ICT planning for ultra-low-cost environments…

Presenter: Dr Barnard Clarkson

ICT planning for ultra-low-cost environments …

– what would you do?

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As background I should explain that my wife and I have been volunteering in a small school in rural India for the last few years, where they have been trying to educate students who would otherwise not get to school let alone university and a good job at the age of 21 – which is exactly what this tiny school, initially funded by one keen Indian fellow 20 years ago has been able to do. Recent graduates are now working with employers like  Mercedes, Bosch and Goldman Sachs (India).

Imagine a residential school that feeds, clothes and educates 240 students each year for around $4ph per week. Admittedly this one is in India, so yes, the costs are much lower than Australia – but schools’ computing everywhere is still a costly, high maintenance and low reliability adventure – and therefore often poorly resourced, especially in financially challenged schools. What priorities should one set in seriously low-income schools?

What priorities are still important when you have limited resources? What are highly cost-effective strategies to get students up-to-speed in a school only hours away from Bangalore, one of the high-tech capitals of the world, where they could work if their skills were good enough? How do you encourage staff to make good use of computers in their classes when they may have trouble buying one themselves?

Should the school be wifi-oriented and find funding for loan tablets in a few grades? Which grades? Would loan XP-running Pentiums from 2001 with Libre Office in a lab be enough? Virus-ridden XPs were all I saw when I first arrived there in 2010.

What are the ‘low-hanging fruit’ or easily administered and integrated activities we should all be aware of to maximize the opportunities for ICT in schools?

Please come along and share your ideas, make suggestions and address this issue which is a challenge for  schools all over the world.

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Intended Audience: All those concerned with Early Childhood, Primary, Middle School, Secondary, Upper Secondary education.

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About the Presenter:

Dr Barnard Clarkson has been involved in ECAWA for a long time, and has always taken seriously the role our organization has in helping integrate ICT into classroom settings.

Initially he was teaching both students and computing in Secondary and Primary schools. Next he did his PhD and lectured in multimedia at Edith Cowan University. He is now an Honorary Senior Research Fellow at ECU.

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Join Dr Barnard Clarkson at the ECAWA 2015 State Conference at Scotch College.

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