This conference was organized by the collectives of postgradute students, PhD fellows, ICT4D researchers, and practioners working in ICT4D projects. I am now a part of this collective and we share our research ideas and informations in a regular basis. I attended almost all sessions except some parallel sessions such as ICT4D research process (QLT), and communication. Likewise, I did not attend the paper session 2 and 3 because I was having a meeting with Harindranath to discuss my research proposal, particularly Sein & Harindranath’s ICT effect framework. Regarding conference, I found all the sessions useful because the conference was completely focused on ICT4D research issues.
Three interesting papers were as follows:
1) Matti Tedre, Associate Professor, Tumaini University, Tanzania, presented his work A new educational program in Tanzania: A rough road to success , developing countries based computer integrated currimulum in Tanzania. He explained how different factors such as political, social, and cultural issues should be tackled in the local context.
2) Ken Banks, founder of kiwanja.net, devotes himself to the application of mobile technology for positive social and environmental change in the developing world, and has spent the last 15 years working on projects in Africa. Recently, his research resulted in the development of FrontlineSMS, a field communication system designed to empower grassroots non-profit organisations.
3) Hatakka Mathias and Annika Andersson: presented a paper titled open educational resources for development - let's be realistic about its potential . This paper was based on a educational project and they were trying to measure the impact using Sein’s three phase ICT impact framework. As I am also using this framework in my work, therefore, I learned the practical difficulties in measuring primary, secondary, and tertiary effects of ICT on developing communities. Likewise, other research papers such as impact of mobile phone on distance learning, and reducing corruption in Egypt through eGovernance were also appealing.
In addition, the themed discussion two with Tim Unwin was useful to understand the practical implications of theories. In which, I actively participated and debated in the favor of using theories in research. However, Tim suggested that sometime we can be objective, go to the field and ask questions and find theory out of the practice.
About my research proposal, I received many positive feedback, specially audience liked the idea of conducting research in mountainous region of Nepal. There were 4-5 researchers who knew about the Nepal Wireless Project, where I am supposed to collect my data, because they provided some technical assistance to the project. Likewise, I received some critical comments on using actor-network theories. However, my explanation of using ANT for analyzing the interaction process between social and technical actors more or less satisfied them. Above all, research works of Silvia Gaiani, A strength-based approach for innovative design of ICTs for rural development (ICT4RD) in Finland (an ongoing project) , Sirajul Islam’s Factors influencing the adoption of mobile phones among the farmers in Bangladesh, and Hatakka Mathias and Annika Andersson, open educational resources for development - let's be realistic about its potential, was useful reference for my work. Likewise, there is an open opportunity to visit Matti Tedre, Associate Professor, Tumaini University, Tanzania for my research work.
Although it was almost a closed door three days intensive workshop, surprisingly, I did not experience a single day when any of the participants were absent. After attending this conference, I realized why empiricism is still a core of the science. I learned from the research presentation that we need to sense and feel the real project to understand it properly. Only after, we can make a good connection between theory and practice and vice versa.