In most of my reading this year, I have focused primarily on how technology is utilized in American schools. This week, I decided to read about some different uses of technology throughout the world. Below are some of the examples I encountered in my research this week:
- Texting from home to the teacher in Pakistan:
“In the small village of Hafizibad in Pakistan’s Punjab province, a young girl is using her mobile phone to send an SMS message in Urdu to her teacher. After sending, she receives messages from her teacher in response, which she diligently copies by hand in her notebook to practice her writing skills. She does this from the safety of her home, and with her parents’ permission, during the school break, which is significant due to the insecurity of the rural region in which she lives.”
2. Dell’s literacy program spreading from India into fifteen other countries:
“It’s our belief that access to technology brings young people into contact with the broader world, opening up access to education and vocational training in a very cost-effective way,” says Deb Bauer, director of Dell Giving. “What we’ve learnt is that it isn’t enough to simply provide the hardware, it’s the quality the wrap-around services – the teacher training, maintenance of technology, reliability of power, which provides the long-term benefits and this is one of the learnings we’ve been taking forward.”
3. The Text to Change Project in Africa is a really cool project that has children and youth throughout the continent to share their dreams and ideas about the future through text messages:
“The Text to Change (TTC) project in Africa recently launched the Voice Africa’s Future project, which aims to engage 150,000 young people across Africa by asking them to text what they think the future of their own countries should look like. In Ghana last year, a community of young people formed a netizens community and set up a hashtag on twitter – #GhanaDecides – to try and involve more young people and eligible voters to get involved in the general elections.”
But there are problematic sides to this revolutionary technology for children in developing nations as well. Many of these students haven’t been taught the proper rules regarding personal safety:
“Initial research findings reveal that up to a quarter of children in urban areas and one in every five children in rural areas surveyed in Vietnam had shared personal information such as their phone number or name of their school with someone online. In South Africa, more than 70% of users on an online social networking site talked to strangers at least once a week. In Vietnam 49% of urban children had been exposed to indecent content online, while 20% of rural children reported having been bullied, threatened or embarrassed online.
‘Technology has the potential to be a huge force for good but it is not a silver bullet, a fix-all solution to how to fix the education and employment problems for young people in developing countries,” says Kenny. “Yet one thing is clear – it will undoubtedly play an increasingly important part of millions of young people’s lives across the world.‘”
It’s really cool to see how countries throughout the world are using technology to revolutionize how education is accessed by their citizens. I think it would be really interesting to have students find out how technology is used by students their age around the world.