, the Next-Generation National Broadband Network (Next Gen NBN) would also support education initiatives in Singapore such as Future Schools through high speed connectivity 1Gbps and beyond which would pave way for enhanced web-based interactive features in teaching and learning.

Source:Ministry of Education Singapore Press Releases

Tuesday, 02 February 2010 19:32:34 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, 01 February 2010

Michael Trucano praises Chile for introducing ICTs into education in a systematic manner. “Chilean experience is perhaps the most lauded and studied” he says. According to him Enlaces started off as connectivity pilot project, rooted in universities, not essentially limited to technology but incorporating teacher training and digital content, long before other such projects could implement these essentials. The initial Pilot was such a success that it led to immediate expansion into a national project of education ministry. To date 1100 schools participate in the project and nearly 110,000 teachers have participated in professional development courses. “The national education portal is considered a model by many other countries. By next year, the government projects that it will have a student: computer ratio of 10:1. Many other countries look at such figures with envy.”

Trucano says that being a primary model doesn’t guarantee sustained leadership, in particular, technology advancement keeps revolutionizing the role of ICTs in education. Trucano cites example of Uruguay’s roll-out of 1-to-1 computing for all primary students under Plan Ceibal. However, ever increasing computer density poses child safety issues.

Other useful resources:

Enclaces official site (in Spanish, English translation link in the post)

Technology in Schools: Education, ICT and the Knowledge Society [pdf]

Chile: Building the National Learning Network “Enlaces” [pdf]

Enlaces: The Chilean ICT Experience in Education [pdf]

Adapted fromFundacion Pais digital

Monday, 01 February 2010 18:53:32 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Sunday, 31 January 2010

SchoolNet is an initiative that promotes the effective use of information and communication technologies (ICT) in learning through supporting the connection of schools to the Internet and by creating a network of schools. The UNESCO SchoolNet project, “Strengthening ICT in Schools and SchoolNet Project in ASEAN Setting”, was initiated in recognition of the need to assist teachers in integrating ICT into teaching and to facilitate participation of teachers and students in the Asia-Pacific region in SchoolNet telecollaboration activities.

The project was launched in July 2003 and focuses on three subject areas, languages, mathematics and science. SchoolNet activities have been piloted in 24 schools in8 participating countries of the ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations) region: Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Viet Nam.

The UNESCO SchoolNet project aims to encourage use of ICT in teaching-learning, improve connectivity, expand access to the wealth of educational resources available via the Internet and establish and promote SchoolNet in the Asia-Pacific region. National coordinators facilitate project implementation in each participating ASEAN-region country. Project partners include Japanese Funds-in-Trust and ASEAN Foundation.

Source:UNESCO SchoolNet Project resource

Sunday, 31 January 2010 22:11:14 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The IT for Rural Schools Program was started in 1995, with the objective of minimizing educational inequality by providing rural school teachers, students, and children with disabilities with access to computer technology. The project covers some 72 rural schools across Thailand.

Launched in 1998, the Learn and Have Fun with CAI for Primary School Students Project has the main function of identifying quality CAI software from abroad for use in Thai primary schools, and integrating this software initially into three subject areas: math, science, and English. The project also includes staff development to train teachers in the full and effective use of the CAI software in their classes.

RH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn believes that if prison inmates are trained in skills that are of a practical use and in high demand, such as computer skills, they will have a better chance of finding a good job after their sentences are finished and of becoming good citizens of benefit to society. Acting on this belief, Her Royal Highness launched the IT for Inmates Program under the Princess’s IT Project. The Program began at Bang hen Central Women’s Prison at Khlong Prem in 1997. In 1992, the Technical Information Access Center under the National Science and Technology Development Agency hired the prison inmates to type Thai and English journal indexes. At present, numerous organizations offer the inmates typing jobs. Between 1992 and 2003, the inmates earned a combined total of approximately 160,000 baht in this way. Later, the prisoners also learnt computer graphics. At present, the average accumulated income generated as a result of this Program is about 50,000 baht per month.

In 2003, HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn provided an opportunity for the inmates to contribute to society by taking part in the production of audio books for the blind. This project came about through collaboration among three bodies: the Princess’ IT Project, the Thai Blind Association and Bangkhen Women’s Prison. Initially, some 47 inmates participated in the project, 35 of whom read, while the other 12 carried out audio editing using the computers. By the end of 2003, this group of inmates was expected to have produced a total of 1,000 hours of audio books.

Further details can be seen in this report. Source: UNESCO Bangkok online resources
Sunday, 31 January 2010 21:13:28 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     |