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 Monday, 26 July 2010
India, known for the "world's cheapest" innovations, unveiled a prototype of a $35 tablet computer aimed at students.

The project is part of an ambitious education technology initiative by the Indian government, which also aims to bring broadband connectivity to India's 25,000 colleges and 504 universities and make study materials available online.

The government even plans on subsidizing the cost of the tablet for its student which would bring the purchase price down even lower. According to Kapil Sibal, the country's Minister for Human Resource Development, this is their answer to MIT's $100 computer.

The Linux-based computer at first glance resembles an Apple iPad and features basic functions you'd expect to see in a tablet--a Web browser, multimedia player, PDF reader, Wi-Fi, and video conferencing ability. It has 2GB of RAM (but no hard disk, instead using a memory card) and USB ports and could be available to kids from primary school up to the university level as early as next year.

(Sources:, cnet news)

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Monday, 26 July 2010 17:47:22 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

IT@School project endeavors to enhance the intellectual productivity of teacher and the curricular comprehension of students. The work of the project saw 4 million students and 0.2 million teachers empowered in ICT through a network of dedicated 200 Master Trainers and 5600 IT Co-coordinators. IT@School is the nodal agency for implementing EDUSAT (first Indian satellite exclusively serving the education sector) network and runs an exclusive channel for education called ‘ViCTERS’ (Virtual Classroom Technology on EDUSAT for Rural Schools).The project has now associated with BSNL to provide Internet broad band connectivity to all high schools in Kerala.

The success of the Project can be visualized by the conduct IT practical examination in free software for about 4 million students, first of this kind in the world with so much vast resourceful deployment of free software. The efforts of Project saw deployment of adequate IT infrastructure to all schools including computers and other accessories. The project also focuses on capacity building by providing hardware and software training to teachers along with special programs to teach them the use of ICTs in education. Infrastructure up gradation is also an essential part of the project along with several E-governance initiatives. So far the project has supplied 40,000 computers to schools along with laptops, printers, scanners and generators. A recent news report also suggests that the project will provide free digital libraries to schools in Kerala soon.

The IT@School Project has now also joined hands with chip giant Intel, to deploy a dual language version of the Skoool Learning and Teaching Technologies website. The platform is expected to benefit teachers and students in the state by providing attractive educational packages in school level Mathematics and Science, as a free Internet resource.

The project is the World’s largest Simultaneous deployment of FOSS(Free and Open Software Systems) initiatives in Education sector. It is also the winner of National e-governance Award for the Best Project and also the winner of World is Open Award 2008. IT@School Project, through its various initiatives, has enabled the educational system to make a paradigm shift to ICT enabled education from the conventional IT education.

(Source: IT@School)

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Monday, 26 July 2010 09:04:42 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, 23 July 2010

The ICT Academy of Tamil Nadu (ICTACT) is a consortium of the Government of India, the Government of Tamil Nadu.  The ICTACT is overseen by an autonomous board of directors comprised of representatives from the Government of Tamil, leading educational institutions including all government universities and top tier schools, and leading companies in the ICT industry with a presence in Tamil Nadu.  Lead by a vision of creating a leading ICT knowledge center, the board of directors at ICTACT decided to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Oracle Academy.

Oracle, a leading software and hardware designer for businesses, founded Oracle Academy as part of their series of education initiatives.  The goal of Oracle Academy is to prepare students for IT careers by bestowing up them world-class training and professional development opportunities; over 58,000 students already benefit from the Oracle Academy program in India alone.  Through this MoU with ICTACT, Oracle Academy will provide software, technical support, curriculum access, and professional training that will benefit over 250,000 students across the state within three years.  Specifically, Oracle Academy will provide 300 hours of curriculum, over 120 hours of instructor training for 240 instructors by July 2011, and access to a hosted online server to conduct courses.  These resources will be used to support over 400 colleges in Tamil Nadu to increase the quality of education in the region.

(Sources: EFY Times, ICT Academy of Tamil Nadu, and Oracle)

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Friday, 23 July 2010 15:13:19 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, 22 July 2010

Hole in the wall started off as an interesting experiment by a computer scientist, Dr. Sugata Mitra, in which he installed a high tech computer on his office wall facing a slum and left it for the children to explore it. Astonishingly children learnt surfing in a single day!

In 1999 the International Finance Corporation, a World Bank subsidiary, invested $1.6 million in a project entitled ‘Hole in the Wall’, in which computer kiosks were placed in urban slums so that street children with almost no education could gain access to computer technology. They found that the children would teach each other how to use these computers. The project encourages underprivileged children in India to learn from a web-based curriculum through Internet kiosks. The kiosks were installed in over 60 locations over three years (2000-2003). The aim was to improve education for poor children, with equal access for girls and boys.

Already ubiquitous in New Delhi and Mysore, the Hole-in-the-wall systems were then spread throughout the country including the under served areas of Rajhastan and Jaipur and the difficult terrains of Kashmir. The Hole in the wall education limited (HIWEL) has now expanded and reached upto the northern states of Mizoram and Nagaland. Such is the popularity of the project that it has crossed the borders and become a part of the commonwealth connects program in Uganda and now (according to recent news) making its way for being piloted in UK.

HIWEL has been conferred the coveted ‘Digital Opportunity Award’ by the World Information Technology and Services Alliance (WITSA) and 2010 HASTAC/MacArthur Digital Media and Learning Award.

(Sources:UNESCO Bangkok Educational Resources)

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Thursday, 22 July 2010 14:38:25 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, 21 July 2010

The Khan Academy is a not-for-profit organization with the mission of providing a high quality education to anyone, anywhere. The academy has 1400+ videos on YouTube covering everything from basic arithmetic and algebra to differential equations, physics, chemistry, biology and finance which have been recorded by Salman Khan, a Harvard Business School Alum.

Khan got the idea for the Khan Academy when he agreed to help his cousin with sixth grade math. He posted tutorials for her over YouTube, as they didn’t live in the same city, and he noticed that not only were his videos getting tons of views but that viewers were sending him testimonials telling him how much his videos were helping them with math. Khan began to broaden the subject matter and concepts in his videos and the Khan Academy YouTube channel was born.

Millions of students around the world lack access to high quality instruction, especially in the sciences and math. The Khan Academy provides it for free in a way that can be accessed on-demand at a student's own pace. Khan says, “With just a computer and a pen-tablet-mouse, one can educate the world!”

The videos are directly teaching tens of thousands of students on every continent on a daily basis. Other non-profit groups have even begun distributing off-line versions of the library to rural and under served areas in Asia, Latin America, and Africa. The Khan Academy and Salman Khan have received a 2009 Tech Award in Education.

(Sources:Social Times, The Tech Awards)

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Wednesday, 21 July 2010 10:18:16 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, 20 July 2010

The island of Mindanao is home to approximately one-fourth of the Philippines' population, yet the quality of life on the island has historically been far below that of the rest of the country.  The Alliance for Mindanao Off-grid Renewable Energy (AMORE) works to connect and energize communities that cannot be connected to the power grid, by using clean, standalone renewable energy sources such as solar energy and microhydro energy.  AMORE is a partnership between government organizations, primarily USAID, and private sector companies in the energy industry.

On 16 July, AMORE inaugurated a solar-powered computer laboratory in Marilog Central Elementary School, a primary education school to 557 students.  This ICT facility consists of six laptops donated by Intel and is powered by electricity harnessed by modules donated by the SunPower Foundation.  This ICT project aims to improve the teachers' instruction capabilities through using ICTs in their classrooms and by allowing students access to online resources.  AMORE has identified at least 200 schools in the region that can be fitted with ICT resources for education that can be powered by solar panels; teachers on Mindanao hope that AMORE will continue with its ICT for education work and extend the project to some of these other schools.

(Sources: Manila Bulletin Publishing Corporation and AMORE)

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Tuesday, 20 July 2010 15:39:26 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, 19 July 2010

Following a five-year delay, South African primary and secondary education teachers have now welcomed the release of the Teacher Laptop Initiative (TLI), officially launched last week by the Education Deputy Minister.  The initiative focuses on improving ICT usage in education by ensuring that every teacher owns and uses a laptop, by providing them with  allowances to both purchase the laptop and to cover some of the expenses required to maintain updated software and connectivity.  Last Thursday, following the TLI launch, teachers nationwide received a brief training session that included instruction on computer literacy, connectivity of email and the Internet, and inclusion of various software packages into lesson plans.

Gijima Ast, a South Africa ICT company, has partnered with the Lenovo Consortium to supply, distribute, and support all laptops that were ordered as part of the TLI.  These services will be provided by GijimaAsts's Distributed Computing Services business unit, which maintains itself to be a center of excellence specializing in the provision of infrastructure support services according to specific client needs.  Each laptop that will be distributed includes hardware with minimum specifications, Internet connectivity capabilities, insurance, and software programs such as school administration directories and national curriculum software.  The Education Labour Relations council, the institution in charge of managing TLI, aims to use this partnership to supply approximately 360,000 teachers in South Africa with laptops of their own.

(Sources: ITNewsAfrica, 7th Space Interactive, and GijimaAst)

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Monday, 19 July 2010 15:07:11 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Singaporean Ministry of Education (MOE) has committed approximately 610US$ million to supplying ICT for its schools over the next 8 years. The MOE has awarded the tender for Standard ICT Operating Environment (SOE) for Schools to National Computer Systems Pte Ltd (NSC) with a subscription of around 120 000 seats. Each seat will comprise a computing device, network connectivity and support services for all Government and Government-Aided schools. The seats will cater to 40 000 teachers and administrative staff and 500 000 students.

The SOE for Schools programme will be implemented over the next two years. It supports the third Master plan for ICT in Education (mp3) in providing schools with an ICT infrastructure that will continually enhance teaching and learning. Facilitated by school-wide wireless connectivity, students will be able to use portable computing devices and access media-rich and interactive digital resources for learning opportunities beyond their classrooms. The programme will also provide an environment where schools can trial their innovative solutions for teaching and learning.

The implementation of SOE for Schools programme in pilot schools will begin in early 2011 following the setup of the central infrastructure, processes and governance of the programme. The rest of the schools will be transited in phases by end 2012.

( Sources:Ministry of Education Singapore, UNESCO Bangkok )

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Monday, 19 July 2010 08:04:32 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, 15 July 2010

In 2004, the Government of India announced a Rural Broadband policy, which pledges to develop an '''always-on' data connection" for rural areas that do not have continual access to the Internet, and are therefore hindered in their ability to learn using ICTs.  This Rural Broadband policy aligns with a vision of Hewlett Packard (HP), which is to bring PC access to more students and empower them to learn beyond the classroom through technology.  This week, HP announced its official support of the Department of Education of the Government of Rajasthan by pledging to donate 250 HP computers to benefit several Higher Secondary Schools in Rajasthan.

The Minister of State for Communications and Information Technology, Shri Sachin Pilot, reinforced the importance of connecting children in the poorest and most remote areas of India so that the whole country can develop through IT-enabled growth.  HP also intends to sell affordable PCs, at less than Rs 575 per month, for those living in remote areas.  To further enable India's growth, HP offered to connect the majority of the hospitals and medical colleges in Rajasthan with the goal to improve healthcare for the people of the region.  India has taken many steps towards improving the well-being of the nation's economy and education through implementing ICT-enabled learning, and the progress will continue through partnerships and conections to companies like that with HP.

(Sources: India Infoline Limited, HP India, and the Government of India Broadband Policy)

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Thursday, 15 July 2010 16:09:27 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, 14 July 2010

The Department of General Education in Kerala, India, launched IT @School with a mission to create an IT literate community and improve the quality of education through using the latest ICTs.  Amongst its many achievements, IT @School has become the world's largest simultaneous deployment of Free and Open Source Software based ICT education.  IT @School has trained 90,000 teachers in classroom IT use, and is working towards creating a broadband Internet connectivity between all schools within the state.

Today, IT @School announced the development of a Resource DVD that can be used on any computer or laptop, and will be distributed to 60,000 high school teachers in Kerala.  This DVD, entitled e-Vidhya, includes introductions to office packages, painting software, presentation software, and tools for a select number of school subjects.  The release of e-Vidhya is designed to help implement the new ICT syllabus of the Kerala Government, which directs all schools to teach each subject through an ICT enabled learning process.  To help achieve this initiative, the DVD also includes PDF versions of a myriad of textbooks and the most recent versions of free application software.  E-Vidhya was prepared entirely on free software, which allows for teachers to freely copy, edit and redistribute the DVD if they wish.  Tomorrow, the state's Chief Minister will formally release the 8 GB DVD and begin distributing it to schools.

(Sources: The Times of India, IT at School, and IndiaTech Online)

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Wednesday, 14 July 2010 15:20:35 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, 13 July 2010

In May 2008, the Sichuan Province in china suffered a devastating earthquake; among the companies to quickly respond with aid was Cisco, a worldwide leader in Internet networking.  Just two months later, in July 2008, Cisco and the Government of China signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that established a partnership between the two institutions to bring 21st century healthcare and education systems to the region.  As this three-year partnership comes to an end, reports and data highlighting the successes of the Connecting Sichuan program are surfacing and the effects of this program are being felt throughout the province.

The education section of the MoU aimed to bridge the urban-rural digital divide in China.  Cisco's solutions focus on four key areas and applications of technology to achieve this goal: connected classrooms, connected schools, connected communities, and the Cisco Networking Academy.  To connect classrooms and schools, Cisco partnered with over 45 organizations, including ECCOM Network System Co. Ltd. to provide laptops to schools along with wireless Internet and networking capabilities.  Once teachers and schools had been actively connected, Cisco helped to create an education metropolitan area network and data center to connect the communities of the province by allowing teachers to share resources, exchange best practices, and trade tips on ways to use and integrate technology into the classroom.  The Cisco Networking Academy, which is active in 165 countries, instructs students in networking skills and ICT capabilities; through the MoU, Cisco has expanded this program to 50 universities in Sichuan.

Amongst other programs initiated through the MoU, Cisco has also focused on expanding educational opportunities for children with disabilities.  In Sichuan, Cisco helped fund, financially and technologically, the DuJiangYan Youai School, which creates a highly accessible and unique learning environment for disabled students.  This partnership between Cisco and the Chinese Government has seen much success, including the percentage of students scoring well enough to join a regional high school jumping from 3% to 31%.  As the benefits of the partnership begin to affect more than one generation of school children, the successes will continue to grow and benefit the Sichuan province as a whole.

(Sources: Cisco and ECCOM)

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Tuesday, 13 July 2010 14:51:58 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, 12 July 2010

The Government of Malta launched an initiative entitled "Vision 2015 and Beyond" that, amongst other aspects, recognized the importance of ICTs as a tool to improve the economic well being of the country.  Last week, Charlò Bonnici, Parliamentary Assistant in the Ministry for Infrastructure, Transport, and Communications, announced the beginning of the Second Step Training Program.  This program enables participants to earn ICT National Diplomas in one of three areas: information systems, information technology, and computing and information systems.  Participants who graduate from the program receive a diploma that is nationally recognized by the Malta Qualifications Recognition Information Center, and internationally recognized due to the high quality of training that participants will receive from Edexcel (BTEC), which is the UK's largest qualifications awarding body who operates in over 100 countries.

The Second Step program was initiated with the goal of educating target groups of adults, specifically women in the manufacturing industry, currently employed and unemployed in basic ICT skills so that the ambition of the government to develop Malta into a center of technological excellence can be achieved.  A statement made by the Malta Information Technology Agency chairman Claudio Grech noted that the economy's needs for skilled ICT professionals are not being met, and that although Malta has made great strides in terms of students graduating with ICT skills, it is not enough to sustain the economy's needs.  Through the Second Step Program, adults who are currently in the workforce can improve their employment potential.  The program takes two years to complete, and can be taken on a part time or full time basis.  Once applications have been received and processed, classes will begin in the fall.

(Sources: The Malta Independent Online and The Malta Information Technology Agency)

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Monday, 12 July 2010 15:41:38 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The Andean Digital Library is a place that brings representative works of the cultural heritage of the Andean countries and it is also an environment of information, knowledges and services in different areas of integration. This project, originally promoted by the General Secretary of the Andean Community, has been developed with the participation of fourteen institutions in the Andean region - national libraries and public and private universities, and support of the French Institute of Andean Studies (IFEA). The books in this site are available in PDF format.
(Sources: Comunidad Andina and Ediciona Institute)
More details

Monday, 12 July 2010 10:30:10 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
UNESCO offers everyone the Digital Library for all the World, where users can directly enter to the web, without registering. This is an extremely valuable cultural archive with free access. The browser is displayed on: place, time, topic, type of item, institution. Also,this library is available in seven language; such as english, spanish, french, portuguese, arabian, russian and chinese.

(Source:World Digital Library)

Monday, 12 July 2010 10:01:35 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, 09 July 2010

On 1 July 2010, Judith McHale, the U.S. Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, announced the launching of the "Apps 4 Africa" contest.  This competition challenges local technology experts and coders to create technological applications that can improve the lives of those living in East Africa.  While the goal of the competition is to build the best digital tools to address local challenges, both programmers and those not necessarily involved in a technological profession are welcome to participate.  Citizens are invited to post ideas for coders on the Apps 4 Africa website, and coders can submit content using any open source code format.  Ideas that have already been submitted and for which coders have begun working on designs include mobile math tests to asses quality of education institutions and a mapping program to help those in the slums of Kiberia find local assets and resources.

Anyone residing in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, or Tanzania may submit content for judging.  By requiring coders to live in East Africa, Apps 4 Africa ensures that the top designs submitted will be suitable and effective in the region.  The contest began with Under Secretary of State McHale's announcement on 1 July, and will conclude on 31 August 2010.  In early September, winners will be decided based on a set of criteria including usefulness to citizens and governments of East Africa and potential for the application to be used throughout the world.  Those whose designs win will attend an awards ceremony where their creativity and ingenuity will be rewarded with cash along with tools to improve upon their technological skills.

(Sources: U.S. Government and Apps 4 Africa)

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Friday, 09 July 2010 15:32:37 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, 08 July 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, 08 July 2010 15:45:53 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, 07 July 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, 07 July 2010 15:12:42 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, 05 July 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, 05 July 2010 15:46:15 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, 02 July 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, 02 July 2010 15:24:46 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, 01 July 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, 01 July 2010 15:20:47 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, 30 June 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, 30 June 2010 15:21:28 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, 29 June 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, 29 June 2010 15:21:52 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, 28 June 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, 28 June 2010 10:32:37 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, 25 June 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: and Drury University)

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Friday, 25 June 2010 11:08:22 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, 24 June 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, 24 June 2010 10:37:32 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, 23 June 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, 23 June 2010 09:44:46 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, 22 June 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, 22 June 2010 10:21:15 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, 18 June 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, 18 June 2010 11:00:57 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, 17 June 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, 17 June 2010 15:40:07 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, 16 June 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 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, 16 June 2010 09:21:05 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, 07 June 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, 07 June 2010 09:52:27 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, 19 May 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 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, 19 May 2010 15:50:35 (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, 19 May 2010 15:28:49 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, 08 April 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, 08 April 2010 16:18:42 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, 26 March 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, 26 March 2010 13:50:34 (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, 26 March 2010 13:12:30 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Sunday, 28 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.

Sunday, 28 February 2010 22:35:54 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 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)  #     |