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 Thursday, July 08, 2010

This past Monday, teachers and Heads of Schools from 150 Rwandan schools began training with the XO Laptop, the laptop developed by One Laptop Per Child (OLPC).  The week-long program will be spent familiarizing teachers and administrators with the XO laptop, instructing teachers on ICT issues such as electrification of classrooms and creating parental awareness, and implementing the OLPC goals successfully.  Teachers are being trained by OLPC officials and others from the Kigali Institute of Science and Technology.

Dr. Mathias Harebamungu, the State Minister in charge of Primary and Secondary Education, credited President Paul Kagame for instating the initiative that strives to bring one laptop to each child.  The 300 faculty present are representative of the 30 school districts in Rwanda.  Five primary schools in each district will receive laptops.  If a school does not have easy access to electricity, solar energy efforts will be extended to that institution.  Each school will receive 400 laptops once teachers have been trained in their use for enhancing education.

(Sources: The New Times and The OLPC Global Center for Laptops and Learning)

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Thursday, July 08, 2010 3:45:53 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, July 07, 2010

The Kenya Institute of Education (KIE) strives to promote top-tier education through the development of high quality curricula.  This week, KIE announced a partnership with Intel and Mustek East Africa that will provide software and hardware to Kenyan schools to promote online learning.  Through installing new technologies in the schools, KIE hopes to improve learning while cutting down on long run education costs.  Mustek East Africa has urged local governments to adopt mini-laptop, a design that Mustek East Africa is creating, to help achieve improved education and to lower long run costs by eliminating needs for updated books and desktop computers.  KIE has created a program with Intel that is designed to foster a close relationship between students and ICT learning resources.

In addition to improving upon education, a second result of this partnership is the procurement of Internet access by rural communities.  By taking the opportunity to lay fiber optic cable to the schools participating in the program, it will allow students and other to have access to Internet resources previously unavailable.  There are already a number of schools that have been selected to take part in this program, and as the program begins to achieve results, more schools will become included.

(Sources: The Standard, Mustek East Africa, and KIE)

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Wednesday, July 07, 2010 3:12:42 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, July 05, 2010

When three schools in the Central Visayas region of the Philippines performed poorly on standardized achievement tests, with one school, the Tayud National High School, producing a mere 17 per cent pasing rate, the Coalition for Better Education (CBE) decided to iimplement programs that would improve these statistics.  Intervening through the Involving Communities for Better Education initiative, CBE partnered with Globe Telecom to create a pilot program at Tayud.  Globe Telecom has designed and implemented several ICT education courses, including the Global Flilipino Teachers and Globe Bridging Communities.  Global Filipino Teachers (GFT) is an intensive six-day teacher training program that instructs primary educators on ICT application in the classroom.  Globe Bridging Communities consists of several initiatives, including the Internet in Schools Program for high school students, which provides one year of free Globe Broadband Internet access.  As of 2010, Internet in Schools Program had provided Internet to over 950 schools nationwide.

As part of the pilot program at Tayud, teacher received GFT training after CBE ensured that they were ICT literate.  Additionally, Tayud became a recipient of the Internet in Schools Program.  In order to create a more active community, Globe has also agreed to help create a community resource center that will open this month.  This community center represents a partnership between the school, the governemtn, and the local community, and will help to promote the goods and services of the Tayud region.

(Sources: Malaya Business Insight and Globe)

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Monday, July 05, 2010 3:46:15 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, July 02, 2010

In Lagos, Nigeria, the Fashola administration has made a commitment to improving education as part of an initiative to improve the economic well being of the regioin.  A total of 960 new classrooms have been built, with an additional 400 classrooms that have bee nrenovated.  Each school tha thas been renovated now has a newly constructed block of twenty classrooms and four laboratories, one of which is designated to the use of information technology.  In order to maximize the efficiency of these laboratories, the governor of Lago decided to implement the Microsoft IT Academy in three schools as part of a pilot program.

The Microsoft IT Academy is designed to provide educators and students with skills in Microsoft software, e-learning couress, and othe rrelevant ICT fields.  Deux Project Limited functions as Microsoft's local support group; they will be providing laptops with Microsoft IT Academy software for one of the schools.  As part of the Microsoft IT Academy curriculum, Microsoft will provide free email resources and over 175 e-learning courses.  Because training resources are scarce in the region, the use of the Microsoft IT Academy, which will train both students and educators who can train future students, is a self-sustainable way to encourage ICT use in education in Lagos.

(Sources: The Sun News and Microsoft IT Academy)

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Friday, July 02, 2010 3:24:46 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, July 01, 2010

The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications in Japan has taken the surge of ICT use in education seriously; they've enacted a policy of providing digital textbooks for all elementary and junior high school students by 2015.  Both Intel and Toshiba share this passion for enhancing education through the use of ICTs.  Toshiba operates the Digital Creator School at the Toshiba Science Museum, where students can go to improve ICT Literacy.  Intel founded the Intel Education Initiative, which is comprised of a range of programs designed to improve ICT education.  The Initiative includes programs such as the Intel Teach Program, designed to instruct teachers on ICT classroom use, and the Intel Computer Clubhouse Network, an after-school technology learning program that enables youth in underprivileged communities to procure the ICT skills and knowledge necessary to have a successful academic life.

Earlier today, Toshiba and Intel announced the release of a new tablet PC known as the CM1 which has been specifically designed for primary education use.  Student-friendly features of this tablet include a monitor that rotates a full 180-degrees and has an advanced touch screen that allows for writing programs so that, among other things, elementary students can practice penmanship.  Additionally, to encourage collaboratoin in the classroom, the CM1 is capable of wirelessly connecting with electronic white boards and projectors.  Developers of the CM1 even included a handle so that students can easily carry it around school.  The CM1 will be released in August.  Both corporations have already outlined plans for using the CM1 in their ICT education programs, hoping to jumpstart the use and effectiveness of the CM1 in Japanese primary education.

(Sources: Toshiba and Intel Education Initiative)

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Thursday, July 01, 2010 3:20:47 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, June 30, 2010

This past weekend, twenty six teachers completed the final weekend of a three-month course that instructed teachers on ways in which to use ICTs in the hopes of improving education in the schools of the Emirate, Ras Al Khaimah.  The training was organized by the Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi Foundation for Policy Research, and executed by trainers from Bon Education.  The Foundation is an instrument in realizing the Sheikh's vision of transforming Ras Al Kahimah into a world class research community, to that the reserach can be used for international policy and local economic well-being.

Currently, public schools have troubles with basic technology, such as access to the Internet.  In a survey conducted by Bon Education, over 30 per cen to fthe teacher interviewed reported that the school in which they worked had little to no Internet access.  With public schools not being granted access to technologies, many of the northern Emirates are struggling with graduating students who have less than adequate ICT skills.  The Sheikh's foundation plans to continue to partner with Bon Education to provide more training courses for teachers in Ras Al Khaimah.  A second round of three-month courses, for which attendance is voluntary and homework is assigned, will begin again this coming fall.  Even though the classes are temporarily suspended until the next set of teachers commence ICT training, teachers are beeing invited to use the Ras Al Khaimah Teacher's Network, a website set up by Bon Education through which teachers can exchange resources.

(Sources: Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi Foundation for Policy Research, Bon Education, and The National)

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Wednesday, June 30, 2010 3:21:28 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Jordan Education Initiative (JEI), launched in 2003 by World Economic Forum partners, was created with the intention of developing education through the combination of ICTs and modern teaching techniques.  Projects of the JEI focus on three main divisions: reserach and innovation, expansion and outreach, and collaborations.  A key project in the collaboration sector is the partnership of JEI with SMART Technologies.  SMART is the company responsible for creating the popularly known SMART Board, an interactive white board designed to bolster education and businesses through taking a commonly used tool, the white board, and digitalizing it to promote connectivity and team work through the use of interactive white boards.

When the partnership betwen the two institutions began, SMART donated 18 interactive white boards to five schools because of their commitment to the use of ICTs in education as apart of the Discovery Schools pilot project in Amman.  Teacher at the selected schools used the interactive white boards to create and execute lesson plans; students responded well, stating that using the SMART Board often encouraged teachers to use different media sources to teach more difficult concepts, which helped the students to better understand the subject.  After these initial findings, JEI conducted a more thorough study that shows that over 90 percent of math and science students in grades eigh tna dnine reported being more enthusiastic about learning.  Additionaly, the study indicates that 86 percent of students were more motivated to particpate when lessons included the use of the SMART Board, further demonstrating the impact that ICTs can have in the classroom when applied effectively.

(Sources: Al Bawaba, JEI, and SMART Technologies)

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Tuesday, June 29, 2010 3:21:52 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, June 28, 2010

The Women's Technology Empowerment Centre (W.TEC) is a Nigerian non-governmental organization with a goal to educate and empower Nigerian women through teaching them skills and applications of ICTs.  W.TEC runs a variety of programs for all ages, for girls, young women, older women, and actively keeps in contact with program alumni to help them maintain current ICT skills.  This year, W.TEC will host the third W.TEC Girls Technology Camp in Lagos, Nigeria from 8 to 14 August 2010.  This one week residential camp helps to develop technology literacy in secondary school girls, along with instructing them on various applications of technologies, such as career options related to technology or engineering.

Oreoluwa Somolu, the Executive Director of W.TEC, explained that the Nigerian technology industry is mostly dominated by men; although women strive to enter the industry, it can often be a difficult tast.  The W.TEC girls camp is a long term solution to this problem, with supporters including the Nigerian Television Authority Channel 10, Omatek Computers, Rutgers College in New Jersey, USA, and Laureates College in Lagos.  Although this year students will have to pay to attend the camp, their fee of N50,000 covers everything the camp provides, including food, lodging, course materials, and other camp offerings. Once participants complete the camp, they will be encouraged to actively use ICTs to improve their futures and their everyday lives.

(Sources: Technology Times and W.TEC)

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Monday, June 28, 2010 10:32:37 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, June 25, 2010

For persons with disabilities, particularly those with low vision, adapting to university surroundings can be a daunting task.  While many primary and secondary education institutions have specialized teachers to help those with disabilities, not every university has those same capabilities and resourses, therby possibly preventing or discouraging disabled students from attending their dream school.  Drury University in Springfield, Missouri, realized that htis obstacle is one that should be ameliorated.  Using funds from a grant from the Greene County Developmental Disabilities Board, the school is working on launching the Drury University Children's Center for the Visually Impaired.  Drury just completed the launch of a pilot program, with students ranging in age from high school freshman to local community college students.

This program is designed to help transition students from high shcool to university using a myriad of courses and technologies.  The pilot program inlcuded a technology course that instructed students on how to use a barcode scanner to identify foods and even color-code clothes.  Other technologies to which the students were introduced included a portable GPS device with Braille readers so that students could locate various campus buildings, along with a magnifying glass designed for low-vision students that is powerful enough to read something written on a white board.  While right now the program is localized, this year only students from Missouri and Arkansas participated, with donations and funding, Drury hopes to expand the program to students from other states in the upcoming years.

(Sources: News-Leader.com and Drury University)

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Friday, June 25, 2010 11:08:22 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Ministries of Education in Singapore and Kuwait signed a second Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for enhancing educational exchanges during a visit to Singapore by His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah when he was Prime Minister.  Through this MoU, Singapore would serve as an advisor to Kuwait as Kuwait improves its ICT and e-government sectors.  In a recent visit to Singapore, Undersecratry of the Kuwaiti Ministry of Education Tamadher Al-Sudairawi stated that one of the primary exchanges in which he hopes the two contries would participate is in the exchange of the myraid of uses in ICTs in education.  Recently, Singapore has been extremely active in promoting the introduction of ICTs to education.

This most recent visit of Al-Sudairawi and the Minister of Higher Education Dr. Moudhi Al-Humoud along with others has allowed the Kuwaiti delegation to wtness firsthand the ways in which Singapore has advanced with ICTs in the public sector, specifically the way that the Singaporean government has develope dand planned new curriculums using ICTs and the application of ICTs in helping to run the administrative side of the public school system.  While Kuwait has been active in promoting ICTs in education, the infrastruture has been farily basic and not necessarily executed in the most efficient manner.  In addition to ICTs in schools, the Assistant Undersecretary for Educational Research and Curricula Sector, Mariam al-Wutaid, expressed her hope that perhaps Kuwait and Singapore would extend their e-government partnerhip that was signed in November 2008.

 

(Sources: Kuwait News Agency and iDA Singapore)

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Thursday, June 24, 2010 10:37:32 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The e-learning project in Jamaica strives to improve the quality of education and the overall learning experience in Jamaica's high schools, with the ultimate goal being to increase the number of students who pass exit examinations, namely the Caribbean Examination Council's Secondary Examination.  Part of this e-learning project is training teachers in the use of ICTs so that they can integrate new technology into the classrooms to create a more stimulating and effective learning method for students.  This past week, 200 new teachers were aded to the perpetually growing list of Jamaican teachers who have been trained in the use of educational ICTs; these graduates bring the total number of trained teachers to over 11,000.

The teachers who have completed the ICT courses now hold either a level one or level two NCTVET, NCQ-J certificate, which the Senior Programme Director for Enterprise Based Training at HEART Trust/NTA asserts will be recognized internatoinally.  The training was completed with the goal to be for the teachers to prepare their students more throughly for eithe rlocal or international work.  Over 500 Jamaican administrators and trainers have been trained directly by the HEART Trust/NTA that works to train Jamaicans in ICTs so that they can operate at basic international standards.  Feedback from students who have benefited from increased ICT curriculums has been widely positive, and is an incentive for the program to keep training more educators in the future.

(Sources:  Jamaica Information Service and HEART Trust/NTA)

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Wednesday, June 23, 2010 9:44:46 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Ministry of Education of Singapore announced the development of the third masterplan for ICT in Education in 2008 that was to be fulfilled over a period of five years, between 2009 and 2014.  This third masterplan addressed several broad strategies including the strengthening of ICT into school curriculums and enancing ICT provisions in schools.  In order to achieve this masterplan, the Ministry of Education recently announced its contract with National Computer Systems Pte Ltd (NCS) that is valued at S$850 million over a period of eight years.  This contract awarded NCS the project of the Standard Operating Environment (SOE) for Schools, a contract of approximately 120,000 seats; these seats will allow for connectivity amongst 40,000 teachers and administrators and approximately 500,000 students.

SOE is a government-wide initiative aimed at unifying ICT in various branches of government to allow for improved operation efficiency with ICT programs in the public sector.  Because the Ministry of Education falls under this broad initiative, SOE for Schools is undertaken in a similar manner but separate from the nationwide initiative.  Schools awarded the privilege of participating inthe SOE for Schools program will subscribe to predefined services, on a per user per month basis.  The SOE for Schools program will be implemented over the next two years, with pilot programs beginning early next year and the goal to have all schools connected wirelessly with SOE for Schools infrastructure by the end of 2012.

 

(Sources:  The GovMonitor and The Ministry of Education of Singapore)

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Tuesday, June 22, 2010 10:21:15 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, June 18, 2010

In March 2006, One Laptop per Child (OLPC) opened its offices in Cambridge, Massachusetts with the goal of providing $100USD laptops to children of the developing world who have little to no access to primary education.  Today, the Ministry of Education in Rwanda is getting ready to distribute OLPC computers to five schools in each district.  Rwanda was chosen as the global learning center of OLPC due to the commitment of Rwandan President Paul Kagame's commitment to triple Rwanda's economy by making the country a technological services hub.  So far, 8,000 laptops have already been distributed throughout the duration of the pilot program; an additional 60,000 laptops are being preapred to be distributed across 150 schools.

Schools were chosen to receive the laptops based on several factors, including access to electricity.  The OLPC program also includes a training section to instruct teachers on how to integrate OLPC XO laptops into the classrom.  235 teachers have already been trained, and more thorough training will commence near the end of this month.  The Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy's goal is by 2010, to have distributed laptops to half of the population of children who attend school, approximately 2.5 million students.

 

(Sources: One Laptop per Child, The New Times, and The Irish Times)

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Friday, June 18, 2010 11:00:57 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, June 17, 2010

Gearing up Internet Literacy Access for Students, also known as the GILAS project, is an initiative in the Philippines whose goal is to provide Internet access to all public high school students in the Philippines.  Today there are 2,720 schools in the Philippines connected to the Internet, out of a total of 6,519 public high schools; the participants of the GILAS project, mainly corporations and non-profit institutions, helped to make tthat happen.  Specifically, in the Compostela Valley province of the Philippines, GILAS has already helped connect six out of 56 high schools. 

In early June, the Compostela Valley provincial government, in partnership with the department of Education and the Azala Foundation, turned over eleven server computers complete with printers and Local Area Network peripherals in order to implement the GILAS project in an additional 25 schools in the region.  Currently, 3,799 schools remain to be conneted to the World Wide Web.

 

(Sources: Manila Bulletin Publishing Corporation and GILAS)

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Thursday, June 17, 2010 3:40:07 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, June 16, 2010

New application enables parents to monitor kids’ Facebook activity. Faced with growing incidences of inappropriate social media contacts, cyber bullying, and more online activity now as the school year ends and summer begins, parents more than ever crave guidance on how to keep their children safe when using social media sites. To give them better tools to oversee family rules, Schakra is introducing GoGoStat Parental Guidance, a new, free Facebook application that lets parents monitor their children’s activity.

Created by a team of former Microsoft employees with research and input from various law enforcement experts, GoGoStat Parental Guidance identifies risky behavior and provides information for parents to share with their children. Parental Guidance alerts parents so they can act quickly, notifying them when pre-established “family ground rules” are violated, inappropriate text is posted, new contacts are made, or photos of their children are uploaded.

GoGoStat Parental Guidance beta is available for free at www.gogostat.com. A premium feature version which will include additional capabilities, trending reports, and GoGoStat Sync premium features, will be available by subscription for a small fee beginning in the Fall of 2010.

(Source: Business Wire)

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Wednesday, June 16, 2010 9:21:05 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, June 07, 2010

A remote village of Capital City, Mira Bagwal has been converted into e-village, as it has been provided 2 MB Broad Band internet connection and its people have been given the facility of video conferencing to take advice from specialist doctors in case of any problem.

Mira Bagwal is the first of the 300 villages which will have Broadband Internet connectivity. E-dispensaries and E-libraries will also be established in these villages which will give the much needed exposure to the young students of these villages. Moreover, it will also help the residents of these villages to market their products online.

(Source: Pakiology)

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Monday, June 07, 2010 9:52:27 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A new computer aimed at people aged over 60 who are unfamiliar with PCs and the internet has been unveiled. The simplified desktop - called SimplicITy - has just six buttons directing users to basic tasks such as e-mail and chat. The computer comes pre-loaded with 17 video tutorials from television presenter Valerie Singleton

The SimplicITy computer has no log-in screen when started up, and contains no drop-down menus. It opens straight to a front page called "square one" containing separate clickable buttons for e-mail, browsing the web, files (for storing word documents and photos etc), online chat and a user profile. The e-mail system is a modified version of an Italian design called Eldy. All SimplicITy users with an eldy.org address will be able to chat to each other via the "chat" button. The computer is built using Linux operating system, a free operating system that can be customised by users. If people decide they no longer need the SimplicITy desktop, they can replace it with a standard Linux desktop.

(Source: BBC News)

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Wednesday, May 19, 2010 3:50:35 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in partnership with Uganda Communication Commission (UCC) organized a workshop for persons with disability called “ICT Accessibility”. The workshop which took place on 6th May 2010 at the Commonwealth Hotel Speke, Munyonyo in Kampala, Uganda was intended to mainly discuss the challenges faced by PWDs globally in accessing ICTs and share knowledge of how a number of ICTs used for electronic accesssibility (e-accessibility) have and can still bridge the gap between the disabled persons and the non-disabled ones.

(Source: Women of Uganda Network)

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Wednesday, May 19, 2010 3:28:49 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, April 08, 2010

The Tunisian Chamber of Women Entrepreneurs (CNFCE) organized on Wednesday in Hammamet the Mediterranean Forum of Women Entrepreneurs under the theme, "Globalization of trade: what place does the Mediterranean woman occupy”.

 The event is organized in cooperation with the “INVEST in MED” program and the Women Entrepreneurs Committee under the Mediterranean Chambers of Commerce and Industry Association (ASCAME).

Women entrepreneurs from the 5 Maghrebi countries from Europe, as well as experts and university professors, took part in the event. The forum dealt with two major objectives namely the consolidation of trade relations between women heads of Mediterranean enterprises and facilitating access to external markets.

(Source: Tunisia Online News)

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Thursday, April 08, 2010 4:18:42 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, March 26, 2010

For the first time in a decade, the U.S. Access Board is proposing an update to regulations covering access for disabled people for computer software, Web sites, cell phones and other IT products and devices.

On March 17, the Access Board released a draft proposal for standards for electronic and information technology in the federal sector covered by Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act.The draft “Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Standards and Guidelines” reorganizes requirements by function, rather than by product type.

The goal of the guidelines is to set standards to ensure that the technologies are accessible for people with a variety of disabilities, including hearing, seeing, physical or speech-related disabilities. Technologies covered by this rulemaking include telephones, cell phones, computer hardware and software, Web sites, media players, electronic documents and other devices.

(Source: Federal Computer Week)

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Friday, March 26, 2010 1:50:34 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Chibombo district commissioner Colonnel Philip Chabakale has said there is need for the Zambia Information and Communication Technology Authority (ZICTA) to embrace an all-inclusive agenda regarding access to make Information and Communication Technology (ICTs) as tools for economic development.

Officiating at a public forum organised by ZICTA in Chibombo on Saturday, Col Chabakale said his district had a large population of physically challenged citizens.“These have been incapacitated by leprosy. The current ICT tools and equipment on the Zambian market do not cater for the special needs of these citizens and yet we all know that there are assistive technologies that can enable a person without hands or fingers to use a cell phone and access the Internet,” Col Chabakale said. He implored ZICTA to consider the plight of the disabled.

(Source: The Post Online)

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Friday, March 26, 2010 1:12:30 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Sunday, February 28, 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 http://www.fod.ac.cr/en/institute, 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 http://www.fod.ac.cr/zonam/ 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.

Sunday, February 28, 2010 10:35:54 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Saturday, February 27, 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 http://www.fod.ac.cr/en/institute, 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 http://www.fod.ac.cr/zonam/ 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, February 27, 2010 10:52:43 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, February 17, 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:

http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/beijing15/index.html

http://www.un.org/womenwatch/beijing15/

 

Source: WomenWatch

 

Wednesday, February 17, 2010 5:06:03 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, February 11, 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.

Source:STEP

Thursday, February 11, 2010 5:58:47 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, February 10, 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, February 10, 2010 1:46:23 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, February 09, 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, February 09, 2010 7:28:03 PM (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, February 09, 2010 10:36:15 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, February 08, 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
Page

More information about Plan Ceibal and OLPC in Uruguay:

Monday, February 08, 2010 9:36:32 PM (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, February 08, 2010 9:07:44 PM (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, February 08, 2010 4:19:09 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Sunday, February 07, 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, February 07, 2010 5:03:21 PM (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, February 07, 2010 4:42:37 PM (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, February 07, 2010 11:58:17 AM (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, February 07, 2010 9:12:59 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Saturday, February 06, 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, February 06, 2010 5:23:22 PM (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, February 06, 2010 1:48:20 PM (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, February 06, 2010 11:48:52 AM (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, February 06, 2010 11:30:42 AM (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, February 06, 2010 8:48:40 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, February 05, 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, February 05, 2010 10:08:46 AM (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, February 05, 2010 10:03:45 AM (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, February 05, 2010 10:00:46 AM (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, February 05, 2010 9:53:00 AM (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, February 05, 2010 9:48:33 AM (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, February 05, 2010 9:42:29 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, February 04, 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, February 04, 2010 7:22:35 PM (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, February 04, 2010 5:41:21 PM (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, February 04, 2010 5:35:14 PM (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, February 04, 2010 5:22:16 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     |