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

 

Thursday
Oct252012

T or F? Online universities will never serve the rich... 

It's easy to form a testable position in relation to the following statement, from Unqualified Offerings: 

The wealthy do not and never will send their children to an online university. Funny how no one ever mentions that.

I know semi-upper-middle-class people who are spending $80K per year to keep their kids in relatively elite private universities. Right now, an underlying premise is that their investment will somehow return value. And well it might. But these are extremely risky investments, for a number of reasons. 

Among these reasons: one can imagine that the returns on investments of this type might be decreasingly measurable in monetary terms: If your kid studies medical-micro-bio but ends up an organic pear farmer on the Sacramento River out of conviction, what do you say? The choice might be rational, not so much because there are no opportunities, but because the opportunities aren't immediately commensurate with the new graduate's senses of adventure/exploration, competence, or social justice. What then? 

(An aside: I used to know someone who administered a granting program to Sudanese university students, run by the government of Sudan. She was responsible for keeping tabs on the students. All rich kids. THEY would commonly come to the US but enroll in only online courses. Sort of a blended-learning model....;)  

 

Sunday
Aug262012

No surpise, key statistics say US is failing to fund STEM education

Per the insightful and passionate Charles M Blow of the NY Times, the US stands to decrease in competitiveness as other large, more nimble societies fund basic education and shift learning to STEM subjects. (I'm posting a large chunk of Mr Blow's article as, well, this stuff is important and it could duck behind the Times firewall soon.) 

America is in trouble.

Emerging economic powers China and India are heavily investing in educating the world’s future workers while we squabble about punishing teachers and coddling children.

This week, the Center for American Progress and the Center for the Next Generation released a report entitled “The Race That Really Matters: Comparing U.S., Chinese and Indian Investments in the Next Generation Workforce.” The findings were breathtaking:

• Half of U.S. children get no early childhood education, and we have no national strategy to increase enrollment.

• More than a quarter of U.S. children have a chronic health condition, such as obesity or asthma, threatening their capacity to learn.

• More than 22 percent of U.S. children lived in poverty in 2010, up from about 17 percent in 2007.

• More than half of U.S. postsecondary students drop out without receiving a degree.

Now compare that with the report’s findings on China. It estimates that “by 2030, China will have 200 million college graduates — more than the entire U.S. work force,” and points out that by 2020 China plans to:

• Enroll 40 million children in preschool, a 50 percent increase from today.

• Provide 70 percent of children in China with three years of preschool.

• Graduate 95 percent of Chinese youths through nine years of compulsory education (that’s 165 million students, more than the U.S. labor force).

• Ensure that no child drops out of school for financial reasons.

• More than double enrollment in higher education.

And the report also points out that “by 2017, India will graduate 20 million people from high school — or five times as many as in the United States.”

As I have mentioned before, a book written last year by Jim Clifton, the chairman of Gallup, called “The Coming Jobs War,” pointed out that of the world’s five billion people over 15 years old, three billion said they worked or wanted to work, but there are only 1.2 billion full-time, formal jobs.

This should make it crystal clear to every American that we don’t have any time — or students — to waste. Every child in this country must be equipped to perform. The country’s future financial stability depends on it.

As if to underscore that point, the Center for American Progress pointed out that “between 2000 and 2008, China graduated 1.14 million people in the STEM, or Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, subjects; the United States graduated 496,000.”

But instead of dramatically upping our investment in our children’s education so that they’ll be able to compete in a future that has more educated foreign job seekers, we seem to be moving in the opposite direction. A White House report issued last Saturday noted that:

“Since the end of the recession in June 2009, the economy lost over 300,000 local education jobs. The loss of education jobs stands in stark contrast to every other recovery in recent years, under Republican and Democratic administrations.”

Not only is our education system being starved of investment, but many of our children are literally too hungry to learn.

A survey of kindergarten through eighth-grade teachers released this week by Share Our Strength, a nonprofit that seeks to end child hunger, found that 6 in 10 of those teachers say “students regularly come to school hungry because they are not getting enough to eat at home,” and “a majority of teachers who see hunger as a problem believe that the problem is growing.”

The report quotes a teacher in the Midwest as saying, “The saddest are the children who cry when we get out early for a snow day because they won’t get lunch.”

It is in this environment that Representative Paul Ryan proposes huge cuts to food assistance programs. As the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities points out, Ryan’s plan “includes cuts in SNAP (formerly known as the food stamp program) of $133.5 billion — more than 17 percent — over the next 10 years (2013-22), which would necessitate ending assistance for millions of low-income families, cutting benefits for millions of such households, or some combination of the two.”

Representative Todd Akin, he of “legitimate rape” infamy, even said earlier this month that the federal government should stop financing the National School Lunch Program altogether. That man is just a font of humanity.

We will need to make choices as we seek to balance the nation’s budget and reduce the deficit, but cutting investments in our children is horribly shortsighted.

And, as we pursue educational reforms, beating up on teachers — who are underpaid, overworked and always blamed — is a distraction from the real problem: We’re being outpaced in producing the employees of the future.

We’re cutting back, while our children’s future competitors are plowing ahead.

Tuesday
Aug212012

Young people (15-24) can give feedback to UN on education - 

The Secretary General's office is soliciting feedback on the UN's Education First initiative from young people with experience working in education.

Here's the information, deadline is 26 August: 

The United Nations wants to hear from young people regarding Education First, theUN Secretary-General’s Global Initiative on Education.

If you are aged 15-24 and have experience or expertise in working on issues of education, your organization or network can nominate you to be a part of the Youth Advocacy Group for Education First by sending your CV/résumé and a short written statement to youth@unfpa.org by 26 August 2012.

If someone you know may be interested and eligible, please circulate this call to them. See the Terms of Reference for further details, and if you have any questions, ask them by email (youth@unfpa.org), on Facebook (www.facebook.com/groups/UNFPAyouth) or via Twitter (@UNFPAyouth #educationfirst). We are counting on your support!

Best wishes,
The Youth Sub-Working Group for Education First
Friday
Aug172012

2012 FRIDA awards for internet innovations in Latin America & Caribbean

The 2012 FRIDA awards for innovations in Internet access, freedom, support for development and innovation have been announced. (I'm a special fan of University of the West Indies' M-fisheries project; fishing is a tough and dangerous job). 

 And the winners are: 

ACCESS:
M-Fisheries – Trinidad y Tobago (The University of The West Indies)

FREEDOMS:
Campaña de Neutralidad en la Red – Chile (ONG META/NeutralidadSi.org)

DEVELOPMENT:
Matemática para todos – México (Math2me)

INNOVATION:
Red De Estaciones Meteorológicas Participativas – Argentina (Universidad De La Punta/ Gobierno de la provincia de San Luis)

MOST VOTED, MOST CREATIVE PROJECT:
Policía Nacional de Colombia, primera fuerza en Latinoamérica en convertirse en ciudadanos digitales

Check 'em out!

Tuesday
Aug142012

IBM to open research lab in Nairobi: Focus on services (water? sanitation?)!

From Reuters, news of IBM's Nairobi Research Center is a little unclear. Will the center focus on e-governance-kinds-of-things? Or on the housing, sanitation, water, electricity (SCHOOLS) that so many Kenyans need?

U.S. computer services company IBM and Kenya have opened a research lab they hope will save the country billions of dollars by developing technology to improve delivery of public services.

...

Ndemo said while it was hard to quantify the savings from the resulting research, automating various government services would save billions of dollars. "There are several registries, which if we completely automated, our estimate is that we can plough back to the Exchequer up to $10 billion by simply creating efficiency through higher productivity," Ndemo said.

IBM, which has a presence in more than 20 countries on the continent, said the single biggest challenge facing African cities was improving services such as water and transportation.

NY Times reports that this move is a signal that IBM leadership believes Africa will be a growth region over the next few years. On the other hand, the move could be seen (perhaps more accurately) as a hedge.