Vision Meeting 2016

A few weeks ago we had a great time at our annual Vision Meeting at Bella’s LebenGut! It was inspiring, fun, strengthening, bounding and joyful as always and it was a pleasure to spend our time together.
The Vision Meeting was also the general assembly of our association and the attending members voted Georg Steinfelder as our new vice-chairman after Fritz stepped back. They also extended my position as chairman and I would like to express my gratitude for their trust in me.

ICT4D.at members

Florian guided us through the first day and gave us a great structure to have a better understanding of who we are, what we want and how we can achieve our goals and future plans.
We took some notes to persist the outcome, here’s a short summary of some key statements:

  • ICT4D.at
    • has good vibes and we have to keep them
    • is a safe space for our feelings and ideas – it’s a supporting network
    • is a place where at the same time everyone can be a mentor and get a mentor
    • is a dynamic organisation but furthermore with different dynamics and that’s good!
    • let friends succeed and it is wonderful to see that
    • Is a place where we can listen, observe and support
    • is an incubator for ideas and together we share the same realities
    • is a place for curious people
    • has visions and we can reach some of them
  • Discussed ICT4D.at Projects
    • mICT4DMZ – we are still waiting for the funding and we are excited to kick off the project. Paul will handle the project from India with Philipp’s support who is our partner at the INSO.
    • Ghana – Margarete pauses for the moment to finish her PhD, but there are a lot of possibilities. She wants to go there soon and start with fresh ideas. She wishes to have the support from one of our younger members to create a good working team for the project. She recently also got the offer to talk about bigger funding, she will have a meeting in November. Margarete also wants to focus on new and young members for our association to face our new challenges and get new ideas.
    • Team Nimble – There is a lot in the pipeline for our newest project. We will continue our cooperation with the Red Cross. Anders and Georg will have a meeting soon with the Red Cross to support them with their profession. Chloé will support the team from India. It opened many doors and we are still searching for the best way to continue. We also want to create an independent website.
    • Dot Learn – Wolfgang wants to engage himself in the Dot Learn project and this might result in new opportunities for us. He will keep us updated on his efforts, great!
    • Osramba – we tried to start a new project in Ghana but we fail of acquiring the funding. We reflected on it and discussed the process.
  • We want to have more communication and we brought up new and old ideas. A Stammtisch was mentioned and might happen again soon, but we also decided to have repeating Skype calls to stay more in touch and exchange ideas. It was proposed to meet every two weeks online and just talk about opportunities. If someone wants to discuss a topic in detail, then she or he will lead the call. It’s not obligatory and open for everyone since it was also mentioned that we are an association consisting of active and passive members. Anders, Wolfgang and Georg are already interested in hosting one of these calls, so stay tuned.
  • ICT4D.at also means to us to collaborate and combine. We already worked with other organisations and we want to improve on that. We are also proud of having a lot of different professions and we love to exchange and combine our expertises. There is also the possibility to collaborate professionally in the future.
  • We are already 8 years old and we realized that we only have two years left of planing our 10 year anniversary party and we should start ASAP. Bella and Georg already started to compose the official song and there is more to come.

It was a wonderful weekend, but see by yourself:

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Vision Meeting 2016
was published on 27.09.2016 by Paul Spiesberger. It files under global
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Modern software development workshops at the UEM Maptuo

The ICT4DMZ project is now running quite a while and after three amazing weeks in Maputo we are one big step further to reach our goals. Philipp and I (Paul Spiesberger) tried to bring the students of the Universidade Eduardo Mondlane (UEM) in Maputo on the right track.

In more than eight workshops we gave them the tools and the knowledge to start programming for their projects. At the beginning we tried to find out on which level their skills are and what we can expect. From that point on we knew that we will have to give them a short introduction to modern software development in a team as well. Up to that day the students were exchanging code with Dropbox and they had almost no structure or/and organisation for their teamwork. At that time we were glad that Florian and Anders did great work a few months ago. They helped them with team roles and project documentation a lot. So it was not necessary to cover that important part too. In order to give them an easy tool to handle their code and the organisation of their projects, we introduced them to GIT and Bitbucket. The students were impressed by the GIT workshop and we were happy to see over the next days that some of them were porting their “Dropbox projects” to their new GIT repositories. Working with Bitbucket-Issues was not that successful at the beginning, but we are sure that this will change over time. From that point on we were ready for programming and we split up the group by the two projects:

Complaint Center

The goal of this project is to create a website which can handle complaints about a company or a product. It should gather information or feedback and help to improve their services. Philipp started with a short tutorial about the PlayFramework and helped to set everything up. After that he assisted with his expertise as much as he could.

Philipp with students

FindUEM

The other group is working on an Android app for students to find POI like lecture rooms, Wifi hotspots or public power plugs at the UEM campus. I started to teach them the basics of Android programming and helped them to set up the project. Since Java programming and developing for Android are quite different, it took a little bit longer to write the first line of code. I tried to explain step by step the important parts and assisted as much as I could.

Paul with students

In total we worked about 27 hours in three weeks with the students. We had some troubles finding the right time slots for all students, since they had different time schedules during their weeks. Especially at the beginning we did some workshops twice, so no one missed the introductions to the technologies. After that, not all students attended to our workshops all the time, but we were never alone.

From now on, we will assist via Skype and e-mail remotely from Austria. We have a good feeling for the outgoing of the projects and hopefully the students keep engaged in the next months as they were during our workshops.

Group picture UEM

During our stay we also helped the UEM to use Moodle for a first test run. We hope that in the future this modern way of IT supported teaching will be expanded to other lectures and faculties to strengthen the teaching abilities at the UEM.

In addition Philipp and I were working hard on our master thesis. Philipp is doing research on big data for emerging countries and for that he conducted some expert interviews. I am interested in user interface design for mobile devices in emerging countries like Mozambique. So I did a survey with students to find out their mobile phone usage and habits.

Of course we also found time to travel and to take a look at this beautiful country. When you talk to people in Mozambique, experience the beautiful landscape and take the time to look behind the curtain, then you get the feeling that this country is moving fast forward. The question is in which direction. The currently discovered massive resources (minerals, oil, gas) can have a positive or a negative impact to the society. There is also a new party growing really fast and it is gaining more and more influence. In the last few months the country was almost slipping into a new civil war. But one week before we arrived, they managed to find a compromise and elections are going to happen in the future. But I think that despite the fact of great poverty, corruption and the lack of education, Mozambique has the ability to find the way to a great and rich future.

3 women

Last but not least I would like to say thank you to Emilio Mosse and Andrei Shindyapin. We are lucky to have this partner and friends in Maputo, who are willing to share their valuable time and love with us. Also a big thank you to the students for their great effort and time!

Philipp and I are excited to continue the work and we are looking forward to meeting our friends in Maputo again.

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Modern software development workshops at the UEM Maptuo
was published on 03.03.2014 by Paul Spiesberger. It files under sub saharan africa
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ICT4DMZ – Course Finished

Anders and me are back in Austria now after an exciting month in Mozambique, working for the project ICT4DMZ at the Universidade Eduardo Mondlane in Maputo. We had a great time and would like to thank our partners on the spot, Emilio Mosse and Andrei Shindiapin. Below there’s a group picture with them and Marcia, a future PhD student in Maputo and Vienna. We are very happy that we can offer her this opportunity together with APPEAR and TU Wien.

All in all we have had quite some time in several lessons with the students to bring forward the concepts for the two applications they were interested in creating. In this blog post you can find some pictures of how we worked together. Of course after three weeks we could only touch some things and the use case diagrams, list of system components, UML diagrams and mockups we created are a first draft only. However, I’m proud of everything we produced and it gives a good impression what the applications should do. Now it’s up to the students and their supervisors to work on the projects until February, when two colleagues, Paul and Philipp will come to Maputo to deal with implementation of the two applications. We will try to keep in touch with the students and hopefully they will find time besides their many duties at university to continue their efforts with “Safe Maputo” and “Complaint Center”.

Additionally to the course, Anders and me held two presentations for students of informatics and journalism about current developments in media. We dealt with topics as diverse as the Raspberry Pi or PRISM and received a good deal of interest.

Finally I can only express my hopes that what we’ve said and done has helped the students broaden their horizon in general and increase their insights into software creation. I had a good time working with the students and am looking forward to keep in touch and observe the development of the applications.

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ICT4DMZ – Course Finished
was published on 23.09.2013 by Florian Sturm. It files under sub saharan africa
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Keta project – looking back

As already mentioned in the last post, our in-service training for teachers in digital media skills in public schools in Ghana at Keta Senior High Technical School is over now and Margarete is back in Austria again. So it’s time for a sum-up and some lessons learned.

Here’s a group picture of all the participants.

The participants of the group have received their certificates (posing in ECDL T- shirts, a gift from the Austrian Computer Society, http://www.ocg.at)

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School

Keta Senior High Technical School is a very large school with about 80 teachers and more than 2,000 pupils (due to Margarete’s informations). Some of the teachers participated in our program – it was a voluntary decision to expand their knowledge about information and communication technologies.

In the beginning it was necessary to find out what the teachers wanted to learn – considering the different skills levels of the participants

  • figuring out what the best outcome will be
  • every day Margarete assessed the interest of the particpants  and adjusted her program to the audience

Currently there has been a government program put into place where teachers are given laptops to use them in their courses. The timing of this government program fits nicely with our project.

The projector donated by Fritz, another of our members, was very helpful during the course.

Generally the feedback of the teachers was very good . They expressed their appreciation to learn more about ICT and digital literacy. The participants enhanced their ICT skills during the two weeks course and they developed new ideas for their class teaching. Different methods of pedagogy in class teaching (Ghana / European practice) were figured out.

The topics covered in the course included

  • basic ICT literacy
  • usage of MS Office programs such as MS Word, MS Excel and MS Powerpoint
  • basic internet-skills –how to use internet for better learning and teaching good practice skills (e.g. evaluation of websites)
  • how to enhance teaching and learning using digital devices
  • creating a digital portfolio (as an example for future teaching experience)

Challenges with the lab

  • internet connection only on the last day
  • PCs were no too well maintained – many disconnected parts & the working ones were full of viruses
  • power outages – but only 1 full day course had to be cancelled

Headmaster Mr. D.K. Sedanu-Kwawu was involved and is very positive and forward-thinking. He is very much interested in the potentials of ICT in teaching and learning.

Ministry

The day before departure Mr. D.K. Sedanu-Kwawu and Margarete met Mr. Abu Stephen.

  • Mr. Abu is Deputy Director-General & Director at the Basic Education Division and reponsible for ICT in education
  • Mr. D.K. Sedanu-Kwawu & Mr. Abu are looking forward to further activities
  • Keta School could become a pioneer project

It was a very interesting meeting, Mr. Abu already answered to a mail of Margarete – looking for further cooperation

Margarete also met with Dr. Bella Bello Bitugu, country manager of the Right To Play project who handed over Margarete a present on behalf of the Keta School alumnis to Margarete – a wooden stool with the sign of Keta School carved in.

Planning

We should continue with this project and plan for a next course, maybe continuing with the same group to widen their experience and build up a Trainee group, or maybe same content with another group of teachers

Organisation of the course and Margarete’s arrival and stay in Keta was perfectly fine, the mobile internet (MTN) worked perfect and and allowed her to stay connceted with Florian and Fritz in Austria and Worlali in the Netherlands.

Margarete will try to get Gameli and Eldad involved in an online project in Graz – already
talked with doctor father about this.

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Finally we want to express our sincere thanks especially to Gameli Adzaho and to Charles Amega-Selorm who organised everything on the spot and headmaster Mr. D.K. Sedanu-Kwawu. It was very kind of him to offer Keta Senior High Technical School to help make this project a success.

We’re looking forward to working with you soon again!

Big thanks and appreciation also to our member Worlali Senyo who initiated the project and virtually kept in touch with everybody during the whole period.

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Keta project – looking back
was published on 06.10.2012 by Florian Sturm. It files under global
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News & pics from our Keta project after two weeks course

The first part of our project in Keta with Margarete Grimus holding the in-service training for teachers in digital media skills in public schools in Ghana at Keta Senior High Technical School has finished now. Margarete has done a great job in these almost three weeks and met some interesting people on the spot – so the next step is to assess the outcomes and possible ways to go further. From what Margarete is writing, however, there will definitely be a next part and we will continue the project.

So before we post a summary and our lessons learned, here’s some pictures of the course:

Make sure you check back soon, not to miss our summary.

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News & pics from our Keta project after two weeks course
was published on 25.09.2012 by Florian Sturm. It files under global
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News from our Keta project after a week course

As already announced, since 6 September our member Margarete Grimus is in Ghana and holding the in-service training for teachers in digital media skills in public schools in Ghana at Keta Senior High Technical School since a week already.

Now here’s a short sum up of what she writes about how everything is going:

The course is running alright, we start every day at 8 AM until 1 PM officially – but so far we never stopped before 1:30 PM. […] There are plenty of computers in the computer room, but only 5 are working and they regrettably have viruses. Also, we don’t have access to internet. I bought an own internet stick myself on the first day and I’m using that one. There are 12 participants of the course with very different levels of skills, but the spirit is very good. […]

From next week on we’ll only start at 3 PM because regular school is commencing.The fact that we don’t have internet is quite a constraint in the course contents. Also I cant use the questionnaire I developed upfront. What’s very good is that two thirds of the participants have their own laptops with them. […]

It’s also very interesting to find out about the didactical aspects, which I find very important. There’s something new coming to my mind every day. […] The participants have a portfolio where they are summing up down every day what they learned and everybody is very interested and motivated. […]

We also have some pictures of Margarete at the school and with her hosts which you see above.

So, let’s hope internet will be available this week and that there’s a lot going forward at the course!

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News from our Keta project after a week course
was published on 16.09.2012 by Florian Sturm. It files under sub saharan africa
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Delayed start for our ICT training for teachers in Ghana

Because of a medical issue we regrettably had to postpone our in-service training for teachers in digital media skills in public schools in Ghana. Due to our initial plan the course should have started already, but we had to delay the start for two weeks. We’ve been in touch with everybody and have our man Gameli Adzahoon on the spot, so everything is sorted out.

Margarete Grimus will be in Ghana now from 6 September on and will probably split the course on two parts – but Margarete and the participants will plan for this when she’s there.

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Delayed start for our ICT training for teachers in Ghana
was published on 28.08.2012 by Florian Sturm. It files under global
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New project: Academic Partnership with Vienna University of Technology and University Maputo

Another new project of ICT4D.at has already started officially and will be running for a while now.

It’s a partnership with the Vienna University of Technology and the Universidade Eduardo Mondlane in Maputo – Mozambique (UEM) and the official title is

Strengthening universities’ capacities for improved access, use and application of ICT for social development and economic growth in Mozambique“.

The project is funded by the APPEAR-program of the Austrian Development Agency and we’re very happy about that! It officially started this July and will go on for two years until June 2014.

Here’s an abstract about the project objectives from the application:

This proposed project is designed to strengthen capacity and infrastructure at the partner institution, the Department of Mathematics and Informatics of the Eduardo Mondlane University (UEM), while Vienna University of Technology (TUW) in Austria will provide specialist competency as a research partner in this effort. The not-for-profit organisation ICT4D.at will support as a subcontractor of TUW. The expected results are a higher quality of education offered by the department of Mathematics and Informatics at UEM and a strengthening of the research capacities to produce research outputs of relevance to the Mozambique strategic economic sectors for rural development and poverty reduction. The improvement of the information technology programmes and infrastructure, coupled with a sustainable research partnership between UEM and TUW, is the main development goal to be achieved by the establishment of this project, so that the practical results can be made sustainable for the process of teaching, research and contribution to the Mozambican private sector, civil sector and economy as a whole.

The project supports the thematic focus of this call with four specific objectives. […]

Improving university infrastructure to provide the basis for a high quality study programme and research activities” […]

Developing educational programmes by improving the quality of teaching, learning, research and gender equality” […]

Establishing a sustainable partnership between UEM & TUW to collaborate on projects and research outputs relevant to the needs of the university and strategic economic sectors in Mozambique for rural development and poverty reduction with ICT” […]

Enhancing the local intellectual property transfer office at UEM to guarantee the application of research findings to the society and economy, leading to sustainable social development and economic growth after the project period

It’s an ambitious project and we have a motivated project team with Prof. Mosse, Prof. Shindyapin and Ms. Mara from UEM, Prof. Grechenig and Paul Pöltner from TUW and ICT4D.at members Joanna Knueppel, Isabella Wagner, Margarete Grimus, Fritz Grabo and myself, Florian Sturm.

We’ll start a project blog shortly where we will post updates and preliminary results of the project. When it’s ready we’ll make an announcement here. Of course we’ll also cross-post relevant content on this blog.

Right now we are mainly planning the first visits to Mozambique – Isabella Wagner will write the first main report on the spot and later, together with Paul Pöltner and Prof. Grechenig and UEM officials there will be the first big in-person meeting in Maputo.

We’re excited that this project – our biggest so far – has started now and we’re looking forward to a fruitful partnership with UEM and TUW! Hopefully our contribution will help UEM to make better use of the countries ICT capacity and let the people of Mozambique benefit.

If you know about any initiatives in Mozambique and especially around Maputo making use of ICT please let us know – either in the comments, on Twitter or write us a mail. Thanks!

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New project: Academic Partnership with Vienna University of Technology and University Maputo
was published on 17.08.2012 by Florian Sturm. It files under global
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New project: In-service training for teachers in digital media skills in public schools in Ghana

We’re proud to announce a new project, which will already start in about two weeks time!

Our members Margarete Grimus and Worlali Senyo have joined up with Gameli Adzaho and Charles Amega-Selorm in Ghana to provide an In-service training for teachers in digital media skills for teaching and learning in public schools in Ghana. The one-month course will already begin in two weeks and will take place at Keta Senior High Technical School. Margarete Grimus, who has extensive knowledge in teaching and adult education in ICT will hold the course and meet with several people on the spot to explore possibilities for further projects in this sector.

The main objective of this pilot project is to equip 15 teachers in public schools with skills in internet research and presentation to support their teaching and learning and ultimately extend it across public schools in Ghana.

I think it’s good timing for our project to start now as Ghana has expressed their intentions to use ICT in education a while ago already and confirmed so lately. We hope that the pilot picks up and want to enable the 15 participants to pass on their knowledge to their colleagues – literally teaching the teachers.

Specifically, the project will:

  • train teachers how to use computers for the learning in classroom for teaching, lesson notes preparation, and for general research
  • provide teachers with skills to use the internet as a resource to improve their teaching (e.g. how to access it, integrating it in class teaching to improve learning, internet literacy and internet safety)
  • guide teachers to identify good practice for Maths and Science teaching (in Junior and Senior High schools)
  • acquire presentation skills as a way to enhance their lesson delivery to improve learning outcomes in the classroom
  • introduce basic skills in research and statistics for evaluation of class/school-projects and scientific writing [from the project proposal]

To hear Gameli Adzaho talk in more detail about the project, check out this link to Coders4Africa Podcast.

We’ll keep you posted on the project and upload news and pictures here as soon as it has started.

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New project: In-service training for teachers in digital media skills in public schools in Ghana
was published on 08.08.2012 by Florian Sturm. It files under global
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German article – Learning for a Responsible Life with a Global Horizon: Education Projects in Africa

Last month, at the international conference “Interactive and Competence-Orientated Education” in Brussels our member Margarete Grimus presented her article about education in Africa with a focus on ICT. The article is in German, the title “Lernen für ein verantwortliches Leben im globalen Horizont: Bildungsprojekte in Afrika” approximately translates to “Learning for a Responsible Life with a Global Horizon: Education Projects in Africa”.

I took the liberty to translate the abstract to English:

The development of the internet has opened perspectives in Africa in the last century which have been hampered by under-developed infrastructure before. The World Wide Web (WWW) can constitute a meaningful contribution to an increase in education standards – if lectureres know the potentials, have the necessary carefulness in dealing with ICTs and implements this in class. Education processes aim at the acquisition of knowledge, skills and approaches, digital literacy is a substantial part of education.

The different weight which is put on sectors such as gender or AIDS in the “first world” and in developing countries is extending experiences in both worlds. Insights in the education scene in Sub Sahara Africa are given with examples of the teacher education in Kano (Nigeria), health education in Cape Town (South Africa) and teacher education in Ghana.

So here you can download the article of Margarete Grimus. Here’s also the presentation slides she used:

Here’s the link for citation:

Grimus, Margarete. Lernen für ein verantwortliches Leben im globalen Horizont: Bildungsprojekte in Afrika. In: Holz, Oliver; Seebauer, Renate (Hrsg.): Interaktiver und kompetenzorientierter Unterricht. Interactive and Competence-Orientated Education. Verlag Dr. Kovac. Hamburg. S. 124-148 (ISBN: 978-3-8300-6422-0)

Thanks a lot to Margarete for providing this, it’s a very interesting read – especially having in mind our own projects.

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German article – Learning for a Responsible Life with a Global Horizon: Education Projects in Africa
was published on 19.06.2012 by Florian Sturm. It files under global
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