Selected publications (.pdf)

"Education Change, Leadership and the Knowledge Society" 
Global e-Schools Initiative (GeSCI)  

Survey of ICT in education in the Caribbean
Volume 1: Regional trends & analysis
Volume 2: Country reports
infoDev 

Using technology to train teachers:
Appropriate uses of ICT for
teacher professional developmen
t
 
infoDev (Mary Burns, co-author)

Project evaluation:
Uganda rural school-based telecenters

World Bank Institute
(Sara Nadel, co-author)

The Educational Object Economy:
Alternatives in authoring &
aggregation of educational software 

Interactive Learning Environments
(Purchase or subscription req'd) 

Development of multimedia resources 
UNESCO (Cesar Nunes, co-author)

Real Access/Real Impact
Teresa Peters & bridges.org
(hosted for reference; RIP TMP) 

ON TOPIC:

Learning, technology & development

 

Tuesday
Jun052018

The worm is spinning in his grave like a top! Microsoft buys Github

Some years ago I was asked to present to MOE Kazakhstan about open-source software. (Why me? Because I was there, I think.) At the time, Microsoft was in a pitched battle with the FLOSS community, nascent at the time. I can't, looking back, figure out what was the battlefield. Servers? Mainframes? Desktops? And, judging from the news, Microsoft can't quite remember either. 

Microsoft Buys GitHub for $7.5 Billion, Moving to Grow in Coding’s New Era

 

 

At the time (and for a long period thereafter) Windows XP was the OS du jour in developing countries. Microsoft was selling a licensed version for a couple hundred USD, with that version performing marginally better and resisting malware marginally better than an unlicensed version. (Plus... Updates!)

Asked basically to defend software licensing, I launched into my preso. Early on, I was interrupted by a guy who wanted me to understand that we were dealing with concepts that were already well-known in Almaty: 

"But sir, SIR!" he said, possibly raising his hand, "We know all about open-source software, and we love it. In the government we buy one copy of Microsoft Windows, and we make hundreds of copies!

"We use it in our offices. We use it in our schools."

This practice was not something Microsoft wanted to hear about. I soldiered on, but the battle—which I had zero interest in fighting—was already lost. 

Image result for wikimedia child coders

NextGen coders, totally unconcerned about who owns the code

(image is from Wikimedia Commons, students are from Providence Middle School)

Sunday
Nov052017

Pay to play? It can't happen here... (ICT4E in developing and developed countries 1)

The NY Times on 4 Nov published a long account of the inroads that technology has made into schooling. Early on, the article drops "Rwanda" as a name, but the article is focused on the influence that vendors wield over schools and school districts. Who among us has not encountered pay to play?

In the US, the lack of compensation of teachers combined with a lack of support / respect opens superintendents and principals to the blandishments -- engagement in conferences, exposure to innnovation -- that are in one sense the only ways that school systems (and their representatives) can learn. 

(In another sense, the privation of teachers and the locus of innovation in the private sector is the result of [another] massive shift of funds from the public sector, in the form of public schools, to the private sector. Which are now in the best cases funded to buy products and services from the private sector. I believe that it's at least a $15 billion sector.)

I'm most interested in the ways in which this article, focused on 1:1 projects in the Greater Baltimore area, points out the ways in which ICT4E projects in developed"countries (the USA these days calls the concept of development into question) differ from those in developing countries. I recently proposed an evaluation of a project, "Rwandan Girls Education Advancement Programme," which among other interventions would provide: Support for basic literacy & numeracy among girls;support for improved attendance; support for reduced teenage pregnancy. Etc. It's not that these objectives are unwise, or that they aren't also appropriate for schools in the US; it's that they are priorities that are not well addressed through the quality-focused provisions of a 1:1 initiative.

 

Tuesday
Aug012017

big data, artificial intelligence, smart nigel shadbolt rocks

"It's not enough to not do evil. What does it mean to do good?"

I don't totally know what to say about this conversation between Sir Nigel Shadbolt and Mr. Quentin Hardy, head of editorial at Google Cloud. (Mr Hardy does a pretty good job of identifying the hot spots. Sometimes he tries a bit too hard to seem like he is able to comment on them. But hey...) But it's very cool. Sir Nigel is just way, way smarter and way more focused on this stuff than I could ever be.

A couple of points of interest: At about 24:00 Sir Shadbolt discusses open data and says that "the world just got better." He suggests that it's not about opening everything, it's about opening data that enables decision-making and innovation. Right after that, at 25:50, Sir Nigel talks about empowering citizen data warriors (my term); as the goal: citizens who not only allow some of their data to be used, but who use open data to solve problems and answer questions. And a bit later on (@ 48:40), they talk about the potential for intensifying the north-south divide in relation to data and data use and innovation. 

(It's hard to imagine that citizen data warriors would ever be able to access the databases AND the computing power necessary to creat the inflated, titillating, strippy-tease information that would enable people to get close to their potential oppressors.)

it's important to note that that divide, such as it is, emerges not from the openness of data per se, but the opennness of government and more broadly attitudes about privacy, accountability and knowledge -- and knowledge is itself the point where value is harvested -- 

Pay attention, if you will, to the overall attention to profit. The interlocutors discuss the potential hegemony of the transnational corporate sector and essentially suggest that someone should do something about this. But at least they mention it. 

Very, very many points later in the discussion about the affective/meta/cognitive differences between humans and their machines. 

Wednesday
Jul122017

On net neutrality

It's 2017, two years after the first go-round with net neutrality. (Whew! Dodged that bullet!)

But it's back. The current administration is trying to get it off the ground again, even though the biggest of the big tech giants reject the concept entirely.

The Natoma Group (the Nano-Natoma Group?) is tiny. But net neutrality is even more critical for us and for educators than it is for Facebook. Support it!

Monday
Jun262017

Health care, education and YOU!

I'm sorry, this message is really about learning, not about politics. BUT... Today the Congressional Budget Office listed their "scoring" of the Senate healthcare bill, the Better Healthcare  Act (BHCA I think). CBO states that 22 million people will lose healthcare insurance over the next 10 years. Most of the news that I read is going nuts about this, hoping that voters will realize that the congress is enacting a massive transfer of wealth in the form of tax cuts to the top 0.1%. 

On the Fox News website, however, you would have all of this discussed in only 457 words. What could be more economical?

Other news includes: North Korea "amazed" by Spanish beach resort known for drinking binges, Supreme Court decision shifts momentum in Trump travel ban, Supreme Court to decide if gay rights trump everyone else's rights, Prison officials under fire for treating inmates to stripper show. 

All this. And more. http://www.foxnews.com

(Ok, there's your photo. Headline is: "Seattle's $$ Struggle: Minimum wage hurting low-level workers, costing jobs.") 

So. Why is this about education and learning? Because the site cited is covering the biggest news by not covering it much at all (while the negative impacts of the rise in the minimum wage, with that photo and front-page treatment, gets 511 words). 

We need our children (and our adults) to be able to discern when they are being gamed. That might require understanding that an n=1 experiment is valueless. That might require checking another news source to see what's what. That might require empathy, understanding that the closure of Planned Parenthood clinics in distant states _terminally_ "inconveniences" women.

(Sorry to go all political on your a**. This is about learning, not politics, but the conclusion that we must reach is that in fact "learning is political." i hesitate to say, "learning in a dictatorship is political." We are not there yet. Learning is the antidote to authoritarianism. Perhaps we can agree on that.)