Most of the experts and researchers may not have requisite knowledge and experiences of how to conceptualize and manage ICT initiatives in developing countries. I was involved in the management and implementation of a New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) e-Schools Initiative. The Initiative Pilot project was implemented in sixteen African countries over a three-years period. More than 60 private sector companies, civil society organizations and 16 national governments were involved. International bodies like the International Telecommunications Union, Commonwealth of Learning, World Bank and African Development Bank were involved. I learned some lessons that I hope to share with interested individuals and reseachers who are working (intending to work) in this most interesting part of the world. The issues to be discussed are vast from regulatory framework, teacher training, content, connectivity, building partnerships and to a continental (regional) coordination, cooperation and collaboration. I will give more information as you respond indicating specific areas in which you would like to focus on.

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I just finished doing a short paper on e-learning in Africa and can see just from the journal articles that it is indeed a very complicated endeavor to implement ICT in the African context. What adds to the complexity it seems is that what works in one area may not be able to be applied to another region, because of politics, cultural issues and varying infrastructure. I can't imagine what it's actually like on the ground, having never been there myself. I'm curious to know if you've been able to witness in person any impact that the OLPC has had in Africa? Here's an excerpt from my paper of a rather alarming example of technology being poorly implemented in Ethiopia:

Dahlström (2007) also describes a phenomenon, which illustrates a lack of local perspective, where technology is implemented in Ethiopian schools nationwide via a large plasma TV. He observed as lessons in various subjects were broadcast to up to 90 students (sitting in a room built to hold 35) from grades 9~12. He then asks us to put ourselves in the shoes of the Ethiopian students who must watch TV hours at a time, 5 days a week for over 4 years of high school and imagine what it feels like to be put up against an inanimate object that does not have any feelings or that never interacts with you. (p. 14). This example clearly illustrates the importance of how technology is integrated into education, the plasma solution is neither a teacher or student centered approach, rather a technocentric one, which does not consider the needs and skills of either teachers or students.

Scott

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