Posted inTech

TEDx Soweto — a great day out!

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The first TEDx Soweto happened on Freedom Day — April 27 in South Africa — appropriately held at the Apartheid Museum. The theme was “The Age of Participation”. It was a fun and interesting day, with lots of different perspectives and stories — less of a technology focus than the usual TED formula, which I […]

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M-novels on the rise

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M-novels, or mobile novels (stories on your cellphone) are on the rise in South Africa, as Michelle Matthews explained so well in “Cell-lit is all the rage”. In SA there is about 10% PC-based internet connectivity, while the number of people with access to cellphones ranges from 60% to 90% (depending on which community you […]

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SMS or data services for Google?

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I recently had a conversation with some people at Google about mobile applications for sub-Saharan Africa. Two key issues emerged: i) South Africa is ahead of the pack in terms of cellphone adoption, coverage and services, and ii) the lowest common denominator is still SMS. If Google, or anyone else who wants to seriously play […]

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The pros and cons of an mHealth cellbook

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It’s great to see an innovative approach to HIV education: Metropolitan and CellBook have created an information booklet — called B the Future — on HIV and Aids that can be downloaded onto your cellphone. An iAfrica.com article explains the concept nicely. To try it for yourself, SMS the word HIV to 32907. My thoughts […]

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Five amazing mobile projects

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At the Web4Dev conference in New York I met with the founders, inventors and creators of some pretty amazing mobile-for-development projects. Below are my top five with some thoughts on how they could be used for education. Ushahidi Ushahidi — which means “testimony” in Swahili — is a free, open-source platform to crowdsource crisis information. […]

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Twitter: The good, the bad and need for filtering

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I first came across Twitter, the micro-blogging service, in 2006 when I was living in San Francisco. Up until quite recently I resisted using it for the simple reason that I didn’t think I needed to. I was also worried about the concomitant information overload and time consumption that Twitter inevitably brings with it. But […]

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A great read about techno-geek rebellion

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My best read of 2008 was Little Brother by Cory Doctorow, sci-fi writer, co-editor of Boing Boing and general good guy. San Francisco is hit by a major terrorist attack and the US Department of Homeland Security goes bezerk. In the war on terror all basic human rights are hung out to dry and no […]

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A risk capital approach to education investment

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In 2007/08, the South African government spent R105-bn on education, while corporate social investment (CSI) in education amounted to R1.3-bn. While a significant amount of money, the CSI contribution is relatively small (about 1%). SA spends a higher percentage of its GDP on education than most other countries (that achieve better results in international education […]

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Looking for Jane in Vienna

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Earlier this month, on a Saturday afternoon, I found myself walking around the Stadtpark in Vienna, looking for someone called Jane, to play an Olympic sport that was apparently banned 2 000 years ago. If this all sounds a little weird, it’s because it was. The event was part of an alternate reality game (ARG) called […]

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The online habits of Chinese youth

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According to the Young Digital Mavens survey conducted on around 1 000 American and 1 000 Chinese youths, aged: Millions of young Chinese are embracing the internet as a discreet space for their thoughts and emotions — almost five times as many Chinese as Americans surveyed said they have a parallel life online (61% vs […]

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The education potential of mobile content

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Again and again I’m struck by the massive uptake of mobile phones in the developing world. Exact figures are often hard to come by, but in South Africa it is estimated that 70% of the population has access to a mobile phone. Amongst the youth, that figure is easily 90%. The mobile phone is the […]

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Notes from eLearning Africa 2008

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Last week I attended the third annual eLearning Africa conference in Accra, Ghana. Approximately 1500 delegates from 83 countries, mostly in Africa, gathered to discuss, share and promote various approaches to information and communication technologies (ICT) in education (primary, secondary and tertiary). The conference included researcher and practitioner presentations as well as exhibitions of commercial […]