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Tag Archives: Skype

How Mobile Technology is Changing the World

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Photo courtesy of re-ality

Did you know that 45% of the world’s population is concentrated in just five countries and the most prevalent use of the internet is not through personal computers but through mobile devices?  According to NetworkWorld, Brazil, Russia, China, India, and Indonesia are home to 610 million Internet users.  Furthermore, internet usage in these countries is predicted to double to 1.2 billion by 2015.  Mobile phones in Africa represent more than 90% of all phone lines and the mobile penetration rate is around 50%.  With these statistics in mind, consider the technology innovations that are or will be supporting this rapidly growing population of global mobile internet users.

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Can The Cloud Replace Teachers?

Sugata Mitra, an educational scientist, uses internet technology to prove that children without exposure to formalized education can use the internet to learn on their own without prompting.  In Mr. Mitra’s research, natural human curiosity emerged in children exposed to a computer with broadband internet access and kids who had never seen a computer before taught themselves basic computer literacy in a day.  Perhaps the most interesting experiment highlighted by Mr. Mitra was the task given to Italian children – Dr. Mitra had Italian children answer questions in Italian that he posed in English.  The children simply copied the text into Google, had Google translate the text to Italian and were able to answer the questions successfully.  Mr. Mitra also uses the ‘Granny Cloud’, a network of volunteers who facilitate learning via Skype.  Just imagine if the ‘Granny Cloud’ could be the ‘Mentor Cloud’ where volunteers with specialized knowledge facilitate learning of advanced subjects to anyone in the world.

  1. So, what could learning look like if instead of rows of desks facing a teacher in a classroom, we filled community learning centers with high-speed internet, tablet computers, and access to amazing volunteer mentors via Skype?  Perhaps we’d get a revolution in learning at a fraction of the cost of our current educational model.
  2. Is the ‘cloud’ the key to breaking out of the ‘drill and kill’ model of education?  Given access to the internet, broken into groups, and supplied with mentors, could children make better decisions about what is important to learn and what is best left for Google and Wolfram|Alpha?
  3. Does a real language barrier even exist now that content can increasingly be translated right in the cloud?  And doesn’t this open up the world’s libraries of information to everyone, regardless of who or where they are?  Can’t we leverage this to enhance learning in regions where teachers do not and will not go?
  4. Considering that Edison and Einstein both failed at institutionalized education, can cloud computing help to reach our current-day innovative thinkers in a way educational institutions cannot?

Impossible Music Possible Via Internet and Cell Technologies

Austin Dacey is many things, a philosopher, musician, human rights activist, and writer.  Nowhere does his online bio. describe him as a technologist, but he is successfully leveraging powerful technologies to connect suppressed musicians from around the globe with U.S. musicians willing to perform their music.  What’s even better, Austin uses Skype to allow the suppressed musicians to listen to performances in real-time.

The Wall Street Journal highlighted Austin and Impossible Music and described a concert where the global song writers ‘jammed’ live via Skype along with the band performing their music.  After the performances, musicians converse with the U.S. performers and the audience.

Austin is working with a jailed Cameroonian musician who can still be reached via cell phone.  Austin would like to have him sing along with the live performance by mobile phone. The real importance of this article isn’t the technology Austin uses, its that he is using technology as a tool to connect humanity, and that makes all the difference!

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