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Open Call for Submissions: What are the Greatest Challenges in Promoting Literacy with ICT?

By Wayan Vota on November 14, 2011

olpc in peru

Last month, we had a great Educational Technology Debate on the theme of What ICT can improve reading skills of learners in primary schools? Five solutions were showcased, from how to test reading skills, to individual reading instruction software, to eBook readers for every student.

While these were great solutions, I was surprised at how few ICT interventions there are overall that promote and facilitate reading and literacy skills at the primary school level in educational systems of the developing world. So this month’s Educational Technology Debate will try to explore the “why,” as in why there are so few interventions.

What are the Greatest Challenges in Promoting Literacy with ICT?

  1. Technology Restrictions
    Is it a lack of appropriate hardware? Is the software not “smart” enough yet? Do we need more digital content? Is it the cost of the ICT? Do we need better ICT ecosystems?
  2. Human Constraints
    Or are the restraining factors even technology-related? Could it be teachers, administrators or parents that hold back promising ICT-based reading solutions? Might there be solutions we just don’t know about or are not willing to try at scale?
  3. Market Failure
    And this is the most worrisome; are there just not that many solutions because technologists are not focused on literacy and reading as problems? If so, is it a lack of visible profit or do they just not care?

If you have answers to any of questions, or other ideas on why there is a lack of solutions, please join in this Educational Technology Debate by submitting your thoughts and ideas either as short comments on this post, or as a separate Guest Posts. Please email Guest Posts to editors@edutechdebate.org and they will be published on the Educational Technology Debate throughout the month to maintain the conversation.

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Written by
Wayan Vota co-founded ICTworks and is the Digital Health Director at IntraHealth International. He also co-founded Technology Salon, MERL Tech, ICTforAg, ICT4Djobs, ICT4Drinks, JadedAid, Kurante, OLPC News and a few other things. Opinions expressed here are his own and do not reflect the position of IntraHealth International or other ICTWorks sponsors.
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