New issue of open access journal published

The International Journal of Education and Development using Information and Communication Technology (IJEDICT) is an e-journal that provides free and open access to all of its content. Volume 3, Issue 3, which was published on October 30, 2007, brings articles from and/or about Bangladesh, China, Greece, the Netherlands, Oman, South Africa, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, United Kingdom. I have given a very brief description of each article below.

In the article “The status of Omani women in the ICT sector”, Ayman Elnaggar presents a gender sensitive assessment of the ICT space in Oman and the status of women within it, and seeks to develop the seeds of an information base that provides gender analysis of opportunities and challenges in the ICT space. Joseph K. Ssewanyana and Michael Busler examined the extent of adoption and usage of ICT on one hundred and ten firms in Uganda, and established benchmarks that can be utilized in future research and comparison between firms. The results are reported in their article “Adoption and usage of ICT in developing countries: Case of Ugandan firms”.

In “E-learning data warehouse maintenance system for collaborative learning availability resources optimization”, Jalel Akaichi studies the issues of using agent’s based architecture to achieve e-learning data warehouse maintenance. “Teaching history using a Virtual Reality Modelling Language model of Erechtheum” by Demetra Eggarxou and Sarantos Psycharis presents a Virtual Reality Modelling Language VRML exploration of the Erechtheum in Athens.

In “Construct validation of ICT Indicators Measurement Scale (ICTIMS)”, Yavuz Akbulut, Mehmet Kesim and Ferhan Odabasi report on their study of the psychometric features of a scale developed to measure indicators of ICTs at an undergraduate institution in Turkey.

In her article “Can the Internet in tertiary education in Africa contribute to social and economic development?” Anna Bon discusses how the recent emergence of national and regional research and education data communication networks in parts of the developing world have shown large benefits arising from collaboration amongst tertiary education institutes.

In the article “Researching a participatory design for learning process in an intercultural context”, Gordon Joyes and Zehang Chen describe the participatory design approach in this project and explore an activity theory based analysis approach that is used to identify some of the factors that affected the design process.

Johnnie Wycliffe Frank Muwanga-Zake's article - “Introducing educational computer programmes through evaluation: A case in South African disadvantaged schools” - discusses the strategies, the concepts the ECP presents, and considers the curriculum issues around ECP use in teaching.

Babalola Isiaka reports on the “Effectiveness of video as an instructional medium in teaching rural children agricultural and environmental sciences”. In the article “The innovative elements in non-formal education of Bangladesh: Perspective of income generating programmes for poverty alleviation”, Md. Islam and Ahmadullah Mia describe a study based on a survey of the beneficiaries, focus group discussions, and documentary review.

This issue of IJEDICT concludes with a project report - “Improving production and accessibility of agricultural information through capacity-building, networking and partnerships in the South Pacific” - by Danny Hunter.

More on education and development using ICT.


Emerging Tech Classrooms

This is a presentation to UOC UNESCO eLearning International seminar on Web 2.0 and education, 17/19 October 2007.

More on Web 2.0 and education.


E-learning strategy and initiatives - two free books

The third book published by the Megatrends in e-Learning project - E-learning initiatives that did not reach targeted goals - is available as a PDF file:
This book provides case study articles and analyses of nine prestigious European e-learning initiatives that did not reach their targeted goals. The top 5 factors contributing to failure were:

  • Cost-effectiveness;
  • Stable and predictable sources of income from operation;
  • Contracts with part-time tutors & course developers;
  • Effective administrative routines;
  • High competence in online education.

Other factors included: Evolutionary development; Continuing research; Based on standard technologies; Wide range of subjects and levels; Flexible student start-up and progression; Focus on asynchronous communication; Support from top management; Enthusiastic employees; Strategies that support online education; Focus on quality; Collaboration with other institutions; High credibility with the government.

Here is another free digital book - Handbook of e-Learning Strategy produced by the eLearning Guild. This one seeks to answer the question, "What should we be doing in order to support improved learning and performance?" It helps readers to make a broad, fundamental connection between learning, e-Learning, and an organization's mission, business objectives, and the bottom line. Chapters address everything from crafting a focused strategy, to keeping the strategy focused, to change management.

For more on e-learning, visit the website about e-learning.

Compare all online and offline course options - Get Started Today at MonsterLearning


Google Docs in Plain English

An important aspect of Web 2.0 for the professions (e.g., academics) is the ability to work together in a collaborative space.

Here is a video by Lee Lefever on how to create and share documents, spreadsheets and presentations online using Google Docs.

More on Web 2.0 and collaboration.


Access to Learning for Development

The Fifth Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning

13-17 July 2008 at the University of London

The Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning has grown to become one of the world’s leading conferences on learning and global development. PCF5 in London will explore how open and distance learning can help achieve international development goals and education for all. The conference theme is "Access to Learning for Development" with a focus on children and young people, health, livelihoods, social justice and governance.

The Commonwealth of Learning's Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning has grown to become the leading international conference on learning and development. It is held biennially in collaboration with the Federation of Commonwealth Open and Distance Learning Associations. It is co-hosted with partners in different regions of the Commonwealth, and PCF5 brings the Forum to Europe for the first time.

The Forum seeks to address open and distance learning through widening educational access, bridging the digital divide and by advancing the social and economic development of communities and nations at large. The Forum's focus is on topics relating to, and participation by, societies in developing countries. COL 's Excellence in Distance Education Awards are also presented at the Forum.

The First Pan-Commonwealth Forum was held in March 1999 in Brunei Darussalam. The Second Forum followed in 2002 in Durban, South Africa. The Third Pan-Commonwealth Forum was held 4-8 July 2004 in Dunedin, New Zealand, and the Fourth Forum, PCF4 was held in Ocho Rios, Jamaica from 30 October - 3 November 2006 .


Academia 2.0

A short documentary on the integration of new technologies and their impact on the academic universe.

More on ICT in academia.


Digital books and libraries: Anyone want to buy a printing press?

Open and free access to literature and other writings has long been considered essential to education and to the maintenance of an open society. Increasingly, people are wanting to obtain their information online. This is particularly true of students, especially those living in parts of the world where obtaining print copies of books is difficult and/or time consuming (e.g., in many Caribbean countries). In parallel with the open source movement, there is an open resource movement, i.e., making books, articles, and other repositories of knowledge open to all to access, change, add to and publish online.

The Internet Archive is a non-profit that was founded to build an Internet library, with the purpose of offering permanent access for researchers, historians, and scholars to historical collections that exist in digital format. View a movie that was commissioned by Internet Archive for the 2007 Open Content Alliance meeting held on October 17, 2007.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the United States Library of Congress have just signed a pact paving the way for the creation of a World Digital Library to provide resources to educators and contribute to scholarly research.

"The World Digital Library will make available on the Internet, free of charge and in multilingual format, significant primary materials from cultures around the world, including manuscripts, maps, rare books, musical scores, recordings, films, prints, photographs, architectural drawings, and other significant cultural materials."

Many other libraries have risen to this challenge, some using Greenstone - a suite of open-source software for building and distributing digital library collections. It provides a new way of organizing information and publishing it on the Internet or on CD-ROM. Greenstone is produced by the New Zealand Digital Library Project at the University of Waikato, and developed and distributed in cooperation with UNESCO and the Human Info NGO.

Many publishers, book sellers and information cybermediaries have also responded. Here are a few examples:

The Online Books Page by the University of Pennsylvania provides a listing of over 25,000 free books on the Web. Books-On-Line is a directory of books that are posted on the net and available for downloading, mostly at no charge. Google Book Search is a project in which many public and university libraries have partnered with Google so as to make their library holdings searchable, and wherever possible available online.

iChapters.com sells new print textbooks, eBooks, eChapters (individual digital chapters) plus print and digital study tools. All of the iChapters.com digital products are downloadable, accessible via the web and can printed out.

eBooks.com is a popular digital book store with a large range of ebooks available for immediate download, including the following: Business eBooks; Media eBooks; Education eBooks; Technology eBooks; Social Science eBooks; Reference eBooks; Law eBooks.


A Vision of Students Today

Here is a short video summarizing some of the most important characteristics of students today - how they learn, what they need to learn, their goals, hopes, dreams, what their lives will be like, and what kinds of changes they will experience in their lifetime.

The video was created by Michael Wesch in collaboration with 200 students at Kansas State University.

Mike Wesch's videos explore mediated culture, seeking to merge the ideas of Media Ecology and Cultural Anthropology.


Web 2.0: New ways of being free

What's the future of the internet? Blogging, MySpace,Wikipedia, we, the internet users, are taking over. This video shows how Web 2.0 enables internet users to have a voice.

More on social media.


Web 2.0: Social bookmarking

An interesting example of Web 2.0 in action is "social bookmarking" - a web-based system by means of which users store links to web pages that they find useful and these links are made accessible to other users of that bookmarking system.

In a social bookmarking system, users categorize their resources by the use of user-defined keywords or tags. Other users with similar interests can search the links in the system by topic, category, or tags. The results of these searches are usually more useful to the user than those conducted using traditional search engines on the web. Click here to read the "del.icio.us" explanation of social bookmarking.

Social Media Marketing with Social Bookmarking is a slideshow introduction to social bookmarking by Lee Odden. It includes an overview of the major players and tools to add social bookmarks to web content. It is itself an example of the sharing made possible by the use of Web 2.0 social software.

Another example of "content sharing" is a video by Lee Lefever - "Social Bookmarking in Plain English":

Click on the "Bookmark" tool at the foot of the right hand column of this blog to find a list of social bookmarking sites. Using this tool, you can bookmark this CEDICT blog easily in many or all of the social bookmarking sites at once. You may wish to use the following tags: e-learning, development, open educational resources, OER, open access, open source, Web 2.0, blogs, wikis, social bookmarking, social software.

More on social bookmarking.


Social Software

The social software of Web 2.0 allows users to interact, share, and meet other users. This computer-mediated communication has become very popular with sites like MySpace and YouTube. There is a wide range of social software tools, including:

* Blogs: Short for weblog. Users post informal journals of their thoughts, comments, and philosophies and reflecting their views.
* Chats: Places on the Internet where people with similar interests "meet" and communicate together by typing instant messages.
* Email: Electronic mail system that can be used to send plain text or text with attachments.
* Discussion boards or forums: Online discussion groups, where participants with common interests exchange open messages.
* Instant messages: Programs that instantly send messages from one computer to another.
* Podcasts: Derived from Apple’s iPod, it is a method of publishing audio and video files to the Internet.
* Wikis: Allows users to freely create and edit Web page content and hyperlinks using a web browser. Wiki comes from the Hawaiian word ‘wiki wiki’ meaning fast. The most famous wiki is wikipedia.

Here is a YouTube video - "Web 2.0 - Catch the Wave" - in which Percy Parakh talks about some of the social software tools mentioned above.

More on Web 2.0.


Web 2.0 ... The Machine is Us/ing Us

Here is an entertaining and informative video: "Web 2.0 ... The Machine is Us/ing Us" by Michael Wesch, Assistant Professor of Cultural Anthropology at Kansas State University, in which he touches on the various types of social software that will be covered later in this blog.

More on Web 2.0.


The Withering of the Net

On June 16, 2006, Professor Lawrence Lessig gave a talk at the Center for American Progress entitled "The Withering of the Net: How DC Pathologies are Undermining the Growth and Wealth of the Net."

In just under 40 minutes, Lessig delivered a stunning performance, documenting his assertion that the Internet was created by Republicans and discussing the Read Only (RO) and Read Write (RW) Internet(s). Professor Lessig gives a tongue-in-cheek interpretation of the history of the Internet freedom we now enjoy.

For the younger generation that takes the freedom of the internet for granted, much of Web 2.0 is about access to music videos. Here is an amusing song and video about blogging and web 2.0 by David Leeking.


Web 2.0 for education and development

Tim O'Reilly - the person who first coined the expression "Web 2.0" - gives an explanation of it in his article "What Is Web 2.0". Here is a brief interview of Tim talking about Web 2.0.

Essentially, Web 2.0 is a more socially interactive way of using the Internet. Thus, using appropriate "social software", users can share videos, music, photos, ideas and knowledge. Many users and networks use Web 2.0 technology for entertainment purposes, but there are many serious applications as well. The importance of social software for education and development is that it gives individuals and communities the ability to self-publish and also collaborate in social learning and social action projects.

More on Web 2.0.


Digital divide, development and e-learning

Regional economies and communities are facing increasing economic, social and cultural hardship in many parts of the world as economies adjust to the demands of the new orders of the information society. A part of this is the paradox that regional economies and communities can be either enhanced or disadvantaged by information and communication technology (ICT).

The potential enhancement comes from the increased social, cultural and economic capital which comes from harnessing ICT products and services. The disadvantage comes from the power that ICT products and services have in centralizing commerce, service provision and governance away from communities that have been unable to bridge the digital divide.

Education has a major role to play in resolving this paradox, but education itself is affected by the paradox. Unless ICT becomes part of both the delivery and content of education, the disadvantage will deepen and development will suffer. This blog seeks to raise for discussion some of the ways in which ICT can be used for both education and development.

For more on this, I recommend visiting this website about e-learning, and also reading:
Closing the Digital Divide: Transforming Regional Economies and Communities with Information Technology;
Encyclopedia of Developing Regional Communities with Information and Communication Technology; and,
Using Community Informatics to Transform Regions.