Category Archives: M-Learning

Mobiles reign in households

Source: http://www.thedailystar.net/story.php?nid=140306, Published on 28 May, 2010.

Mobile phone has become a major communication device at family levels, covering around half of all families in Bangladesh, says a study of Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics. Mobile phone is seemed as a great tool of building Digital Bangladesh.

A Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) survey also shows that mobile usage at household levels mainly began rising in 2005. It also means that a stiff price war that began in the same year mainly contributed to dispersing the technology.

According to the survey, 48.3 percent households owned mobile phones at the end of 2009, whereas there were 2.2 percent land phone users at household levels. In 2005, only 10 percent households were covered by mobile phones, says the survey. According to the last census by BBS held in 2001, the total number of households was 25.4 million.

The Welfare Monitoring Survey (WMS) covered as many as 14,000 households for the country as a whole as sample size. Under the preview, there were 8,400 rural households and 5,600 urban households.

The mobile technology was introduced in Bangladesh in 1993. The device gradually became popular among users when the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) was launched in 1997. However, the high price of the technology kept it away from the general public until 2005.

Industry insiders said the revolutionary entry of the mobile technology at household levels mainly happened because of the countrywide coverage and availability of the technology.

“I came here to buy a mobile connection because it is near my house,” said Mahbuba Haque, who was standing at a small shop near Maghbazar intersection. Mahbuba said she bought the mobile for home use. She said she is more comfortable in using her mobile to communicate with people. The different value added services also attract her to use mobiles. Citing an example, she said, through a mobile conference call, I can talk to several relatives at a time, which is truly a nice way of social communication.

Voice communication through mobile telephony started with CDMA (code division multiple access), which was introduced by Pacific Bangladesh Telecom Ltd — the owning company of Citycell — in 1993.

The expensive communication device started to become handy after the introduction of GSM by Grameenphone and Robi (then known as AKTEL) in 1997.

Banglalink and state-run TeleTalk launched their services in 2005 and Warid came in 2007.

Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) data shows that the number of customers under the mobile networks reached 52.43 million at the end of 2009. As of April 2010, the number of mobile users was 56.43 million, according to BTRC.

On the other hand, only 1.03 million customers were tagged with landline telecom services at the end of April 2010.

Oddvar Hesjedal, chief executive officer of Grameenphone, said: “The mobile communication will be a major driver to achieve a Digital Bangladesh. It took 15 years to reach the first 50 million customers; I feel that in the right business environment, the next 50 million subscribers will happen much faster,” he said.

However, a real hurdle to such development is the SIM tax, which makes new connections more expensive, he said.

“The mobile technology has brought about a revolution here,” said Zakiul Islam, president of Association of Mobile Telecommunications Operators of Bangladesh.

“If some tax structures are eased, the market will grow further,” he said.

 

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HSC result via SMS and Online

Life is more easier than that of before. No matter where you are, you can receive HSC, Alim, Fazil and HSC (vocational) results 2010 in real-timethrough your cell phone or internet at home.
To get result online:
www.educationboard.gov.bd is the official website to get HSC, Alim, Fazil and HSC (vocational) results 2010 via online. One can also get his result via e-mail in realt-ime by registering. One can register easily on education board site.
To get result via sms:
The examinees have to type the first three letters of their respective boards, give space and then type their roll numbers and send the SMS to 16222 to get results via sms.
Source: Access to Information Project, Bangladesh

IEEE Explore – Literature Study

For my Ph.D. research I am looking for the use of following keywords: “diffusion of innovations,” “e-learning,” “m-learning,” “Telecenter,” “Secondary education,” “Middle School,” “Bangladesh,” “e-readiness”, “e-preparedness”

Today I was searching for research publications about Bangladesh in IEEE explore. I needed empirical study or exactly where the context is Bangladesh. So I search using “Bangladesh” as the search keyword.

Interestingly in IEEE Explore “Bangladesh” relate article result from 1973 to 2010 was as per following:

  • 770 Conference papers
  • 107 Journal Articles
  • 3 Early Access Papers

Among these I could select a total of 18 paper which are also associated with other above mentioned keywords.  I shall publish the details of those below sometime later.

DIFFUSION OF INNOVATIONS

I am reading the book “Diffusion of Innovations,” fourth edition by Everett M. Rogers. This book has changed my thoughts about applications of technologies. I am going to record my notes/extracts here:

Case 1: Water Boiling in a Peruvian Village: Diffusion That Failed

The public health agency of Peru encourages people to install latrines, to burn garbage daily, to control house flies, to report cases of infectious diseases, and to boil drinking water. These innovations involve major changes in thinking and behavior for Peruvian villagers, who do not understand the relationship of sanitation to illness. One major reason behind campaign failed is a complex local custom of “hot”and “cold”distinctions, as all foods, liquids, medicines, and other objects are inherently hot or cold, quite apart from their actual temperature. For example, once an individual becomes ill, it is unthinkable to eat port (very cold) or drink brandy (very hot). Water boiling is believed to eliminate the “cold” quality of unboiled water, not for harmful bacteria. Only an ill will thus drink boiled water. Some also do not like the taste of it boiled water either. Some cannot imagine that small germs invisible from human eyes can do any harm to a grown person. The targeted middle-status housewives saw the health worker as “snooper” sent to pry for dirt and to press already harassed housewives into keeping cleaner homes. Lower-status housewives had less free time to talk. Only 5% of 200 families could be encouraged in two years time as the health worker was “innovation-oriented” and not “client-oriented” enough. This Illustration is based on Wellin (1955).

Case 2: Controlling Scurvy in the British navy: Innovations Do not Sell Themselves

Scurvy control illustrates how slowly an obviously beneficial innovation spreads (Mosteller, 1981). In the early days of long sea voyages, scurvy was a worse killer of sailors than warfare, accidents, and all other causes of death. For instance, Vasco de Gama’s crew of 160 men who sailed with him around the Cape of Good Hope in 1497, 100 died of scurvy. In 1601, an English sea captain, James Lancaster, served three teaspoonfuls of lemon juice every day to the sailors in one of his four ships, to experiment scurvy prevention, on his way to India from England. By the halfway point, 110 of 278 sailors had died in the three ships in “control  group” and the only “treatment” ship sailors remained healthy. This innovation was not adapted by the British Ships, despite the loss.

After about 150 years, in 1747 A British Navy physician James Lind, who knew Lancaser’s results carried out another experiment on the HMS Salisbury. He again proved that those who take the citrus fruits were cured in a few days.

But not until 1795, forty-eight years later,  British navy adopted this technological innovation. And after only seventy more years, in 1865, the British Board of Trade eradicated scurvy in the merchant marine.

While scurvy prevention was generally resisted for years by the British Navy, other innovations like new ships and new guns were accepted readily. So the Admiralty did not resist all innovations.

The case illustration is based on Mosteller (1981)

MAKING MY OWN GLOSSARY OF TERMS:

Diffusion is the process by which an innovation is communicated through certain channels over time among the members of a social system. It is a special type of communication, in that the messages are concerned with new ideas (p.5). The newness means that some degree of uncertainty is involved in diffusion (p.6)

Communication is a process in which participants create and share information with one another in order to reach a mutual understanding. This definition implies that communication is a (two way) process of convergence (or divergence) as two or more individuals exchange information in order to move toward each other (or apart) in the meanings that they give to certain events (p. 5-6).

Uncertainty is the degree to which a number of alternatives are perceived with respect to the occurrence of an event and the relative probability of these alternatives. Uncertainty implies a lack of predictability, of structure, of information. In fact, information is a means of reducing uncertainty (p.6).

Information is a difference in matter-energy that affects uncertainty in a situation where a choice exists among a set of alternatives ( Rogers and Kincaid, 1981, p.64). A technological innovation embodies information and thus reduces uncertainty about cause-effect relationships in problem-solving. For instance, adoption of residential solar panels for water heating reduces uncertainty about future increases in the cost of fuel (p.6).

Diffusion is a kind of social change, defined as the process by which alteration occurs in the structure and function of a social system. When new ideas are invented, diffused, and are adopted or rejected, leading to certain consequences, social change occurs (p.6).

Four Main Elements in the Diffusion of Innovations

Diffusion is the process by which an  innovation is communicated through certain channels over time among the members of a social system. The four elements are

  1. the innovation
  2. communication channels
  3. time
  4. the social system

1. The Innovation: The innovation is an idea, practice, or object that is perceived as new by an individual or other unit of adoption. If the idea seems new to the individual, it is an innovation. “Newness” of an innovation may be expressed in terms of knowledgepersuasion, or a decision to adopt.

Research Questions

  • how the earlier adopters differ from the later adopters of an innovation?
  • how the perceived attributes of an innovation, such as its relative advantage or compatibility affect its rate of adoption, whether relatively rapidly or more slowly?
  • why the S-shaped diffusion curve “takes-off” at about 10- to 25-percent adoption, where interpersonal networks become activated so that a critical mass of adopters begin using a innovation.

The same innovation may be desirable for adopter in one situation, but undesirable for another potential adopter in a different situation. For example, mechanical tomato-pickers have been adopted rapidly by large commercial farmers in California, but these machines were too expensive for small tomato growers, and the thousands of farmers have thus been forced out of tomato production.

TECHNOLOGICAL INNOVATIONS, INFORMATION , AND UNCERTAINTY. The author used the word ïnnovation” and “technology” interchangeably as most of the examples are about technology.

A Technology is a design for instrumental action that reduces the uncertainty in the cause-effect relationships involving in achieving a desired outcome (Thompson, 1967 and Eveland, 1986).  A technology usually has two components: (1) a hardware aspect, consisting of the tool that embodies the technology as a material or physical object , and (2) a software aspect, consisting of the information base for the tool.

Technology is information and transfer is a communication process, and so technology transfer is the communication of information (Eveland, 1986).  This important role of information, a view of technology has not been widely recognized.

The software information embodied in a technology serves to reduce one type of uncertainty, that concerned with the cause-effect relationships involved in achieving a desired outcome. But a technological innovation also creates another kind of uncertainty because of its newness to the individual, and motivates him or her to seek information by means of which the new idea can be evaluated. This innovation-evaluation information leads to a reduction in uncertainty about an innovation’s expected consequences.

United Nations E-Government Survey 2010: About Bangladesh

SOURCE: http://unpan1.un.org/intradoc/groups/public/documents/UN-DPADM/UNPAN038853.pdf

“e-government development remains a distant hope for many of the least developed countries due to the cost of technology, lack of infrastructure, limited human capital and a weak private sector. A paucity of public sector resources clearly imposes a drag on government innovation. Small ad-hoc and stand-alone projects are the norm in least developed countries, which often lack a well-thought e-strategy within their national development plans. Once initial funding for these projects ends, they are usually at high risk of simply shutting down. However, there are a few notable exceptions, such as e-education in Bangladesh and Ethiopia, and m-health in Rwanda. The experiences of these three countries demonstrate that significant gains can be realized in the least developed countries where there are enabling legal and regulatory frameworks in place, including specifically an e-government strategy with clearly identified sectoral priorities aligned with national development goals” (p. 4).
“The overall impact is too early to assess, yet there is a sense of real danger that some developing countries, which have made progress towards the Millennium Development Goal of universal primary education, will suffer setbacks as result of the financial and economic crisis. Countries such as Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Mali, Rwanda and Senegal are at particular risk “[21] (p.47).
“Mobile technology is becoming an important aspect of educational services, and it is a noticeable trend in the field of student education and teacher training. In the Philippines, the mobile phone and SMS are being used as the primary means for interactive learning and for providing information to students. In the United Republic of Tanzania, the BridgeIT project used mobile phones to provide support for teacher training.28 Mobile technology has rapidly gained in importance across the educational sector. Some even say that the current state of mobile education technology, or m-education, may be at the stage where mobile health, or m-health, was just a few years ago. In Bangladesh, more than 50 percent of the population gained access to mobile phones in the past decade. Mobile applications for English-language teachers in Bangladesh enable them to access training materials including audio and video at all times [29]. Soon the mobile applications will be linked to the Government’s school curriculum, textbooks and assessment procedures [30]” (p. 48-49).
In Southern Asia region, “most portals and websites have remained stagnant since the 2008 Survey in terms of developing new features. As a result, the region as a whole has regressed in the 2010 Survey and remains far below the world average. Maldives (0.4392) continues to lead the region because it gained the highest scores for infrastructure and education indices. Nevertheless, its online services received very low scores and made very limited progress in overall e-government development. Iran (0.4234) and Bangladesh (0.3028) are the two exceptions, both having significantly improved their government development scores and global rankings in 2010 Survey” (p. 70).
According to E-government Index, Bangladesh Ranks 134 in 2010, with an index value of 0.3028, of which “online service component” 0.1209, “telecommunication infrastructure component” 0.0109, “human capital component” 0.1710.
According to online service index, Bangladesh Ranks 60, with index value 0.3556, where she scored 48 points for emerging information services scores, 44 points for enhanced information services, 5 points for transaction services, 15 points for connected approach. (p.116)
According to Telecommunication infrastructure index and its components, Bangladesh ranks 161, with index value 0.0330, Estimated Internet users per 100 inhabitants 0.32, Main fixed telephone lines per 100 inhabitants 0.84, Mobile subscribers per 100 inhabitants 27.90, Personal computers per 100 inhabitants 2.25 and Total fixed broadband per 100 inhabitants 0.03. (p. 120)
According to Human capital index Bangladesh ranks 157, with index value 0.5182, adult literacy rate 53.50%, Combined gross enrollment ratio for primary, secondary and tertiary schools 48.46% (p.123).
According to E-Participation index Bangladesh ranks 102, with index value of 0.1000.
E-government development in Southern Asia

E-government development in Southern Asia

E-government development in least developed countries
E-government development in least developed countries

“Least developed countries have no real e-services, nor are they providing citizens with transactional opportunities, as presented in table 4.39. The vast majority of the sites surveyed primarily contain e-information and the beginning stages of citizen engagement with polls and feedback forms. The top two positions among least developed countries in the online service assessment went to Bangladesh and Angola”(p. 82).

Online service levels in least developed countries

Online service levels in least developed countries

Selected Citations from the Report:

  • Pouezevara, S. Lucas and R. Khan. 2007. “Innovative Information and Communication Technology in Education and Its Potential for Reducing Poverty in the Asia and Pacific Region: Summary of Findings ‘Learning Communities Enabled by Mobile Technology: A Case Study of School-based, Inservice Secondary Teacher Training in Rural Bangladesh’”. Prepared by RTI International for Developed for the October 2007 International Conference on ICT for Education, under Asian Development Bank, TA No. 6278-REG. Manila: Asian Development Bank.
  • The Guardian Weekly. 2009. “Bangladesh Gets Mobile Lessons”. http://www.guardianweekly.co.uk/?page=editorial&id=1342&catID=18. Accessed November 2009.