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Volume 1, Introductory Issue 2 November/ December, 1999

5 If Technology is the Solution, Where is the Problem?

Wadi D. Haddad, Editor

If technologies have the potential to significantly improve the teaching/learning process and revolution-
ize the education enterprise, how come that we have not experienced such drastic effects?

7 ICT in Education: What Is At Stake?

Tom Alexander, Director for Education, Employment and Social Policy, OECD

The author sketches out five main fields of interest: knowledge-information society, globalization, life-
long learning, ICT in education and training, and investments and costs.

10 Information Technology and School Accountability

Denis P. Doyle, Hudson Institute

This article is an excerpt of a paper commissioned for the 1999 Education Summit in the USA. The
main thesis is that IT can vastly improve the uses of data, for both policy and practice. This can best be
seen in technology's potential to strengthen accountability for students and adults.

12 How Large Is the International Market for Educational Technologies and Services?
Stephen P. Heyneman, Vice President, International Management and Development Group

Educational programs cannot operate without textbooks, teaching materials, vocational and scientific
equipment, educational software, videos, multimedia, and school furniture as well as school supplies
This article provides an analysis of the international market potential, size, and trends for educational

15 TechKnowNews
♦ LNT Perspectives ♦ Computer Literacy Vital to a Country's Growth ♦ Laptops Without a Leach ♦
Video Email Connects Indian Villages ♦ SUN CEO Calls for Web-based Educational Programs ♦ De-
veloping Country Internet Education Provided by Cisco and UNDP ♦ Canada's Online Learning Feature
♦ Home Computers Help Homework Completion

! 1 ! TechKnowLogia, November/December, 1999 © Knowledge Enterprise, Inc.

17 AMIC@S in Asuncion: Leapfrogging Development
Mary Fontaine, LearnLink Project, Academy for Educational Development

This is a success story from Paraguay that demonstrates the use and sustainability of Community
learning centers.

21 Brazil's Telecurso 2000: The Flexible Solution for Secondary School Equivalency
Claudio de Moura Castro, Chief Education Adviser, Inter-American Development Bank

Telecurso, aired for more than 15 years, has been considered a major success. This article describes
Telecurso's history, content, approach, users, economics and effectiveness.

24 Searching the Web for Educational Research and Evaluation

Gregg Jackson, Associate Professor and Coordinator, George Washington University

This article discusses various ways in which developing countries can make good use of existing re-
search and evaluation to improve their planning and management of education and training. It intro-
duces several search tools that are particularly helpful for finding these resources on the Web. It also
explains how to avoid problems and errors that can arise when using existing research and evaluations

29 Costa Rica: Are Computers in School Cost-Effective?

Laurence Wolff, Inter-American Development Bank

This article describes the Computers in Secondary Education program and analyzes implementation is-
sues, cost, effectiveness and cost-effectiveness. , Despite the issues and uncertainties about using
computers for the learning process, the long-term economic and social payoff of the Costa Rican pro-
gram could well be significant.

31 Computers in the Classroom: How Effective???

Sonia Jurich

The debate regarding the effectiveness of computers in the classroom is critical, particularly for devel-
oping countries, due to the magnitude of the investment involved in buying and maintaining computer
hardware and software, and providing adequate training for teachers and school staff. This article
summarizes four research reports on this subject.

35 Virtual Education: Trends and Potential Uses (A Review of Literature)

This article summarizes an overview report prepared by the Commonwealth of Learning. The Report
provides a snapshot of the trends, advances and challenges of virtual education in different regions of
the world. This summary focuses on five dimensions: major findings, driving forces, opposing forces,
emerging models and recommendations.

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39 Education in the Information Age: Promises and Frustrations
Claudio de Moura Castro, Chief Education Adviser, Inter-American Development Bank

This article explores the successes and failures of information technologies in education. It points to
their great potential: the tangible dream of using them to bring serious education to a vast number of
people. But it also points to the difficulties of fulfilling this dream, due to modes of utilization that fail to
adapt the potential offered by the vast array of technological innovations in existence to developing

43 Are You Talking to Me? Interactive Radio Instruction

Interactive Radio Instruction, a methodology developed to turn a typically one-way technology into a
tool for active learning inside and outside of the classroom, continues to be an attractive educational
strategy in developing countries twenty-five years after it was first used. This article provides helpful
pointers regarding program development, implementation and sustainability.

47 Dumb as a Board? That's not so dumb!

This article describes electronic whiteboards, what they do and what the benefits are from using them.

48 Bulky Books to Compact Disks: The way of Reference Software

This article describes computer-based reference software such as encyclopedias, dictionaries, and
world atlases. It describes their advantages, where you can get them, and what you need to know when
purchasing them.

49 WorthWhileWebs
Gregg Jackson, Associate Professor and Coordinator, George Washington University

This article introduces web sites of organizations that are major resources for research and evaluation
studies applicable to education development policy and planning in developing countries.

52 Today:VCR… Tomorrow:DVD?
What is DVD? Can DVD videos be played on a computer? What are the advantages of DVD? How
much does it cost? Is DVD the video storage technology of tomorrow?

53 !Download A Computer!
Research on nanotechnology is pointing in the direction of constructing things of the size of few hun-
dred nanometers, or billionths of a meter. That is the span of few atoms lined together. As a result, by
the year 2020 we may be able to use the Internet to download not just software but hardware also.

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54 The Many "Fathers" of Video Technology
This article tells the story of development of video technology by a group of individuals from diverse
nationalities, working in different periods.

55 UNESCO: Use of Technology in Education

Jens Johansen, UNESCO, Associate Expert, Task Force for the Twenty-first Century

UNESCO, the organization responsible for education and communication within the UN family, has long
been advocating the use of new technologies in education. This article profiles the activities and ap-
proach of UNESCO in this field.

56 The GINIE Project: Education During Crisis and Transition

Maureen W. McClure, Director, GINIE project, University of Pittsburgh

GINIE provides 'one-stop shopping' for busy education professionals working in nations with crises and
transitions. It is organized by country and theme web sites related to relief and development education.
Users can browse for free materials, contribute their own documents and links to share with the profes-
sion, ask questions, and make professional contacts across international agencies, NGOs/PVOs and

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Wadi D. Haddad, Editor

If Technology Is the Solution

Where Is the Problem?
Thomas Edison, in 1922, predicted that "the motion picture is IBM, in a 1995 speech to the U.S. National Governors’ As-
destined to revolutionize our educational system and ... in a sociation:
few years it will supplant largely, if not entirely, the use of
textbooks." Similar claims have been made about radio, Information technology is the fundamental under-
teaching machines, and now computers and the Internet. If pinning of the science of structural re-engineering.
technologies have the potential to significantly improve the It is the force that revolutionizes business, stream-
teaching/learning process and revolutionize the education lines government, and enables instant communica-
enterprise, in the same manner that they revolutionized busi- tions and the exchange of information among peo-
ness and entertainment, how come we have not experienced ple and institutions around the world. But infor-
such drastic effects? If technologies are the solution they mation technology has not made even its barest
claim to be, then where is the problem? Experience points appearance in most public schools.… Before we
to five areas: can get the education revolution rolling, we need to
recognize that our public schools are low-tech in-
1. Is the educational philosophy right? stitutions in a high-tech society. The same changes
that have brought cataclysmic change to every face
Technology is only a tool. Educational choices have to be of business can improve the way we teach students
made first in terms of objectives, methodologies, and roles of and teachers. And it can also improve the effi-
teachers and students before decisions on the appropriate ciency and effectiveness of how we run our schools.
technologies can be made. No technology can fix bad educa-
tional philosophy and practice. The challenge is to rethink
learning objectives and to align the learning technologies 2. Are the people involved well ori
with these objectives. Education quality must be redefined ented and trained?
and framed to include critical thinking, information man-
agement and sense-making capacities. It is no longer enough People involved in the integration of technologies into the
merely to be efficient in helping learners achieve mastery of teaching /learning process have to be convinced of the value
content and basic skills. The need is for a different education, of the technologies, comfortable with them and skilled in
with success measured more by the ability of learners to using them. So a program of orientation and training of ALL
think independently, exercise appropriate judgment and CONCERNED STAFF in the strategic, technical and peda-
skepticism, and collaborate with others to make sense of their gogical dimensions of the process is a necessary condition
changing environment. Perhaps the most profound shift is for success.
from systems of teaching to systems of learning and from
supervision of learning to facilitation of learning. These 3. Is the hardware in place?
shifts will be as difficult for advantaged communities to
make, with established schooling authorities and capacities A choice of the appropriate technologies needs to be made on
in place, as for disadvantaged communities which have yet to the basis of educational objectives and affordability. Then
establish the physical capacities and for which questions of the entire hardware infrastructure needs to be in place with
appropriate knowledge and relevant skills are still open. the supporting elements, such as electricity, maintenance and
technical services. It is not realistic to expect teachers, who
There is a basic difference between using technology as an will be struggling with a new role and pedagogy, to assume
add-on to make the present model of education more effi- technical responsibility for the hardware.
cient, more equitable and cheaper, on the one hand, and inte-
grating technology into the entire education system to realize 4. Is appropriate content-ware available?
structural rethinking and re-engineering on the other. It is a
difference between a marginal addition and a radical sys- This is one of the most forgotten areas. Yet when you think
temic change. It is in the second scenario that technology can about it, it is the most crucial component. Introducing TVs,
provide the greatest impact. This opportunity was clearly radios, computers and connectivity into schools without suf-
articulated by Louis V. Gerstner, Jr., Chairman and CEO of ficient curriculum-related content-ware is like building roads
but without making cars available, or buying a CD-player at

! 5 ! TechKnowLogia, November/December, 1999 © Knowledge Enterprise, Inc.

home when there are no CDs. The development of content
software that is an integral part of the teaching/learning proc- TechKnowLogia™
ess is a must. Published by
Knowledge Enterprise, Inc.
5. Has the program been tested?
In collaboration with
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Or-
Integrating technologies into education is a very sophisti- ganization (UNESCO )
cated multifaceted process, and just like any innovation it Organization for Economic Co-operation
should not be introduced without piloting its different com- and Development (OECD )
Global Information Infrastructure Commission (GIIC)
ponents on a small scale. Even the technologies, about which
we are sure, need to be piloted in new contexts. Moreover, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF:
pilot schemes should be well designed to provide prognostic Wadi D. Haddad, President, Knowledge Enterprise, Inc.
feedback, allowance for adjustment and scaling up.
Thomas Alexander, Director, Employment, Labour and
Technologies have great potential for knowledge dissemina- Social Affairs Directorate, OECD
tion, effective learning and efficient education services. Yet, Gajaraj Dhanarajan, President & CEO,
if the educational strategies are not right and if the prerequi- The Commonwealth of Learning
Dee Dickenson, CEO, New Horizons for Learning
site conditions are not met concurrently, this potential will Alexandra Draxler, Director, Task force on Education for
not be realized. Let us not automatically doubt the solution. the Twenty-first Century (UNESCO)
Let us get rid of the problems. Jacques Hallak, Director, Int'l Bureau of Education
Pedro Paulo Poppovic, Secretary of Distance Education,
*** Federal Ministry of Education, Brazil
An Update… Nicholas Veliotes, President Emeritus,
Association of American Publishers
The launching of TechKnowLogia on September 1, 1999, Joe Young, Executive Director, GIIC
was received with great acceptance that surpassed our ex- ADVISORY EDITORIAL COMMITTEE:
pectations. This validated our view that such a journal is a Joanne Capper, Sr. Education Specialist, World Bank
necessity in this field that is evolving exceedingly fast. We Claudio Castro, Chief Education Adviser, IDB
are pleased to report that the journal is now read by about Dennis Foote, Director, LearnLinks, AED
Gregg Jackson, Assoc. Prof., George Washington Univ.
10,000 in over 100 countries in all regions of the world. Our James Johnson, Deputy Director, GIIC
subscribers are a highly influential group of people: decision- Frank Method, Dir., Washington Office, UNESCO
makers at policy and program levels, CEOs of Information Laurence Wolff, Sr. Consultant, IDB
and Communication Technology firms, senior academics,
officers of development agencies and practitioners in educa- Sandra Haddad
tion and technology. We are also featured on a number of
prominent web sites - and the circle is ever widening. CONTRIBUTING EDITORS:
Jarl Bengtsson, Head, CERI, OEDC
Sonia Jurich, Consultant
I am deeply appreciative of the concerted efforts of our col- Glenn Kleiman, VP, Education Development Center
laborators, members of our International Advisory Board and Dan Wagner, Director, International Literacy Institute
the Advisory Editorial Committee, our contributing editors,
and staff that have been very crucial in the preparation and EDITORIAL ASSISTANT:
Mark Dessauer
launching of the introductory issue. We will continue to look
to them for support, advice, and contribution. GENERAL QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS
I am equally appreciative of the enthusiasm by which our FEEDBACK ON ARTICLES
readers have responded to the Journal. I am particularly EDITORIAL MATTERS:
grateful to those of you who took the time to send us your
comments and feedback (especially that the vast majority SPONSORSHIP AND ADVERTISING
was exceedingly positive!). As you will notice in this issue,
we took your suggestions very seriously and have tried to ADDRESS AND FAX
incorporate them immediately. We hope that you will con- Knowledge Enterprise, Inc.
tinue your support and that you will call the attention of your P.O. Box 3027
colleagues to the benefits of TechKnowLogia. Oakton, VA 22124
Fax: 703-242-2279

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Tom Alexander
Director for Education, Employment and Social Policy, OECD

ICT in Education
Why Are We Interested? What Is at Stake?
In this article* I sketch out five main fields of interest that address the questions in the
title. They range from broad over-arching developments to specific educational realities.
The intense interest in information and communication technologies (ICT) and education
has resulted in the launching of the major new CERI study described by Jarl Bengtsson
in the September/October Issue of TechKnowLogia.

Knowledge Society, Information Society and the ability to make choices, not technical matters at all.
There might be a temptation to forget this when sights are
The “knowledge society” and the “information society” -- fixed firmly on huge investments in hardware for education.
once more -- slogans are increasingly being given substance
in OECD countries. More and more people are “knowledge Second, there are profound concerns now about the gaps
workers”. Development competitive edge, whether it be for opening up between the ICT haves and have-nots, between
the individual, the enterprise, the region or the country, those who reinforce their access to, and use of, ICT in
depends increasingly on how knowledge is used and how education by what they have and do at home, and those who
expertise is deployed. A premium is placed on accessing and enjoy little of either. This digital divide may become every
using information rapidly and strategically. Generally, our bit as profound as earlier forms of rigid social and education
cultures become increasingly technological cultures: at selection. Again, enthusiasm for ICT’s potential should not
home, in the community, at work, and - importantly for us - make us blind to very real accompanying risks.
in education.
It is hardly surprising that education is caught up in the midst
of these fast-moving developments. Can we tolerate a Globalisation is another term that is heard regularly in
situation where Education might fall increasingly behind so international circles and again there is a risk that it can be a
as to become out of step with these other characteristics of slogan devoid of substance. Yet it is increasingly obvious
contemporary life? The political response to this question is that it is a term that refers to some of the most profound
clear - education and schools in particular should not be changes taking place across our countries where ICT is right
isolated but instead be an integral part of all these changes. at the heart of the matter. Indeed, globalisation is closely
A major fear often expressed by countries is that if education linked to the notion of the information society in the sense
were to become any more isolated, they will fall behind, that increasingly national frontiers are put in question, with
socially and economically, compared with elsewhere. It is the myriad exchanges taking place electronically and
hardly surprising that the political interest has thus become instantly across frontiers. All of this raises profound issues
so high: some countries have adopted ambitious, national for education, some highly controversial.
plans to open access to computers and the Internet to all
school students - the Technology Literacy Challenge in the Globalisation offers considerable opportunities. All sorts of
USA, The National Grid for Learning in the UK, Schulen am limits can be stretched - the very purpose of education.
Netz in Germany, and Educnet in France. Students can dialogue with their counterparts across the
globe. Teachers can create networks and be members of
Despite the enthusiasm some words of caution are warranted. professional teams drawn from far and wide, rather than feel
First, there is a world of difference between the “knowledge” trapped within the boundaries of the single classroom or even
society and the “information” society, between knowledge the single school. New sources of learning materials drawn
itself and information. More and more information may even from right around the world are accessible via the Internet
make us less knowledgeable if we become overloaded by and these different networks.
data and instant communication. Paradoxical as it may seem,
some of the most important issues that the burgeoning
technological world creates for education are those of values

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Other implications of globalisation are, however, a good deal The Nature, Quality and Use of ICT in
more controversial. Education, especially school education,
is a matter of intense national cultural interest. Flourishing
Education and Teaching
education accountability mechanisms are largely predicated
on accountability to national, provincial/state or local bodies, There is also need for clarity on what the different roles and
and are placed in an uneasy tension by the spread of global uses are of ICT in education, and some of the most important
communications. At the same time, much of the material trends that are emerging in assessing its potential. First,
available on the Internet, through cable networks or major educational software, sometimes, is referred to as if it were
software publishers, comes from North America, raising for an additional teaching and learning resource that differs in
many countries issues about the place format, but not in kind, from the
for other languages, cultures and The most important issues non-electronic materials of
identities. (Recent Oxford University that the burgeoning textbooks and the like. It can be
Press figures suggest that the US technological world creates just this. Increasingly, however, it
for education are those of is something radically different -
commands nearly 70% of the
values and the ability to through using the World Wide
educational CD-ROM market world- make choices, not technical
wide.) Hence, globalisation gives rise Web, Intranets and networks - to
matters at all. create interactive, individualised
to major and thorny questions as well
as creating exciting new potential opportunities, but learning situations. And, some of
underlines once more the interest in this field. the important uses of ICT in schools do not use educational
software as such at all - whether networking between
students and teachers using e-mail or bulletin boards or
Lifelong Learning different forms of document formatting and publishing
applications. We need to be sensitive to this diversity of
The lifelong learning agenda defines a third set of issues forms and use, which give rise to increasingly complex
underpinning the keen interest in ICT and education relating issues concerning quality, partnerships and policy steering.
both to broader economic, social and cultural change, and to
more specifically educational matters. This agenda has The second point is obvious once stated but fundamental: the
become a priority for policy at the end of the 20th century role and potential of ICT in education is not a matter distinct
right across OECD countries, stemming from recognition of from all other conventional factors of schooling - students,
the key role of learning throughout the life span to meet a teachers, curricula, parents, assessment, evaluation and so
wide set of ambitious policy and personal objectives. And, forth - but intimately embedded in them. Whether ICT will
for this to work, learning must be available in a much live up to the many far-reaching educational promises being
broader and more flexible manner than that which can be touted depends enormously on how it is used in practice. It
squeezed into school and college walls and syllabuses in the does not represent a technical solution to long-standing
first quarter of our lives. Some countries have still properly challenges but a profoundly educational one. The many
to face up to the fact that education is not just for the young. ambitious policy targets that abound today - to wire up every
school, to get the student/computer ratios right down, to give
It is not difficult to see why ICT becomes so important in teachers laptops, etc. - are excellent as far as they go, but are
this context. The search is on for flexible, individualised still only ingredients rather than the sufficient conditions of
forms of learning and accreditation suitable to the broad change. Putting computers in classrooms and wiring up
lifelong learning agenda, often outside institutional walls - schools does not of itself create exciting new learning
the promise of ICT here is obvious. Despite the promise, we situations that are about changing the ethos of classrooms
should ask how far this potential for extending lifelong and the culture of institutions. It is on this latter point that
learning on a much broader scale has been realised so far and the CERI case studies will focus (see Jarl Bengtsson’s article
how it can best be organised. How far are the benefits of in TechKnowLogia, Sept./Oct. 9, 1999).
lifelong learning being enjoyed primarily by the already
educated, the already equipped, and the already The third point to highlight is the key role of teachers. How
technologically literate? Will ICT’s burgeoning educational successfully ICT is used in education and how much it does
role mean that the aim of lifelong learning for all will be break the mould, depends so much on teachers. This
brought nearer or pushed further away? These are urgent observation stands in contrast to those who have advocated
policy questions for today and tomorrow. technology in the classrooms with the aim of making
learning “teacher-proof”. The emerging generations of ICT
use in education might well be described as “learner centred”
but they can equally be described as “teacher-intensive”,

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calling for a highly demanding repertoire of teaching demanding nature of teaching and learning that goes with
knowledge, skills, and competence. Issues of teacher them, suggest that intensive investments in people and
education, pre-service and in-service, are thus very organisations are needed over and above the investments in
important. Overcoming teacher resistance is critical. The hardware and software.
focus should be on the skills possessed by individuals and
teams of teachers, on the attitudes and learning environments Moreover, augmenting quality through ICT in some
where the open, imaginative use of ICT is both possible and showcase pilot situations or in already-affluent schools is
encouraged, and on the incentives for teachers to develop relatively straightforward; proportionally greater efforts and
new approaches and forms of competence. Pre- and in- investments will be needed precisely in those schools that
service teacher education programmes, however important, enjoy least.
will be rendered ineffective if there is not also genuine scope
for exploring the potential of ICT in day-to-day teaching. I hope that CERI will have more to say about costs and
investments at the end of our own project in a couple of
Investments and Costs years. Even if it turns out that actual savings are hard to
make, by working towards realising the exciting potential of
One very attractive argument in favour of ICT, particularly ICT, in combination with the other ingredients in good
for a treasury (finance) minister, is that it will be a significant education, there should be an expectation of a clear upward
route to efficiency savings in a sector that commands a hike in the quality of teaching and learning. If realised, this
significant share of public expenditure. It is certainly to be would represent value for money in a very real sense -
hoped that some major shifts in resource use and allocation genuine educational investment. This is what we should be
will be possible. Yet, radical change also brings it own cost, aiming for.
and much of that is not about hardware and access. The latter
costs can themselves be very substantial - recent estimates
suggest that over the OECD as a whole, approximately This is an abridged version of a keynote speech given at an
US$16bn are invested annually in hardware, software and International Conference on “Dissolving Boundaries: ICTs
communication links in education. The very flexibility and and Learning in the Information Age,” in Dublin 4 - 5 May
interactivity of the new forms of learning with ICT, and the 1999.

Coming in the next Issue - January 1, 2000

Main Focus: Technology and Higher Education
Think Pieces On:
! Challenges for Higher Education for the 21st Century Worldwide
! Determinants and Constraints for the Potential of Technology for Higher Education
! Issues of Quality Control and Accreditation

Case Studies Featuring:

! Open University of Korea
! Phoenix Virtual University, USA
! Monteray University, Mexico
! Tertiary Distance and Virtual Education in Africa
! University of the Highlands and Islands, Scotland

Review of Experience in Open and Virtual Universities, and Research on Their Effectiveness

Practical Treatment Of:

! Cost and Finance of Different Modern Models
! Management Challenges

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Denis P. Doyle*

Information Technology and School Accountability

The paper excerpted here was one of four commissioned for the September 30-October 1, 1999, Education Summit in the
USA, sponsored by ACHIEVE -- an education reform organization led by six CEO’s and six State Governors -- (see Held at the IBM conference center in Palisades, NY, the summit was kicked off by President Clinton.
This (the third Summit in ten years) was co-chaired by IBM CEO Lou Gerstner and Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thom-
son. It brought together 30 US Governors and an equal number of CEOs and education leaders for two days of discussion
and debate about education reform. The Summit participants unanimously adopted an action statement committing the
participants to four carefully defined activities in their home states: improving educator quality; committing to help all
students achieve high standards; strengthening accountability; and staying the course. The Summit also reflected a grow-
ing confidence in and commitment to technology as a key to accelerating and sustaining reform.

Learning From the Corporate Model pletely bypassing CD-ROMs, floppy discs or other physical
Thirty years ago companies with massive transactional needs distribution media.
- banks and insurance companies, for example - realized that
modern computational power made it possible to store and IT in Today's Schools
manage huge data sets electronically, with greater speed, In the modern firm, information has moved from the back
easier access and increased accuracy. The age of hand- room to the boardroom to the living room; it must travel the
posting came to an end as the era of management informa- same route in schools. Most schools today have at least a
tion systems (MIS) began. Twenty years ago decision- rudimentary MIS in place. However, few have decision-
support systems emerged, growing organically from MIS. support systems, experts systems or electronic tie-ins with
Using electronically stored operational data, it became possi- vendors. Almost none have customer information systems.
ble for trained decision-support specialists to accurately The issue is not lack of data - indeed, even small school dis-
monitor corporate performance and plot trends. Transactional tricts are awash in data. The issue is the strategic use of data
data - originally burdensome to track - became a resource. and attention to data integrity.

Hard on the heels of decision-support systems came expert In effective organizations, strategic data use takes two broad
systems, recognizing knowledge as a key corporate asset, and forms. First, and most important, is continuous attention to
executive information systems (EIS) put IT in the hands of achieving the institution's mission. Modern IT helps a school
senior executives themselves. Designed to serve decision- achieve its primary mission: improved teaching and learning
makers, EIS pushed data management and its exploitation to for all. The second form is the use of data to improve poli-
center stage. The chief information officer (CIO) became a cymaking. That is what accountability is all about. Every
key figure in the successful firm and a data warehouse be- successful institution must regularly ask (and answer) ques-
came a strategic resource. tions such as: How are we doing? What is our mission? How
do we measure success? How do we improve our perform-
Next came vendor information systems, giving suppliers and ance? The answers must be clear, concise and, to the extent
vendors access to corporate databases, making just-in-time possible, measurable. True, not everything a school does can
manufacturing and delivery a reality for both firms and their be reduced to a number, but most of what schools do can be
subcontractors. At the end of the business day Wal-Mart, a rendered in objective and measurable terms. Do all of our
large US discount store, suppliers know how much stock has students know mathematics? Can they all spell? Which stu-
moved and how much inventory remains. The most recent dents do not have the knowledge and skills they need? Which
paradigm shift is customer information systems, providing schools do they attend? What practices will be most effective
customers direct access to selected corporate databases. In- in raising these students' achievement?
deed, some modern, high visibility e-corporations (such as or e-Bay) are essentially electronic databases; Answering such questions objectively does not interfere with
others, like Federal Express, give customers access to the more nuanced, less precise measures. Is our school a good
corporate database for package tracking purposes. For many place to teach? A good place to learn? Does IT reinforce
Internet users, the most dramatic capacity is the ability to habits of mind that make all our students better citizens?
routinely download software patches and upgrades, as well These are proper measures and deserve attention. And they
as music, video and other materials over the Internet, com- can be approached systematically, even if they cannot be

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given a numerical score. Such indicators reinforce academic Achieving high standards is first a matter of knowing what
assessments; they do not compete with them. they are. What must I know and be able to do to earn a di-
ploma? Every student must be able to ask and answer this
But large data sets are especially useful when they are kept in question. Teachers should ask: What must all my students
a data warehouse, where data can be used in new ways for know and be able to do to earn a diploma? Equally impor-
new purposes. Data mining is a powerful tool for identifying tant: As a teacher, what must I know and be able to do to
programmatic strengths and weaknesses, spotting hitherto help my students earn a diploma?
invisible opportunities and solving real problems in real time.
On the other hand, data's usefulness can be severely limited In this quest, no tool has greater potential power than
if it is not brought into play in a timely fashion. A classic browser-based standards sites. Indexing standards language
example is test score reporting. Results from state mandated in an online database in a uniform way - known as common
tests are frequently not available for weeks or months, giving coding - allows users to compare standards from different
new meaning to Parkinson's last law: delay is the deadliest jurisdictions. Common coding on the Achieve site, for ex-
form of denial. Old data have little strategic value. ample, makes it possible to compare and contrast the aca-
demic standards of 40 states and one foreign country. Linked
IT can vastly improve the uses of data, for both policy and to state assessments and lesson plans, common coding makes
practice. This can best be seen in technology's potential to the next step inevitable: comprehensive links to academic
strengthen accountability for students and adults. and intellectual resources. The New York Times' lesson plan
link ( is an example of things to
Accountability come. Dynamic web sites will make it possible for teachers,
Accountability, like benchmarking, is not a matter of finger students, board members and citizens to move from the ab-
pointing. To be useful, accountability systems must diagnose stract to the real world of standards-based education.
and prescribe. High-stakes exams are a liability if they do not
encourage improvements in policy and practice. Without Posting school accountability data on a dynamic web site
such improvements, they demoralize and discourage students also puts schools on firm footing with their constituencies. It
and teachers alike. In contrast, by making scores available becomes the education equivalent of a vendor or customer
instantly, IT encourages everyone to work smarter. Learning information system. Maryland offers an excellent example of
from mistakes can be a powerful learning tool if feedback is a public web site that provides comprehensive information in
immediate. an easy-to-navigate format (www. On the Texas
State site (, one can examine and down-
Properly conceived and implemented, accountability be- load all the state's school performance data. And the Achieve
comes a system improvement opportunity, not a hammer. In web site is hot-linked to all 50-state governors' offices and
a performance-driven school, IT helps everyone meet aca- state departments of education.
demic targets. Technology applications - dynamic web sites,
e-mail, data warehouses, relational databases, analytic soft- *****
ware and the like - make it possible to use performance data It is clear, as past is prologue, that schools will continue to
constructively. IT can change "all children can learn" from a reflect the demands, needs and opportunities of the larger
wistful mantra to reality. society of which they are a part. That is their role. They may
not lead change, but change they must. And the most signifi-
One deceptively powerful tool practically unique to IT is the cant change sweeping through our larger society is the in-
capacity to pull up illustrative examples of student work that formation revolution. Educators should not be threatened by
satisfy a given standard. Students and their parents should be IT. To the contrary, they should take comfort in the fact that
able to see examples of first-rate work. The Achieve web site the information revolution is a standing vote of confidence in
( has begun to load examples, and other education. Schools are the ultimate wellspring of IT. As long
sites are not far behind. as our schools embrace the technologies they make possible,
they may face the future with confidence.

*Denis P. Doyle is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute in Washington, D.C., and the author of numerous books and articles.
His most recent book is Raising the Standard (Corwin Press, 1998). He is also co-author with Lou Gerstner of Reinventing
Education (Putnam, NY, 1993) and co-author with Xerox CEO David T. Kearns of Winning the Brain Race (ICS Press, SF,
1989). Doyle is the co-founder and Chairman of, an education reform Internet Company.

! 11 ! © TechKnowLogia, November/December, 1999 © Knowledge Enterprise, Inc.

Stephen P. Heyneman
Vice President,
International Management and Development Group

How Large Is the International Market

for Educational Technologies and Services?
Educational programs cannot operate without textbooks, teaching materials, vocational and scientific equipment,
educational software, videos, multimedia, and school furniture as well as school supplies. No matter how well
manufactured, these educational materials and equipment cannot be used efficiently unless there is available a
supply of high quality education services. These services are necessary in any complex sector that has to manage
fairly the needs of millions of individuals, hundreds of millions in pieces of equipment, and significant political visibil-
ity associated with the results. These services include the design, marketing and sales of testing, certification, test
preparation, tutoring and other enhancement programs, management consulting, administrative and human re-
sources -- accounting, pension, health care, in service training. This article provides an analysis of the international
market potential, size, and trends for educational technologies.

Market Size and Trends The market for educational products in the :U.S. consists of
Publishing (35%), School Supplies (29%), Hardware (27%),
In North America1 alone, education companies have raised and Electronic Media (9%) (see Graph 2). Hardware consists
US$ 3.4 billion in equity capital since 1994 through 38 Initial of computers, networking, VCRs, televisions and other
Public Offerings (IPOs). Education and training stocks have audiovisual systems to schools. School Supplies consist of
seen a rise of 134% since 1994. The Education and Training learning tools and equipment (maps, blackboards, chalk,
industry is now North America’s second largest, accounting laboratory equipment marketed to schools, teachers or indi-
for nearly 10% of GDP. Education services constitute the vidual consumers). Publishing consists of textbooks and
fifth largest service export (US$ 8.5 billion in 1997). other print-based materials, but also electronic media cur-
riculum materials designed either for students or instructors.
Twenty-six billion dollars were spent on education-related Electronic Media consists of software and Internet delivered
goods and services in 1997. These included: US$ 11.6 billion products and services to home and school markets. These
on textbooks and supplementary materials, US$ 4.8 billion may include CD-ROMs, videos and laser disks. Internet
on technology, US$ 3.0 billion on testing and test prepara- products include tools for online student publishing. Web
tion. Within the government and corporate sector, US$ 9.6 services include school-home based connections, education
billion was spent on goods and services, US$ 6.1 billion on and tutoring Web-based sites, and network systems. (Reve-
IT training. nues in 1998: US$ 2.1 billion).

How large is the market in the private provision of education

Graph 2: Products Sector Markets
by comparison to the private market for education goods and
Electronic Media
services? In the United States the three are approximately Hardware 9%
equal in terms of their proportion of overall revenues (Serv- 27%
ices, 37%; Products, 29%; Education programs, 34%) (see
Graph 1).

Graph 1: Education Industry Re- 35%
i $82 billion Publishing
Source: EduVenture Research

School Services
$28 b $30 b
Prod- Market Trends
$24t b
There is an increasing emphasis on educational software, and
Internet use is growing rapidly. Throughout the world, Inter-
Source: DOE, Eduventure Research
net use has grown from 61 million users in 1996, to 147 mil-
lion in 1998, and is expected to grow to 320 million in 2000

! 12 ! TechKnowLogia, November/December, 1999 © Knowledge Enterprise, Inc.

and to 720 million in 2005. The US led the list of Internet Markets in Developing Countries
using countries followed by Japan, UK, Germany, Canada,
Australia, France, Sweden, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, It is clear that the spending per student on teaching-materials
Taiwan, People’s Republic of China, Finland and Norway. and other non-salary expenditures varies considerably by
These top 15 countries account for 89% of the Internet use country. Some countries spend within the range of OECD
worldwide.2 countries (Table 4) while others spend significantly less than
in OECD countries (Table 5).
The outlook for sales of educational hardware and software
is healthy. Between 1995 and 1998, the number of computers
in homes rose from 13 to 31 million in the US, from 7.5 to Table 4: Amount Spent on Non-Salary
32 million in Europe and from 9.5 to 28 million in the rest of Expenditures
the world (see Table 1). Percent of cur- Per-student
The market for educational software is rising in parallel rent Expendi- costs
Country tures
Table 1: Consumer Market Sweden 44% $2,394
Home Multimedia Computers (in 000’s of units)
1995 1996 1997 1998 Finland 28% $1,228
USA 13,000 16,000 22,000 31,000 United 20% $1,168
Europe 7,500 11,000 19,000 32,000
Rest of World 9,500 13,000 19,000 28,000 Denmark 20% $1,168
TOTAL 30,000 40,000 60,000 91,000 United King- 30% $1,092
fashion, from US$ 775 million in 1996 to US$ 2.5 billion in Germany 24% $1,057
the U.S. in the year 2000, from US$ 130 million to US$ 460 Canada 19% $1,012
million in Europe, and from US$ 200 million to US$ 1.1 France 21% $975
billion in the rest of the world (see Table 2).
Norway 18% $900
Switzerland 14% $858
Table 2: Global School Market for Netherlands 22% $792
Educational Software Australia 21% $741
(in millions of US $) Israel 24% $698
1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 Spain 16% $486
USA 775 1,040 1,400 1,900 2,500 Hungary 25% $374
Europe 130 180 245 335 460 Malaysia 18% $252
Rest of World 200 320 510 820 1,140 Brazil 16% $133
TOTAL 1,105 1,540 2,155 3,055 4,100 Iceland 29%
Source: IDC Financial Times Austria 24%
The world wide market in educational software, worth US$ Belgium 14% $673
4.1 billion in the year 2000 in schools, is augmented by an Japan 13% $479
additional US$ 2.1 billion in educational software sales to
Italy 11% $532
the consumer market outside of schools, with a total market
for educational software worth $ US 6.2 billion in the year Ireland 11% $288
2,000 (see Table 3). 3 Philippines 10% $30
Mexico 9% $101
India 9%
Table 3: Education Software Market for Schools & Uruguay 8% $69
Private Consumers (in millions of US$) Portugal 4%
1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 Greece 3% $57
School Market 1,105 1,540 2,155 3,055 4,100 Argentina 3% $34
Consumer Market 1,200 1,400 1,600 1,830 2,120 Source: OECD: Education at a Glance, 1998
TOTAL 2,305 2,940 3,755 4,885 6,220
Source: IDC Financial Times

! 13 ! TechKnowLogia, November/December, 1999 © Knowledge Enterprise, Inc.

Table 5: Low Spending on Teaching Materials
per Student in Developing Countries (in US$) Education has greatly benefited from the privatization trends
and would similarly benefit from a new emphasis on the
Seychelles 94.98 growing trade in educational commerce. There is sometimes
Thailand 28.80 a perception that commerce and education are incompatible.
Chile 26.13 In fact, the opposite is true. There will be no effective public
South Africa 23.26 education system without a vibrant and competitive commer-
Malaysia 10.78 cial sector that can provide education goods and services.
Lithuania 10.03 The two are interdependent.
China 4.71
Benin 3.54 It is sometimes believed
that developing countries
Zimbabwe 3.11
will be exploited by com-
Swaziland 1.55 mercial enterprises in edu- Is the market for
India 0.68 cation, whether local or educational tech-
Source: UNESCO Statistical
Yearbook, 1998
international. There is nologies sufficient
justification for the con- to justify commer-
The question is whether this is sufficient information to sug- cern that some commer-
gest that the market in educational goods and services is in-
cial interest?
cial suppliers will have a
sufficient to justify commercial interest. comparative advantage;
that some will be quicker
It would be unwise to assume that low expenditures/student to supply higher quality, less expensive, even more relevant
implies small markets, for two reasons. The first reason is products. And there is justification to the concern that these
that some low-spending countries have a large number of products may derive from international rather than local sup-
students. In Benin, for instance, low expenditures/student is pliers. This is no less the case in education than with other
exacerbated by the small number of students, thus suggesting service sectors -- health, agriculture, transport, banking and
a market size of about US$ three million per year. In India, telecommunications.
however, even low unit expenditures combined with the
number of students would suggest a market size of US$ 123 If one is convinced that open competition in these other sec-
million, and China a market size of just under US$ one bil- tors is against the interests of developing countries, then one
lion. is unlikely to believe it is in their interest in the case of edu-
cation. But the reverse is also true. If one appreciates the
The second reason is that these markets are not stagnant. The virtues of fast and inexpensive services, and the growing
public education expenditures have doubled around the participation and competition from ‘developing’ countries
world between 1980 and 1994. In North America they grew with open economies, then one is more likely to appreciate
by 103%, and in Europe by 135%. But in East Asia public the utility of an open economy with respect to education
expenditures grew by over 200% in the same time period. services.

If economies grow, more is spent on educational goods and The debate, however, is more than of academic interest. For
services per student. This will significantly raise the size of much of this century in many parts of the world the quality
the education markets in large countries with healthy rates of of education provided to children and youth has been ad-
economic growth. It is projected that by the year 2009, the versely affected by public policy that constrains the private
education market in India will grow to US$ 200 million, in provision of goods and services. It is not too much for par-
South Africa to US$ 580 million and in China to US$ 1.7 ents and teachers to ask that they have materials targeted to
billion. students with different learning needs, at varying prices and
qualities from which they may choose. It is, in fact, their
human right.

Source: David T. Kearns, The Education Industry: Markets and Opportunities,” Boston, Mass.: EduVentures, Spring, 1999.
Nua Ltd. “Computer Almanac Industry Inc. Report Ranks World’s Most Wired Countries,” 1999.
The Heller Reports, International Markets for Educational Technology, EduSoft, 1999.

! 14 ! TechKnowLogia, November/December, 1999 © Knowledge Enterprise, Inc.

Laptops Without a Leash
LNT Perspectives: An Online Journal De-
signed to Help School District Leaders
Apple and Dell Computer companies are setting
Keep Up-to-date About Technologies in
the next standard in mobile computing. Wire-
less laptop computers are to be released by each company
this fall. The advantage of wireless laptops is allowing users
LNT Perspectives: The Online Journal of the Leadership to access the Internet and email without having to remain in
and the New Technologies Community, published by Educa- one location tethered by cables. Dell Computer’s product is
tion Development Center Inc. (EDC), presents feature arti- the Aironet Wireless Communication's 4800 series wireless
cles that examine relevant topics in-depth and highlight LAN cards, available for its Latitude notebook PCs. The
model practices from LNT districts, special articles from 802.11-compliant cards support wireless connections from
practitioners and researchers, and important news and events up to 300 feet from a network access point. Pricing for the
of interest to the LNT community. Highlights of each issue Aironet is around $800 per card. Dell plans to eventually
are sent via email to subscribers. Members of the LNT com- expand the wireless LAN card offering to its entire line of
munity involved in the projects described in LNT Perspec- portable products and desktop PCs. Apple has made wireless
tives participate in online discussions about their work. To laptops an integral part of its iBook product. The notebook
read the Journal or subscribe visit the web site: version of the successful iMac employs a wireless LAN called AirPort. Although AirPort will cost less than Dell's
offering, the device supports shorter ranges of an estimated
140 feet. This technology is welcomed by the growing num-
Computer Literacy Vital to A Country’s bers of mobile workers and flexible office environments.
Growth Schools will also find this technology a blessing as it allows
for a more open classroom rather than a static computer lab.

The African countries of Zambia and Zimbabwe present two

different examples of computer use and growth in developing Video Email Connects Indian Villages
countries. Computer literacy is an essential requirement for
success in the Information Age and the type of computers Before there are phones there is Internet. Eight
used may assist or impede the spread of this literacy. Both towns in the two poorest states, Uttar Pradesh
countries have a viable computer market but their future is and Bihar, will be the testing beds of a public/private video
not guaranteed. Zambia’s market is stuck with big brand email network. A group of Indian high-tech companies have
names which made maintenance very expensive, and re- announced a program to wire booths, complete with video
quired services of professionals who are not readily avail- cameras, for which villagers will be charged 15 rupees -- or
able. Zambia had few computer specialists with only three 35 cents -- to send or receive a three-minute message with
Microsoft specialists, two of whom were from Zimbabwe voice and video images through email. Most villages in India
and Kenya while two others were in the process of complet- still do not have phone connections, and only about half of
ing their systems engineering courses. Zimbabwe, on the the country's entire population has a telephone. "The Internet
other hand, which has at least 60 systems engineers, has is beginning to go beyond what was considered the elite of
modest and accessible computers that school children were the city," said Dewang Mehta, head of the National Associa-
able to maintain and fix with spare parts on their own. tion of Software and Service Companies. "Common people
who do not have a personal computer or a telephone can have an email address."

! 15 ! TechKnowLogia, November/December, 1999 © Knowledge Enterprise, Inc.

ing a workforce with Internet skills and knowledge. We are
SUN Microsystem’s CEO Calls for Web- teaming with APDIP to help them achieve that." The Cisco
based Educational Programs Networking Academy Program is a not-for-profit education
initiative designed to equip students with conceptual and
The Internet is in the process of revolutionizing practical skills that will enable them to design, build, main-
education, but the medium still has far to go to live up to its tain and troubleshoot the networks that connect computers.
promise as a learning tool, says Scott McNealy, CEO of Sun
Microsystems. Educational institutions have been quick to
take advantage of the rapid advancements in networked tech-
nology. International Data Corp. reports that 84% of four-
year colleges will be offering distance learning courses by Canada’s Online Learning Future
2002. The educational content online, however, is still a long
way from meeting the technology's potential. Mr. McNealy
suggests that the government should take a leading role in Online learning is taking off across the world. Many coun-
funding, developing, and propagating quality Web-based tries have embraced this type of education to overcome geo-
educational programs. "Then the most effective courses - the graphic constraints. Other countries have invested in online
ones proven to help students pass standardized tests - could learning as a new way to reach life long learners. Of the
be posted on the Internet for students and teachers in all 17,000 courses currently available over the Internet, only
schools to use, free of charge," which, according to about 2,700 of these are offered by Canadian schools. Inter-
McNealy, "would ensure that any student could receive the national Data Corp. estimates that in the U.S. about 2.2 mil-
best educational content anytime, anywhere, using any Web- lion people will be registered for online courses by 2002.
enabled device." Canada now has three leading universities that specialize in
online offerings, including Alberta's Athabasca University, British Columbia's Open University, and Tele-Universite du
Quebec. This fall Canada launches Canadian Learning Tele-
vision, which provides programming that compliments Ca-
Developing Country Internet Education nadian online courses. Like the U.S., Canada is increasingly
provided by Cisco and UNDP linking its universities and colleges to corporate interests.
Many teachers are alarmed by this trend, as they believe that
The United Nations Development Programme commercial interests will result in a need to reduce costs and
(UNDP) and Cisco Systems, Inc. formed a partnership to increase profits, which in turn will lead to a loss of teaching
bring Internet education to students in developing countries jobs.
in the Asia Pacific region. The UNDP Asia Pacific Devel-
opment Information Programme (APDIP) and Cisco Systems
will jointly fund and set up ten Cisco Networking Academies Home Computers Help Homework Com-
in nine developing countries in the region. The program will pletion
seek to provide students with advanced IT curricula to lever-
age the enormous opportunities created by the Internet while Two out of three children who have access to a computer at
creating a qualified talent pool for building and maintaining home use it to help them do their homework according to the
networks. The partnership builds upon NetAid, a global pro- latest findings from NPD Online Research. In a survey of
gram that harnesses the Internet to battle extreme poverty in 2143 parents, the study found that, on average, children with
the world. "The Networking Academy Program is a pivotal household PCs use them for one hour every night to do their
point in our vision to use the Internet to bring new opportu- homework. Eighty-eight percent of children use their com-
nities to the developing world, and to find new tools to defeat puters to access special reports and research, 85 percent use
poverty," said Gabriel Accascina, regional coordinator of them as a reference source, 54 percent use them for educa-
APDIP in Kuala Lumpur. Accascina said that the UNDP is tional software and 50 percent use them for nightly home-
looking at this initial set as a pilot to be eventually expanded work. Eighty-five percent of children used a shared PC while
to other regions. Richard Freemantle, Senior Vice President, 15 percent used their own personal PCs.
Asia Pacific, Cisco Systems, commented, "One way for these
countries to compete in the Internet Economy is by develop-

Compiled by Mark Dessauer

! 16 ! TechKnowLogia, November/December, 1999 © Knowledge Enterprise, Inc.

Community Learning Centers (CLCs) are known by a variety of names around the world—telecenters, telecottages, digital
clubhouses, cyber cafes, cabinas públicas, espaces numérisés, and telestugen, to name a few.1 Just as the post office or
telegraph center provided people with public access to communication services, CLCs today serve a similar purpose. However,
today’s CLCs are digital, with access to email, the Internet and the World Wide Web. Some think that CLCs are a fad that
cannot sustain operations once external funding ends. Others argue that they are not appropriate for developing countries given
the multitude of other, more basic and important needs. Furthermore, few CLC projects have tried to quantify their impact,
prompting evaluators to conclude that, “until adequate tools are developed to effectively assess the social impact of the
application…efforts to demonstrate how people are empowered by knowledge will lack credibility.”2

Here is a story from Paraguay that sheds light on these and other important issues.

By Mary Fontaine
The LearnLink Project3, Academy for Educational Development (AED)

Two years ago, Mayor Martin Burt spoke at a signing Asunción’s CLCs are known affectionately as amic@s
ceremony in Asunción. Celebrating an agreement between (aulas municipales de información, comunicación y
USAID and the municipal government, the Mayor welcomed aprendizaje, loosely translated as “municipal classrooms for
the establishment of Community Learning Centers (CLCs) in information, communication and learning”), a play on the
neighborhoods throughout Paraguay’s capitol city. “With word “amiga” or “friend” in Spanish. The original goal of the
these Centers,” he said, “we are pursuing a hypothesis and a project was to provide less advantaged communities with the
dream.” By giving communities greater access to information benefits of computers and communications technology for
and opportunities to solve their own problems, he postulated, civic development purposes. In particular, the project sought
they can leapfrog development, moving into the 21st century to contribute to an overall process of democratization by
while skipping some of the stages and sidestepping some of decentralizing municipal systems and services, improving
the struggles that industrialized countries experienced during communication between citizens and government officials,
the 20th century. and strengthening popular participation in civic activities.

A Picture of Paraguay
Paraguay is South America’s ‘empty quarter,’ a country little known even to its neighbors. For much of its
history, it has distanced itself from the Latin American mainstream, and for a substantial period of this
century was South America’s most notorious and durable police state. PJ O’Rourke summed it up bluntly
when he wrote, “Paraguay is nowhere and famous for nothing,” and then, on a short visit to cover elections,
promptly fell in love with the place.

Destination Paraguay, Lonely Planet,

Paraguay is relatively new to the concept of democracy and the government is starting to implement democratic systems,
the practice of participatory governance. Since the turn of the reform the economy and enhance human rights.
last century, periods of instability were followed by 34 years
of limited political freedom and isolation from the global Economic challenges include a thriving informal commercial
community. A military coup in 1989 led to free presidential sector unconnected to the formal economy,
and congressional elections, followed by political, legal and underemployment, and a low level of basic infrastructure—
economic reforms. In 1992, a new constitution was drafted, roads, sewer services, running water, electricity, trash
establishing a democratic republic. Today, despite an collection and telecommunications. As a member of the
unstable political and institutional system, a high level of Mercosur, a group of trading partners in the region, Paraguay
government corruption, and a low level of public confidence, must run to catch up with Argentina, Brazil and Chile, its
big, aggressive neighbors.

! 17 ! TechKnowLogia, November/December, 1999 © Knowledge Enterprise, Inc.

Paraguay is home to approximately 5,300,000 people, 60%
of whom are under the age of 30. One million live in
Asunción, the administrative, economic and commercial
center of the country. Though schools are crowded and lack
learning resources, the literacy rate is 90%, with six years of
compulsory education and an attendance rate of 86.6%.

When the CLC were launched in 1998, Paraguay was facing

more challenges than usual. El Nino had devastated the
country, especially Asunción, causing emergency situations
that had to be addressed with municipal funds earmarked for
other projects. This weakened the implementation of a
variety of projects, including street repair, trash collection—
and the CLCs.4

A Place To Pay Taxes?

The entire neighborhood celebrates, along with the local priest who
blesses the center.
Initially, the amic@s suffered from an image problem.
Designed by development people and municipal authorities,
the Centers baffled many of the local residents. Pressing Using his notebook computer and information from the
issues confronted poor communities, especially in the wake municipality, Aranda divided the city into districts. He then
of El Nino. Yet word spread that the centers were either conducted a needs assessment in each neighborhood,
places to pay taxes, which excited no one, or free schools, canvassing communities and engaging local people,
which disappointed those who came expecting to find community groups, churches and schools to help determine
teachers and a classroom. the design and services to be provided at their amic@. With
that information, he publicized the project, tailoring the
Unfortunately, even the practical services that Asunción’s message for each community and involving influential
CLCs were intended to provide—such as automated voter members of the municipality and communities in his
registration, fee collection for licenses, permits and bills, and outreach activities.
distribution of tax forms—were delayed. El Nino changed
the municipality’s budget, diverting funds for CLC activities Aranda’s efforts proved so successful that in one area, a poor
to other, more immediate needs and delaying production of neighborhood known for the active involvement of its
official materials that were to be available through the residents in community projects (it boasts 17 community
Centers. Moreover, the local government’s computer groups), an association of bricklayers, carpenters and
network was found to be inaccessible from the Centers builders literally built the center, voluntarily, from the
without the purchase of new, expensive equipment that ground up. Today the amic@s are so popular that the launch
exceeded the budget for the amic@s. All of this left the of each new CLC is a major community event, complete with
Centers largely unable to provide the services that originally dancing, music, food, and speeches from local dignitaries.
had been planned. The entire neighborhood celebrates, along with the local
priest who blesses the center.
Bless This Project!
Where Are the amic@s?
The first lesson from the amic@ experience is one that
development professionals already know. It is to consult the Nine amic@s are now operating, with three more in the
community, enable local decision making, promote popular works. Located throughout the city, each site has taken on
ownership, and make sure the project meets the needs and the personality and character of its surrounding
has the blessing of the beneficiaries. Though more of this neighborhood, offering different services depending on what
was needed at the outset of the amic@ activity, project the local community wants.
personnel made up for it fast.
At the bus station, shoeshine boys and girls and children
As Sergio Aranda, Coordinator of the amic@s, explains, “It from a nearby homeless shelter come daily to the amic@,
became clear that the framework of this project needed to be which is now competing favorably with the video game
looked at in terms of social demand. It needed to be tied into parlor next door. The children talked recently with Mayor
the daily lives of the residents of the city.” Burt via a video teleconference, have learned to surf the web

! 18 ! TechKnowLogia, November/December, 1999 © Knowledge Enterprise, Inc.

and explore interactive, multimedia learning materials. If This Guy Were a Company, I’d Invest In
Commuters stop by on their way to and from work. Him.5
At the library, part of a cultural complex that includes a Another lesson from Asunción is the importance of finding a
museum and a theater, patrons take virtual visits to museums Sergio Aranda to run the project. A systems engineer, who
and libraries around the world every Wednesday afternoon, owns a computer-consulting firm, Sergio has strong technical
organized and hosted by local artists. skills. More important for the amic@s, however, are his
abundant social, interpersonal and entrepreneurial skills,
The amic@ at the largest market center in the city provides which he does not use sparingly. Considering every person
vendors with email access and a web site and introduces the and group in town a potential partner, he has forged alliances
merchants’ children, at the nearby municipal kindergarten, to on behalf of the centers that are expected to prove invaluable
computers. to their long-term sustainability.
Amic@ Banado Sur, located inside a public school (and near When Peace Corps volunteers wanted to use an amic@
the main city garbage dump), will serve as a technical computer to send emails home, Sergio worked out a deal
training center at night, using the equipment for adult with them whereby their online time would be exchanged for
education. work at the center to train community members in basic
computer functions. Planet Internet, a local Internet Service
In a poor and dangerous neighborhood near the river, the Provider, gives free Internet connectivity for one year in
amic@ was placed inside a Catholic Church, where an return for placing advertisements and other PR materials in
elderly but enthusiastic nun runs the show for orphans and the Centers. With Catholic University, one of the amic@s is
delinquents. designing a course in training and facilitation, and with the
police station in the Chacarita neighborhood, the local
In a school near the country’s principal prison, Amic@ amic@ offers professional development courses to officers.
Tacumbu is operated by a network of collaborators, Another barter deal enables college students to use the center
including the church, police, military, and educational and in exchange for designing web sites for the municipality.
municipal officials. Current efforts are focused on the private sector, a critical
partner for the long-term viability of the Centers, where
At all the amic@s, teachers and students are among the most Aranda hopes to close corporate sponsorship deals.
enthusiastic visitors, taking advantage of the computer
training sessions that most centers offer and the access to Exploring innovative ways to keep the Centers going with
information that their resource-poor schools cannot provide. limited funding is one of Sergio’s fortes. Another is his
commitment to ensuring that the project reaches its target
audience. As with similar activities involving technology, the
first visitors to the Centers were municipal employees,
friends, computer professionals and the educated elite—the
“haves.” The intended beneficiaries, the “have nots,” were
not even aware of them. Sergio and others worked
proactively and effectively to correct this. Aranda relays an
anecdote: “I met with a man who was a poor auto mechanic.
He scoffed at the idea of computers helping him in his daily
life. So I showed him how to buy distributor caps through the
Internet, where he discovered significant cost savings
between those from Brazil and the ones he had been
purchasing from Venezuela.”

Thank you for not giving us more books.

Thank you for giving us all the libraries in
the world.6
At all the Amic@s, teachers and students are among the
most enthusiastic visitors. Sergio Aranda is not the only local champion who has
befriended the amic@s. Mayor Burt has been described as
one of the most progressive mayors the city has ever had. He
also has ensured strong support for the Centers from the

! 19 ! TechKnowLogia, November/December, 1999 © Knowledge Enterprise, Inc.

municipal government, which has been crucial to their
success. Despite funding problems that have plagued the Currently, the project is still fairly new and experimental,
project, the government has been able to cover basic and the amic@s are undertaken on a pilot basis. After the
maintenance costs for the Centers, including electricity, implementation phase is over, in June 2000, a complete
telephone, water and rent, and today the amic@s appear as assessment is planned to measure the impact of access to
a line item in the municipal budget. Moreover, useful information and communication technologies on local
official functions now have evolved to the local level. communities. In the meantime, one has only to look
Common forms are available at the CLCs, eliminating the around Asunción—at schools, the bus station, community
need for people to travel downtown and stand in long lines centers, markets and the public library—to see the positive
at the city center office. Even a CD-ROM was produced to impact the amic@s have had in a short time. As one
inform people about the location of their local voting place commentator noted, “the amic@s are slowly changing
during the April 1998 election. In addition, Mayor Burt people’s attitudes, not only due to the benefits of
participates in low-end video conferences with constituents technology that is at their disposal, but also due to a
gathered in amic@s, where topics of interest and growing confidence of the active forces of the community
importance to the people can be discussed. in their capacity to work and learn with the municipal
Bravo Asunción
Although the amic@s have evolved differently than what
While the initial vision of an electronic municipal center was initially conceived, the project is successfully
has changed, the amic@ project is proving what Mayor achieving some of the original goals set out by USAID and
Burt and others have said about the possibility of the municipality. What better example of the growth of the
leapfrogging development stages and coming out ahead. democratic process than the manner in which each amic@
Students who have never seen a good school library are ended up being planned, inaugurated and used in relation
using CD-ROMs and the Internet to help with their to its immediate neighborhood and under the direction of
homework. Public market vendors who know little about its immediate community. Bravo to the Municipality of
advertising are posting their wares, services and fees on Asunción for having the wisdom to allow the amic@s to
their web site. Individuals who have never traveled are develop as they have.
making friends in cyberspace from around the world.

Steve Cisler, “Telecenters and Libraries: New Technologies and New Partnerships,” August 4, 1998,
“Enchanted by Telecentres: A Critical look at Universal Access to Information Technologies for International Development,”
paper presented at the conference “New IT and Inequality,” University of Maryland, February 16-17, 1999, Ricardo Gomez,
Patrik Hunt, Emmanuelle Lamoureau, International Development Research Center (IDRC), Canada.
LearnLink, USAID Contract HNE-I-96-00018-00, is funded by the Human Capacity Development Center in the Global
Bureau, the Africa Bureau, and other Bureaus, offices and missions.
Aranda, Sergio and Steve Cisler, Amic@s: Public Access Centers in Asuncion, Paraguay, INET 99, Internet Society’s Annual
Conference, June 22-25, 1999, San Jose, California.

Steve Cisler, “Letter from Paraguay,” October 1998.
Dr. Martin Burt, Mayor of Asuncion, January 1998.
Aranda, Sergio and Steve Cisler, Amic@s: Public Access Centers in Asuncion, Paraguay, INET 99, Internet Society’s Annual
Conference, June 22-25, 1999, San Jose, California.

! 20 ! © TechKnowLogia, November/December, 1999 © Knowledge Enterprise, Inc

Brazil's Telecurso 2000
The Flexible Solution for Secondary School Equivalency
By Claudio de Moura Castro
Chief Education Adviser
Inter-American Development Bank

History of Telecurso 2000

The Federation of Industries of the State of São Paulo then
Brazil, with its large territory and low school attendance, has struck a deal with FRM to prepare a new Telecurso for its
been experimenting with radio and television education for workers. In this joint venture, the industrialists contributed
more than three decades. Two states in the Northeast (Ceará US$30 million to produce a new program and Globo offered
and Maranhão) created secondary schools through television to broadcast it without any charges. Globo also donated the
in the 1970s. Yet, a bit later, another player - a private equivalent to US$60 million worth of commercial TV time to
enterprise, the Globo Television Network – stepped on to the promote the new program, called Telecurso 2000.
stage and completely changed the relationship between
secondary schools and television. Being the world’s fourth Content of Telecurso 2000
largest network, Globo had ample experience in production,
excelling in soap operas that found huge markets in all Telecurso 2000 is a condensed version of a basic curriculum
continents. Twenty years ago, the Roberto Marinho for distance education, which is to be provided through a
Foundation (FRM), the education branch of Globo, created combination of videotaped classroom sessions and books.
the first Telecurso, adding a number of important Thus, both television sets and videocassette equipment are
innovations. First, it used very expensive production. used. In addition, an optional curriculum is offered that
Second, it used actors instead of teachers. This program was focuses on teaching basic mechanical skills (the vocational
a major success and was aired for more than 15 years. course on mechanics).

By contrast to Mexico's Telesecundaria (see The initial discussions on the development of a curriculum
TechKnowLogia, Sept./Oct., 1999), Telecurso targeted for the three courses to be offered by Telecurso 2000 (Level
young adults who left primary or secondary schools before One, Level Two and the Vocational Course on Mechanics)
graduation. Brazil always had open examinations for primary were subsidized by education specialists who wished to
(eight years) and secondary (11 years) certificates (“exame elucidate the teaching of basic skills in the context of a
supletivo”) for young adults who are beyond a certain age. postindustrial society.
Since these were open examinations, students could prepare
on their own or enroll in preparatory courses. The Telecurso With that beginning, the guiding principles for the
took the place of these preparatory courses, allowing students educational program of Telecurso 2000 were developed as
to follow the curricula by watching television. A number of follows:
institutions received supervision from FRM to create
classrooms where, under the supervision of a teacher, 1. Job-oriented education. The purpose is to educate
improvised or certified, students could watch the individuals for a job: to educate workers so as to enable
programs/classes and use the complementary written them to relate in a meaningful way to life in society,
materials. bearing in mind the fundamental role of education in
ensuring worker productivity.
In the early 1990s, with the rapid transformation and
globalization of the Brazilian economy, industrialists were 2. Development of basic skills. In a society marked by
having problems with the appallingly low schooling levels of scientific and technological progress, it is not enough
their workers. In many cases, they provided sponsorship for simply to learn to read, write, count and solve simple
their students to take the preparatory courses leading to the arithmetic and geometry problems. It is essential to
government examinations. However, the quality of these enable people to organize their thoughts, solve problems
courses was, at best, mediocre. involving numbers, interpret what they read and apply it

! 21 ! TechKnowLogia, November/December, 1999 © Knowledge Enterprise, Inc.

in different situations, read and express themselves in
another language, understand instruction manuals, Table 1 - Composition and Resources of Telecurso 2000
develop basic know-how in economics and quality
control so as to be able to produce more and better TV Sessions Resource
Hours of
products and eliminate waste, and hold discussions by Discipline study
Course N Hours Video Books
making use of cognitive and social skills.
Math 80 20.0 10 4
Portuguese 90 22.5 12 4
3. Citizenship education. The nature of the new 1 hour 45
Brazilian 40 10.0 5 2
relationship between science, technology and society Level 1 History
per class
makes it necessary for workers in all categories and at Geography 50 12.5 7 2
Science 70 17.5 9 3
all levels to broaden the scope of their learning, so as to English 30 7.5 4 1
enable them to play an active role in the political and Total 6 360 90.0 47 16 630 hours
cultural scenes. Production-oriented skills must go hand- Math 70 17.5 9 3
in-hand with civic responsibility. Portuguese 80 20.0 10 3
Chemistry 50 12.5 7 2
4. Contextualization. The most advanced teaching Physics 50 12.5 7 2 1 hour 45
English 40 10.0 5 2 minutes
practices stress the importance of applying what is Level 2
Biology 50 12.5 2 per class
learned in class to situations that arise in daily life. In Brazilian 80 20.0 10 4 session
other words, daily life provides the material for the History
teaching of specific skills. Gen. 40 10.0 5 2
Total 8 460 15.0 60 20 735 hours
These four principles - job-oriented education, development
1 hour 45
of basic skills, citizenship education and contextualization - Technical 17 modules minutes
underlie all the disciplines that are taught through Telecurso Course including a 360 90.0 53 19 per class
2000. The development of the program content for each on variety of session =
discipline was entrusted to teams of professors associated Mechanics subjects 630 hours
with the major universities, all of whom were required to
have ample experience in the field of basic education. This
requirement was particularly important given the highly
specialized nature of adult education and the need to adjust usually watch. Although the program occasionally may
the language to be used accordingly. Textbooks had to be sacrifice depth, it seldom sacrifices rhythm.
easy to read without being childish.
The forms of delivery also evolved. The programs are
Table 1 shows the content of the curricula for the three broadcast nationwide between six and seven in the morning,
courses offered by Telecurso 2000, as well as the number of a most inconvenient time. They are then rebroadcast through
TV classrooms and books used in each discipline. cable and satellite at more convenient hours. Similarly,
education and culture public televisions also broadcast them
during the day. In most cases, these are recorded and later
Approach played at a more convenient time. In contrast to
Telesecundaria (see TechKnowLogia, September/October
The new program The new program 1999), such “videotape education” is common, occurring not
employs only employs only necessarily by design, but by choice of users. A telephone
professional (soap
professional opera) actors, thus
survey indicated that few watch it on the TV to prepare for
the examination, confirming the hypothesis that those who
(soap opera) making the production want to take the examinations work from tapes in classrooms
actors even more expensive with teacher support.
than in the first
Telecurso. There are
other differences as well. Since it is aimed at young adults, it
Users of Telecurso 2000
does not put classrooms, teachers or students on the screen.
It is difficult to identify all the users of Telecurso. Suffice it
All scenes take place in factories, streets, homes, offices,
to say that 5.2 million accompanying texts were sold or
newspaper stands and travel agencies. Real life problems
distributed between 1995 and 1999. “Telesalas”
precede the presentation of theories and explanations.
(classrooms with television sets) have been created in
Telecurso 2000 also borrows heavily from the pace of
enterprises, and a support system for those working with
commercial TV, moving very fast and including plenty of
students has been established. At present, more than 200,000
humor, very much like the regular TV programs Brazilians

! 22 ! TechKnowLogia, November/December, 1999 © Knowledge Enterprise, Inc.

students attend classes at factories, schools, churches, Costs per book are around US$4 (the primary school
offices, prisons, ships and buses. program uses a single book and the secondary program uses
multiple books). Hence, the social cost per student working
An unknown - but probably large - number of people watch on his/her own is US$14.
television and study on their own. But even more
surprisingly, another large and uncounted crowd watches the Classroom modalities completely change this cost equation.
programs regularly or occasionally, apparently because it is Since it requires one teacher per classroom, the costs begin to
interesting, light and fun. A recent telephone poll indicated approach those of conventional education. Estimates for
that 5% of the respondents – closely representative of the classes offered in factories and in well-respected
Brazilian population - had watched Telecurso 2000 in the philanthropic institutions yield costs per student around
previous week (this is close to 7 million people). The US$400. This is no more than the average costs for public
interviews have shown some interesting findings. education but less than the costs in the more affluent states
Surprisingly, the modal level of schooling of the audience is where most of these classes take place. In other words, once
higher education, and most respondents indicate that the we put a teacher in each classroom, the costs of Telecurso
reason they watch the program is that they like education look about the same as those of regular schools - which do
programs. likewise, without the support of technology and good books.
At the present scales of operation, the imputed costs of the
A further development is the spontaneous utilization of the US$30 million initial investment almost disappear inside the
programs in regular schools – something that had already much larger recurrent cost of paying teachers or instructors.
started with the old Telecurso. The growth rate of this form Actually, there is a strong tendency to hire regular teachers
of use is even more impressive. The data are unreliable but it for the “telesalas.” Hence, cost-wise, the Telecurso is similar
seems that more than 200,000 students attend classes where to a regular school, since the television component has a
the Telecurso is the predominant mode of delivery. negligible weight. But there are ways of reducing costs even
with a teacher in the classroom, which have not yet been
experimented with. For example, the number of classroom
The Economics Of hours for night schools, attended by 60% of all secondary
Educating With school students could be reduced by say, one half, requiring
students to watch the program on their own half the time and
Television: Big Is in tele-classrooms the other half time, at which time teachers
Beautiful or monitors could help with problems.
©Corel Like all forms of education using How effective is Telecurso?
technology, television requires
heavy initial investment. Significant savings are obtained in Telecurso 2000 is an ambitious initiative, mobilizing
current costs, since one can use less expensive teachers and hundreds of people at the production, distribution and
still obtain serious results. However, the fixed costs up front instructor-training levels. Does it pay? Are the results
are quite high. commensurate with the costs?
Simple arithmetic suggests that in order to have reasonable No rigorous study allows us to give a precise and reliable
costs per student, many students are needed to share the fixed answer. Costs are easy to compute. The delivery and its
costs. Assuming a cost of US$30 million for preparing organization are clear enough. But good measurements of
Telecurso 2000, if the program were to stop today, figures outputs are lacking. And when they are available, they lack
for book sales indicate that several million students comparability with other groups (regular students or students
participated in Telecurso somewhat seriously. Suppose three preparing for “supletivo” by other means). Research is
million used the program, this would amount to US$10 per currently underway to try to answer these fundamental
student. This is a very modest price (per student) for a set of questions. In any event, Telecurso has already proved its
1200 15-minute lectures. value through providing opportunities which were not
available to young adults, through opening a new perspective
on pedagogy and on educational materials.

! 23 ! TechKnowLogia, November/December, 1999 © Knowledge Enterprise, Inc.

In the past two years the World Wide Web has become the most powerful tool in the world for finding research and
evaluation about education and training. For the first time in history, developing countries now have quick and often free
access to the world’s store of knowledge. All that is needed is a microcomputer with Internet access and a web browser
such as Netscape or Internet Explorer.

Searching the Web

For Educational Research and Evaluation
By Gregg B. Jackson, Ph.D.
Associate Professor and Coordinator
Education Policy Program, George Washington University

This article discusses various ways in which developing evaluation can do that in several ways. More specifically,
countries can make good use of existing research and past studies:
evaluation to improve their planning and management of ♦ Can indicate the range of innovations that have been
education and training. It introduces several search tools that tried for improving education structures, teacher prepa-
are particularly helpful for finding these resources on the ration, and courses of study, curriculum, and teaching
Web. It also explains how to avoid problems and errors that methodologies.
can arise when using existing research and evaluations. In ♦ May indicate problems and opportunities that have
addition, the WorthWhileWebs section of this issue of arisen when implementing a given innovation, strategies
TechKnowLogia describes 10 web sites that have consider- used in response, and the extent to which the actual im-
able education research and evaluation information. plementation corresponded with the planned implemen-
Uses of Research and Evaluation in the ♦ Often indicate how well various innovations have met
their objectives.
Planning and Management of Education ♦ Can indicate unanticipated side effects (both positive
The challenges of planning and managing education in de- and negative) that may occur from a given innovation.
veloping countries are more difficult than ever before. The ♦ Can indicate the costs of a given innovation.
aspirations for education are rising throughout the world ♦ Can indicate whether a given innovation was soon aban-
faster than the resources to fund them, and the measures to doned or long retained.
fulfill them. At the same time, education and training are
increasingly important to the futures of developing countries.
International economic, technological and trading trends Finding Research and Evaluation on the Web
make the future of these countries partly dependent on their There are three basic ways of finding research and evaluation
ability to expand and improve their education systems. studies that may be of use in the planning of education. The
first is to use search engines that will help you find appro-
Are the developing countries doomed to impoverished serf- priate studies located throughout most of the Web. The sec-
dom in the global economy and the information age? Some ond is to use indexes to specific fields of research, such as
officials undoubtedly think so privately. Others are so filled education. The third is to check the web sites of organiza-
with optimism that they blindly move forward. This article is tions that do many studies applicable to education in devel-
not for either. Rather it is for those who are both cautiously oping countries.
hopeful, who are mindful that the good intentions of past
efforts have not always been accompanied with satisfactory 1. Search Engines
results, and who are determined to work smarter in the future
when planning and managing their educational systems. In Search engines explore most of the Web, index what they
this context, consulting existing research and evaluations is encounter, and then steer you to web sites that appear to cor-
essential as a way of broadening the knowledge and experi- respond to your interests. There are now more than 100
ence brought to bear in making decisions. Research and

! 24 ! TechKnowLogia, November/December, 1999 © Knowledge Enterprise, Inc.

search engines. Alta Vista (, Northern [Info], [Tasks], [Quiz], and [Hints], click on the file card tabs
Light (, and Yahoo with those headings (near the top of the screen). To move to
( are likely to be the most useful to those the next section of the tutorial, click on [Next]. You will
concerned with education in developing countries. Each has have to use the horizontal scroll bar near the bottom and
a broad range of coverage, but develops and arranges its in- right-hand side of your screen to view the full width of the
dexes differently. search engine display.

Search engines are a good way to find research and evalua- Each search engine has some instructions for its use on its
tion reports conducted by international development organi- web site, but finding the appropriate link to click can be dif-
zations, NGOs, some government agencies, and university ficult because of the cluttered home pages. Look for some-
research centers. Search engines are not a good way to find thing labeled [Search Tips], [Simple Searches], [Advanced
the scholarly and professional journals, because most of Searches], [Help], and [FAQ]. Most search engines have a
those journals are not yet available on public web sites. The [simple] and an [advanced] search mode. If one does not
Northern Light search engine, however, does make the full- work well, try the other. The advanced mode of some en-
text of about 50 education journals available on the web. gines actually provides better guidance than the simple
These include Academe, British Journal of Sociology of mode. Some search engines also have an e-mail address to
Education, Change, Comparative Education, Harvard which you can send questions about how to use the search
Education Review, Review of Education Research, and So- engine when you have had difficulties. It usually is on one
ciology. If a search in Northern Light finds an article in one of the just indicated pages, towards the bottom.
of these journals, it will allow you to read an abstract for
free, and then for a fee of U.S. $1.00 to $4.00 it will allow The best book on the use of search engines is Alfred and
you to view and print the full text of the article. The fee is Emily Glossbrenner's Search Engines for the World Wide
automatically charged to the user's individual or corporate Web. Since search engines are changing frequently, make
credit card. sure to get the latest edition. The second edition came out in
early 1999. It costs U.S. $17.99 and can be ordered through
Each of the above search engines appears easy to use. It and
seems that all you have to do is type a word or phrase in the
search box on the web site. Occasionally it works that easily, If your search yields few or no hits:
but without some knowledge about how to use each engine, ♦ Check the spelling of the terms that you typed in the
you are likely to get no hits or thousands of hits unrelated to search window.
your interests. It takes an hour or two of study and practice ♦ Use synonyms for some or all of the search words.
to become moderately skilled in using any of these search ♦ Use a wildcard (for most search engines this is an aster-
engines. The needed instruction can be found on the Web: isk) at the end of key words that can have multiple end-
ings (such as using school* to represent school, schools,
To date, the best web site for this purpose is Sprintmail's schooling, and schooled).
Web Search Strategies at: ♦ Use broader terms. ♦ If your hits include a few useful web sites, check those
It provides explanations and interactive exercises that in- for links to other web sites.
volve the actual use of search engines. These exercises will
divide your screen into two frames with the left side provid- If your search yields too many hits:
ing the instructions and the right side opening and displaying ♦ Check the first 10 or 20 listed hits to see if they are use-
the actual search engine. HINT: You will have to use the ful; many search engines try to list hits in order of their
horizontal scroll bar near the bottom and right-hand side of apparent relevancy for the specified search.
your screen to view the full width of the search engine dis-
♦ Capitalize the initial letters of proper names (names of
persons, places, and titles).
♦ Use synonyms for some or all the words.
Another good site for learning how to use AltaVista and Ya-
♦ Use more specific terms.
hoo is Lincoln College’s site at: ♦ Do a phrase search by enclosing multiple words within
The tutorial for each search engine is displayed on the left of double quotations (e.g. "education reform").
your screen and the search engine opens and is displayed on ♦ Do a title search so that the search will find only those
the right of the screen. A tutorial is divided into several sec- web pages that have your search term in their titles (the
tions, each of which provides information, assigns searches manner in which this is specified depends on the search
for you to conduct in the right hand side of the screen, and engine).
quizzes you on the results. HINT: To move between the

! 25 ! TechKnowLogia, November/December, 1999 © Knowledge Enterprise, Inc.

2. Indexes to Development and Education The ERIC search system looks easy to use, but without mod-
Documents erate competency you will miss important documents and get
many unrelated documents. The ERIC Clearinghouse on
Eldis: Higher Education at The George Washington University has
Eldis is a gateway to information sources on development created a web-based tutorial that will teach moderate com-
that are available on the Web. It indexes and provides links petency with the ERIC search system in less than two hours.
to appropriate information throughout the WWW. It also has For those who still are not able to find what they want, ERIC
put the full-text of selected documents on its own web site. accepts e-mail inquiries that go to expert searchers who do
the search and e-mail it back. When making such an inquiry,
Eldis aims to provide policy makers, managers, NGOs and be specific about what you are trying to find and also indi-
academics with easy access to the high quality information cate related topics that are NOT of interest.
about development that is on the Web. It currently indexes
and links to 5,000 selected documents available in full-text, For ERIC Digests:
to 2,700 home pages of organizations, and to descriptions of To search ERIC:
120,000 books and articles. For a tutorial
on using ERIC:
From the home page, click on [Search] near the upper left For human assistance with ERIC
corner. That will take you to the Eldis simple search page. send your e-mail inquiry to:
It is not simple, so click on the [Help with Searching] for
some brief instructions, then go back to the simple search HINT 1: When searching the ERIC system or the ERIC Di-
page. If you are looking for organizations and cannot find gests site, when using a multiple word term, such as basic
appropriate ones that way, do the following from that page: education, place double quotations around the multiple terms
click near the bottom on [more search options], then click - "basic education". Otherwise ERIC will find all documents
near the bottom on the [subject guides], and then click on the indexed on basic plus all documents indexed on education,
specific subject of your interest. That will take you to a and many will not be about basic education.
page, which lists organizations, statistical sources, biblio-
graphic sources, research centers, and training courses re- HINT 2: You can quickly scan the more recent ERIC Digests
lated to the subject. On the left side there are links to various by clicking on various dates at the bottom of the first screen,
related tools and resources, including a link labeled [Educa- then clicking on the number to the left of a given title to ac-
tion online broad search] which will list more than 8,000 cess that Digest. To search for Digests related to a given
documents related to education for development. topic, specify the topic in the search box to the left of the
Find button and then click that button. ERIC will list the
Educational Resource Information Center (ERIC) Digests, which it thinks are related to your topic, with those
that it thinks are most related at the top of the list.
Several countries maintain indexes to the articles published
in their education journals and to other documents on educa- 3. Web Sites of Education Development
tion that are published in the country. Presently we under- Organizations
stand that only the United States makes its index available
publicly on the Web. Its ERIC system has indexed more There are many organizations that do studies on education in
than 1 million journal articles, monographs, reports, confer- developing countries. They include the major international
ence papers, and books related to all topics in education. agencies, development banks, international NGOs, interna-
This probably includes half of the formal education research tional consultant organizations, national governments, and
and evaluation conducted in the world. Most of the indexed local university research organizations. The WorthWhile-
studies have been conducted within the U.S., but some have Webs section of this issue of TechKnowLogia, features the
been done abroad. In addition, some of those in the U.S. will web sites of 10 such organizations
be applicable in other countries. The ERIC system also has
produced hundreds of Digests that provide excellent brief
reviews of the literature on any given topic. These Digests
Interpreting Existing Studies
are available in full-text on the Web. For other documents, While existing research and evaluation can be very helpful
ERIC only provides the document citations and abstracts on when planning improvements in educational systems, it can
the Web. The abstracts, however, sometimes are quite in- also be misleading. Some reports are nothing more than the
formative. The full text of most indexed documents, except writer's opinion based on no empirical evidence. Some are
journals and books, can be ordered on microfiche for a small the result of seriously flawed methodology. Some report
fee. only the positive outcomes and fail to mention the negative
ones that were discovered. Sometimes there may be many

! 26 ! TechKnowLogia, November/December, 1999 © Knowledge Enterprise, Inc.

studies of a given issue and they have yielded inconsistent There are several strategies that can be used to avoid being
results. In addition, an innovation that has worked well in misled by incompetent studies and biased reports. Below are
one context may not work well in another context. suggestions on how to interpret individual studies and how to
interpret a set of studies with inconsistent results.

How to Interpret Studies

Questions Warnings
Is the report really based on a study, or is it just someone's
What was the problem that was addressed by the study? Some reports do not indicate the problem clearly. If the prob-
lem was different from the one you face, the results may not
apply to your situation.
What were the contexts in which the innovation was to be Sometimes reports provide little information on the contexts.
implemented? What contexts may have affected whether or
not the innovation would work?
What innovation was planned to reduce or eliminate the Sometimes impressive names are given to innovations that
problem? involve only minor changes.
To what extent was the planned innovation actually imple- If the planned innovation was not well implemented, then the
mented? How did it perhaps fall short, and for what rea- findings are not about the planned innovation but rather what-
sons? ever was actually implemented. If several studies find that the
plans were not implemented, that suggests the innovation is
difficult to implement.
How much does it cost to deliver the innovation? For much research and evaluation, there is little or no informa-
tion on the costs. Look for all costs: start-up, physical and hu-
man infrastructure, maintenance, evaluation…
How did the study determine whether the innovation, rather It is best to assess outcomes by measuring the objectives before
than something else, was actually responsible for observed and after the innovation, in a group exposed to the innovation,
changes in the objectives of interest? and in a similar comparison group not exposed to the innova-
How were changes in the objectives measured? By self- Self-reports of program planners, administrators, and teachers
reports, tests, observations, or other means? Are those responsible for implementing an innovation usually indicate
means likely to be valid? greater success than more objective measures made by people
not directly responsible for the innovation.
From whom were the data about the objectives collected? It is best to have before and after measures of the objectives on
all those in the group exposed to the innovation and all those in
the comparison group. If data are not available for a substan-
tial portion, that may seriously bias the results.
Is the average size of the changes in the objectives reported, If there are more than 100 learners participating in the innova-
or do the authors only indicate whether the results are sta- tion, it is possible for small improvements in the outcomes to
tistically significant? be statistically significant even though they may not be educa-
tionally important.
Does the average size of the changes in the objectives vary If intended beneficiaries vary in some ways that may influence
for different sub-groups of intended beneficiaries? the effectiveness of the innovation, it is important to examine
the average changes in the objects for each sub-group.
Are all the reported findings strongly positive or strongly Educational innovations operate in complex environments, and
negative? rarely is there complete consistency in the findings unless the
study has been biased or some of the findings have not been
Are the conclusions and recommendations directly sup- In some study reports, the conclusions and recommendations
ported by the findings? are not always based on the findings, but also involve specula-

! 27 ! TechKnowLogia, November/December, 1999 © Knowledge Enterprise, Inc.

1. Individual Studies tion. The innovations may have differed in some important
feature, either in the original plans or in the actual imple-
The table of questions and warnings above will help you mentation. Finally, the methods of the evaluation may have
interpret individual research and evaluation studies and con- varied and affected the results. If distinct differences in these
sider their application to your own situation characteristics are noted, it is advisable to sort the studies
into categories of those characteristics, and examine whether
the findings vary from one category to another. That will
2. Sets of Studies provide an estimate of what the result is likely to be when
you use the innovation under any given condition.
While one study can help inform decision-making, several
applicable studies will provide more reliable information. Averaging
There are many existing reviews of the research and evalua- If your examination of the individual studies suggests that
tion literature that synthesize findings of several studies on the studies were conducted under similar contexts, imple-
various topics. They are published in scholarly journals and mented similar innovations, and used similar evaluation pro-
also in the reports of some organizations. They can be lo- cedures, then the best estimate of the effects is the average
cated most efficiently with Eldis and ERIC, but web search finding. The best average is that of the magnitude of the
engines may help, and some can be found by scouting the findings, assuming they have all been measured on the same
web sites of major education and development organizations. scale. If the magnitudes are sometimes not reported, or re-
ported on different scales, the next best simple strategy is to
Just as with individual studies, reviews of the literature can calculate the ratio of positive findings to negative findings.
both guide and mislead you. Some are deliberately biased to If it is well above 0.5, you can be reasonably confidant that
support a predetermined agenda, whereas others are skilled the innovation will have positive effects when used as it was
efforts to discover whatever has been learned from the ex- in the studies.
isting research and evaluation on a given topic. To check for
possible biases, consider the relevant questions and warnings Meta-Analysis
in the attached Table. Meta-analysis uses stratification and averaging approaches
with the assistance of multiple regression statistical methods.
When you consider several studies on the same topic, each Meta-analysis computes and averages the effect-sizes and
should be examined using the guidelines indicated in the analyzes how the variation in the study outcomes is related to
Table. That examination may indicate that some are not variations in the study contexts, interventions, and evalua-
really applicable to your problem or the innovation being tions. Meta-analysis requires considerable time and the skills
considered. It may also reveal that others are of such poor of a professional statistician.
quality that they cannot be relied upon. You should then
focus your attention on the remaining studies. Commonly,
even those studies may exhibit inconsistent findings. How
Prior research and evaluation studies can be a powerful tool
should you interpret them? There are at least three strategies
for the planning and management of educational innovation.
for doing this.
Web developments over the last two years now make a sub-
stantial portion of the world's collection of education re-
search and evaluation easily available to those in developing
Inconsistency in the findings of several studies on a given
countries that are working to improve their education sys-
topic may be due to several different conditions. The con-
tems. When used skillfully and carefully, this resource can
texts in which the innovation is tried may not have been the
expand the perspectives and analysis available to inform de-
same in all the studies. The intended beneficiaries may have
differed in ways that influence the outcomes of the innova-

! 28 ! TechKnowLogia, November/December, 1999 © Knowledge Enterprise, Inc.

Laurence Wolff

THE CONTEXT As of 1997, a separate specially trained teacher in informat-

ics was responsible for each laboratory. Students from par-
The leaders of Costa Rica are determined to make their ticipating classes worked in the laboratory twice a week.
country a leader in technology. The decision by INTEL to Computer classes were not mandatory and were provided
build a $300 million microprocessor plant in Costa Rica, only if the subject matter teacher was interested. Sketchpad
which will generate 3,500 jobs as well as billions of dollars was used in math, Superlink for multimedia presentations in
in future export revenues, is one result of this strategy. social studies, Labpc for science, and Word and Paintbrush
for Spanish. There was no specific computer curriculum, and
The Computers in Secondary Education program in Costa computer activities were not included in the official subject
Rica is part of this broader strategy. The program seeks to (a) matter curriculum. For this reason, ninth grade teachers were
contribute to the development of logical thinking and crea- often reluctant to use the laboratory since it took away time
tivity; (b) improve learning in specific disciplines; and (c) that could be spent preparing for national examinations.
encourage more positive attitudes towards science and tech- Nonetheless many students showed a great deal of interest in
nology, greater self esteem and increased technology com- computers. It was reported that students often worked long
petency. The approach is strongly influenced by “construc- after-school hours preparing reports such as multimedia de-
tivist” pedagogy, explained in a Costa Rican document as scriptions of community and environment issues.
follows: “Learning is greater when students are involved in
the construction of a significant product. This involves con- The computer labo-
struction of things in the external world and simultaneous ratory in operation
construction in the mind’s interior.” Under this approach, the in the Liceo del
computer is used to encourage student-initiated inquiry. Sur, a secondary
Communities pay for maintenance by being charged for school enrolling
services provided outside school hours. A parallel program in 1,000 students and
primary education has been underway for some time, espe- located in a poor
cially utilizing LOGO to develop logical thinking. district of San Jose,
was typical of the ©Coral

THE PROGRAM current program.

The laboratory had
24 computers (IBM 486s) with a server. Software included
As of 1997, there were 26 computer laboratories in 20 sec-
Word, Paintbrush, Excel, PowerPoint, Winlogos, Sketchpad,
ondary schools. The total hardware and software cost was
PCLab and Superlink. In a typical example, students were
$1.9 million dollars for an average of about $73,000 per
developing a dictionary of teenage Costa Rican words and
laboratory. Initial training had been completed and there was
phrases, using Word and Paintbrush. The teacher was hoping
ongoing training of teachers as part of the regular computer
to combine the student-generated dictionaries into a single
program. A loan agreement with the Central American Bank
dictionary and then to compare it with similar dictionaries in
of Economic Integration (US$12.9 million, with US$3.4
other countries in Latin America. The students worked in
million in counterpart funds for administration and training)
pairs, were reasonably adept at manipulating Word, and lin-
provided funding to install computer laboratories in all sec-
gered until the beginning of the next period to complete their
ondary schools and in 50 percent of primary schools.
work. Training was provided every Friday to interested
Communities were being asked to pay for air conditioning.
teachers. The laboratory was also used in the afternoon by
the technical stream of the upper secondary level and in the

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evening by the Open University for technical courses. The pact of the assessment on mathematics learning, science
school had a small but operational library (2,000 books, learning, logical thinking, expository writing, and attitudes
mainly old). Unfortunately, the science laboratory had been towards schooling and technology. The evaluation study
closed and replaced by a workshop for mentally handicapped found an impact on improved critical thinking and creativity
students. and on attitudes towards schooling in the seventh grade, but
very little impact in the ninth grade, apparently because stu-
IMPLEMENTATION ISSUES dents and teachers were so heavily focused on the upcoming
national examination.
Costa Rica has the basic infrastructure needed for computers
in education program, including electricity in all schools as COST-EFFECTIVENESS
well as relatively well trained teachers. In addition, Costa
Rica’s computer program incorporates much of what is con- What can we say about cost-effectiveness of the program?
sidered best practice in implementing an educational innova- While costs are lower than similar programs in the region, it
tion--a strong and continuing national commitment, good is not clear whether computers are the most cost-effective
central management, emphasis on training, slow start-up on a means of increasing learning at the secondary school level,
pilot basis, good feedback mechanisms, and focus on local compared to, say, providing additional library and laboratory
participation and commitment. facilities, training teachers, and so on.

One current and acknowledged problem is the lack of inte- From a longer-term perspective, the program could well be
gration into the official subject matter curriculum. This cost -effective. To put it simply, if the program succeeds in
question and related training and cost issues will eventually getting students interested and excited over computers, and
need to be addressed. While the encouragement of bottom-up more likely to enter technical and mathematical careers
experimentation was noteworthy, eventually standardization rather than to humanities, law, and social science, then, given
of approaches and contents will be needed. As in any inno- the expected higher economic returns to technical fields, as
vation, as the program goes national some school directors, well as Costa Rica’s national commitment to information
teachers, and communities may not be adequately committed technology, the program could well be considered a success.
to the program.
Data from the 1992 Household Survey provide an example
COST of the potential economic payoff to the Computers in Secon-
dary Education program. The average salary of engineers at
A very rough estimate of annual unit costs of the program at that time was about US$6800 per year, compared to $4500
the time was $38 per student. This assumes $22 per student for graduates in philosophy, arts, and letters, for a difference
in annualized capital costs ($73,000 for a school of 1,000 of $2300 per year. This means that the cost of providing
with a computer life of four years and a 10 percent discount computer instruction ($38 per student per year, or $114 over
rate), $6 for the cost of a full time technology teacher (esti- the three years of lower secondary school) could be recouped
mated salary of 6,000), and $10 for training, maintenance by society if no more than 1 percent of all secondary school
and electricity (perhaps $10,000 per year). Overall this students changed their profession from humanities to engi-
comes to 13 percent of the estimated annual cost of $300 per neering (e.g., the gain to society would be $23 per year for
student in academic secondary schools in Costa Rica. These the entire work life of a graduate).
costs are significantly lower than those in Chile and Jamaica
but are nonetheless significant. One reason for the low costs In short, in spite of the issues and uncertainties about using
is that Costa Rica’s program provided only minimum soft- computers for the learning process, the long -term economic
ware and a maximum of two hours per week of computer and social payoff of the Costa Rican program could well be
labs for each student. significant. To verify this positive impact, future studies of
cost-effectiveness of secondary school computer programs
EFFECTIVENESS should especially focus on the impact of computer programs
on student occupational aspirations, as well as, through
“tracer studies,” on the actual occupations chosen by gradu-
Under a contract with the Government, the University of
ating students.
Montreal undertook a comprehensive evaluation of the im-

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Computers in the Classroom:
How Effective???
By Sonia Jurich

In the past twenty years, com- school computer use for mathematical tasks; (2) access to/
frequency of home computers use; (3) professional develop-
puters have become an essen- ment of mathematics teachers in technology use; and (4)
tial tool for communication, higher-order and lower-order use of computers by mathe-
work and entertainment. For the matics teachers and their students. Higher-order activities
new generation of children born in industrialized countries, a for fourth graders were learning games and for eighth graders
world without computers and video games seems more pre- were applications and simulations, while drill and practice
posterous than a little green man from Mars. Computer- were defined as lower-order use. Data was obtained from a
related occupations are the fastest growing segment of the national sample composed of 6,227 fourth-graders and 7,146
modern job market, and the mastery of computer technology eighth-graders controlled for socioeconomic status, class
gives a competitive edge to individuals and nations alike. To size, and teacher characteristics (education level, years of
address this growing need for a technology-savvy popula- experience, presence/absence of degree in mathematics).
tion, policymakers and administrators are scrambling for Outcomes included academic achievement in mathematics
money to bring computers into the classroom, while critics and the social environment of school. Models were accepted
argue that this money can be better employed on traditional when goodness of fit indices were better than .9 and results
instructional methods. This debate is critical, particularly for were statistically significant at .05 level.
developing countries, due to the magnitude of the investment
involved in buying and maintaining computer hardware and Findings:
software, and providing adequate training for teachers and
school staff. 1. The greatest inequities in the use of technology were
related to how computers were used, rather than the fre-
As a contribution to this debate, this article summarizes four quency of use. For instance:
research reports on:
♦ Among eighth-graders, students who were black,
1. the relationship between the use of computers and poor, and from urban and rural areas were less
mathematics achievement; likely to be exposed to higher-order uses of comput-
2. the impact of computers in classrooms on the academic ers and more likely to be exposed to lower-order
achievement of elementary school children; uses than students who were white, non-poor and
3. the use of computer assisted instruction to improve the from the suburbs.
reading; and ♦ For both fourth- and eighth-graders, mathematics
4. how computers are used in classrooms internationally. teachers in urban and rural schools were less likely
to have received professional development in tech-
nology over the last five years than teachers in sub-
Does it Compute? The Relationship between Educational urban schools.
Technology and Student Achievement in Mathematics
(1998) by Harold Wenglinsky. Princeton, NJ: Educa- 2. Academic achievement in mathematics and the social
tional Testing Service. environment of the school were positively related to:

Focus: The study focuses on the relationship between ♦ teacher’s professional development in technology;
technology characteristics and educational outcomes and ♦ the use of computers to teach higher-order thinking
addresses the question of “what kind of computer use has skills; and
what kind of effect, on which groups of students.” ♦ the frequency of home computer use (eighth-graders
Methods: The researcher used a technique of struc-
tural equation modeling with four variables: (1) frequency of 3. Academic achievement in mathematics was negatively

! 31 ! TechKnowLogia, November/December, 1999 © Knowledge Enterprise, Inc.

related to: searchers collected data from state and publishers' test files,
♦ the frequency of school computer use; Stanford-9 achievement test scores, surveys, on-site docu-
♦ the frequency of home computer use (fourth-graders mentation, case analyses and interviews. Data were analyzed
only); and in relation to access, attitude and training. Results were sta-
♦ the use of computers to teach lower-order thinking tistically significant at .001 level.
skills (eighth-graders only).
4. Professional development and use computers for higher-
order thinking skills were each associated with: 1. Students showed significant improvement in scores on
the Stanford-9 achievement test; gains in score were
♦ more than one-third of a grade level increase in positively related to the amount of experience the stu-
mathematics as measured by the National Assess- dents had on each component of the model.
ment of Educational Progress for eighth-graders;
and 2. Children who did not have computers at home made the
♦ a negligible contribution (about a tenth of a grade biggest gains in total basic skills, language, reading and
level) for fourth-graders. vocabulary scores.

Observations: The researcher cautioned that: 3. Contrary to the idea that girls are not technology-driven,
girls used computers as much as boys and had similar
1. The research does not solve the issue of whether the uses score gains in math and reading tests.
of technology promote high levels of academic
achievement or whether high-achieving students are 4. Students who had access to computers in their class-
more likely to use technology in certain ways. rooms had higher overall scores and math scores than
students who were taught in laboratory settings.
2. Computers may be one of the many media used to teach
higher-order thinking skills and that all of these media 5. Teachers who had computers in the classroom reported
are conducive to high levels of academic achievement. higher skill levels in delivering instruction, planning les-
sons, managing paperwork and word processing, and
more time using computers for reading, math and writ-
West Virginia Story: Achievement Gains from a Statewide ing instruction than teachers whose access was limited to
Comprehensive Instructional Technology Program (1999) computer laboratories.
by Dale Mann, Charol Shakeshaft, Jonathan Becker &
Robert Kottkamp; afterword by Lewis C. Solmon. 6. Almost half (48%) of the teachers rated technology as
Milken Exchange on Education Technology and the West the number one explanation for the student learning
Virginia Department of Education. gains.
7. Cost benefit analysis showed that the BS/CE program is
Focus: The report presents an evaluation of the Basic more effective in improving students' achievement than
Skills/Computer Education (BS/CE) Program, a statewide other interventions, including class size reduction, in-
eight-year project to implement computer technology in creased instructional time, and cross age tutoring pro-
West Virginian elementary schools. The project, which be- grams.
gan with the kindergarten class of 1990-1991, included the
distribution of hardware to Observations:
schools to ensure easy and regu- Researchers cautioned that:
lar access to technology, the de- …a positive relationship between in-
structional use of computers and 1. The instructional
velopment and distribution of students' scores
basic skills software compatible learning system used in the
with the state’s educational program was a decade old
goals, and teacher training on the use of technology. and outdated both in terms of the pedagogy underlying
the system and the technology employed (newer systems
Methods: Researchers collected data on all fifth grad- and technology could result in more significant gains).
ers from 18 schools involved in the project (950 students)
and 290 teachers from the same schools. The schools se- 2. The program fits the learning and teaching realities of
lected were representative of the student population, intensity West Virginia at that time and may not be appropriate
of the program implementation and software vendor. Re- for schools in other localities.

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The Impact of a Year of Computer Assisted Instruction on Schools, Teachers, Students and Computers: A Cross-
the Development of First Grade Learning Skills (1998) by National Perspective. IEA-CompEd Study Stage 2 (1993),
Ruth Ann Erdner, Rebecca F. Guy, & Andrew Bush. by Pelgrum, W.J., Janssen Reinen, I.A.M., & Plomp, Tj.
Journal of Educational Computing Research, 18 (4): 369- (Editors). Enschede (The Netherlands): Te Sligte.
Focus: The Computers in Education Study is one of the
Focus: The study examines the effects of computer- first studies to assess the use of computers in different coun-
assisted instruction (CAI) on the reading skills of first grad- tries. The study, conducted under the auspices of the Inter-
ers during the course of a complete academic year. national Association for the Evaluation of Educational
Achievement (IEA), describes how, and to what extent,
Methods: The students received sixty minutes per computers are used in education, the changes in uses over
week of CAI on a PLATO/WICAT System 300, a minicom- time, the factors that influence these changes, and the effects
puter with hard-disk storage that supports up to 30 students' of computers on students' knowledge and attitudes toward
workstations with graphics, animation and audio capabilities. technology.
The computer interfaced with each student individually. The
software, WICAT Primary Reading curriculum, included Methods: The study was conducted in two stages.
interactive exercises and the reading outcomes required by Stage I, from 1987-1990, collected information on the use of
the state. The study included 85 first graders enrolled in two computers to assist the instruction of traditional academic
elementary schools in Oklahoma, approximately half in a subjects and the organization of computer-specific instruc-
school with computers (experimental group) and the other tion, such as programming and word processing. Partici-
half in a school with no computer facilities (control group). pants were school principals and teachers of elementary and
The two groups were matched for gender, socioeconomic secondary schools in 21 countries, including users and non-
status and reading skills at the beginning of the school year. users of computers. Stage II was conducted from 1991 to
Pre- and post-test scores were analyzed for both groups. 1994. It focused on students’ use of computers, their atti-
tudes toward technology and the knowledge of instructional
Findings: technology as measured by a standardized test. This stage
involved 69,000 students in grades 5, 8, and 11 in 2,500
1. Extended use of CAI appears to significantly influence schools in about 12 different countries.
the development of reading skills in first graders (ap-
proximately 10 percent of variation in pre-post test Findings: Among the major findings of Stage II were:
1. The availability of computers for instructional use is
2. Boys in the experimental group showed statistically sig- increasing in all participating countries; in 1989, the
nificant gains in reading skills compared to boys in the United States was the only country that reported having
control group (at .01 significance level). computers available for instructional use in all elemen-
tary and secondary schools; in 1992, all countries had
schools equipped with computers.
3. Although the girls in the experimental group showed
improvements, their gains were not statistically signifi- 2. However, access to computers for instructional use var-
cant when compared to girls in the control group. ies significantly among participating countries (for in-
stance, in 1992 in Japan, 65% of elementary schools and
4. Students with the lowest scores made the greatest ad- 29% of secondary schools had computers, while in In-
vances, making up an average deficit of 60 points. dia, computers were available in only 42% of the

Observations: Researchers caution that: 3. Access to external networks is still rare, except in the
U.S., Austria and the Netherlands, and their regular use
1. Gender-related differences might reflect the influence of is infrequent in all participant countries.
gender socialization, or the fact that most girls had al-
ready high scores in the pre-test. 4. Although the quantity of software available to schools
has improved since 1989, shortage of software is still
2. Improvement in scores may be a function of the greater seen as an important problem.
interest and motivation shown by the students in the ex-
perimental classrooms (an indirect effect of CAI). 5. Computers are mostly used for teaching about computers

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and their applications among secondary school students Conclusions:
and, for elementary school children, computers are
mostly used to play games. Research on the instructional use of computers is incipient
and, as it happens with any other topic in education, it is
6. Only a minority of students uses computers regularly to marred in ideological fights and questionable studies. The
learn about academic subjects, such as mathematics, sci- summaries above present well designed carefully imple-
ence and mother tongue. mented research that deals with the influence of the educa-
tional use of computers on students' academic achievement.
7. The use of computers outside schools for schoolwork As the Computer in Education Study shows, the questions to
increases as students move from elementary to secon- be asked in such studies are overwhelming. It is not enough
dary level. to know that schools are using computers. It is important to
assess who is using the computers, how frequently and for
8. Computer-related curricula vary enormously among what purposes, how outdated or upgraded the hardware and
countries and even within a same country and so does software are, how integrated the computer use is to the over-
the knowledge of students on computer-specific topics. all curriculum, who is receiving the instruction and how
much instruction is being received. In addition, it is also
9. Students seem to learn more about computers outside important to evaluate the social and cultural factors that in-
school. fluence the instructor, the student and the instructional proc-
ess. It is possible that socially defined gender roles influence
10. Although most students strongly perceive computers as the amount of computer exposure offered to male and female
relevant for their future, they do not always enjoy com- students both at school and at home. This would explain the
puter-related activities. gender-related differences in the use of computer and
achievement gains found in three of the studies above, but
11. A large number of students tend to agree with illegal not in the Western Virginia project. Without further re-
practices, such as copying software, indicating a need search, these are only conjectures. The studies summarized
for schools to focus on the ethical uses of computers. for this article show a positive relationship between instruc-
tional use of computers and students' scores, particularly for
12. Although the knowledge and skill level of the teachers those students most in need. The studies also show that
who provide computer-related instruction is quite high, positive effects are related to how the computers are used, a
many teachers indicate the need for further training. variable linked to the quality of educators and their profes-
sional development. However, to focus the research on how
13. The majority of schools use as computer coordinator a students score on standardized tests may be the wrong ap-
regular teacher who has no time to plan and implement proach. Our educational structure, including curricula and
ongoing training for other teachers. the tests designed to assess curricular mastery, were devel-
oped a long time ago, during and for another economic real-
14. Although the integration of computers in the overall ity. Even if the instructional use of computers does not in-
curriculum happens only to a small extent, there are in- crease mathematics scores in current standardized tests, it is
dications that this type of use is becoming more impor- important to assess its impact on students’ familiarity with
tant. technology, and on the encouragement of creative thinking
and scientific curiosity -- valuable skills in a global, knowl-
15. Overall, male students score higher in a standardized test edge-based economy. These questions are yet to be asked.
and are less intimidated by computers than female stu- In the meantime, policymakers and school administrators
dents. must decide on how to spend education money. We hope
that these and future summaries will promote more informed
decision making processes.

it is important to assess the impact of

computers on students’ familiarity with
technology, and on the encouragement
of creative thinking and scientific curi-
osity -- valuable skills in a global,
knowledge-based economy.

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Virtual Education:
Trends and Potential Uses
A Review of Literature1

This article summarizes an overview report prepared by the Commonwealth of Learning and funded by
the Department for International Development, London. The full report is available at The Report provides a snapshot of the trends, advances and challenges of
virtual education in the following regions and countries: Australia, African Continent, Canada, Carib-
bean, East and South Asia, Europe, Indian Subcontinent, Korea, Latin America, New Zealand/Pacific
Islands and the United States. The label virtual is widely and indiscriminately applied around the world,
and frequently used interchangeably with other labels such as open and distance learning, distributed
learning, networked learning, Web-based learning, and computer learning. Furthermore, it is used in
some regions to refer to systems that combine broadcast and interactive teleconferencing technologies
that operate in real time. This summary focuses on five dimensions:

Major Findings Driving Forces Opposing Forces

Emerging Models Recommendations

technologies are for administration, development, pro-

Major Findings duction and distribution of materials, and “where possi-
ble,” student-student or student-instructor interaction.

“While there are still few examples of vir- 3. With rare exceptions, the development of virtual institu-
tual institutions in the purest sense, the tions is still experimental, unfocused and not necessarily
amount of development activity in all types matched to the learning needs of its clientele, but wher-
and levels of educational organizations, ever decision-makers were able to develop and cham-
both public and private, is considerable in pion a clear vision for the educational system, the results
all parts of the world.” (Farrell, p. 3) were remarkable.

1. The emergence of virtual institutions is directly linked to 4. The educational use of information and communication
the development of, and access to, the infrastructure technologies is changing the educational market in two
supporting information and communication technolo- ways: (1) it has increased the degree of competition
gies. In general, the strategic planning for the develop- among educational institutions that now must cope with
ment of this infrastructure, when it exists, gives little or large national and international competitors; and (2) it is
no consideration for educational applications. Conse- shifting the emphasis from general programs geared to-
quently, access to the technology is characterized by ward a common market group into strategies that re-
large socio-economic and geographical disparities even spond to specific learning needs.
in developed countries.
5. Besides the institutions that have historically been in-
2. In all ten regions, activities related to the educational use volved in open and distance education, virtual education
of information and communication technologies are in has also attracted new players, including traditional in-
rapid expansion. However, few institutions use the stitutions such as schools and universities, the corporate
available technologies to carry out all functions related sector, and individual entrepreneurs who mostly use the
to the teaching process. The most frequent use of the World Wide Web to create learning opportunities either

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for profit or for altruism. educational expansion. (Despite this shared expec-
tation of significant cost reductions, data on costs is
6. A process of “unbundling” the different functions related still scarce and unreliable).
to the provision and administration of educational pro-
grams is emerging through specialization and partner-
ships among different public and private organizations.
Opposing Forces
Driving Forces “Even within developed economies,
the disparity of access is so great that
“It is not the technologies themselves many policy makers fear that adopting
that are at issue, but the purpose and these technologies will result in a wid-
manner of their use that are likely to ening of the gap between the ‘haves’
influence opinion of virtual education.” and the ‘have nots’.” (Farrell, p.6)
(Farrell, p.7)
1. The most important force opposing the development of
virtual education is related to disparities in access due to:
1. Similar to what happened to other forms of distance
education (see Distance Learning by Postal Correspon- ♦ amount of bandwidth that the institutions can ac-
dence, TechKnowLogia, September/October 1999), the cess;
main forces driving the development of virtual education
are: ♦ cost of network access;

♦ technological improvements that offer new, creative ♦ front-end cost of implementing high quality virtual
and flexible venues through which individuals can models; and
acquire lifelong learning;
♦ limits on learners’ access to the necessary equip-
♦ continuing decrease in costs related to the technolo- ment, including computer hardware and software
gies, particularly computer hardware; and network access.

♦ demand from all types of learners for more equita- 2. Opposing forces related to the current organization of
ble access and service; and educational institutions include:

♦ growth of knowledge in general, and in particular, ♦ the lack of systems of learner support that can func-
of new types of knowledge that do not match tradi- tion in a virtual environment to help the less inde-
tional educational programs. pendent or capable learners through the educational
process; and
2. Other important forces in the expansion of virtual edu-
cation are: ♦ the limitations on the current system of course cred-
its transfer among institutions. (Students could de-
♦ the realization that information and communication sign innovative programs by taking courses from
technologies can enhance the quality of the learning several different institutions if only these course
experience; credits would transfer to their home institution).

♦ the perception, particularly among the more tradi- 3. Opposition from students -- mostly from younger and
tional institutions, that the new technologies enable less experienced independent learners -- who still prefer
them to increase their market share in an increas- a face-to-face learning environment.
ingly competitive environment;
4. The “reticence” from teachers and faculty to embrace
♦ the need to be seen as modern - “ keeping up with the use of information and communication technologies,
the competition;" and generally related to:

♦ the overall expectation that virtual delivery modes ♦ lack of training in the use of the technologies;
will reduce costs, increase productivity and enable

! 36 ! TechKnowLogia, November/December, 1999 © Knowledge Enterprise, Inc.

♦ concerns over job security; work in Australia, the European Study Centres, or
the Maine Network for Education Technology
♦ need for greater preparation as a result of operating Service in the United States; and
in a public environment;
♦ institutions that are authorized to award credentials
♦ need to manage an increased amount of communi- and to provide a variety of other services such as
cation with students; and learning assessment, educational planning and
learning records, but do not directly provide in-
♦ the belief that learning should be structured and di- struction, such as the Regents College in New York
rected by teachers, rather than constructed by the State.
5. The private sector is experiencing rapid growth via three
educational models:
Emerging Models
♦ direct providers of instruction that usually focus on
“The phenomenon of the Internet and the a particular niche market (e.g., older adult learners),
World Wide Web is driving the broadest such as the University of Phoenix in the United
scope of interest and involvement in States, and the University of Information Technol-
technology applications ever witnessed ogy in India;
across all levels of educational institu-
tions.” (Farrell, p.7) ♦ corporate training networks that were initially de-
veloped to meet internal training needs and are now
1. Once separated models of open and distance learning are outreaching external market opportunities, such as
converging with the more conventional campus-based Quantas Airlines in Australia and South Africa
education. With the use of the Internet and the World Telecom;
Wide Web, schools and universities are quickly entering
the virtual education arena all over the world. ♦ specialized service organizations that provide con-
sultation, project management and technical support
2. The new educational organizations emerging from the to other organizations, such as the IBM Global
application of information and communication technolo- Campus and the McGraw-Hill Learning Infra-
gies have greater potential to transcend geographical, structure in the United States and the Virtual Uni-
political and legislative boundaries than the more tradi- versity Enterprises in Europe.
tional models.
6. Another emerging trend is the expansion of tele-learning
3. Single-mode distance teaching organizations, that were centers to increase accessibility to technologies. These
created with relatively clear and exclusive mandates, are centers are community-based access points that provide
now confronted with the need to reinvent themselves, connectivity to networks and access to computers and
while still serving their traditional students who typically modems. Recently, India has announced the creation of
do not have access to the new technologies. information kiosks throughout the country.

4. The “unbundling” of functions has given origin to new 7. Although the expansion of virtual education has been
types of organizations, such as: primarily in higher education, new projects are focusing
on primary and secondary education, such as the
♦ organizations designed to acquire or broker pro- SchoolNet in Canada, India and South Africa, and the
grams from a variety of providers and add value Open School in British Columbia, Canada. These
through flexible entry and credit transfer policies, school-related models are likely to remain focused on
such as the Public Broadcasting System’s Going the the classrooms, while providing a more flexible role for
Distance Project in the United States, and the Uni- the teachers.
versity of the Highlands and the Islands Projects in
Scotland; 8. Most distance and virtual education programs face two
serious limitations. First, they generally respond to the
♦ information and facility provider organizations de- availability of a new technology, rather than a pedagogi-
signed to provide support to learners and institu- cal need. Second, they tend to follow a traditional peda-
tions, such as the Queensland Open Learning Net- gogical paradigm, creating learning environments with

! 37 ! TechKnowLogia, November/December, 1999 © Knowledge Enterprise, Inc.

roles, processes and resources similar to those found in
face-to-face programs. Therefore, the potential for in- 4. when considering new programs, evaluate the adequacy
novation of the new technologies is yet to be fully ex- of the technologies to the skills and characteristics of the
plored. learners who will be using them, the nature of the pro-
gram contents, the current competency of the instruc-
tional staff and the availability of funds;

Recommendations 5. promote staff training and development programs as an

essential part of any change strategy;
“The decisions that face educational lead-
ers and practitioners are no longer simply 6. ensure that a clear plan is in place indicating whether
intra-institutional; increasingly they are there will be real savings and how the savings will be ef-
systemic and international in scope and fected, rather than a simple transfer of costs to students,
involve some aspect of technological appli- if the purpose of the educational application of tech-
cation. The world of education has become nologies is to achieve cost savings; and
a smaller place and, like it or not, more in-
terdependent.” (Farrell, p.10) 7. recognize that the development of virtual education
models will create change forces in a variety of other
To stimulate the expansion of virtual education across the ways, such as student counseling, advising and assess-
regions, the Commonwealth of Learning study group rec- ment, quality assurance of providers, credit recognition
ommends to policy makers and educators to: and transfer, and others. Institutions must be committed
to the changes and prepared to deal with them as a
1. ensure that the development of information and com- whole. For instance, the offering of courses on-line will
munication technology infrastructure incorporates edu- be limited if the institution registry insists on “hard-
cational planning to guarantee the adequacy and copy” processes.
sustainability of educational applications;
Most of all, as Farrell observes (p. 10),
2. use policy, legislative, and regulatory incentives to re-
serve some portion of telecommunication capacity, such “This study has revealed nothing if not that the use
as cable channels or bandwidth, for educational use at of information and communication technologies
affordable costs; should be in the context of clearly stated educa-
tional outcomes accompanied by practical strate-
3. encourage differentiated mandates among institutions to gies for achieving them.”
achieve complementary rather than competitive devel-
opment and the “unbundling” of functions among part- Prepared by Sonia Jurich
ners, so that each partner can focus on what it does best;

Extracted by permission from: Glen M. Farrell, Study Team Leader and Editor, The Development of Virtual Education: A
Global Perspective, 1999, Vancouver, Canada: The Commonwealth of Learning.

! 38 ! TechKnowLogia, November/December, 1999 © Knowledge Enterprise, Inc.

Claudio de Moura Castro
Chief Education Adviser
Inter-American Development Bank

Education in the Information Age:

Promises and Frustrations
Computers have been visiting schools for a quarter of a century. Television was first used for educa-
tion in the fifties, soon after it was created. Why do we still call them "new instructional technolo-
gies"? Both technologies were announced as a revolution. Has it taken place? Has education been
shaken as a result of their existence? How does all this affect developing countries?

This article explores the successes and failures of information technologies in education. It points to
their great potential: the tangible dream of using them to bring serious education to a vast number of
people. But it also points to the difficulties of fulfilling this dream, due to modes of utilization that fail
to adapt the potential offered by the vast array of technological innovations in existence to developing

teachers to reach a clientele that otherwise could never dream

The Key Argument of access to that level of education.
Information technology can be used to compensate for what
If this reasoning is correct, the policy implications are very
conventional systems cannot afford to offer. If this is done,
significant. Poorer countries should not focus their efforts on
the reach of serious education can be extended to populations
uses of technology that try to reach beyond what is possible
who otherwise would have much poorer-quality instruction
with good quality conventional education. Instead, they
or none at all. Alternatively, information technology can be
should focus on reaching the poor through cost-effective
used in conjunction with factors that are scarce and expen-
technology that compensates for the limitations of conven-
sive, such as highly trained and motivated teachers. This
tional education.
combination might lead to levels of learning that would not
be possible without it; but it will reach only as far as these
other factors do -- not very far in the case of developing The Path from Technology to Education
All major developments in the transmission of images and in
Used in classrooms in a constructivist approach, computers the development of computers, videotape, CD-ROMs, inter-
have tremendous potential to develop students' higher-order active TV and the Internet took place in the industrialized
cognitive skills. (The premise of constructivism is that countries. Therefore, it should be no surprise that the first
knowledge is constructed by the learner rather than imparted educational uses of these technologies took place in the in-
by the teacher. Its tools are those that extend students' ca- dustrialized countries, and in particular in the United States.
pacities to explore and experiment.) However, computers From the first uses of broadcast TV in Michigan during the
require exactly the kind of teachers who are scarce every- 1950s, to the early experiments in using mainframe comput-
where in the world. They also require considerable capital ers in tutorial programs such as Plato, most seminal innova-
outlays and infrastructure. By contrast, high-quality broad- tions took place in the U.S.
cast television programs benefit from pre-existing investment
in hardware, economize on high quality teachers by having When these developments took place in the U.S. and Europe,
them serve as support to less than superbly trained instructors these countries had mature systems of education compared to
and have strong economies of scale. Whether the levels of Third World countries. Children had access to properly
learning are comparable with those from conventional modes qualified teachers and countries could afford high quality
of delivery is an open question. But what TV programs do is education.
to allow the skills and imagination of the best available

! 39 ! TechKnowLogia, November/December, 1999 © Knowledge Enterprise, Inc.

The first uses of both computers and TV tended to mimic the alternatives are either to have expensive technologies for
teachers. The initial batch of tutorial software and the more a privileged few, or to have more economical alternatives for
widespread use of "drill and practice" programs used ma- a larger share of the school-aged population.
chines to repeat what teachers do in conventional classrooms.
They taught simple skills or trained students in them, such as However, television and other forms of distance education
spelling and multiplication tables. Educational TV had teach- cost less than computers in schools. A computer (plus indi-
ers in front of the camera teaching the same classes they rect expenditures) costs at least three thousand dollars. As-
would in more conventional classroom situations. suming a useful life of five years and another three hundred
dollars of maintenance per year, we have six hundred dollars
But soon computers were being upgraded to more imagina- per computer per year. Taking the rate of 1 computer to
tive uses. The turtle, which moved around on the screen, was every ten students, this amounts to $60 per year. Assuming
seen as a means to teach programming algorithms. LOGO an average cost of $300 per student for basic education, us-
became a landmark in the use of computers to develop ing computers will increase educational expenditures by 20
higher-order cognitive skills. Simulations and animations percent. This is not a politically feasible increase in educa-
offer endless potential to make students understand theoreti- tional budgets. The Brazilian Telecurso 2000 costs about 10
cal principles. From graphic models of the solar system to a dollars per student (not including instructor time) and a very
vast range of chapters in physics or inference statistics or the successful interactive radio program in Bolivia costs one
Electronic Workbench, a computer can show what scientific dollar per student.
abstractions are about. Word processors offered a new path
to writing. Spell-checkers changed the rules in the art of
spelling words. None of this was planned, yet word proces-
The Theory and The Theory of the Practice in
sors have become one of the most robust uses of computers Using Technology
in education.
Many studies indicate that new instructional technologies
Following the approach recently christened as constructiv- may bring strong and positive improvements in learning.
ism, computers are being proposed as tools to explore the Scaling up is another matter, however. Cognitive theory says
world. This may be via computers equipped with sensors as that such-and-such technology works fine in improving
data gathering devices, or via databases. Whatever the tool, learning. But the theory of the practice is another matter, as
students are urged to research, explore and express them- scaling up to larger audiences is much harder than expected.
selves in ways which are not possible, practical or powerful It may indeed be true that if applied to everybody, the effects
with more conventional means. would amount to a small educational revolution. The prob-
lem is that what works under a controlled and protected at-
The emergence of the Internet brought another wave of inno- mosphere may fail when scaled up.
vations and enthusiasm for the use of computers. From early
experiments in connecting schools to Dow Jones databases to Educational experiments create a total environment that is
the exploding use of present day web sites, the possibilities designed to shelter the project. In scaling up, however, the
are mind-boggling. innovation has to face a real world that is far less hospitable.
Schools are conservative organizations and their incentive
structures are very hard to change. Very often, they welcome
The Economics of Teaching with Machines
small experiments that do not threaten conventional opera-
tions. But scaling up affects the rules of the game and may
It is the expected scale of utilization that should determine
conflict with school values, practices and incentives. Hence,
the mode of instruction. With few students, one hires a
it is resisted, boycotted, sabotaged or discretely abandoned.
teacher; with thousands of students, technology-intensive
alternatives may be less expensive. It is assumed that for
Another consequence is that costs are not as low as expected
every hour of classroom contact, a teacher has to invest an-
because of waste, breakdowns, under-utilization and misuse.
other hour of preparation. For every hour of class, it takes
Therefore, not only are the results a pale image of what the
five hours to prepare written materials. But every hour of
pilot projects promised, but the costs per student tend to be
instruction using an interactive CD-ROM requires at least
much higher.
300 hours of preparation. Hence, in order to justify the use of
more complex instructional technologies, it is necessary to
The results of this lack of effectiveness of scaled-up activi-
have a much broader clientele.
ties and the cost overruns are far more serious for developing
These considerations are important because developing
countries, because they are less capable of affording such
countries cannot afford to ignore the costs of education in its
waste. In rich countries, the costs of technology are a much
different modalities. They cannot afford the same technolo-
smaller fraction of education costs. Notice that a computer in
gies being used in the industrialized nations. In many cases,
an American school costs, at most, just half of the stu-

! 40 ! TechKnowLogia, November/December, 1999 © Knowledge Enterprise, Inc.

dent/year cost while in developing countries it costs ten times The bottom line, therefore, is obvious enough. What is good
more than to keep one student in school during the same pe- for the United States is not necessarily good for developing
riod. countries. Developing countries should resist the temptation
to mimic the use of instructional technologies of the North-
ern countries because it is not compatible with its present
"What Is Good For The United States..." factor endowments. We have neither the abundant financial
resources nor the supply of well-trained teachers necessary to
It was once said that what was good for the United States
scale up the most creative use of computers in the classroom.
was also good for developing countries. Whether this is true
in particular situations is irrelevant. But in the case of in-
Surely, the above statement is not meant to deny the right to
structional technologies, this is certainly not the case. The
pursue state-of-the-art technology. In fact, as technologies
United States, like other rich countries, can afford most, if
evolve and costs go down, countries are well advised not to
not all, of these technologies, even if they do not work too
wait. They should hone their skills in the use of these tech-
nologies, no matter how arcane or expensive they may be at
present. But we should make a strong distinction between a
It stands to reason that they choose and scale up the tech-
policy of encouraging small experiments in all directions and
nologies that respond to their needs. And their needs are the
the thrust of a massive policy to use new instructional tech-
needs of countries that have already put into their schools
nologies in our countries.
just about everything that has been dreamed up by educators
and administrators. There are as many properly trained and
certified teachers as there are subjects being offered. … What Is - Indeed - Good
Therefore, instructional technologies are used to take the
for Developing Countries
additional step, to improve learning beyond the levels previ-
What is good for developing countries is what is affordable
ously reached -- levels already vastly superior to those
for the masses and what compensates for the chronic scarcity
reached by developing countries. In other words, they are
of quality teachers. Fortunately, the quest for "teacher-proof
used not to save resources or to reach a broader clientele but
teaching methods" is past and the fear that computers will
to raise the quality of education even further.
create mass unemployment of teachers has abated. Certainly
this article is not proposing a reinstatement of those goals.
In developing countries, the problem with the use of instruc-
tional technology is that too often its champions studied in
What this article proposes is that instructional technologies
the United States or Europe, following the meandering intel-
should compensate for the shortcomings of existing teachers
lectual fashions of these regions. No matter how poor the
or for their complete absence in very poor regions. Just as
country, very often those struggling to introduce instructional
rich countries have used technology to respond to their
technology are closely following the latest paper published in
needs, we are suggesting that in developing countries tech-
computer journals. When the latest fashion meant drill and
nology should respond to their needs.
practice programs for computers, this was a relatively easy
technology to apply. However, the state of the art has
In the case of computers in schools, software must be easy to
evolved from that to LOGO, to simulations, to the introduc-
use and non-threatening to the teachers. Unavoidably, this
tion of computers in regular disciplines, to the Internet and to
means that the most interesting and enriching uses of com-
the World Wide Web.
puters will have to wait. Can we use the expression "appro-
priate technology" without insulting everybody?
Even so, copying these styles of utilization constitutes a
capital sin in less affluent countries. These styles require
Another suggested line is to privilege those institutions that
exactly the factors that are particularly scarce in poor coun-
have less fear of computers, such as technical and vocational
tries-- namely, resources and well-trained teachers. If poor
schools or educational institutions. An alternate approach is
countries had a vast supply of the teachers needed for LOGO
to favor those institutions created expressly to use new tech-
or constructivist approaches to computer utilization, they
nologies - a trend that began with the creation of the United
would not have the miserable education they do. By the same
Kingdom's Open University. It has been noted again and
token, where telephone lines are rare and expensive, the
again that K-12 schools are the ones that most resist the use
Internet is doomed to remain an elitist resource, available
of technologies, making waste higher and results less impres-
only to a small number of students. No less important, these
remain expensive technologies for developing countries,
even with falling costs over the last several decades.
Probably the starkest contrast is between the modest or, in
some cases, outright disappointing results of computers in

! 41 ! TechKnowLogia, November/December, 1999 © Knowledge Enterprise, Inc.

academic schools and the impressive use of broadcast TV for high, reaching millions. Recently, the Brazilian Federation of
education. While developing countries, at best, play second Transports, representing private business in the area, rented
fiddle in the area of computers in schools, the experiments in satellite time and started offering 10 hours per day of training
using television for mass education in Latin America are in transport-related trades. There are already 1,200 class-
nothing short of spectacular and as good as anything done rooms spread around the country, mostly in transportation
anywhere else in the world. firms, with enrollment that reaches 300,000.

Rich countries have used television in education in very What all these experiments have in common is that they
modest ways. The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) reach the masses, which the conventional educational sys-
in the U.K. may be an illustrious exception. Programs for tems cannot always do. They also compensate for the inade-
preschoolers, such as "Sesame Street" and others associated quate preparation of teachers. Telecurso 2000 and Tele-
with the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) in the U.S., cater secundaria use classrooms with learning facilitators to help
to populations not served by regular schools and have also the students. But if these instructors were to teach the stu-
fared quite well. But by and large, educational TV in rich dents, they could never deliver anything comparable to what
countries does not amount to very much. All one needs to do can be done with professional actors and scripts prepared by
to verify this proposition is to surf the cable channels and the best teachers in the country. Last but not least, these pro-
contrast the quality, tempo, color, and wealth of images on grams have low costs per student. Any cost divided over
commercial networks with the "talking heads" lecturing on millions of students becomes small.
standard school subjects on the local educational TV chan-
Some Lessons
By contrast, Mexico has been operating its Telesecundaria
To conclude, what this article is saying is that technology
for many years, with millions of students having gone
today offers many exciting alternative paths for improving
through its courses. Also in Mexico are the impressive
education, but each of these alternatives is not equally good
achievements of the Tecnologico de Monterrey with its tech-
or appropriate for all countries. Rich countries have used
nical courses beamed to students in many states and now
technology to make their good education even better. If de-
reaching several other countries with its technical and man-
veloping countries were to follow the same path, they would
agement courses.
be choosing alternatives that, in addition to being very ex-
pensive, require high-quality teachers who are not available
Brazil, a country of modest achievements in education, has
and cannot be made available. These experiments are, there-
become a leader in the area of distance education, bringing
fore, doomed to remain enclaves, catering to local elite but
forth many interesting innovations. Particularly impressive
incapable of being scaled up to reach the number of people
have been the achievements of Globo network. Recently, it
who are in dire need of better instruction.
retired the old Telecurso, just short of its twentieth anniver-
sary. It is safe to say that it has been watched or carefully
Instead, then, developing countries need to focus on those
followed by many millions of poor Brazilians. This program
technologies that compensate for the factors that are lacking-
was replaced by the new Telecurso 2000, which also offers a
- namely, well-trained teachers and the resources to pay for
"second-chance" program for young adults, with separate
expensive equipment. Developing countries should concen-
primary and secondary programs.
trate on those technological alternatives that, at low costs,
One interesting feature of this program is all the classes are
bring to the students the imagination and creativity of a few
filmed in environments that look like factories, offices, tour-
excellent teachers.
ism agencies (for English language), newspaper stands and
so on. All materials are contextualized in real life situations.
While the use of computers in classrooms is not to be deni-
Young adults learn by watching scenes that are close to their
grated, a much greater potential can be found in distance
worlds, rather than the stale classroom with a teacher and
education. The fact of the matter is that despite considerable
students. In fact, the program uses professional actors for all
efforts to bring computers into academic classrooms, devel-
scenes except for some quick interviews.
oping countries remain marginal players in this area. This
contrasts with the superlative and world-class performance of
Along the same lines, TV also offers privately funded pro-
several mass education programs using radio, broadcast TV
grams of agricultural extension and small business develop-
and video.
ment. The audience for these programs is extraordinarily

! 42 ! TechKnowLogia, November/December, 1999 © Knowledge Enterprise, Inc.


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"Dumb as a Board?" That's not so dumb!

Every one of us grew up going to where from a desktop version that is 1

school where the teacher stood up in ft. x 2 ft, to 4 ft. x 6 ft. The smallest
front of class and scribbled on a size starts at about US$600.
board that hung on the wall. It could
have been black or green, and chalk What do electronic whiteboards do?
was used to write on it. Then you At the simplest level, they can be used
were made to clean it and the dusty to save, print, email, or fax whatever
eraser after class because you talked was written on them. Some will even
to you neighbor or passed a note. Or save what was erased, so you don't
maybe you even grew up doing your have to worry about lost information.
homework on a tiny version of a When combined with special software,
chalkboard. We all know how hard they can also be used for real-time
it was to keep up with the teacher, teleconferencing where multiple users
listen to what he or she said, digest in different locations can work on the
it, and take notes at the same time, same document simultaneously - per-
all the while trying not to miss a fect for distance learning. On a higher
beat. More frustrating was when you finally got that math level, electronic whiteboards can combine PC, Internet and
problem - which took up the whole board - finished, then the multimedia technologies for a more interactive and dynamic
bell rang or someone erased the board by mistake. Boards experience. For example, you are a science teacher ex-
were passive and kind of just hung there. plaining evolution. You can pull up human cranium photos,
3-D drawings, live video programs, Internet sites of archeo-
Well, boards have come a long way since then. Not only are logical digs, a pie chart from your Excel spreadsheet, and on
they made of newer, more high-tech materials, they're also top of all of that, make your own notes, zoom in on the Aus-
decorative, space saving, environmentally correct, and come tralopithecus afarnesis skull, and then make a print out of
with pretty markers that you can use over and over again. something you want all your students to take home and
Now there's the not-so-passive electronic chalkboard, also study.
known as the electronic whiteboard. Regular whiteboards
are just another version of blackboards except that they're What is the benefit of using them? Again, at the most ba-
white, laminated and use erasable ink. sic level, whiteboards afford the luxury of archiving. Les-
sons can be referred to again, great ideas that come from a
Electronic whiteboards, on the other hand, using advanced brainstorming session can be saved at the click of a button,
technology, allow the user to print out what has been written and when a student is sick and misses a class he/she can be
on the board. From this most basic level, to the smartest brought up to date easily. Most importantly though, as one
boards that allow for the highest level of multimedia interac- teacher summed it up perfectly:
tion, electronic whiteboards are being used as a flexible tool
for presentations, data conferences, brainstorming, training, " [Using the electronic board] helped me work to-
education, and many other applications. ward my goal of effectively integrating technology
into the learning process. Use of the [electronic]
Some of the most widely used electronic whiteboards are board has really improved my teaching and has
made by MicroTouch (, Smartboard allowed me to try new and creative ways to present
(, Softboard (, information. Students have really seemed to enjoy
and Teamboard ( They manufacture the interactive nature of the [electronic] board and
whiteboards ranging in sizes, technologies, and prices. have taken advantage of this state-of-the-art tech-
Electronic whiteboards use either pressure sensitive technol- nology to do their own class presentations. It is
ogy also known as touch screen, or laser technology. Touch amazing to watch the rapid progress in their inter-
screen is the most prevalent, while laser technology is cur- est and comfort in using technology in the learning
rently only provided by one manufacturer. Sizes range any- process." (

! 47 ! TechKnowLogia, November/December, 1999 © Knowledge Enterprise, Inc.

Bulky Books to Compact Disks
The way of reference software


What is reference software? version where you can search for a word you know how to
Anything you use or consult to get information is considered spell, the electronic versions let you use wild cards for parts
reference material. It could be an encyclopedia, dictionary, or of the word; or you can even search for the meaning and let
world atlas - what we normally think of as reference - or the software identify the word.
maybe a newspaper, a book, or even your next door neigh-
bor. But what most often gets conjured up in people's minds Most reference programs can also be accessed on the web
when they hear the word "reference" is the aroma or sturdy under various and sundry reference websites. Some school
feel of a bound, printed encyclopedia lying on a bookshelf libraries subscribe to encyclopedias, giving their students
somewhere. Most people, especially those from the pre-PC password access. You can also subscribe to these as indi-
age, are sometimes reluctant to give up that secure and nos- viduals. The latest coup in encyclopedias is Britannica's an-
talgic feeling of a book in hand for an aluminum disk in a nouncement on October 19, 1999, that their entire Encyclo-
flimsy plastic box. But that's what's happening. Computer- pedia Britannica is available online at no cost at
based reference works have nearly erased the market for pa- Various dictionaries are also available
perbound reference works. Why? on the web, including the Merriam-Webster dictionary.

CD-ROM-based reference material is not only more portable

and far less expensive than its paper counterpart (sometimes
What do I need to know when purchas-
as little as 10% of the paper version), it is also much more ing reference software?
useful. Take encyclopedias for example. High-speed elec-
tronic searching and single-click cross-referencing have The first thing you should know when shopping for CD-
made the old medium obsolete. If you mix in multimedia based software is this: Unless cost is a paramount issue, it
such as sound and video (which bring immediacy and reality makes no sense to buy one of the standard editions. Buying
to concepts and events that text alone could never do), you software because it is cheap will cost you more than half the
can see why all the encyclopedia action now revolves around fun and value. In some cases, you will also lose the ability to
a slim, shiny disk. And the same holds true for dictionaries, pull monthly updates down from the Internet.
atlases, books, etc. Some even provide a combination of all
of these, including links to web sites for up-to-the minute The next thing to know is that if you still don't have an Inter-
updated material. CDs can also keep themselves fresh by net connection, you'll want to get one right away. In the case
grabbing data from the Internet. of encyclopedias, all articles have links to relevant Web sites;
this is just one way the encyclopedias can stay current. As
well, you should take into consideration the reading level
Where can I get reference software? you need. Some offer more exhaustive treatment of general
You can find reference software in the same places you find subjects and thus they are more appropriate than others for
other types--on the shelf and online. All the major encyclo- doing detailed research. Others are best suited for high
pedias like Microsoft's Encarta, Encyclopedia Britannica, school and undergraduate needs.
Compton's, Versaware's Funk & Wagnalls Encyclopedia,
Groiler's and the World Book are available on CD-ROM, and Bear in mind that a compelling presentation and dynamic
some are now available in DVD format. All of these may be user interface encourages casual exploration; this is a par-
purchased online from the publishers' websites. ticularly important consideration with respect to younger
users and students.
Dictionaries are also available on CD-ROM. Unlike the print

! 48 ! TechKnowLogia, November/December, 1999 © Knowledge Enterprise, Inc.

The following organizations are major resources for
research and evaluations applicable to
education in developing
countries. See
Searching the Web for
Educational Research and
Evaluation in this issue of TechKnowLogia
for guidelines on how to make good use of research
and evaluation in policy making and planning for
educational improvements.

Research and Evaluation

For Development Policy and Planning
Selected by Gregg Jackson

Academy for Educational Development (AED)

AED supports innovative education and human development programs in many developing countries. It provides assistance
with needs assessment, research, program planning, program implementation, social marketing, and evaluation. AED provides
special web sites for some of its programs with considerable information. Its recent reports include: Reflections on a Global
Workshop on Children with Disabilities in Developing Countries, and Beyond Enrollment: A Handbook for Improving Girls'
Experience in Primary Classrooms. AED's Advancing Basic Literacy and Education (ABEL) project has produced several
Information Packages that review research and practice, and a few Resource Packages that address education policy issues for
developing countries. The AED home page includes a Links page that will guide you to many web pages relevant to
education in developing countries. The AED web site is in English and most of the publications are in English while a few are
in several other widely spoken languages.

Asian Development Bank (ADB)

ADB makes loans, provides technical assistance, and undertakes research and evaluation for economic and social development
in the Asian and Pacific region. Its publications include several on education, including Combating Primary School Dropout in
South Asia, Case Studies in Education Research and Policy, and Distance Education for Primary School Teachers. Most of
the publications are currently available in print, but a few have been put on the Web in full-text. The web site is in English and
most of the publications are in English.

! 49 ! TechKnowLogia, November/December, 1999 © Knowledge Enterprise, Inc.

Education Development Center, Inc.

EDC is a private organization that collaborates with governments, institutions, and communities to design, manage and
evaluate curriculums, educational tools, and educational systems. It has several projects in developing countries. The EDC
web site provides a brief description of each project, has linked web pages for some, and has some reports available in full-text.
The EDC projects include Action Group for International School Nutrition and Health, Human Capacity Development:
Advancing the Agenda, and Trainer and Teacher Training: Active Learning Methods in Eastern Europe.

Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) (English) (Espanol)

IDB finances development efforts in Latin American and Caribbean nations and provides technical assistance to assist them. It
supports the entire spectrum of economic and social development. IDB makes its interim reports of each project available
publicly, which is rare among development banks and organizations. They are sold in hard copy through IDB's Public
Information Center. It also prepares overview reports such as those on Education for All: Caribbean Perspectives and
Imperatives, and Education and the Information Age, which are briefly described on the web and available for sale in

International Literacy Institute (ILI)

The ILI provides research, development, and training for literacy in developing countries. It has conducted a series of literacy
forums and seminars in various parts of the world, offers intensive "Summer Literacy Training Programs" for professionals in
developing countries, and has produced an International Literacy Explorer CD-ROM which is now available on the web, and
soon will be available in Spanish and French, as well as English. Its publications include Adult Literacy in Developing
Countries: A Contemporary Annotated Bibliography, Lifting Literacy Levels with Story Books: Evidence from the South
Pacific, Singapore, Sri Lanka, and South Africa, and Indigenous Education and Literacy Learning. Some of the reports are
available in full-text on the web. Others can be ordered. The site includes an on-line Literacy Innovations Newsletter. The
site is available only in English.

United Nations
United Nations Development Program (UNDP)

The United Nations is an international forum with responsibilities for international law, peacekeeping, humanitarian aid, and
development. Among its many functions, the UN operates the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) which assists
countries with development efforts and conducts many studies. UNICEF undertakes most of the UN's elementary and
secondary education projects, but the UN Development Program does directly undertake projects related to higher education
and technical training. It has issued reports on TA for the Reform of Higher Secondary Education, Human Resources
Development and Utilization, and Civil Aviation Training and Technical Support. The most notable is the annual World
Human Development Report. Some of the reports are available in full-text on the Web and others are only summarized and
must be ordered. The UN's main web site is available in several major languages, but the Development Program site is only in

! 50 ! TechKnowLogia, November/December, 1999 © Knowledge Enterprise, Inc.

United Nations Educational, Scientific,
and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)

UNESCO's main objective is to contribute to peace and further universal respect for justice, the rule of law, and human rights.
It strives to do this by promoting collaboration among nations through education, science, culture, and communication.
UNESCO is a major source of international statistics by which countries can compare themselves. It has a database of
innovative education projects. Its International Institute for Educational Planning was created specifically to assist policy
makers, planners, and managers in developing countries. Most of the publications found on this site are not available in full-
text on the Web, but have to be ordered. This web site is also available in French.

United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)

UNICEF works for the protection of the rights of children throughout the world. It focuses on primary health care, basic
education, and sanitation in developing countries. UNICEF publications include State of the World's Children, International
Guidelines for Landmine and Unexploded Ordinance Awareness Education, and Transcending the Legacy of Apartheid. Most
of the current publications are available in full-text on the Web. The older publications must be ordered and that can be done
through the web site. The UNICEF web site is available in English, Spanish, and French.

U.S. Agency for International Development (AID)

USAID is the primary U.S. agency responsible for humanitarian aid and development assistance. Education and training are
one of its six principle areas of service. It provides grants, food aid, technical assistance, and evaluation services. Many of its
research and evaluation reports are available in full-text on the Web.

The World Bank

The World Bank is the largest source of development assistance in the world. It makes almost $30 billion in loans
annually, conducts extensive research on development needs, provides considerable training and technical assistance, and does
extensive evaluations of its operation. The World Bank now has 6,000 of its reports, or substantial executive summaries of
them, on the Web in full-text. These include background research on prevailing conditions, appraisal reports prior to the
making of development loans, and evaluation reports assessing the success and sustainability of the projects undertaken with
the loans. Most of the reports are in English, but some have been partially translated into Spanish, French, and Arabic.

! 51 ! TechKnowLogia, November/December, 1999 © Knowledge Enterprise, Inc.

Today VCR …Tomorrow
Today: Tomorrow DVD?

What is DVD? ♦ Automatic branching of video for multiple story lines;

good for literature and social studies.
DVD stands for digital video disc or digital versatile disc, ♦ Interactive features.
depending on the source. Either way, it offers the ability to ♦ Random access.
store more in less space. A standard DVD disc measuring ♦ Special effects playback: freeze, step, slow, fast and
4.7 inches can hold a two-hour movie, extra scenes, a scan.
soundtrack, and a whole lot more. It aims to eventually ♦ Programmability: playback of desired sections in a
replace audio CD, videotape, laser-disc and CD-ROM. pre-selected sequence.
DVD delivers 540 horizontal lines of resolution making ♦ Durability: no wear from playing.
for much sharper images than the standard VCR format, ♦ Compact size: easy to handle, store and ship. Also
which has 210 lines. DVD sounds better, too: digital players can be portable and easy to transport from one
sound can be separated into discrete channels, making sur- classroom to another.
round sound possible. DVD-videos require a DVD player ♦ Cost of replication is small.
connected to a TV monitor. Current DVD players cannot
record (yet).
How much does it cost?
The production of DVD Videos involves, in addition to the
development costs, the costs of mastering and replication.
To prepare a master DVD, video, audio and control infor-
mation must be encoded and multiplexed into a single data
stream, and finally encoded in low level format. While
videotapes do not have a mastering cost, DVDs cost about
$2,000 to master and about $1.70 to replicate. The cost of
DVD Player
replication is expected to drop to about $0.50 soon.
Videotapes cost about $2.50 to replicate.
Can DVD videos be played on a computer? DVD players are currently sold at about $300 and up. The
price is expected to drop to the VCR levels within a few
Most new computers with DVD-ROM drives can also play
DVD-Videos. The computer operating system or playback
software must support regional codes (that are embedded
in the discs) and be licensed to descramble copy-protected Is DVD the video storage technology of to-
videos. Microsoft Windows 98 includes DirectShow 5.2, morrow?
which provides standardized support for DVD-Video and
MPEG-2 playback. DirectShow is available for download The advantages of the DVD in terms of quality and extra
and can also be installed in Windows 95. features coupled with projected drop in costs make it a
viable alternative for videotapes, laser discs and CDs.
What are the advantages of DVD?
For further information:
The quality and versatility of DVD-Videos and players ♦
offer many advantages in the area of education and knowl- tml
edge advancement: ♦

♦ Up to 8 tracks of audio for multiple languages.

! 52 ! TechKnowLogia, November/December, 1999 © Knowledge Enterprise, Inc.

Otis Port, BusinessWeek/August 30, 1999

!Download a Computer!
R esearch on nanotechnology (see below) is pointing in the results. " I'm betting on molecular electronics in the near
direction of constructing things of the size of few hundred term."
nanometers, or billionths of a meter. That is the span of few
atoms lined together. As a result, according to James
Ellenbogen of Metre Corp in Virginia, USA, (BusinessWeek,
August 1999), we will be able to use the Internet to download
not just software but hardware also. What Are Nanotechnology and Nanocomputers?

! A nanometer is a billionth of a meter (10-9 m) and spans

Ellenbogen offers the following scenario:" Think what approximately 10 atomic diameters
happens when you download software today. You are
rearranging the material structure on your disk by ! Nanotechnology is the technology for designing,
rearranging the magnetic properties of clumps of molecules. fabricating, and applying "nanosystems" -- nanometer-
If the guts of computers were no larger than those clumps, scale systems (a synthesis of EE, biotech, chemistry, and
you could rearrange those molecules on the disk to build physics)
chips. So someday soon, we could download hardware from
the Net just like we download software today." ! A nanocomputer is a computer whose fundamental
The crucial element in this scenario is the "nanobox" which components measure only a few nanometers (<100nm)
is like a futuristic copying machine. For example, if you ♦ Minimum feature size on today's state-of-the-art
want to construct a cellular phone, you purchase a recipe on commercial integrated circuits measure about
the Net. It will ask you to insert a plastic sheet into the 350nm
nanobox and squirt electronically conductive molecules into
the "toner" cartridge. The nanobox will pass the plastic sheet ♦ Over 10,000 nanocomputer components could fit in
back and forth while laying down on it patterns of molecules. the area of a single modern microcomputer
They will then be directed electronically to assemble component
themselves into circuits and an antenna. Next, using different
"toners," the nanobox will construct a keypad, speaker, ♦ Could dramatically increase computing speed &
microphone and casing. density
There has been concrete progress in this direction. A team of
researchers from UCLA unveiled a logic gate made by self- ! Nanotechnology and nanocomputers could introduce
assembled molecules. Next, the team plans to shrink the many new applications and possibilities
wires on chips to produce some in the region of 100
nanometers on the side. (MITRE)

Although the building of computers atom by atom seems to

be in the realm of science fiction, Ellenbogen hopes for quick

! 53 ! TechKnowLogia, November/December, 1999 © Knowledge Enterprise, Inc.

The Many "Fathers" of Video Technology
The development of video technology seems to foretell the 1929 Zworykin left Westinghouse and joined the Radio Cor-
movement toward internationalization and cooperation that poration of America (RCA) as director of its Electronic Re-
has characterized the second half of this century. Different search Laboratory. Two years earlier, in 1927, the American
from most technological developments of the Nineteenth Philo T. Farnsworth (1906-1971) had developed an electrical
Century, television did not have an Edison or a Graham Bell. counter part to the optical image that proved essential to
Indeed, not one individual can be called the “the father of Zworykin’s iconoscope. However, a patent litigation be-
television and video technology.” This honor is shared by a tween RCA and Farnsworth’s company delayed improve-
group of individuals from diverse nationalities and working ments in the system for another ten years. The first RCA
in different periods. televised broadcast did not occur until 1939. As early as
1929, though, another American, Charles F. Jenkins (1867-
The beginnings of video technology may be attributed to the 1934) had been successfully experimenting with transmitting
German inventor Paul Nipkow (1860-1940). The Nipkow radiomovies from Washington, DC, across the eastern United
disk, patented in 1884, was a circular device perforated with States.
small holes that radiated from the center to the rim. When
the disk mechanically revolved in front of the eye, each hole The iconoscope is still widely used as an image pickup de-
scanned strips across the image, from top to bottom, until the vice. It is generally made of a sheet of mica covered by
complete sequence of an image was scanned. John Logie thousands of microscopic globules of a photosensitive com-
Baird (1888-1946), a Scottish engineer, improved the Nip- pound. According to variations in intensity of light from the
kow disk by incorporating a photoelectric cell that translated image, the compound emits varying quantities of electrons.
light from the scanned image into electrical signals. These An electron scanner scans the compound cells, releasing
signals could then be used to play back the image. However, electrical charges that are translated into electrical signals.
the device could not reconstitute tones and only silhouettes The strength of the signal is proportional to the amount of
were visible. On March 1925, Baird held the first public charge released. The signals are then transmitted to an ampli-
demonstration of his invention at a London department store. fier, externally connected to the iconoscope. The amplified
In 1929, Baird’s transmitting equipment was used by the signals are fed to an antenna and converted to electromag-
British Broadcasting Corporation to began regular experi- netic waves. Antennae connected to the television receiver
mental television broadcasts capture the waves. The receiver has a similar cathode-ray
in Europe. The success of tube with one to three electron beams (for color television)
the experiment was such that scan the image line by line. Each beam scans a specific
that by early 1930, Britains’ color (red, blue and green) simultaneously. When the elec-
major radio dealers were trons hit the tube, its inside face glows, reproducing the im-
selling Baird kits and ready- age.
made receivers through re-
tail establishments and mail After a halt during the World War II, research and develop-
order. (See photo.) ment in video technology has continued worldwide. More
recent improvements include:
MZTV Gallery ♦ the replacement of the large and heavy cathode-ray tube
by small and light weight semiconductors called
The Russians were also experimenting with video technology charged-coupled devices (CCD);
in the early 1900's. Boris Rosing, of the Imperial Institute of ♦ the digital television, that employs a digital amplifier
Technology, was attempting to transmit images by wire us- circuitry and enables the simultaneous display of images
ing a mechanical scanner in the transmitter, and a cathode- from different transmissions; and
ray tube, invented by the German Karl Ferdinand Braun, in ♦ the high-definition television (HDTV), that uses at least
the receiver. One of Rosing’s disciples, Vladimir Zworykin, twice the number of scanning lines as conventional tele-
continued this work in the United States, to where he moved vision, which improves the quality of the image.
in 1919. In 1923, Zworykin applied for a patent for the first
camera tube or iconoscope. The iconoscope was a photo- For more information on the history of video technology and
cathode tube that transformed variations in light intensity its pioneers, see:;
into variations in electric charge or current. The process en-;
abled the storing of the electrical values rendered by discrete
elements of the optical image. According to video historians,
this “storage principle” is the basis of modern Television. In

! 54 ! TechKnowLogia, November/December, 1999 © Knowledge Enterprise, Inc.

Use of Technology in Education
By Jens Johansen,
UNESCO, Associate Expert, Task Force on Education for the Twenty-first Century.

It should come as no surprise that UNESCO, the organisation Mongolian women. In that case,1 UNESCO spearheaded a
responsible for education and communication within the UN distance education project in which booklets and radios were
family, has long been advocating the use of new technologies distributed and the actual teaching took place via radio
in education. Within the last years, UNESCO has embraced broadcasts. Since radio broadcasts do not allow for interac-
the use of the new information and communication technolo- tivity they were followed up by visits by teachers who in this
gies (ICT). ICT is seen as having a great potential in the on- fashion could ensure that the message of the broadcasts had
going attempts to increase accessibility to knowledge. The been understood.
1996 Delors-report1 on education in
the twenty-first century recom- ICT becomes financially attractive
mended that adult and distance edu- UNESCO has embraced the use only when there is a sufficient popula-
cation be diversified and improved of the new information and com- tion base that can use the equipment.
through the use of ICT. This recom- munication technologies. That was not the case in Mongolia but
mendation was followed up in July fortunately it is in most other parts of
1997, when the member States of the world. UNESCO is currently co-
UNESCO confirmed their desire to strengthen the synergy sponsoring a pilot program to test the idea of Multipurpose
between the media, ICT and adult learning in the Hamburg Community Telecentres (MCT). The MCT’s aim at pro-
Declaration on Adult Education. viding communication and information facilities (phone, fax,
Internet, computers, photocopier, etc.) to local communities.
Whereas the World Bank and UNDP, as funding agencies, Initially this programme will be implemented in Benin, Mali,
can finance the infrastructure needed in most of the devel- Mozambique, Tanzania and Uganda.
oping world, UNESCO does not have that capacity. Our role,
therefore, must be to demonstrate in pilot projects or Again we find ourselves in a situation where we have an
through the use of seed money (limited as it may be) how emphasis on the infrastructure. Recently it has become more
ICT and other forms of technology can be used for the fur- and more recognised that the donor agencies also have a
thering of educational purposes. Furthermore it often falls on responsibility for securing reading material for the literate
UNESCO to provide the training needed for the use of the population so that they do not lapse back into illiteracy. An
infrastructure provided by the World Bank and other donors. upcoming UNESCO project in Bangladesh, Bhutan and the
Philippines aims at remedying this deficiency by using ICT
The examples below serve to show how UNESCO has tried to spread reading material, cheaply and fast. Through ICT it
to apply the most appropriate technology in a wide variety of is now possible to share information and decide locally what
cases. They are merely intended as a list of examples and are one wishes to print. Local printing capacity also creates an
neither supposed to be exhaustive nor represent an attempt to opportunity for income generating activities.
describe all the varied ways in which UNESCO uses tech-
nology in education. In conclusion, UNESCO strongly believes in the advantages
and potential of many of the new information and communi-
We of course carefully evaluate which technology will be cation technologies. It is, however, our duty to ensure that
most appropriate to meet a given need. In the green Gobi the two necessary conditions for ICT to deliver its full po-
desert of Mongolia, for example, there was not much point tential are met in each case, namely, the right level of the
in trying to establish a PC-network among the widespread applied technology, and the sufficiently trained personnel.

Learning: The Treasure Within, Jacques Delors et al., UNESCO, 1996.

! 55 ! TechKnowLogia, November/December, 1999 © Knowledge Enterprise, Inc.

The GINIE Project:
Education During Crisis and Transition
Maureen W. McClure
Director, GINIE project, University of Pittsburgh


The Global Information Networks in Education (GINIE) The need for greater access to communications technology is
project focuses on the front lines of civilization: the next paramount for education in nations in crisis for two reasons.
generation. The simultaneous pulls of telecommunications, First, the problems tend to be simultaneous. High quality
market globalization and democratization require new edu- telecommunications are essential for: a) security; b) rapid
cational strategies for relief and development that are cen- intervention; c) large-scale resource mobilization; and d)
tered in the responsibilities of civil states for generational mobility. Second, phased development requires complex
continuity. participatory systems of communications for policy dialogue
and planning. The Internet is creating new opportunities for
Civil communities have a capacity for trans-generational education professionals working in nations in crisis and tran-
learning that can be shattered by armed conflicts and natural sition to develop sustained 'learning communities.' These
disasters. When wars drag on and recoveries are slow, an networked communities contain a professional community
entire generation of children can lose the educational oppor- memory with the capacity to lower the costs of acquiring and
tunities they need to inherit their civilization. In today's po- analyzing knowledge and expertise.
litical economies, many nations and regions face educational
issues of relief, transition and development activities simul- GINIE provides a professional learning community to help
taneously. These problems are not only acute; they are also offset the growing problems created by too many humani-
chronic. tarian crises that cannot be addressed in an adequate or
timely manner. Crisis-driven institutional financing, for ex-
GINIE acts as an international Internet-based interactive ample, too often means costly institutional duplications of
clearinghouse and professional development center dedicated effort. In addition, quality educational materials created in
to helping those working in education in nations in crisis one country are often left behind at the end of the crisis be-
and transition. It provides organized, rapid access to high cause many international organizations lack the resources to
quality knowledge and expertise in 'digestible' formats for collect and archive their own documents and experiences for
those working in complex conditions. It contains an on-line rapid, 'professional-friendly' access in the future.
digital repository with easy contribution features, re-
gion/country and theme-based web pages, forums and dis-
cussion groups, and a special 'micro-search ' capacity that
searches development databases at external sites.
GINIE's Internet-based strategy provides new opportunities
for education professionals to build and sustain professional GINIE provides 'one-stop shopping' for busy education pro-
partnerships that link international humanitarian assistance fessionals working in nations with crises and transitions. It is
agencies and NGOs/PVOs organized by country and theme websites related to relief and
development education. Users can browse for free materials,
! "forward" into country and community-based edu- contribute their own documents and links to share with the
cational programs; profession, ask questions, and make professional contacts
! "backward" into coordinating networks with each across international agencies, NGOs/PVOs and universities.
other; and
! "sideward" into regional and international educa-
tional professional associations and educational in-

! 56 ! TechKnowLogia, November/December, 1999 © Knowledge Enterprise, Inc.

WHAT ARE GINIE'S CURRENT TOPICS? GINIE's professional and institutional memory created by the
contributions of colleagues working in Africa and in other
Crisis Education countries. GINIE's partner, the emer-edu listserv, distributed
! Basic education in emergencies and transition situa- the team's requests throughout the world. The emer-edu list-
tions serv contacts passed on the requests to experts in the field of
! Basic policy instruments and frameworks for edu- psychosocial trauma. Within hours, senior international ex-
cation in complex emergencies perts responded with helpful information. Access to the pro-
! Child and Young Adult Soldiers fessional community and its memory allowed the team to
! Crisis country pages construct a teacher's guide for non-formal education pro-
! Crisis links grammes for peace and reconciliation with traumatized youth
! Education and Psychological Distress in Countries in a very short time.
in Crisis
! Education for Peace and Reconciliation The team not only used GINIE's professional community and
! Land Mine Awareness Education memory but also contributed to it. It published the guide in
! Phased development of basic education programs GINIE as soon as it was ready. In addition, the UIE team
! Program for Education for Emergencies and Recon- leader took a digital camera with him and photographed the
struction educational conditions of children. In less than one week, he
! Regional and country background information published his report on-line, complete with pictures of class-
rooms in rubble and a child soldier at a checkpoint.
Improving Educational Access to knowledge generated
about: GINIE saved UIE both time and publication costs in three
! the school and classroom reality of educators and ways. First, its experienced staff were available on-line to
students; provide technical support and training throughout the mis-
! policy dialogue to improve local practice; and sion. Second, it formatted and published the report on-line
! developing in-country capacities for monitoring and quickly at low cost, thus avoiding time and publishing costs.
evaluating educational results. Third, it provided an Internet gateway for education profes-
sionals to learn quickly about the organization's activities.
Secondary and Youth Education Reform (SAYER) (to be
launched in February 2000) - Knowledge and expertise re-
lated to the following policy issues for international organi- WHERE NEXT?
zations and ministries of education:
! Reform guidelines and responses GINIE's clearinghouse needs to remain innovative in the face
! Curriculum of fast changing technology and rapidly changing crisis con-
! Finance ditions. GINIE is adding:
! Teachers ! a board of editors to help maintain site quality;
! Organizations, Form and Management ! a bulletin board for job and event postings;
! Provisions (Formal and Non-formal, Distance, In- ! an upgraded digital library that can store multi-
formation Technology) media and create on-line lesson plans from materi-
! Secondary and Youth Education Forum als found on the Internet; and
! access to on-line courseware for continuing profes-
sional education.
HOW IS GINIE USED? It is currently exploring both group-ware that permits multi-
site document construction and web casting as a training
The Case of Si
Sierra Leone platform.
In Sierra Leone (June 1999), a team from the Ministry of Please join us in helping to build an international profes-
Education, Youth and Sports (MOEYS), UNESCO's Institute sional support group that can improve the quality of educa-
for Education (UIE) and Plan International used the GINIE tion for all in nations in crisis and transition. Please visit our
website to download educational professional development site at
materials. The team supplemented their own materials with

! 57 ! TechKnowLogia, November/December, 1999 © Knowledge Enterprise, Inc.