Posts tagged ‘africa’

eLearning Africa: Overcoming Challenges in Multimedia Delivery

The presentation I gave about an hour ago at eLearning Africa 2011 in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania:

Here is the extended abstract of the presentation

Digital Campus company launched

Last week we set up Digital Campus as a not-for-profit company to continue and expand the work we have been doing over the last couple of years in ICT infrastructure development, technology enhanced learning and using technology to improve public health. You can read more on the Digital Campus website. Below is a presentation to give an overview the types of services and solutions we’re providing to improve ICT infrastructure:

Next week I return to Ethiopia for a few days and will then go to present at the eLearning Africa conference in Tanzania.

elearning Africa conference – day 3

Giraffes at Chaminuka Game Reserve

Another really good day at the conference, most of the presentations and discussions I attended today revolved around the use of open source software. There are some particular issues with using open source software in Africa, for example the fact that although there is huge amount of help available to support people when trying to implement software, much of the help and documentation is online only – which can make it difficult to access. In one of the presentations some of the audience were still a little sceptical about how you can get something for free – surely there is a catch?

Late in the afternoon, I gave my presentation about the Digital Campus project. All went well and I was really pleased with the response and how many people had questions about the project. I finally met more people from Ethiopia, the Head of ICT from Jimma University and the Curriculum Expert and Pedagogical Editor from the Ethiopia Civil Service College in Addis. I’ve also been approached about setting up some study/tutor partnerships with universities in UK and Canada, so the tutors and students in Mekelle can pair up with tutors and students abroad to share teaching and learning experiences.

Overall the conference has been well worth attending, it’s the first conference I’ve been to for a long time and differs somewhat from the much more technical and programming focussed conferences and workshops I used to attend whilst at the OU. Now need to make sure I get another presentation accepted for the eLearning Africa 2011 in Tanzania.

Saturday was a day free for me, so after being at the conference much of the week, I headed out to a game reserve (Chaminuka) about 30km from Lusaka and had a relaxing day there, by coincidence I met several other people there who had also attended the conference – but we managed to avoid talking too much work.

High Speed Internet – coming soon?

Although there seems to be plenty of talk on the new broadband internet connection for East Africa, for me it only means that Ethiopia will get yet further behind it’s neighbours. Being an undersea cable, it’s natural that coastal countries would be first to benefit, but there has been little (no?) mention of Ethiopia being connected, despite other landlocked countries (Uganda, Rwanda etc) being talked about. The BBC article talks about the expense and slow speed of internet access in Kenya, but if those connection speeds were available at those prices in Ethiopia – that would represent a huge step forward. The new faster connections are a great for some countries, but remember there is still a long way to go in improving internet access across the region.

Computer Viruses in Ethiopia

A recent article in the Guardian this week discusses the problems of (computer) viruses and the chaos they can cause in Africa. Alan Mercer, one of my fellow VSO IT volunteers was interviewed for the article. It’s interesting reading, and has generated plenty of comments worth reading (even though I may not agree with all of them!).

It’s easy to spot the comments written by people who obviously haven’t worked in developing countries, yes, we all know that there are (theoretically) technical solutions to many of the problems, use linux, run XYZ piece of software from your USB stick etc. But in my experience here, as one of the comments states, it certainly is ‘much more complicated than that’.

Personal FAQs

Apologies to those of you who I didn’t get to see when I went up to the OU a couple of days ago, but hopefully I’ll be up again soon (maybe for the open unlimited day in couple of weeks), here is a very brief summary of the days FAQs (in hindsight I should probably just have done presentation at the OU!):

How am I feeling?
Good, although not yet 100%

What’s wrong with me?
Not yet sure, doctor has a few ideas, but nothing confirmed until I get my blood test results back sometime next week – if they say anything at all.

When am I going back?

Hopefully soon, as soon as I can get medical clearance to return. All is going to depend on when the docs find out what’s wrong and how quickly it can be sorted.

Have I made a difference?
Difficult to tell, probably better asking my colleagues, obviously I hope that I have, but maybe it’ll take a little while for anything to show.

Am I enjoying it?
Certainly, despite getting ill, I’m very keen to get back asap.

When am I coming back to UK?
Unsure yet, my contract is due to finish in Sept, but I’ve requested an extension to my contract, so might not be until March 2010 (if my extension is approved)

What am I going to do when I come back?
hmmm… not sure yet!

Sorry for the rather succinct answers, but you probably don’t want the full ins & outs, ups & downs of my illness!

Finally, I found this map the other day and found it quite amusing:

africa

[Image from: GraphJam]