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Blurred vision on ICT in education?

In developing a future vision of using ICTs in education in developing countries, as Kevin Donovan says in his thoughtful article, it is the policy and the approach that matters not so much the technology itself. But the technology is nevertheless highly variable.

An interesting recent illustration of this comes in a road test carried out by the educational charity Computer Aid on five different makes of low-power PC for use in education in Africa.  The aim of the tests, carried out at three locations in Africa as well as in labs in the UK, was to test what solution is most appropriate for Africa, where electricity provision is frequently patchy, expensive and unreliable. The tests looked at different solutions, including netbooks, networked PCs and refurbished PCs. The results are available here.  The performance results obtained in the lab are quite different from those obtained in the field.

In launching this debate on educational technology, one of our aims is to encourage those actually using the technology in schools and universities (both teachers and students) to engage in debate with those involved in designing it, supplying it or funding it. In particular, we hope to tease out differences in outcomes between theory and reality. So, please do join the conversation!

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