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AFRIK-IT  July 1995

AFRIK-IT July 1995

Subject:

Clockwork radio

From:

Adrian Carey <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

African Network of IT Experts and Professionals (ANITEP) List

Date:

Sun, 9 Jul 1995 22:42:59 -0100

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (119 lines)

Hi,=20
 
As a new boy to this list I would like to introduce myself. My name is=20
Adrian Carey and I work as a freelance educational consultant promoting=20
'lifetime learning' - i.e. equipping individuals with the skills and=20
attitudes to enable them to become self-empowered learners. My work=20
inevitably brings me into contact with iT in as much as it can be used to=20
facilitate and enhance learning. With a background of teaching sociology I=
=20
am also very concerned about the social, political, economic, etc=20
consequences of the Information Revolution and the possibilities of the=20
development of Inofrmation 'Haves' and 'Have nots' in both the UK and other=
=20
countries and continents.
 
I was recently part of a team from Surrey University which drew up proposals=
=20
for the re-structuring of secondary education in Uganda. As part of the=20
work, I suggested that Uganda should be preparing in whatever way it could=
=20
(e.g. through raising awareness of the potential and implications of,  and=
=20
developing skills in, IT amongst Trainee Teachers whose students would be=20
amongst those increasingly exposed to IT in the future) to deal with the=20
potential and consequences of the Information Revolution. The proposals to=
=20
look at the use of ecomms and multimedia applications (including authoring)=
=20
met what I can best describe as a 'stone wall' amongst certain people (not=
=20
the Ugandans) in the organisations which contol the funding for the=20
development.=20
 
I was informed that electronic communications and multimedia applications=20
are, and will continue to be, irrelevant to the current and immediate future=
=20
needs of Uganda!
 
I am well aware of the state of many of the schools in Uganda and the lack=
=20
of basic facilities such as running water and electricity, books, etc, and=
=20
therefore the likelihood that these technologies will be some time in=20
reaching some areas. However, there are some schools who could be exploiting=
=20
CD ROMs now, and teachers training in places like Makerere University should=
=20
be made aware of the Information Revolution and its implication for their=20
future students, many of whom will be using the technology. I would have=20
thought too that Uganda would be keen to explore the potential for=20
employment that such technologies bring.
 
In terms of developng the access to continuing education (e.g. via distance=
=20
education), I am interested in what others think about the potential of=20
developing ecomms against more traditional ways of supporting such learning.=
=20
As the technologies mature and the price falls it would seem that the cost=
=20
effectiveness of using ecomms rather than relying on transporting tapes and=
=20
other materials by more traditional means may become increasingly attractive=
=20
- as well as opening up the potential for accessing information on a global=
=20
scale and sharing ideas with other learners at a distance.=20
 
Clement Dzidonu suggested that I posted this message to see what other=20
members of AFRIK-IT (and particularly colleagues from Uganda) feel about=20
these issues. Am I barking up the wrong tree? The very existence of AFRIK-IT=
=20
and ANITEP suggests otherwise.
 
On another, related, tack - and following up some of the debate on the use=
=20
of radio for making meteorological information available to farmers - I saw=
=20
a programme on TV not long ago which looked at the development of a=20
clockwork radio. I was very interested in the possibility of this radio in=
=20
the context of distance education in Uganda. I was also interested as to=20
whether the 'clockwork' technology which generates the electricity to run=20
the radio could be developed to power power supplies for science=20
experiments. In the case of the radio the energy is apparently stored in a=
=20
unique steel spring (B-motor) and transmitted to an internal generator which=
=20
produces sufficient power to operate a radio at similar audio levels to=20
conventional radios.=20
 
In the programme I watched the radio was hung from a tree branch and as it=
=20
slowly dropped towards the ground it unwound the cord an in doing so wound=
=20
up the spring. I seem to remember that the act of raising the radio to just=
=20
above head height gave about 30 minutes air time.
 
I tracked the radio down to a company called Echo International Health=20
Service, a UK based charity which supplies medical equipment to developing=
=20
countries. Echo is supporting the development of the radio.
 
Free information and advice has been given to the project by the World=20
Service of the BBC to enable the production of the unit with band-waves able=
=20
to receive, apart from local programmes available, all programmes available=
=20
through the World Service. It receives FM, MW and Short wave and will be=20
priced at under =A320.=20
 
Does anyone else know anything about this, or is anyone interested? I have=
=20
the phone number and address if anyone would like it.=20
 
Cheers,
 
Adrian Carey

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