Information, Communication and Technology
The ICT for Development (ICT4D) Unit of the Asian Institute of Journalism and Communication (AIJC) promotes the strategic use of ICT in various human development endeavors. It includes health, education, children’s welfare, livelihood, environment, and social justice, among others. Through its programs on research, capacity-building and content development, the Unit aims to:
- create resources and tools that will maximize the use of ICT for development;
- develop standards/criteria for ICT to measure the impact of ICT utilization on development projects;
- work towards the creation of ‘ICT for development’ policies;
- promote the development of content/developmental information by creatively packaging and producing content into rich media formats (CD-ROM based, HTML, film/video); and
- enhance capacities and encourage participation in the use of ICT for improving the socio-economic well-being of communities.
A. Research and Publication
There are many ongoing research studies focusing on ICT especially by business and industry. But these research studies seem to address business (commercial) needs more than relationship of ICT and development. The latter includes research on requirements in the use of ICT for development, impact of application/use of ICT on socio-cultural and political dimensions, and process documentation of ICT4D projects, among others. Another important aspect is ICT policy research. It has been noted that technology is introduced even before policy parameters are set by the government.
The AIJC ICT4D aims to conduct research that shall address the research requirements of development agencies including government, international development organizations, and NGOs, among others. It will therefore complement the research initiatives of business and industry but it is still open to collaborative research undertakings.
In addition to research, ICT4D Unit will also convene policy forums, workshops, and seminars on the above agenda. Results of research studies and proceedings of fora will be published in print and electronic formats.
The ICT4D Unit shall work closely with the AIJC Research and Development Consultancy Unit in the conduct of ICT research.
B. Content Development
In the digital world, content development is defined as the process of researching, writing, gathering, organizing and editing information for publication on web sites. Web site content may consist of prose, graphics, pictures, recordings, movies or other media assets that could be distributed by a hypertext transfer protocol server, and viewed by a web browser (Lallana E., 2006).
Content development may also include activities related to production, packaging, popularization, exchange and dissemination, monitoring and evaluation.
For decades, policy and decision-makers and planners seem to be enamored by hardware technology that content development has lagged behind infrastructure development. Computers and the new media hardware are becoming more pervasive but there is little content that produce information and education that can improve both the individual and the common good. The WSIS Tunis Commitment calls for immediate action to address the growing gap between infrastructure and content.
Development of content shall use the framework developed by the Institute that involves user-orientation, the learning principle of constructivism, subscription to development goals and the use of technology and media.
AIJC shall provide services in content development through the following:
- Prototype content development to test content design in terms of relevance, efficiency, cost and use of technology;
- Packaging and production of content into rich media formats aimed at enhancing its access and use by target audiences; and
- Learning institutional materials development
C. Capability Building
The program will provide ICT-related training to expand the use of ICT in strategically addressing development goals. Training areas include content development, e-governance, and multimedia development, among others.
The training will focus on knowing how and when to use ICT and its effectiveness. The training methodology will be experiential, participatory, interactive, and of course, hands-on and shall subscribe to the “constructivist” approach. Constructivism asserts that we learn through a continual process of constructing, interpreting, and modifying our own representations of reality based on our own experience (Jonassen, 1999).
The training will promote the use of free and opens source software/ systems (FOSS) whenever possible.
The intended trainees of the ICT4D program are the following:
- Academic personnel (faculty, students, administrators)
- Communication information officers
- Public information officers
- E-center administrators
- Knowledge workers
- ICT Entrepreneurs
- Content developers