Regarding Tony Roberts' reply to Simon Woodside:

> Simon Woodside wrote:
>> Not only that, but the high cost of a PC or a laptop needs to be
>> considered. A PC is expensive, whether it's connected to high-bandwidth
>> or low. So a substantial sum of the total ICT investment isn't going to
>> change no matter what the bandwidth plan might be.

> I would beg to differ.

> There are existing real low cost options for PCs. Computer Aid is a
> non-profit organisation that supplies professionally refurbished high
> quality PCs for a fraction of the cost of a new machine.

This is a resonant tune and not only relevant in developing countries.
In Canada, similar programs exist, including a Government subsidized
program that has rolled out approximately 32,000 PC's to schools in the
province of Ontario alone across a population of 5,500 schools. And, in
addition, several for-profit organizations are doing very good work in
this area so there is value in developed and developing countries.

A pilot program is currently underway in this same region to test what
is termed as a "blended model". The rationale is that even urban schools
with high speed Internet access use many of their computers in browser
mode a significant percentage of the time. The model calls for 15% new,
65% mid life (24 to 42 months old) and 20% are over 42 months old. This
allows for a natural cascading of technology rather than software
compatibility-driven rollovers.

To make this a more viable model, I reference a previous message where I
briefly discussed the value of a remotely managed and metered content
server (i.e. "knowledge delivery engine"). When connected to whatever
local network is available, this provides reliable, network-speed access
to cached applications and content, including educator-selected content
(often by the Min of Ed in that country). If a network does not exist,
then a simple, low-tech wireless network is set up.

However, the key to this model is not the infrastructure, but rather the
ability of teachers and students to interact with quality multi-modal
learning resources in this low tech market.

To finance this model in developing countries where local phones with
dial-up capabilities, such as in a northern Canadian Aboriginal
community, this Content Server also becomes the local ISP host.
Affordable Internet access can fund the entire operational costs in this
environment. Alternatively, in developing countries, Telecenters are the
economic generator that supports local education and often the
healthcare access, also. This does not dispute the necessity of having
strong community leadership and the challenges of keeping quality staff
and skills.

Remote monitoring and management of the server environment, as well as,
loading up Tony Roberts' refurbished P166+ PC's with
Linux-on-the-desktop can increase the reliability and user experience.
Now, the desktops and servers can be remotely managed via the Internet
and satellite. This model is being implemented in Uganda, where the
donation of 1 Content server and 40 P4 PC's for one school became a
project for 41 schools (the PC's were upgraded with a 2nd disk drive)
and refurbished PC's were donated as the classroom user devices. As in
Canada, this provided immediate evidence of the power of mature PC's in
technology-assisted teaching and learning where the content is locally
available (and refreshed nightly) to bring learning alive and be a
catalyst to life-long learning.

For more information or a copy of White Papers that discuss this in more
detail, contact me.


Robert Miller
EVP Global Inc.
Direct:   (416) 423-9100
Mobile:  (416) 464-7525
Fax:      (416) 696-9734

History teaches us that people and nations behave wisely, once they have
exhausted all other alternatives....   Abba Eban

This DOT-COM Discussion is funded by the dot-ORG USAID Cooperative
Agreement, and hosted by GKD. provides
more information.
To post a message, send it to: <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
To subscribe or unsubscribe, send a message to:
<[EMAIL PROTECTED]>. In the 1st line of the message type:
subscribe gkd OR type: unsubscribe gkd
For the GKD database, with past messages:

Reply via email to