My final case study is on a network management solution called “HandsOn Connect”. It is used by 250 affiliates of the HandsOn Network, but the local chapter is HandsOn New Orleans. HandsOn started after Hurricane Katrina when New Orleans witnessed a huge influx of volunteers. There wasn’t any available organization that was coordinating volunteer efforts, so HandsOn was created to fill in this role. They’ve moved on from being just a disaster response volunteer coordinator, into a regular public service volunteer coordinator. Their vision of New Orleans is as a hub of civic-minded individuals that take action through service to meet critical community needs.
HandsOn Connect(HOC) is the management platform HandsOn uses within it’s website to manage, track and report on people, programs, trainings and volunteer opportunities in real time. The original program they used was called “HandsOn Technology” (HOT), but the affiliates needed a solution that was more customizable and user-friendly. A technology team got together and created a demo version of HOC. Next, affiliates could apply to be part of the first wave of instigating the program. Next, data was transformed from HOT to HOC for the affiliates with demo sites, and the program went live. Affiliates then use a help desk to comment on any bugs, defects, or changes they wish to see, and each new wave of the program is an updated version with these corrections. They are currently on the 7th wave, continuously updating the program.
This is the website, where you can check out HOC: http://www.handsonneworleans.org. There is a volunteer portal (which is what you will see when you go to the website) and a separate portal for employees and volunteer leaders with HandsOn New Orleans. Volunteers can browse volunteer opportunities and create accounts in order to sign up for projects. HOC will also record how many hours they have volunteered. Employees can monitor volunteer demographics, confirm that volunteers have indeed attended projects, send automated e-mails to volunteers, coordinate projects, and many more!
The Jibbigo Voice Translator is a mobile voice translator application for smart devices. It has state of the art speech recognition technology, a vocabulary of over 40,000 words, and NO internet connection necessary (my favorite part). It does not need to connect to servers to function, so it will work fine in foreign countries where you need translating and may not have connection. It includes a dictionary, but it’s main function is to actually translate speech. All you need to do is speak a language (or have someone speak into it in a foreign language) and it speaks aloud in the language you choose to translate it into. Right now, there are only 9 language pairs, only of which a few are major languages in developing countries, but in my opinion, if they have come this far- who’s to say they won’t develop language pairs for lesser spoken languages, and even regional dialects? My thinking for this application is that it would be really useful for development teams in foreign countries to use to communicate with the local populations. In could also be helpful in learning new languages, and especially for people in developing countries to learn English. What other uses do you think this APP could have? Would you consider getting it for your smart phone or IPAD?
eLearning Africa 2012 is the 7th international conference fon ICT for development, education, and training. It is Africa’s largest gathering of policy & decision makers, and practitioners from education, business, and government. This comprehensive group will come together in Cotonou, Benin from May 23-May 25 to focus on eLearning and sustainability. According to the conference website, eLA2012 will focus on ” the key themes of sustainable technologies and infrastructure; eLearning for sustainable communities; sustainable change management; eLearning and sustainable resources; and sustainable economy, culture and society.” Part of the conference includes a showcase, where exhibitors can show their latest ICT products and programs.
Check it out: http://www.elearning-africa.com/index.php
Do you think this type of conference will spur ICT development in education, or is it more of a “show” and less focused on actual change?
Originally posted on Blackboard by Ashley Fox
Zimbabwe’s Vice President Joice Mujuru is encouraging the use of ICTs in rural areas after “the rural communities had been marginalised as far as ICTs are concerned”. She comments how mobile phone access is now available in almost all rural areas, thanks to three major network providers establishing bases “almost everywhere”. The goal is to bring internet access to these people, which would be extremely helpful for them to compare agricultural prices before delivering produce. It is good that she also acknowledges that the internet must be available in the different indigenous languages so people will understand them. The VP also said the government is working on a program to equip primary and secondary schools with with personal computers with e-learning software. Looks like Zimbabwe’s on the right track!