Education-oriented NGOs have been devoted themselves to the task of balancing the disparity of resources for decades. Nowadays, with the advent of new information and communication technologies (ICTs) such as networked computers, mobile phones, and the Internet, many NGOs have come to realize the potential of ICTs in advancing the development of education for the underprivileged parts of society.
However, as no ambitious goal is free of challenges, there are a vast array of issues that the NGO’s facing in actualizing the potential of ICTs. This panel seeks to address these challenges by attempting to discuss (and hopefully answer) the following questions:
1. Why is simply “feeding” African children new technologies (e.g. laptops) insufficient to improve education? Why did the MIT professors and their seemingly promising “One Laptop per Child” project fail to actualize their promised goal?
2. Which unique characters do ICTs possess that enable development? To what extent do ICTs empower development?
3. Access to modern technology provides underprivileged children with the potential to experience the best educational courses via open access course websites, but where exactly does the learning incentive come from? Can the Internet create the learning incentive, or just facilitate them?
We are fortunate to have three experts to address these questions.
An early practitioner in the use of the Web for learning, knowledge exchange and partnership building, Leslie is particularly interested in the roles of network openness and control in the flow of knowledge and their impact on local and international development. Since 2001, Leslie has been directing Bioline International, a collaborative platform based in CRIA Brazil for open access distribution of research journals from close to twenty developing countries. The goal is to better understand the design, structural and policy barriers that impede knowledge production and exchange. With Alma Swan, Leslie co-founded the Open Access Scholarly Information Sourcebook (OASIS) and the Global Open Access Map. A Trustee of the Electronic Publishing Trust for Development, Leslie is on the editorial board of Open Medicine, and the advisory board of the Scholarly Communication in Africa Project based at the University of Cape Town. He is also a member of the Research Dissemination Committee of the Canadian Federation of Humanities and Social Sciences.
Bob Logan is a media ecology professor at University of Toronto. He has a variety of experiences as an academic involved in research in information theory, biology, linguistics, and media ecology studies. As a notable contemporary scholar of Toronto School of Communication theory, he collaborated with Marshall McLuhan and developed his media theory into the Internet age. He will elaborate on the history of media and analyze the character of the Internet from a theoretical perspective to address the possibility of incorporating the Internet into education in this panel.
Yishin Khoo is a Ph.D candidate in Curriculum Studies and Teacher Development at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto. Yishin is a globally-focused social innovator, mentor and advisor on education initiatives. She has served on local and international boards and committees dedicating her efforts to educational projects on rehabilitation, rural China and youth development. Currently a board member at Rural China Education Foundation, she utilizes online project management tool to foster community of practice among researchers and practitioners on educational innovation in China.
We welcome media students who are interested in the Internet, engineering students whose field of expertise is building broadband for underdeveloped countries, computer science students who acknowledge the notion of open access, and sociology students who study social mobility. This is a great opportunity for students and practitioners who come from very different fields yet working towards the same goal to share insights. Welcome to join us!