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Crowdsourcing Bridges Generation Gap in Rural Africa

By Molly Mattessich, Guest Columnist

We all know about crowdsourcing where ideas are solicited to launch new products, or suggest solutions to problems. In a recent interview with Molly Mattessich of National Peace Corp Association, she told me about a contest called Young Farmers Idea.  Molly is part of our guest blogging program focused on identifying creative uses of various telecom services as referenced in our VNI Service Adoption research.

Molly had previously written a blog about the use of mobile applications in rural Africa, so I knew she would have an atypical experience to share with us. The VNI Service Adoption research shows that for Middle East & Africa, the use of consumer mobile devices will grow from 906 million to 1.3 billion by 2016. Africa is now the second largest mobile phone market in the world.

Solving Local Problems with Local Ideas

Crowdsourcing ideas from members of local communities is not limited by economic and geographic boundaries. The objective of the Young Farmers Idea program is to provide local solutions to local problems. Using technology connected better with Generation Y who tended to migrate to the cities and not as interested in farming. It’s this younger generation who will lead the way to a more sustainable future. Read More »

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Does Text Messaging Negatively Impact Student Academic Success?

Across the education landscape, student text messaging is a bone of contention among teachers. It’s not an issue in the lower grades because most K-5 schools successfully ban cell phones during school hours. Where it’s a problem is within grades 6-12, when teachers realize it’s a losing battle to separate students from their phones for eight hours.

The overarching discussion among educators is texting’s utility in providing authentic experiences to students, the type that transfer learning from the classroom to real life. Today, I’ll focus on a piece of that: Does text messaging contribute to shortening student attention span or destroying their nascent writing ability.

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Rural Businesses Join the Global Economy. One Basket at a Time

By Shirley Bloomfield, Guest Columnist

I wish I could say this is my story, but it’s not. It’s the story of some hard working women looking for a way to be connected in the global economy. And it’s the story of my daughter, Kelsey Patterson, who is dedicating her talent and skills to help these women. My heart glows with pride when I share the work that she is doing in Mozambique.

Kelsey, a global development and international affairs major, is in her third year at the University of Virginia. She received a grant this year to develop a marketing plan to assist women crafters in Mozambique who are selling their homemade crafts by the roadside.

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How Santa Clara University Benefits from Social Networks

By Deepa Arora, Guest Columnist 

College is a time to learn and gain new experiences. It’s a time that graduates will reflect on for the rest of their lives. Social media outlets, such as Facebook and Twitter, can assist educational institutions by informing students of opportunities and news, while also engaging graduates that still hold their alma mater in a special place.

As the Communications Director at Santa Clara University (SCU), I believe there is true value behind social media for our community of faculty, staff, alumni and students—both prospective and current.

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How Worldwide Growth of Telecom Services Creates Opportunities

It’s been over three months since we started our guest columnist series around the VNI Service Adoption research.  This research forecasts the end user adoption rate for 20+ telecommunication services such as SMS, mobile banking, online gaming, location-based services, and various types of video conferencing.

Our goal is to explore how the use of technology, and specifically telecom services, impact people’s lives and communities worldwide. Technology is an enabler, the cool gadgets and networks and shiny objects are not necessarily meaningful on their own. It takes intelligence and creativity of many people to bring it to fruition and provide a context which empowers individuals to dream of achieving bigger outcomes.

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