2009-12-04

Take a Virtual Tour of World Heritage Sites

Thanks to an alliance between Google and UNESCO, you can now take a virtual walk around some of the world's most remarkable natural and cultural landmarks using Google Maps, Google Earth and Street View.



The World Heritage List includes 890 properties forming part of the cultural and natural heritage which the World Heritage Committee considers as having outstanding universal value. These irreplaceable treasures will now be captured on video for all to see without actually having to travel to the location. Clearly this project is of considerable value educationally, culturally and historically.

2009-11-12

Free and Open Source Software in Africa

Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) - software that any developer can modify and improve - is an obvious way to go for developing countries - and the idea and its use are certainly gaining ground in Africa. One of the interviewees in this video captures the spirit nicely. As a child he would take his new toys apart to see how they worked - he never could accept the principle that things were closed to prevent understanding and improvement.

But there are obstacles - and they are within the very institutions that stand to gain so much. As another interviewee so rightly says - there is resistance within the administration of universities (even within the IT divisions) to adopt open source software. Watch the video - it's good.



The two projects profiled here, AVOIR and POLLES, are providing both the software to encourage eLearning and university administration in sub-Saharan and North Africa respectively, along with providing a platform for post secondary institutions to get applied training in software development. Connectivity Africa has been supporting these initiatives since 2004.

For more information:
http://avoir.uwc.ac.za
http://www.sakaiquebec.org/en/projets/polles.html
http://www.idrc.ca/en/ev-87736-201-1-DO_TOPIC.html

2009-11-09

Did you know ? Human Capital Edition - 2009

How technology influences and is influenced - this video presents amazing research on the development and evolution from the industrial age to the information age and globalization. The figures will, of course, be out of date by the time you view this video.



This movie was intended to answer some of the questions left by the original shift happens production of "Did you know?"

Movie developed and researched by Lyle Potgieter, Mark Middleton, Fabrice Ho Fi and Renee Thorn. Enquire at http://www.PeopleStreme.com for a Facts Sheet.

2009-11-06

Shift happens - Did you know?

Shift Happens: Education 3.0 - a newly revised edition for 2009 of the video originally created by Karl Fisch, modified by XPLANE and Campus Management. It answers the question, "What are we doing about the shift?" and covers innovations by Ashford University, Bridgepoint Education, Huntington Junior College, Jones International University, Mercer University, University of the Rockies, and The University System of Georgia.



This video gives an interesting perspective on how fast developments are taking place and emphasises how important it is for us to ensure that no country or community is further disadvantaged by being left behind.

2009-11-03

Web 2.0 - an historically defining technology?

I was having a conversation with someone the other day about "historically defining technologies", i.e., technologies which define a period in history. The printing press and the telephone could be said to be two such "defining technologies". The conversation was about whether or not we can know at the time which technologies will be "defining" when viewed historically at some point in the future. It seems to me that Web 2.0 tools are prime candidates to be seen as "defining technologies". Web 2.0 will be seen as defining that period in history when radical changes in society were made possible by the abilitity to create, share, collaborate and publish digital information through the Internet.

So what is Web 2.0 and what are these changes?

The book/report "Change at hand: Web 2.0 for development" covers these topics. It is special issue of the series: Participatory Learning and Action that is guest-edited by Holly Ashley, Jon Corbett, Ben Garside and Giacomo Rambaldi, published in June 2009 by IIED and CTA.

It shares learning and reflections from practice and considers the ways forward for using Web 2.0 for development. A multimedia CD Rom with articles in English and French (and some in Spanish) is forthcoming later in 2009.

PART I: OVERVIEW
1. Change at hand: Web 2.0 for development
Holly Ashley, Jon Corbett, Ben Garside, Dave Jones and Giacomo Rambaldi
2. The two hands of Web2forDev: a conference summary
Chris Addison
PART II: STUDIES OF WEB 2.0 TOOLS
3. Exploring the potentials of blogging for development
Christian Kreutz
4. Web 2.0 tools to promote social networking for the Forest Connect alliance
Duncan Macqueen
5. Promoting information-sharing in Ghana using video blogging
Prince Deh
6. Mobile phones: the silver bullet to bridge the digital divide?
Roxanna Samii

PART III: ISSUE-BASED STUDIES
7. Anti social-computing: indigenous language, digital video and intellectual property
Jon Corbett and Tim Kulchyski
8. Tools for enhancing knowledge-sharing in agriculture: improving rural livelihoods in Uganda
Ednah Akiiki Karamagi and Mary Nakirya
9. Ushahidi or ‘testimony’: Web 2.0 tools for crowdsourcing crisis information
Ory Okolloh
10. Web 2.0 for Aboriginal cultural survival: a new Australian outback movement
Jon Corbett, Guy Singleton and Kado Muir

PART IV: THEORY AND REFLECTION ON PRACTICE
11. Circling the point: from ICT4D to Web 2.0 and back again
Anriette Esterhuysen
12. Web 2.0 tools for development: simple tools for smart people
Ethan Zuckerman
13. The Web2forDev story: towards a community of practice
Anja Barth and Giacomo Rambaldi
PART V: TIPS FOR TRAINERS
Web 2.0 tools: a series of short introductions
Holly Ashley, Dave Jones and Luigi Assom with Jon Corbett, Ben Garside, Christian Kreutz, Kevin Painting, Duncan Macqueen and Giacomo Rambaldi

Each introductory guide provides a brief description of the Web 2.0 tool and how it can be used for development purposes, along with links to further information and where applications can be downloaded online (more information also in e-participation):
  • Blogging
  • Micro-blogging and Twitter
  • Wikis
  • Online social networking
  • RSS feeds
  • Tagging
  • Social bookmarking
  • Glossary of Web 2.0 terms

This special issue is co-published with the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.

Download "Change at hand: Web 2.0 for development" (PDF 6 Mb)

2009-10-31

The Chawama Youth Project

Chawama Township in Zambia is like so many other urban centres in Africa and the Caribbean - it is facing major problems with the young people, especially males. It has a population of 37,500 of which 65% is 25 years old or younger. Most of the youths (between 15 and 25 years old) are unemployed and lack skills to generate their own sustainable livelihoods. One of the main factors is the low level of education. Many youths do not finish their school, and most of these school drop outs are unskilled and unproductive, which in turn negatively affects their self-esteem and leads to increased levels of loitering, alcohol abuse and criminal activity. The story is a familiar one.

But Chawama Township has tackled the problem in a way that deserves attention.
“We realized that there is a rampant employment among youth of Chawama Township. So we decided to come up with a skills training centre to give them life skills. This would help them to get employment or be self employed” said Rodgers Mulenga (Secretary General of the Chawama Youth Project).

Here is a video about the award-winning Project.



The Chawama Youth Project (CYP) is a community-based non-governmental organisation established in 2001 and registered with the Technical Education, Vocational and Entrepreneurship Training Authority (TEVETA). It offers ‘life skills’ courses in subjects such as Auto Mechanics, Tailoring, Carpentry, and ICT, to improve the young people’s chances of finding work. Teachers are using the internet to enhance content (e.g. by accessing diagrams of engines using Google Images instead of drawing on the blackboard); hand-outs are being produced quickly; existing lesson plans are now being stored and re-used.

You can download an IICD briefing on the project here.

2009-10-24

Open Access Week, Day 5'n'bit: Access across the Atlantic - Part 2

This is Day 5 and a bit of Open Access Week.

Okay - so I know that strictly speaking Open Access Week runs 5 days - from October 19 to October 23 - so today's blog is an extra free one :-)

But I really did want to squeeze in this second part of the special two-part issue of IJEDICT dedicated to Open Access Week and designed to deepen the flow of academic knowledge between the Caribbean and Africa.

As I wrote in the first part of "Access across the Atlantic", IJEDICT is managed and published in the Caribbean, but it has always had a special relationship with Africa and in particular with Cape Town in South Africa. One of the Chief Editors was working at Cape Town University of Technology when the journal was first started and is now the Director of TISI, an NGO headquartered in Cape Town. And of course, the Guest Editors of this Special Issue (and the two previous Special Issues on eLearning in Africa) work at the University of Cape Town. Interesting how networking works eh?

Vol. 5, No. 5 (2009) of International Journal of Education and Development using ICT is published online at:
http://ijedict.dec.uwi.edu/viewissue.php?id=23.

As usual, the articles are available for anyone to read and download free of charge. This issue has nine articles and a couple of editorials:

Editorial

Editorial: Special Issue - e/merge in Africa
Stewart Marshall, The University of the West Indies, Barbados, West Indies
Wal Taylor, TISI, Cape Town, South Africa
http://ijedict.dec.uwi.edu/viewarticle.php?id=898

e/merge in Africa
Tony Carr and Laura Czerniewicz, University of Cape Town
http://ijedict.dec.uwi.edu/viewarticle.php?id=879


Refereed Articles

Scarce resources: Conflict and sharing in discourse around primary school email use
Nicola Pallitt, University of Cape Town, South Africa
http://ijedict.dec.uwi.edu/viewarticle.php?id=865

Educators and the Cape Town Open Learning Declaration: Rhetorically reducing distance
Andrew Deacon and Catherine Wynsculley, University of Cape Town, South Africa
http://ijedict.dec.uwi.edu/viewarticle.php?id=878

Degrees of Openness: The emergence of Open Educational Resources at the University of Cape Town
Cheryl Hodgkinson-Williams and Eve Gray, University of Cape Town, South Africa
http://ijedict.dec.uwi.edu/viewarticle.php?id=864

Creating an online learning ecology in support of mathematical literacy teachers
Maggie Verster, ICT4Champions, Johannesburg, South Africa
http://ijedict.dec.uwi.edu/viewarticle.php?id=863

Assessing Cell Phone Usage in a South African Township School
Tino Kreutzer, United Nations Development Programme
http://ijedict.dec.uwi.edu/viewarticle.php?id=862

Investigating popular Internet applications as supporting e-learning technologies for teaching and learning with Generation Y
Mici Halse and Brenda Mallinson, Rhodes University, South Africa
http://ijedict.dec.uwi.edu/viewarticle.php?id=861

Using ICTs in Teaching and Learning: Reflections on Professional Development of Academic Staff
Markus Mostert and Lynn Quinn, Rhodes University, South Africa
http://ijedict.dec.uwi.edu/viewarticle.php?id=860

Increasing education access through open and distance learning in Tanzania: A critical review of approaches and practices
Willy Lazaro Komba, Mkwawa University College of Education
http://ijedict.dec.uwi.edu/viewarticle.php?id=859

“Him and Her” - gender differentials in ICT uptake: A critical literature review and research agenda
Ruth Nsibirano, Makarere University, Uganda
http://ijedict.dec.uwi.edu/viewarticle.php?id=858

2009-10-23

Open Access Week Day 5: dg-Communities - Open Educational Resources

This is Day 5 of Open Access Week. This blog is about a really valuable source of open educational material and associted resources - DG Communties. It isn't new. I've been a member for a couple of years. But it has had a name change to "Zunia" and the website has had a face-lift.

dgCommunities is a place to find knowledge resources focused on development issues and also an interactive space where you can share your own work, participate in discussions, find people with similar interests and more. They have more than 40,000 members worldwide - and over half are in developing countries.



The revamped site comprises, amongst other things, a knowledge exchange, country guides and also several overlapping interest groups, e.g., open educational resources, eLearning.

dgCommunities is a collaborative space for professionals working in more than 200 countries to share knowledge resources, tools, contact information, and more. Each online community is centered on specific themes and guided by experts in the field. Their role is to coordinate topic highlights, prepare community newsletters and monitor content submissions for relevance and value to the topic at hand. All guides, volunteer advisors and community coordinators are committed to ensuring an open forum where all ideas are welcome.

International collaboration is at the heart of dgCommunities. More than 500 individuals and organizations working as volunteer guides and advisors, or cooperating with the Development Gateway Foundation team in other ways. If you or your organization want to get involved, please read our Get Involved page and then contact us. We want to hear from you.

Use of dgCommunities is open to all and has a global membership. They are committed to the values of tolerance and respect for all views, with no preference or bias as to the source of any content submitted by a community member or partner organization. The dominant language of most individual communities and their content is English. Navigation is also available in Arabic, French, and Spanish. They encourage members to submit content in French and Spanish. Currently, only the Arab reform community accepts content in Arabic. Most guides, advisors, and other participants speak more than one language, in some cases, many languages. Feel free to contact them.

dgCommunities is provided by Development Gateway Foundation (DGF) as part of its mission to reduce poverty and enable change in developing nations through information technology.

2009-10-22

Open Access Week, Day 4: Access across the Atlantic - Part 1

This is Day 4 of Open Access Week and today's blog is about the first of two special joint issues of the International Journal of Education and Development using Information and Communication Technology (IJEDICT) about opening access the Atlantic.

IJEDICT is an e-journal about ICT in development that provides free and open access to all of its content. It fully supports the open access movement and has dedicated these two special joint issues of the journal to the movement by deepening the flow of academic knowledge between the Caribbean and Africa.

IJEDICT has always had a special relationship with Africa. One of the Chief Editors was working at Cape Town University of Technology when the journal was first started and is now the Director of TISI, an NGO headquartered in Cape Town. And of course, IJEDICT continues to have a very special relationship with the Caribbean because it is published by The University of the West Indies, and the Founding and Managing Editor (me) is located there as a Director in the Open Campus of the University.

So what better tribute to Open Access Week than to have two special joint issues of IJEDICT dedicated to the Caribbean and to Africa.

The first of these two issues - Vol. 5, No. 4 (2009) - has now been published online at:
http://ijedict.dec.uwi.edu/viewissue.php?id=22

Here are the contents:

Editorial

"Editorial: Special Issue on eLearning in the Caribbean"
Stewart Marshall, Open Campus, The University of the West Indies, Barbados
Wal Taylor, TISI, Cape Town, South Africa
http://ijedict.dec.uwi.edu/viewarticle.php?id=893

"Guest Editorial: eLearning in the Caribbean"
Dianne Thurab-Nkhosi, Open Campus, The University of the West Indies, Trinidad & Tobago
http://ijedict.dec.uwi.edu/viewarticle.php?id=873


Refereed Articles

"Burrokeet, an Application for Creating and Publishing Content Packages with support for Multiple Input and Output Formats"
Margaret Ann Bernard, The University of the West Indies, Trinidad & Tobago
Anil Ramnarine, Open Campus, The University of the West Indies, Trinidad & Tobago
http://ijedict.dec.uwi.edu/viewarticle.php?id=853

"E-learning at the Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School of Business - A Survey of Faculty Members"
Balraj Kistow, Lok Jack GSB, Trinidad & Tobago
http://ijedict.dec.uwi.edu/viewarticle.php?id=845

"myDR: Improving the Self-Care Process for Caribbean Patients with Type II Diabetes through Mobile Learning"
Salys Sarah Sultan and Permanand Mohan,
The University of The West Indies, Trinidad & Tobago
http://ijedict.dec.uwi.edu/viewarticle.php?id=850

"MyeLearning as a tool to enhance the writing process in Spanish as a foreign language"
Diego Mideros, The University of the West Indies, Trinidad & Tobago
http://ijedict.dec.uwi.edu/viewarticle.php?id=851

"Creating Reusable Lesson Plans for E-learning using the IMS Learning Design Specification"
Diana M Ragbir and Permanand Mohan,
The University of the West Indies, Trinidad & Tobago
http://ijedict.dec.uwi.edu/viewarticle.php?id=852

"One Size Fits All? – The Case of ECNG 3020 – Special Project Portal"
Wayne Sarjusingh, Crista Mohammed, and Fernando Castellanos
The University of the West Indies, Trinidad & Tobago
http://ijedict.dec.uwi.edu/viewarticle.php?id=866

"Technology-oriented or Learning-driven?"
Lisle Waldron, The University of the West Indies, Trinidad & Tobago
http://ijedict.dec.uwi.edu/viewarticle.php?id=870


2009-10-21

Open Access Week, Day 3

This is Day 3 of Open Access Week and today's blog is about an open access book on another favourite topic of mine - telecentres for development.

The book - Making the Connection: Scaling Telecenters for Development – identifies and discusses the most pressing issues facing the global telecenter movement, presents a condensed view of the current state of knowledge with regard to telecenters, and highlights possible paths forward.

The book was developed through a partnership between the Academy for Educational Development, Microsoft® and IDRC's telecenter.org. Two AED staff, Barbara Fillip and Dennis Foote, were the principal authors of the book.

As C.K. Prahalad says in the Forword -
"We know that the Internet has brought the potential for empowering even the most marginalized groups in our societies. We know that it will benefit all of us if we can unleash their entrepreneurial energy and creativity. Among the first steps is surely the challenge of how to achieve access to the Internet for the groups at the bottom of the pyramid, so they can participate fully in shaping their own future."

In developed countries we tend to think of "universal access" as meaning having Internet access in the home. But in so many developing c0untries we have to think differently about this concept. Instead, we need to think of strategies for providing universal communal access. Hence the need to "scale telecenters for development". The primary goal of this book is help people move forward, to inspire them and whenever possible, to guide the growth of this movement.

The book is in three main parts. Part 1 reviews the past and the evolving vision of telecenters for development. Part 2 seeks to identify appropriate organizational models and appropriate technologies for sustainability and scaling. Part 3 looks at scaling up at the national level.

The book uses case studies to illustrate the main themes. Many of these case studies are from projects that AED’s Information Technology Applications Center has carried out over the last two decades, some are from Microsoft® and some from IDRC’s telecentre.org program.

2009-10-20

Open Access Week, Day 2: Open access materials for teachers

This is Day 2 of Open Access Week and today's blog is about this goldmine of resources I found a little while ago. It has video programs and supporting resources on a whole range of topics for K-12 teachers courtesy of Annenberg Media. Go to their website http://www.learner.org to see what is available.



Utilising these resources will certainly create interesting classes. And of course, the whole idea of the project is to create interesting, creative educational K-12 classes. Annenberg Media uses media and telecommunications to advance excellent teaching in American schools. This mandate is carried out chiefly by the funding and broad distribution of educational video programs with coordinated Web and print materials to assist K-12 teachers improve their classes and also for their professional development.

They have a brochure available to assist people to find material on their website.



Annenberg Media is part of The Annenberg Foundation and advances the Foundation's goal of encouraging the development of more effective ways to share ideas and knowledge.

2009-10-19

Open Access Week, Day 1: Timeline of the open access movement

For the whole of Open Access Week, October 19 – 23, 2009, each day's blog will be devoted to ... you've guessed it - open access.

This is Day 1 and this first blog of the week is about the timeline of the open access movement.

Peter Suber used to maintain a Timeline of the Open Access Movement (formerly called the Timeline of the Free Online Scholarship Movement) but since February this year it has moved to be a sub-component of a wiki called the Open Access Directory. Moving it to a wiki is, of course, an excellent idea. It means that the OA community can update, edit and maintain the content, rather than all this falling on one person.

I found the timeline very informative. Although I have been a supporter of the OA movement and an editor/publisher of an OA journal IJEDICT for several years, I hadn't realised that one of the very early OA journals is New Horizons in Adult Education and Human Resource Development which started as an OA journal in 1987. There's lots of other interesting facts included in the comprehensive timeline.

Whilst browsing the timeline, I decided to look at the "containing" wiki - the Open Access Directory (OAD).

The OAD collects together lists of sources and resources about open access (OA) to science and scholarship. It is maintained by the OA community so is continually being added to, edited and refined. The easier they are to maintain and discover, the more effectively they can spread useful, accurate information about OA. By bringing many OA-related lists together in one place, OAD makes it easier for everyone to discover them and use them for reference. Thus, for example, there is one page on "Free and open-source journal management software" - very useful to institutions thinking of starting journals.

2009-10-12

Open Access Week, October 19 – 23, 2009


I just want to remind everyone that Open Access Week starts in a week's time - so you've just got time to organize something.

This event, which takes place October 19 – 23, is an annual event to broaden awareness and understanding of open access to research, including access policies from all types of research funders, within the international higher education community and the general public. As you all know, open access is a topic close to my heart, so I hope you'll all participate in some way.

Open Access Week builds on the momentum generated by the 120 campuses in 27 countries that celebrated Open Access Day in 2008. Event organizers SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing & Academic Resources Coalition), the Public Library of Science (PLoS), and Students for FreeCulture welcome key new contributors, who will help to enhance and expand the global reach of this popular event in 2009: eIFL.net (Electronic Information for Libraries), OASIS (the Open Access Scholarly Information Sourcebook); and the Open Access Directory (OAD).

This year’s program will highlight educational resources on Open Access that local hosts can use to customize their own programs to suit local audiences and time zones. OASIS will serve as the centerpiece of the 2009 program, delivering resources for every constituency and every awareness level. The Open Access Directory will again provide an index of participants on five continents, as well as their growing clearinghouse for all OA resources. Through the collaborative functionality of the two initiatives, OA videos, briefing papers, podcasts, slideshows, posters and other informative tools will be drawn from all over the Web to be highlighted during Open Access Week.

The organizers will also work with registrants to develop a variety of sample program tracks, such as “Administrators’ introduction to campus open-access policies and funds,” “OA 101,” and “Complying with the NIH public access policy” that take full advantage of available tools. Participants are invited to adapt these resources for local use, and to mark Open Access Week by hosting an event, distributing literature, blogging — or even just wearing an Open Access t-shirt.

For more information about Open Access Week and to register, visit http://www.openaccessweek.org.

2009-10-10

The Ghana Information and Knowledge Sharing Network

It is rather ironic that ICT is the most powerful tool we have for sharing knowledge and yet we are not sharing experiences and knowledge about ICT project implementation effectively. Initiatives spring up everywhere, seemingly with little awareness of what is going on elsewhere.

One way to tackle this problem is to have country-based or regional information and knowledge sharing networks. The Ghana Information and Knowledge Sharing Network (GINKS) is a good example of this approach. It streamline all disjointed ICT projects, initiatives and programs in a way that provides solutions to challenges and problems in the Ghana ICT environment.



The whole purpose of GINKS is to create a structure through which all relevant Ghana ICT initiatives will be facilitated. As a network, it will:
  • Commission research on ICTs and development;
  • Publish an influential on-line and off-line quarterly newsletter;
  • Organise and participate in workshops, seminars and fora on ICT4D related themes;
  • Undertake activities and programmes to generate and source for funds in aid of the network;
  • Form strategic partnerships and build networks with organisations and institutions;
  • Provide a united front for advocacy on ICTs for development themes and issues.

So far the activities of GINKS include:
  • Interactions with rural communities to identify development partners who will work with GINKS to address the information needs of local communities;
  • Co-organising monthly seminars on ICT4D issues with BusyInternet called the cyberseries
  • An online space for networking through the GINKS mailing list and GINKS portal;
  • Co–organising information exchange events with development partners for members of the network with other stakeholder participation;
  • Working with organisations such as ITAfrica.org to generate and disseminate local ICT4D content.

2009-10-04

Food Security Open Educational Resources

Just came across this useful open access resource from an EC/FAO Programme. Their website "Food Security Information for Decision Making" has lots of information, news and self-access e-learning courses.



The website offers self-paced e-learning, developed by international experts to support capacity building and on-the-job Training and Workshops at national and local food security information systems and networks.

You can try the sample lesson without registering - "What is Food Security?" I had a look at it. The presentation is clean and colourful, with easily manageable amounts of information presented on each page. I found it to be a well developed self-access course.




The following courses are also available (free of charge) just by registering:
- Food Security Information Systems and Networks
- Reporting Food Security Information
- Availability Assessment and Analysis
- Baseline Food Security Assessments
- Food Security Concepts and Frameworks
- Collaboration and Advocacy Techniques
- Livelihoods Assessment and Analysis
- Markets Assessment and Analysis
- Nutritional Status Assessment and Analysis
- Food Security Policies - Formulation and Implementation
- Targeting
- Vulnerability Assessment and Analysis

Well worth exploring.

2009-09-30

iDISC - the infoDev Incubator Support Center

The infoDev Incubator Support Center - iDISC - provides hands-on and practical information for incubators and other business development organizations using ICT to facilitate entrepreneurship and new business creation in the developing world. It is also a place where members of the Network can tell their stories and link up with similar organizations.



On iDISC you can find:
  • A “How to” section with guidelines for starting an incubator, selecting clients, managing and financing an incubator, monitoring and evaluation, and engaging partners.
  • An overview of our 5 regional networks and activities across Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe & Central Asia, Latin America & the Caribbean, and Middle East & Northern Africa.
  • An iDisc Network Member Directory that allows you to search and locate incubators across the regions, and to search facts & figures within the global network.
  • Network members' Success Stories and Tools that tell us about the impact of business incubation on business start-ups and tools that can be shared among network members to implement best practices.
  • Presentations and documents from workshops and specific research themes.
  • Information on upcoming events, such as infoDev regional workshops as well as local seminars and symposiums.

This virtual networking and knowledge-sharing platform has its origins in infoDev’s Incubator Initiative, which started in 2002 to support organizations promoting ICT-enabled innovation and entrepreneurship in developing countries.

2009-09-27

So how did you spend your Saturday evening?

I'm fortunate. I live next to the beach, which is obviously very enjoyable. And just occasionally it throws in a few surprises.

At about 7.00pm last night I was walking back from the supermarket with two plastic bags (yes - we still use those here) filled with groceries, got into the parking lot of the flats where I live and I noticed all these baby turtles going the wrong way - away from the sea towards the road. So I put all my groceries in one plastic bag to empty the other one, then used it to put the baby turtles in as I caught them. I must have collected about 50 of them and thought I had got the lot. So I walked the 20 metres on the path alongside the flats to the beach and the sea, waded in a bit and released them all.

Photograph by Scott RobinsonThen I came back to collect my other bag to go upstairs to my flat. But the baby turtles had other ideas. There were more of them, all scuttling across the car park in the wrong direction. So I collected that lot, probably about 30 to 40 of them, and then took those down to the sea. Came back and - guess what - there were more of them - so I gathered those up and took them down to the sea to join their brothers and sisters.

On my last trip back I couldn't see any more, so I dashed upstairs to take the groceries in and change into something more suitable for turtle catching (though I'm not sure that turtles are very fashion conscious). Then back down to see if there were any more.


How many eggs do these things lay And the mother just left them all for me to look after. Phew!!! Pretty irresponsible parenting if you ask me.

Apparently, after hatching, the turtles are confused by the lights and head towards them instead of down the beach to the sea. An understandable mistake.

Well, on my return I found that a neighbour had noticed the turtles' plight and decided to join me in scooping them up. But now we were only catching a few late developers or stragglers. So two more trips with about 10 turtles and we reckoned we'd got the lot. So we decided to call it a night. And what a night!!

What's all this got to do with ICT? Absolutely nothing. But it explains why I didn't write the usual blog last night

2009-09-25

Project Masiluleke: Using mobiles to tackle HIV/AIDS

South Africa has more HIV positive citizens than any country in the world. In some provinces, more than 40% of the population is infected. Yet only 2% of South Africans have ever been tested for HIV. Testing and anti-retrovirals are now available in all parts of the country. And yet, of those who are HIV positive, a mere 10% are receiving anti-retroviral therapy – leaving 90% untreated, infectious and likely to die.

HIV/AIDS carries a huge social stigma in South Africa, preventing many from getting tested or pursuing treatment, and there is wide-spread misinformation about how the disease is contracted.

Project Masiluleke seeks to harnesses the power of mobile technology to address these issues. Here is a video about the Project.



Meaning ‘hope’ and ‘warm counsel’ in Zulu, Project Masiluleke brings together a coalition of world-class partners – including iTeach, the Praekelt Foundation, frog design, Nokia Siemens Networks and the National Geographic Society. The first phase was launched on October 1, 2008, when a text message was sent to 1 million phones – the largest-ever use of mobile messaging to address HIV.

The key elements and stages of Project Masiluleke include:

“Please Call Me” x 1 Million x 365 - messages broadcast in the unused space of “Please Call Me” (PCM) text messages – a special, free form of SMS text widely used in South Africa and across the continent. Trained operators provide callers with accurate healthcare information, counseling and referrals to local testing clinics.

TxtAlert - a system of text messaging to remind patients of scheduled clinic visits to help ensure they adhere to ARV regimens.

HIV Self-Testing with Mobile Support - The project partners are actively exploring a low cost HIV self-testing with mobile counseling support. Analogous to a pregnancy test, these distributed diagnostics would provide a free, private and reliable way for anyone to take the critical first step of knowing his or her status, with high-quality information provided via mobile device.

2009-09-21

JISC Web2Practice Guides

This blog constantly refers to Web2.0 software and tools, and how important they are for sharing, publishing, collaborating and communicating. If you are thinking of using Web2.0 software and tools. JISC provides a quick start with their JISC Web2Practice Guides.

Each guide consists of a short animated video explaining the key concepts, supported by a more in-depth printable overview of the topic, covering the potential uses, risks and how to get started.

The guides and the resources used to create them can be downloaded, modified and shared for teaching, staff development or other purposes permitted by the creative commons licence. More details are on the downloads page.

The web2practice project aims to help people enhance their working practice by understanding the potential of web2.0 tools. Rather than providing a HowTo guide to using these tools, the project seeks to motivate people to explore the tools for themselves.

Web2practice guides have been created for the following topics:

  • Social Media
  • RSS
  • Collaborative Writing
  • Podcasting
  • Microblogging

Further topics are planned, including Social Bookmarking and Digital Identity.

Here is a slidecast that introduces the web2practice project. It was originally presented at the "JISC conference 09: Opening Digital Doors".

2009-09-18

Pan African Observatory on ICTs in Education

The wonderful thing about social software is that it enables everyone to have a voice, to publish, and everyone to participate. As researchers and educators, our participation in the processes of change enables us to shape, share and collaboratively build development knowledge. And it is incredibly important that this knowledge is open and freely available to researchers everywhere so that everyone can use it and build on it.

The aim of the PanAf Observatory is to better understand how the integration of ICT can enhance the quality of teaching and learning in Africa. In its initial phase, energy and investment will be focused on the development of an open Observatory for researchers and practitioners in the field to collect and share data. Whilst not wanting to distract energy from this excellent aim, I do feel that the site could be improved by providing a more interesting landing page.


The PanAf Observatory is an open knowledge-sharing resource for research on the pedagogical integration of ICT. Three search functions are available: Simple Search — which allows you to view indicators from institutions in a single country, Advanced Search — which allows you to compare indicators in different institutions and countries, and Summary Search — which allows you to browse a mapping of ICT in education summaries from the institutions and countries participating in the project.

You are highly encouraged to leave a comment, or suggest modifications to any indicator by clicking on the associated icons throughout the Observatory.

The site says that it is also easy to add and modify data on the Observatory - all you need is an identifier and password to log in. To sign up, you contact info@observatoiretic.org. I guess this is to try to avoid spammers, but an online form would have been better.

This PanAf Observatory project is grounded in multi-institutional partnership, with a focus on tertiary level research institutions, attached to universities, in the participating countries. The partner countries will work under the scientific and technical coordination of ERNWACA (Educational Research Network for West And Central Africa), and the Université de Montréal. Consult ERNWACA's PanAfrican Research Agenda on the Pedagogical Integration of ICTs web portal for more details. The PanAf Observatory has external partner organisations including infoDev and the UNESCO Institute for Statistics.

2009-09-12

Educational Research Network for West and Central Africa

Education research should influence the evolution of educational systems. The "Educational Research Network for West and Central Africa" ERNWACA ("Réseau Ouest et Centre Africain de Recherche en Education" ROCARE) was created to increase research capacity, strengthen collaboration among researchers and practitioners, and promote African expertise on education so as to positively impact educational practices and policies.



The strategic objectives of ERNWACA are to:
• Build national and regional research and policy evaluation capacity.
• Improve the quality and pertinence of research for practitioners and decision-makers.
• Disseminate findings to stimulate public dialogue and advocacy,
• Strengthen Ernwaca as a sustainable regional institution.



One of the methods it is using to achieve these objectives is through a Virtual Library of the Educational Research Network for West and Central Africa. The library of the ERNWACA provides access to many works and publications relating to research in education in West and Central Africa.



The Educational Research Network for West and Central Africa ERNWACA's mission is the promotion of African expertise in order to influence the educational practices and policies positively. Education is one of the engines of the transformation and competitiveness in Africa where research in education must drive the development of education systems.

2009-09-09

Public domain EPUB downloads on Google Books

I was very excited about Google's decison to put books online some years ago. It looked like another major step forward for the open access movement - which I support whole-heartedly, as most of you will know by now :-).

Then the process stopped - three years ago, the Authors Guild, the Association of American Publishers and a handful of authors and publishers filed a class action lawsuit against Google Books.

Google settled this lawsuit in October last year. It will still take some time for this to come into effect (maybe another couple of years) but I'm sure Google already has stuff lined up to come available immediately the court agrees.
In the meantime, Google Books are making "public domain" material available in a variety of forms:

Try doing a search for [Hamlet] on Google Books. The first few results you'll get are "Full View" books — which means you can read the full text. And, because the book is in the public domain, you can also download a copy of Hamlet in PDF form.

You'll be able to download these and over one million public domain books from Google Books in an additional format - EPUB - a free and open industry standard for electronic books. It's supported by a wide variety of applications, so once you download a book, you'll be able to read it on any device or through any reading application that supports the format. That means that people will be able to access public domain works that Google digitized from libraries around the world in more ways, including some that haven't even been built or imagined yet.

They founded Google Books on the premise that anyone, anywhere, anytime should have the tools to explore the great works of history and culture. Google began digitizing these books because they thought it was important for people to be able to find and read them, and they want them to be able to do so anywhere — not just when they happen to be at a computer. This feature takes Google one step closer towards realizing that goal by helping support open standards that enable people to access these books in more places, on more devices and through more applications.

To find out more, check out the post on the Google Books blog.

2009-09-06

Information Literacy Resources Directory

Gone are those days when so many of us (mistakenly) believed that information literacy was about getting to know the card catalogue in a library. Given the daily deluge of information to which we are all subjected, information literacy has taken on the importance it has always deserved but rarely been afforded. To make it possible for lecturers, teachers and librarians to teach these important skills, rather than each re-inventing the wheel, it makes good sense to share resources and materials.

The Information Literacy Section of the International Federation of Library Association and Institutions (IFLA) has created a database to record information literacy materials from different parts of the world, on behalf of UNESCO. The result is the Information Literacy Resources Directory.



The contents of the Information Literacy Resources Directory, which are of course searchable, include:

Communication
  • Conferences on the subject
  • International actions, meetings, programs
  • Listservs - Discussion lists
  • Weblogs
  • Websites devoted to information literacy

IL Products for users
  • Advocacy toolkits
  • Assessment / Evaluation tools
  • Credit courses
  • Know how materials
  • Library tours
  • Tests of IL competencies/skills
  • Tutorials for citizens
  • Tutorials on how to use specific information resources
  • Workshop/Hands on experience

Organizations
  • Associations and professional bodies
  • Information literacy training organizations
  • International organizations with IL related work
  • Research projects / Research centers

Publications
  • Guidelines for information literacy
  • IL monographs of international coverage or impact
  • Other publications of international relevance
  • Serials (Journals)
  • Specific guidelines for key programs
  • Thesis of international relevance
  • Translations of key international documents

Training the trainers
  • Courses
  • Distant certificates/degrees
  • IL institutes/immersion programs
  • Web-based courses for training the trainers
  • Workshop/Hands on experience

Librarians, educators and information professionals are invited to participate. If you have developed information literacy materials and would like to share them with the world community, please submit the required data.

2009-09-03

ICTs for agricultural livelihoods

A new book by IICD "ICTs for agricultural livelihoods" describes experiences and achievements of the International Institute for Communication and Development (IICD) and its partners with using ICT to enhance agricultural livelihoods through thirty-five projects over six years in nine countries in Africa and Latin America. This booklet is part of a series of reports on the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in various sectors.



The study is intended to provide guidance to organisations working in the agriculture sector. It is particularly meant for policymakers, ICT practitioners and donor agencies. Expectations of the potential of ICT to reduce global poverty and contribute to realising the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are high, but the evidence base needs strengthening. With this study IICD hopes to contribute to a joint understanding of the use of ICT in support of agricultural development and rural poverty alleviation.

Analysis of the impact of IICD-supported projects indicates that ICTs can contribute to achieving the first Millennium Development Goal to ‘eradicate extreme hunger and poverty by raising the income of small-scale farmers and strengthening the agriculture sector. Overall, ICTs contribute to better access to prices, markets and production information.

Click here to download the booklet as a PDF file (1.3 MB).

2009-09-01

African universities face new Internet challenges

African universities are facing a new digital challenge - it is no longer access to the Internet that is the problem - it is its use, according to Jonathan Harle, programme officer for the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU).


In his report "Digital resources for research: a review of access and use in African universities" he explained that "With infrastructure and facilities steadily improving … addressing the use of, rather than access to, electronic resources should perhaps receive greater attention".


"Users must be given the skills to identify and locate what they need for their work," writes Harle. He says the ability of African scholars to publish and contribute information is critical to redressing the prevailing imbalance, where Africa is a consumer but not a contributor of information and knowledge. Although bandwidth and slow connections continue to be a problem, priority should now be given to training staff, particularly in ICT and web skills.

2009-08-30

More on how to blog

Here's a neat introduction to blogs and blogging - a slideshow by my colleague Telly Onu.



For another one go to my earlier post on Blogs

2009-08-28

MDG indicators for Asia and the Pacific 2009

The Key Indicators for Asia and the Pacific 2009 annual statistical data book has just been published by the Asian Development Bank (ADB). It presents the latest available economic, financial, social, environmental, and Millennium Development Goals (MDG) indicators for regional members of ADB. Data are grouped under MDG and Regional Tables, together with nontechnical explanations and brief analyses of the MDG achievements and developments.

This issue includes:
Part I: A special chapter on “Enterprises in Asia: Fostering Dynamism in SMEs”
Part II: Millennium Development Goals
Part III: Regional Tables

View the full document PDF: 13,383 kb | 324 pages ]


The special chapter in Part I looks at the impact of the economic crisis on workers and enterprises, including small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). It also discusses how to foster greater efficiency in SMEs once the crisis has played out. A key channel through which the economic crisis has affected enterprises is through the reduction in Asian exports. While SMEs tend to work for the domestic rather than export markets, some of the most dynamic SMEs export or supply inputs to larger export dependent enterprises. Moreover, many SMEs will be affected by the fall in domestic demand as unemployment rises and household incomes contract. In the short run, government efforts at boosting aggregate demand, as well as specific policy initiatives to assist SMEs’ access to finance, should help enterprises cope with the crisis. But over the longer-term, policies must help SMEs adopt modern technologies and raise their productivity. Above all, governments should avoid creating incentives for small enterprises to remain small and operate with outdated technologies. Fostering dynamism in SMEs will not only help their owners, but also workers at large. In this way, a dynamic SME sector can play an important role in the rebalancing of the economies of Asia by raising household incomes and thus domestic demand.

2009-08-24

Reminder: Open Access Week, October 19 – 23, 2009


I just want to remind everyone that October 19 – 23 is Open Access Week.

This annual event presents an opportunity to broaden awareness and understanding of Open Access to research, including access policies from all types of research funders, within the international higher education community and the general public.

Open Access Week builds on the momentum generated by the 120 campuses in 27 countries that celebrated Open Access Day in 2008. Event organizers SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing & Academic Resources Coalition), the Public Library of Science (PLoS), and Students for FreeCulture welcome key new contributors, who will help to enhance and expand the global reach of this popular event in 2009: eIFL.net (Electronic Information for Libraries), OASIS (the Open Access Scholarly Information Sourcebook); and the Open Access Directory (OAD).

This year’s program will highlight educational resources on Open Access that local hosts can use to customize their own programs to suit local audiences and time zones. OASIS will serve as the centerpiece of the 2009 program, delivering resources for every constituency and every awareness level. The Open Access Directory will again provide an index of participants on five continents, as well as their growing clearinghouse for all OA resources. Through the collaborative functionality of the two initiatives, OA videos, briefing papers, podcasts, slideshows, posters and other informative tools will be drawn from all over the Web to be highlighted during Open Access Week.

The organizers will also work with registrants to develop a variety of sample program tracks, such as “Administrators’ introduction to campus open-access policies and funds,” “OA 101,” and “Complying with the NIH public access policy” that take full advantage of available tools. Participants are invited to adapt these resources for local use, and to mark Open Access Week by hosting an event, distributing literature, blogging — or even just wearing an Open Access t-shirt.

For more information about Open Access Week and to register, visit http://www.openaccessweek.org.

2009-08-16

The Participatory Web - New Potentials of ICT in Rural Areas

The most noticeable development in terms of e-tools is what is known as "Web 2.0", in which social software is used to facilitate collaboration and sharing between users. This computer-mediated communication has become very popular with sites like MySpace and YouTube. These tools encourage self-publishing or online journalism, where people express their points of view on their websites. Whether you are sharing your words, video-sharing or photo-sharing, the most important aspect of Web 2.0 is the control it gives to any user to publish whatever they want to the web. Internet users are no longer passive recipients of information placed there by organizations and institutions. Instead they are active contributors. Web 2.0 tools have levelled the playing field.


Web 2.0 tools offer people in rural areas a platform for networking and knowledge exchange. The brochure, "The Participatory Web - New Potentials of ICT in Rural Areas" published by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ), provides a systematic overview of Web 2.0 experiences in Africa, Asia and Latin America. It serves as a practice-oriented introduction to the theme and discusses both the potentials and the possible limitations to the participatory web.


Download:
The Participatory Web pdf, 1.8 MB (English)

2009-08-05

Clouding distinctions in higher education

I recently came across a thought-provoking volume - The Tower and The Cloud: Higher education in the Age of Cloud Computing - published as a free e-Book by EDUCAUSE. It examines the impact of IT on higher education and also on the IT organization in higher education. But it isn't intended as a book just for IT specialists or for higher education administrators (though it should be compulsory reading for these groups of people) - it is intended for all those with an interest in higher education and more broadly in societal structures in the networked information economy.

The book's description says: "The emergence of the networked information economy is unleashing two powerful forces. On one hand, easy access to high-speed networks is empowering individuals. People can now discover and consume information resources and services globally from their homes. Further, new social computing approaches are inviting people to share in the creation and edification of information on the Internet. Empowerment of the individual—or consumerization—is reducing the individual's reliance on traditional brick-and-mortar institutions in favor of new and emerging virtual ones. Second, ubiquitous access to high-speed networks along with network standards, open standards and content, and techniques for virtualizing hardware, software, and services is making it possible to leverage scale economies in unprecedented ways. What appears to be emerging is industrial-scale computing—a standardized infrastructure for delivering computing power, network bandwidth, data storage and protection, and services."

"Consumerization and industrialization beg the question "Is this the end of the middle?"; that is, what will be the role of "enterprise" IT in the future? Indeed, the bigger question is what will become of all of our intermediating institutions?"

2009-07-31

Global Information Technology Report

The Global Information Technology Report 2008–2009 appears at a difficult time for the global economic system. Thus, it is important to reaffirm the crucial role of ICT for general competitiveness and progress and the importance of continuing to invest in ICT infrastructure and related services, as well as in innovation.

Published by the World Economic Forum under the theme “Mobility in a Networked World”, this year’s Report places a particular focus on the relationship and interrelations between mobility and ICT. With coverage of 134 economies worldwide, the Report remains the world’s most comprehensive and authoritative international assessment of the impact of ICT on the development process and the competitiveness of nations. The Report stresses the importance of ICT as a catalyst for growth in the current global turmoil.

2009-07-19

Electronic Health Records: A Primer


A Health Information Technology-Electronic Health Records: A Primer - by Lucien Wulsin and Adam Dougherty.



Health Information Technology-Electronic Health Records (HIT-EHR) is a broad term that refers to the generation, storage, and transmission of electronic health information. Information management is central to the healthcare system, and HIT-EHR is widely viewed as the necessary step to bring healthcare into the 21st century.

The benefits of health information technology are clear in theory, but adoption rates are low. While the development and wide-scale use of HIT-EHR has experienced obstacles, it is gaining ground in both the public and private sectors. This report highlights recent developments and explains various aspects of HIT-EHR, including definitions, current usage, how it can benefit healthcare quality and costs, barriers to its development, and current public and private efforts to implement and expand it. The report is based in the US, but the findings and lessons are applicable anywhere.

A Health Information Technology-Electronic Health Records: A Primer is downloadable free of charge as a PDF file here.

2009-07-15

SOCOL@R - Index of Open Educational Resources

SOCOL@R - an index of Open Educational Resources (OER) - has been launched by China Educational Publications Import and Export Corporation (CEPIEC).





Along with the growth of network technology, open access (OA) resources achieved unprecedented development. OA journals and OA repositories provide reseachers with a new source of academic information. However, OA resources are spread in different organizations’ proxies and websites around the world, which makes full-scale search extremely difficult. Previously, the consolidation of OA resources was mainly conducted through two projects — DOAJ and OpenDOAR. Also, some similar work has been done by institutes and individuals. But none of these projects have made the majority of existing OA resource available to users in one single platform.



CEPIEC considers it is a necessity to collect and aggregate the OA journals and repositories internationally into one website in a searchable format for the convenience of end users. This is the aim of building Socolar — To provide a one stop search for all the open access information worldwide.

2009-06-26

Open Educational Resources: Conversations in Cyberspace

UNESCO releases new publication on open educational resources
26-06-2009 (Paris)


UNESCO has released its first openly licensed publication. Open Educational Resources: Conversations in Cyberspace brings together the background papers and reports from the first three years of activities in the UNESCO OER Community. Access the online edition – or buy the book! Education systems today face two major challenges: expanding the reach of education and improving its quality. Traditional solutions will not suffice, especially in the context of today's knowledge-intensive societies.

Open Educational Resources (OER) offer one solution for extending learning opportunities. The goal of the OER movement is to equalize access to knowledge worldwide through sharing online high quality content. Open Educational Resources are digitalized materials offered freely and openly for use and reuse in teaching, learning and research.

Since 2005, UNESCO has been at the forefront of building awareness about this movement by facilitating an extended conversation in cyberspace. A large and diverse international community has come together to discuss the concept and potential of OER in a series of online forums.

The background papers and reports from the first three years of discussions are now available in print. Open Educational Resources: Conversations in Cyberspace provides an overview of the first steps of this exciting new development: it captures the conversations between leaders of some of the first OER projects,and documents early debates on the issues that continue to challenge the movement. The publication will provide food for thought for all those intrigued by OER – its promise and its progress.

Open Educational Resources: Conversations in Cyberspace is UNESCO's first openly licensed publication – an indication of the commitment of the Organization to the sharing of knowledge and the free flow of ideas.

  • Purchase the print edition
  • Access the online edition
  • 2009-06-21

    Bridging the Knowledge Divide

    Bridging the Knowledge Divide: Educational Technology for Development
    Edited by: Stewart Marshall, The University of the West Indies; Wanjira Kinuthia, Georgia State University; and Wallace Taylor, The University of the West Indies.


    In many international settings, developing economies are in danger of declining as the digital divide becomes the knowledge divide. This decline attacks the very fabric of cohesion and purpose for these regional societies and causes increased social, health, economic and sustainability problems.


    This book, the first volume in the book series “Educational Design and Technology in the Knowledge Society”, discusses how educational technology can utilise ICT to transform education and assist developing communities to close the knowledge divide. It provides a comprehensive coverage of educational technology in development in different professions and parts of world.


    The book provides examples of best practice, case studies and principles for educators, community leaders, researchers and policy advisers on the use of educational technology for development. In particular, it provides examples of how education can be provided more flexibly in order to provide access to hitherto disadvantaged and under-represented communities and individuals.


    2009-06-15

    OASIS: A sourcebook on Open Access

    With the growing interest in Open Access (OA) worldwide comes the increasing demand for training, knowledge development, and skills for the implementing of OA repositories and OA journals, the twin routes for making research results openly accessible.



    OASIS aims to provide an authoritative ‘sourcebook’ on Open Access, covering the concept, principles, advantages, approaches and means to achieving it. The site highlights developments and initiatives from around the world, with links to diverse additional resources and case studies. As such, it is a community-building as much as a resource-building exercise. Users are encouraged to share and download the resources provided, and to modify and customize them for local use.



    The concept of an OA resource arose because much ‘spreading the word’ activity (currently at least) is carried out by a core set of individuals who are invited to travel to address audiences or carry out training activities on all continents. This is reasonably effective on the local level at which it operates, but is costly for both trainers/speakers and participants, and the one-size-fits-all approach that necessarily has to be adopted is not the most effective way of educating and informing. Thus the current model for disseminating reliable and authoritative information about Open Access is unsustainable, is not effective on the large scale and is overly-onerous on the individuals concerned. The information needs of the scholarly community worldwide can better be addressed by the provision of an authoritative and informative resource on Open Access, delivered in various formats that accommodate the needs of all constituencies.






    Objectives

    The online content is intended to provide training and resources for anyone or institutions who wish to provide open access to their research publications. The objectives are:
    • to increase the number of trainers and centres of expertise worldwide
    • to expand the knowledge base of open access implementation
    • to share resources and best practices
    • to demonstrate and record successful outcomes of OA around the world


    Key Characteristics of OASIS

    • Open to any users
    • Open to contributions from diverse practitioners
    • Modular approach for content development to enable additions
    • International cooperation
    • Expert coordination and editorial team

    2009-06-03

    An online education resource center

    AcademicInfo is an online education resource center with extensive subject guides and distance learning information. Its mission is to provide free, independent and accurate information and resources for prospective and current students (and other researchers).



    AcademicInfo was founded in 1998 by Mike Madin, a librarian coordinator, and is now maintained by multiple contributors.

    The site currently features over 25,000+ hand-picked resources and the website is updated on a daily basis.

    2009-05-31

    Project Gutenberg

    The mission of Project Gutenberg is simple:
    To encourage the creation and distribution of eBooks.
    This mission is, as much as possible, to encourage all those who are interested in making eBooks and helping to give them away. Project Gutenberg is powered by ideas, ideals, and by idealism. Project Gutenberg is not powered by financial or political power. It is powered totally by volunteers.


    Project Gutenberg is not in the business of establishing standards and are happy to bring eBooks to readers in as many formats as volunteers wish to make. In addition, they do not provide standards of accuracy above those as recommended by institutions such as the U.S. Library of Congress at the level of 99.95%.

    While most of the eBooks exceed these standards and are presented in the most common formats, this is not a requirement; people are still encouraged to send eBooks in any format and at any accuracy level and they ask for volunteers to convert them to other formats, and to incrementally correct errors as times goes on.

    There are over 28,000 free books in the Project Gutenberg Online Book Catalog. Over 100,000 titles are available at Project Gutenberg Partners, Affiliates and Resources.

    The project wants to provide as many eBooks in as many formats as possible for the entire world to read in as many languages as possible. Thus, they are continually seeking new volunteers, whether to make one single favorite book available or to make one new language available or to help us with book after book.

    Everyone is welcome at Project Gutenberg.

    Everyone is free to do their own eBooks their own way.

    2009-05-12

    Open University (UK) new website and new units

    New website on climate change

    OpenLearn has seen over 4.5 million people take advantage of free education since it was launched in October 2006. Now the Open University is launching a new learning website later in 2009. They are looking for people with an interest in climate change to help test the prototype. If you'd like to help out, sign-up here.


    New Units on Open Learn

    Recent study units include:
  • Geometry
  • Numbers
  • Tapping into mathematics
  • Diagrams, charts and graphs
  • Social work learning practice
  • Meeting minority needs
  • Homelessness and need
  • Care transactions
  • Children's participation
  • Experiences of assessment
  • LETS: A community development
  • Health is everywhere: unravelling the mystery of health
  • An introduction to biological systematics
  • Social marketing
  • Effective ways of displaying information
  • Managing to meet service users' needs
  • Becoming a critical social work practitioner
  • Understanding cardiovascular diseases

  • Registered users will need to be logged in to access their personal myLearningSpace and use the free learning tools. Non-registered users will need to register. Registration is completely free and makes no future requirements of you. You can find out more information on the Getting Started page