Theme 13: Digital Education, Distance Learning and the Creation of the Information Society
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  (Last updated: September 29th, 2005)
 
 
 
 
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  Glocal Youth: Texts and Contexts in the North and South of the World  
  Sandra Federici, Director  
  Africa e Mediterraneo, Sasso Marconi, Italy  
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  The paper will focus on the role of mass media and new technologies in shaping youth identities, both in the North and South of the world. It will also explore the possibilities of an intercultural pedagogy.  
     
  The dissertation will present the project of e-learning and media education Glocal Youth. Our research has investigated media addressed to youth in the Northern and Southern regions of the world. After a selection of significant media, a didactic e-book, available on the web, has been elaborated.  
     
  The research has concentrated on the following issues:
- Intercultural education through media: in order to create a “culture of interculture”, it is necessary to foster a formation process using instruments, such as media, which are appropriate to face the contemporary challenges of the intercultural dialogue.
- Relation North/South, Globalization/Localism: differences and similarities between the media of the Western countries and the ones of the developing countries. Does “Globalization” create proximity or distance?
- The digital divide: the conditions of access to media are related to other social issues, such as economic and political conditions, alphabetization, human rights. The “alternative” systems that facilitate access often constitute a creative way to overcome these constraints.
- Youth as subject of communication: in order to exercise a full citizenship, an aware and active use of media should become one of the main competences of young people. When young people get possession of the communication instruments, they exercise their right of speech, creating products that better represent their ideas, and projects.
 
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  Fostering Youth Literacies through Digital Media Projects  
     
  Jack Shuler, Director of Development  
  Brooklyn College Community Partnership for Research and Learning  
     
  Scott Dexter, Associate Professor  
  Department of Computer and Information Science  
     
  Brooklyn College of the City University of New York (CUNY), Brooklyn, New York, USA  
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  Most studies of the digital divide in US schools focus on the extent to which technology has penetrated the classroom, placing primary value on the potential for students to learn how to use technology in school. By the fall of 2002 almost 99 percent of public schools in the United States had access to the Internet and, in turn, to computers. But according to a recent government press release, even though access for public school students during the daytime has risen, access during the after-school hours is still marginal—specifically for minority and poor students. How, then, does the lack of consistent access to innovative information and communications technologies influence the ways in which youth in underserved communities are represented and/or represent themselves? And what happens when youth do have access? In this study, we consider technology in the schools as a vehicle for fostering a variety of fluencies – of language, of technology, of inquiry – which ultimately prepare the student for participatory citizenship in a democratic society. In particular, we will examine after-school programs in which students with diverse backgrounds and widely varied competencies complete a digital video project. We will analyze the teachers' missions and pedagogical approaches, and we will qualitatively evaluate students' development over the life of the project. Finally, we will discuss the ways in which this project addresses the various literacies of the information age and the ways in which youth develop critical analyses of their lives and communities using sophisticated technologies that a decade ago would have not been possible.  
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  Distance Education  
  Walid Shaban, Lecturer, Department of Computing  
  Middle East College of Information Technology, Al-Rusayl, Oman  
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  The Paper will focus on how to use tools and techniques to support the creation of online learning communities in distance learning.
Common theory
Higher education will become cheap that competition will no longer be driven by price. Consumers will choose among several inexpensive educations.
What is Distance Education?
Distance education is any learning experience that occurs when learner and instructor are separated by time and space. Most learning already occurs at a distance.
 
     
  Traditional Classroom Vs. Distance Classroom
In a traditional classroom, instructors are in control of the learning environment, while in a technology enhanced distance classroom, the students are in control of the learning environment.
 
     
  How is Distance Education Delivered?
There are common technological options:
Print - Voice - Video - and Data.-
Computer applications for distance education are varied and include:
• Computer-assisted instruction (CAI).
• Computer-managed instruction (CMI).
• Computer-mediated education (CME).
 
     
  Types of Online Education
We may generalize the instructional modes into four types: training, education toward an undergraduate degree, continuing education, and graduate work.
 
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  Teaching Teachers through Technolgy:  
  Using ICTs to Improve the Quality of Education in the Developing World  
     
  Emily Rozalija Wheeler, Consultant  
  The Academy for Educational Development, Washington, D.C., USA  
     
  Sébastien Jodoin, Manager  
  Center for International Sustainable Development Law, Montréal, Canada  
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  If Universal Primary Education (UPE) is to be achieved by 2015, more energy must be focused on improving teacher quality and on the creation of locally-relevant curricula materials. Low survival rates and the persistent failure of those enrolled in school to reach minimum mastery levels pose significant challenges to education systems in the developing world. Enrolee motivation and parents’ decision to send their children to school can depend upon the quality of instruction and its relevancy to the needs of community members. If school systems cannot maintain current enrolment levels or adequately educate students, initiatives to reach UPE by enrolling the 100-150 million children presently out of school will be wasted.  
     
  Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) are an effective tool to improve teacher and curricula quality. Currently, governments, NGOs and IGOs incorporate ICTs into in-service training programs that expose teachers to child-centered pedagogy, while providing them with materials designed specifically for their students’ needs. This paper seeks to assist practitioners who are attempting to integrate ICTs into curriculum design and teacher instruction by identifying a series of best practices. These recommendations are derived from an analysis of nearly 100 teacher education projects undertaken world-wide by UNESCO, NGOs, and local government organizations. Recognizing that ICTs are not a panacea, this paper also discusses the critical limitations of ICTs in professional development projects. As such, it touches upon the complex relationships between education and ICTs in the context of the Information and Communication Society.  
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  Unassisted Learning-Promoting Computer Literacy in Previously Disadvantaged Areas of South Africa  
     
  Ronel Smith, Project Manager  
     
  Grant Cambridge, Communications Engineer  
     
  Kim Gush, Electronic Engineer  
     
  CSIR Information Society Technologies Centre, Pretoria, South Africa  
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  Initiatives aimed at harnessing ICT for development are hampered by the lack of end-user capacity, technology literacy and confidence to use the technology. In response, the Digital Doorway project provides a unique approach to promoting functional computer literacy by overcoming the enormous hurdles of technology use and familiarity.  
     
  The innovative approach of minimally invasive education (MIE) differs fundamentally from other ICT provision interventions in that it holds that everyone has the inherent cognitive ability to teach themselves, provided computers can be made easily accessible to potential learners and an environment can be created in which they can learn through experimenting  
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  Computer Aided Learning Programme (CALP) in Indian Government School  
  -An Experiment of Azim Premji Foundation  
  Manisha Solanki, Member  
  Technology Initiatives, Azim Premji Foundation, Bangalore, India  
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  The need for the application of ICT in development has international, national and local context. In this age of globalization, ICT is paving a clear pathway to induce economic and social development, including health and education, in developing countries like India.  
     
  India has become an important hub for the Information technology and skilled talent pool. However the statistics for the Indian primary education are not “shining” and illustrate that out of the estimated population of 205 million in the age group of 6-14 years on March 1, 2002, nearly 82.5 per cent was enrolled in schools. The drop-out rate still is very high, especially in the case of girl students, for whom the rates in 2002-03 were 33.7 per cent and 53.5 per cent, at the primary and upper primary levels, respectively.  
     
  The equitable and quality primary education is still a distant goal for Indian government schools. Is there any possibility to enhance retention rate in government schools, and equity and quality of elementary education using technologies, in particular computer, as an Aid to teaching and learning? With this exploratory inquiry, Azim Premji Foundation, an Indian not for profit organization, initiated Computer Aided Learning Programme (CALP) in 2001. This case study paper aims to discuss the main components of CALP including its objectives and strategies, CD content development and its child-oriented approach, and different models of its implementation in government schools.  
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  Project on ICT Implementation in Secondary Schools in Kenya  
  Esther Mwiyeria Wachira, Capacity Development Manager  
  Computers for Schools Kenya, Nairobi, Kenya  
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  Computers for Schools Kenya, is registered as an NGO (non-governmental organization). It was started in 2002 but donated its first 200 computers to 10 schools in March 2003. This project was started with the following expected outputs in its initial stages:
• Conduct a research on the state of ICT in our secondary schools
• Establish local and international partnerships to support the program in it’s initial stages
• Establish a refurbishment centre in Kenya
• Donate the first 200 computers to 10 institutions in rural Kenya.
• Provide a basis for scaling up the project a national level.
This was to serve as the first step towards breaking the second level of digital divide that exists in Kenya. This divide has developed as a result of the high cost attached to the acquisition of computer literacy skills in the country thus making it a reserve for only those who can afford.
 
     
  Availing computers to our secondary schools was to bridge this gap as these skills would be availed to Kenya’s young generation at an affordable fee. Further introducing a computing culture to these young minds early enough means that they will easily learn to use the computer as a tool for learning, information gathering and communication.  
     
  With the introduction of the first batch of computers to schools, CFSK was quick to realize that this was the first step in a long journey and to be more specific it was like giving shoes without laces. There were several missing links as outlined below:
• There was no curriculum in place and whatever had been provided by the government was quite flawed in the sense that the objectives were not the driving force.
• There were no teachers to implement any curriculum as the teacher training colleges in the country have not been training teachers who can take up IT training in the schools. Some of the teachers graduating from our colleges are not even computer literate.
• There were no resources materials to be used in the teaching of ICT both as an add on subject and as tool encompassing other subject.
• Acquisition of IT skills was not an end in itself but a means to integrate ICT into the learning matrix.
• Connectivity was a far fetched idea and the cost attached to this in Kenya was prohibitive.
• The school administrators had a lot of cynicism and were not informed enough so as to make any decision as far IT issues were concerned.
 
     
  From these finding CFSK learnt that it could not be everything to everyone of our schools and had to work with a lot of partnerships to go over the outlined hurdles. By March 2005, CFSK had
• Placed 2400 computers in 120 institutions.
• Trained over 100 school principals, IT teachers for schools
• Installed networks in the equipped computer labs.
• Embarked on connectivity with local partnerships
• Established a refurbishment centre and decentralized to the rural areas.
• Offered literacy skills to all the students in the recipient institutions
• Developed a model which has been replicated in other African countries like Uganda, Rwanda through sharing our experience.
• Established local and international partnerships and a pre-owned computer donation procedure.
 
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  Enabling and Constraining Factors of ICT Access Amongst Higher Education Students in the Western Cape, South Africa  
     
  Cheryl Brown, Researcher  
     
  Laura Czerniewicz, Director  
     
  Center for Educational Technology, University of Cape Town, South Africa  
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  Higher education (HE) has a critical and central role to play in contributing to the development of an information society. In order to build an information economy it is essential to ensure that HE graduates have the necessary skills and knowledge to participate fully in this knowledge society both locally and globally. However, in order to be able to effectively address this issue it is crucial to understand more about access to Information and Communication Technologies (ICT’s) within the HE context and what enables or constrains their use by students.  
     
  In 2004, 6576 HE students, in the Western Cape South Africa, were surveyed about their access to computers and how they used them for learning. This paper reports on the findings of this research. We will describe what students use, need and draw on in order to gain or acquire access to specific ICT uses and practices in terms of different kinds of resources namely technology resources; resources for personal agency; contextual resources; and online content resources. (Czerniewicz and Brown 2004).  
     
  We will also discuss what divides are evident in terms of social class, language, nationality, age and gender, as use of ICT’s are dependent both on the broader socio-economic and political contexts, and on the local struggles and strategies around the distribution of resources and other aspects of redressing historical inequities in educational institutions.  
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  Use of ICT in Education:  
  A Chance for Bridging the Digital Divide-Perspectives from a Private African University  
  Cheibane Coulibaly & Koffi Alinon  
  Mande Bukari University, Bamako, Mali  
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  The recent 2003 Geneva World Summit on Information Society has focused attention on the advantages of using ICT in circulating knowledge worldwide. It has particularly emphasised on the fact that the use of ICTs in all stages of education, training and human resource development should be promoted, taking into account the special needs of persons with disabilities and disadvantaged and vulnerable groups (Declaration of Principles, B, 30.)  
     
  This statement brings again onto light the role of higher education institutions as they are in charge of the trainng of national and continental elite. In the African context, opinions on the introduction of ICT into education establishments seem to be dominated by common places and standardized reflections. Advocates of the introduction of ICT into education establishments frequently use general arguments related to the wide range and in-deep of knowledge accessible while on the other hand ICT were said to contribute to a substantial reduction of costs for education.  
     
  These general arguments may sound convincing. The accuracy of the last one could be verified by the exemple of the management of a private university like ours where public funds or subsides are not availaible but a high quality taining is seek by trainees. However the first assumption needs to be balanced with the following considerations: How can one use ICTs to accelerate progress towards education for all and throughout life? How can ICTs bring about a better balance between equity and excellence in education? How can ICTs help reconcile universality and local specificity of knowledge? This last question is particularly of the highest interest for our institution.  
     
  Thus, the projeted paper will present the niche that current research activities undertaken by the Mande Bukari University in cooperation with Belgian universities are trying to explore by assessing the long term cognitive and social impact residing in the growth in use of ICT and dominant universal languages. This impact will likely be especially strong on traditional environment knowledge, decentralization process and natural resources management, which are the main components of the currculum of our graduate students.  
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  Harnessing the Internet as a Medium for Local (School-level) Quality Analysis and Planning of Primary Education in Peru  
     
  Brent Hall, Professor and Associate Dean, Facutly of Environmental Studies  
     
  Michael Leahy, Masters Student in Geography  
     
  Juan Alperin, Masters Student in Geography  
     
  Nathan Engler, Masters Student in Planning  
     
  University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada  
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  The rapid growth in availability and use of the Internet through affordable and high bandwidth public Internet cafes or cabinas in Latin America in general and Peru in particular provides a previously non-existent window of opportunity to deliver data and information generating tools to support decision making at local levels of administration in multiple domains. This paper discusses the opportunity created by recent growth in Internet access to bridge the digital divide in the area of primary school level education quality assessment and planning. Specifically, consistent with the world millennium goals, as well as the goals of two UNESCO sponsored world summits on education in 1990 and 2000, the paper describes work underway between Canadian researchers, Peruvian partner organizations and the Peruvian Ministry of Education to develop Internet-based software that provides decision support for education planners, school administrators, teachers and members of the public to access and use school-level data to assess the quality of education at multiple levels of analysis. The tool, named EduCal uses Open Source software and features the use of on-line maps for study area selection and displaying education quality analyses. The approach allows data collected from schools to be returned back to those schools as well as to local and regional management offices of the Ministry via the Internet, facilitating the decentralized education quality assessment and planning that is mandated by Peruvian law. The approach, software and sample analyses are presented.  
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  Reaching the Poorest in Their Own Environment: The Internet in the Street Project  
  Bruno Oudet, Professor  
  Joseph-Fourier University of Grenoble, France  
     
  Jean-Pierre, Volunteer, Fourth World Movement  
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  The digital divide is the result of the combination of two factors: lack of access to the network and the lack of knowledge and/or desire to use the network. The poorest are faced with these two obstacles. “Internet in the street”, is a a project launched by the fourth world movement and the Leibnitz research laboratory. Its purpose is to determine through field case-studies how we can overcome these obstacles in order to use Internet to [re]create social links. The case studies are conducted in Paris and in a department in the West of Paris . Our approach is to go to meet the poorest in their own environment (which justifies our project name “Internet in the street”). In our paper we will describe the first findings of the projects. We will present what are the access obstacles (our population have no internet access and are reluctant to use telecenters), which are the expectations of very poor people related to data processing and Internet, what are the “popular” internet services… We shall also present our expression-notebook which permits the excluded population to speak about their lives, their environment, the society where they live. We will draw conclusion of the use of Internet to develop the social links, and the importance of training social workers to use Internet to reach this goal. A comprehensive bibliography on the digital divide will be provided.  
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  Educate the Parents by Subsidizing Their Children: Changing the Digital Divide Through Social Interactions  
  Raffaele Miniaci, Associate Professor of Econometrics  
  Department of Economics and the Faculty of Statistics, University of Padova, Italy  
     
  Maria Laura Parisi, (pictured) Assistant Professor  
  Department of Economics, University of Brescia, Italy  
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  In light of recent policies aiming at raising the computer literacy of young generations and at reducing the digital divide, this paper analyzes to what extent the probability of an individual to have computer abilities is affected by the computer skills of her household's other members, i.e. if there are significant within household peer effects. We show how peer effects can be identified when skills are measured with a continuous variable and the learning costs are increasing and convex. Our application for a sample of Italian households indicate that peers' abilities inside a family increase significantly one's own probability, and this amplifies the effect of owning a computer at home.  
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  Transitioning from Computer Training to Information Literacy: A Case Study of an Open Admission College  
  Mirella R. Shannon, Interactive Arts and Media Faculty  
  Columbia College Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA  
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  This case study documents the two-year process of transitioning a computer training course into a student-centered program focusing on information and communications technology (ICT).  
     
  Columbia College Chicago, the United State's largest arts and communications college, has an open-admissions policy providing access to higher education to graduates of Chicago’s inner city schools. Upon entrance to our college, many of these students do not have the technical skills required to compete equitably either in higher education or in the workplace.  
     
  Twenty years ago Columbia College took the initiative and mandated that all Columbia College students, as part of their graduation requirement, take a computer training course. The course objective was to develop basic computer skills with student outcomes focused on learning software applications.  
     
  Although today students are coming in with somewhat better computer skills, many still lack the essential information literacy needed for future competitive edge. In addition, students are asking for flexible ways to fulfill their graduation requirements and for coursework tailored to their individual needs. The students’ demands for flexibility coupled with the dynamic growth of technology compelled us to expand our objectives to include an ICT literacy curriculum that could be delivered in new and innovative ways.  
     
  Having been the architect of this transition, I will discuss the challenges of having this type of program adopted by college governance and accepted by the student population. I will also present some of our results which can be useful to other schools wishing to provide similar opportunities to their students.  
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  Reference Groups Among Internet Users: A Theoretical and Methodological Approach  
  Ardeshir Entezari,  
  University of Allameh Tabatabaei, Tehran, Iran  
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  At the threshold of entering and creating the information society, the people in different societies of the world have confronted the information society in variety of ways. The kind of their enjoyment of different virtual capacities and possibilities in the cyberspace is hardly under the effect of their reference groups.  
     
  On the basis of reference group theory, we are going to design a theoretical frame for studying the effects of reference groups on the kind of confrontation with and enjoyment of cyberspace. Besides, the effects of the kind of usage of Internet on reference group selection process also will be discussed.  
     
  The core of most of definitions is that: the reference group that is not necessarily the membership group presents standards of self and others appraisals. Applying these standards affects the individuals’ attitudes and behavior and orients them in the way of life.  
     
  Investigating through cyberspace has some specifications and special requirements that should be realized in performing related researches. Whether qualitative or quantitative methods are more useful and how we can access to a better generalization is going to be discussed. We are going to evaluate applying participant observation method in pilot or preparatory phase for more validity and survey method for more reliability and a better generalization.  
     
  The critical point in this process is the rate of response. Is it possible to access to a representative sample so that the generalization does not confront serious problems?  
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