Evolution of ICT for Development

If knowledge is a driver of development ..., more democratic access to information is one component of more equitable development.
(Smith & Elder 2010)

What means openness? What is open on the Internet? What means open to you?

Watch this interview made by AfricanCommons.org at the Acacia Learning Forum, in Dakar, Senegal in 2009, with Richard Jefferson where he talks about the Initiative for Open Innovation.

Innovation in the field of ICT4D: Richard Jefferson 2009

Some authors equate open with access to something (Knox 2013), e.g. information or multimedia material.

This definition focus on the quantity of openness but not on the quality of openness (Knox 2013). That is,
openness is not enough! The accessible material, e.g. an open educational course on the Internet needs a context or re-modelling to be of use for the individual learner.  

Another, more specific definition of openness includes more than simple access to something: 

The term “open” is shorthand for information-networked activities that have, relatively speaking, more information that is freely accessible and/or modifiable and more people who can actively participate and/or collaborate. (Smith et al 2011)

There, emphasis is not only laid on access but also on participation and social learning.

Open ICT4D projects are thought to have an increased impact on socio-economic development in developing countries in the future (Smith & Elder 2010). They are understood as social systems which include ICTs. Such open systems favour universal access and participation as well as collaboration (Smith & Elder 2010).

Open development means more transparency and accountability with democratic and participatory goals (Tacchi 2011). It includes open content, open source, open government, open licensing and open participation.

More open ICT ecosystems can massively increase the diffusion of content and the possibility for people to make sense of the information in their particular contexts. (Smith & Elder 2010)

An example of innovative and open ideas from Africa is the 3D printer made from e-waste.

Another, small educational example is the DigitalStudyHall. This project has the aim to improve education for students in rural areas of India. There recorded lectures from teachers are played on a DVD-player in a schoolroom. During the lecture a “mediator” will stop playing the video periodically to explain something or ask questions and therefore engage the students in an active learning process (Brown & Adler 2008). (And the “mediator” re-shapes the open content.)

Do you see any similarities between most contemporary ICT4D projects and open educational resources (OERs)?
Are you able to influence the subject or the content of this OER?

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