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

Using technology to train teachers:
Appropriate uses of ICT for
teacher professional developmen
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 &
(hosted for reference; RIP TMP) 


Learning, technology & development


Entries in data (3)


Principle 3—Use ICT to support data-driven decisions

Many decisions about school ICT projects are made based on electoral needs, partners' offerings or other factors. These factors will not disappear. But decision-makers should use available information about what's really happening as their primary guide: What % of teachers has completed teachers college? What's the ratio of textbooks to kids? If these areas pose problems for schools, check the feasibility of using ICT to address them. And, given the fact that we're introducing information tools, think about collecting and reviewing more comprehensive and nuanced information.

OK, the core sub-principles are as follows: 

  • Keep tools simple at the school level.
  • Collect data that address goals.
  • Ensure that data can be easily accessed and shared.
  • Develop information-management tools in stages. 
  • Support the use of data in schools and communities

These sub-statements all touch, at least tangentially, on theEMIS report card developed for Georgian schools idea that schools themselves should benefit from data. School report cards (there's one from Georgia, the country not the state, below) should help school personnel see where they fall in relation to quality-assurance standards (like, class size, textbooks-per-kid, and so on) and in relation to other schools like theirs. 

But what's interesting (and this links to one of the sub-principles addressed previously, "focus on learning outomes") is that new tools for data collection might open more complex and authentic fields of learning to developing-country researchers and decision-makers. If, for example, teachers were trained to recognize collaborative interactions in small groups, they might be able to use smart phones or tablets to assess kids' interactions in real time. This potential renders a soft, 21st-century skillset, comprised perhaps of cooperation, communication and empathy, into something measurable at both the school level and nationally. 

And in education in developing countries, if you can measure it, and you can pilot-test it, you increase the chances that you can, eventually, maybe, make it happen at scale.


Easterly whispers "uncle"

Look, I'm as impressed by Bill Easterly's clearsighted analysis as anybody else is. I'm also as put off by his failings, ranging from his jihad against Jeff Sachs (OK, Sachs is endemically wrong, but that doesn't mean that all attacks on him are right) to his fanboy support for the really whack Dambisa Moyo, to his general pissing on all forms of development assistance that aren't micro-entrepreneurially focused. 

But it seems to me that he's flailing around for a way to deal with the concrete and absolute cruelty of the shift away from funding of HIV/AIDs treatment. N'cest pas?

Easterly whimpers, a bit.


Harsh. The costs of data-driven development 

OK, here it is at last, the fruits of 1000s of hours of research, and argument, suggesting that money spent on HIV/AIDS is not the most effective use of donor funds: 

On the grounds of Uganda’s biggest AIDS clinic, Dinavance Kamukama sits under a tree and weeps.

Her disease is probably quite advanced: her kidneys are failing and she is so weak she can barely walk. Leaving her young daughter with family, she rode a bus four hours to the hospital where her cousin Allen Bamurekye, born infected, both works and gets the drugs that keep her alive.

But there are no drugs for Ms. Kamukama. As is happening in other clinics in Kampala, all new patients go on a waiting list. A slot opens when a patient dies.

The cause of course is the drop in donor funding for anti-retrovirals and for treatment programs in developing countries. Everyone from BMGF to the US government is reducing, or limiting increases, in their funding for HIV/AIDS programs. Meanwhile, in Uganda....

 500,000 need treatment, 200,000 are getting it, but each year, an additional 110,000 are infected.

“You cannot mop the floor when the tap is still running on it,” said Dr. David Kihumuro Apuuli, director-general of the Uganda AIDS Commission.

Believe me, I understand the benefits of adjusting policy and priorities, especially when each AIDS patient treated with anti-retrovirals costs US $11,000. There are a lot of simpler, cheaper and more effective healthcare efforts that can be funded with some of that money. 

And I don't want to harsh on the people who are pushing for more informed decision making, and particular for decision making informed by randomized field trials. However, I do think that _at this point_ groundbreakers such as Esther Duflo could present more balances and realistic pictures of the cost and benefits of development decisions driven by data: