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Mobile Influence: The Value of Connecting the Disconnected

Even though we all know the statistics showing the tremendous growth of mobile and smartphone usage, I continue to be amazed by the impact this technology is making for the most disconnected societies.

I am particularly interested in the use of mobile applications for social entrepreneurship. By using basic SMS communications communities have been able to educate and reach many more people than traditional tactics.

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Make Way for More Users

Have you seen the numbers? There are a few more of us on the Internet now than there were last year—and over the next four years, today’s numbers will look humble in comparison.

About one-third of the world’s population today is using the Internet. That includes all of us—whether we’re in offices in Silicon Valley, in airports in Tokyo or Dubai, or surfing from the Gobi Desert.

As fixed and mobile networks grow and expand, an ever-increasing portion of the world’s population will Read More »

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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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