South African Computer Journal - Special issue 2, October 2014
Volumes & issues
Special issue 2, October 2014
Source: South African Computer Journal 54, pp V –VI (2014)More Less
This edition of SACJ is a special edition that focuses on Information and Communication Technologies for Development (ICT4D) in Southern Africa.
ICT4D research (which inherently tends towards being multi-, inter- or trans-disciplinary) has contributed to understanding the challenges associated with the engineering, application and adoption of technologies in developing countries and contexts, thus impacting on design, policy, and practice. For the purposes of this special issue; the term "ICT" comprises electronic technologies for information processing and communication, as well as systems, interventions, and platforms that are built on such technologies. The term "development" includes, but is not restricted to, poverty alleviation, education, agriculture, healthcare, general communication, gender equality, governance, infrastructure, environment and sustainable livelihoods.
"I can't fall behind!" Aspirations, technology and becoming a teacher in South Africa : research articleSource: South African Computer Journal 54, pp 1 –9 (2014)More Less
This article contributes a theoretical perspective on aspirations and technology in ICT4D research. The paper draws on the results of a grounded theory study to examine the aspirations for professional development of undergraduate pre-service teachers in South Africa, and the extent to which these are marked by or influence the formation of technology attitudes. It is found that the relations between professional aspirations and attitudes towards technology are fairly complex, and of mutual determination: technology is seen as a capacity enabler, instrumental in helping pre-service teachers fulfil their professional aspirations, which in turn motivates them to understand and integrate technology in their future teaching. The implications of this argument for wider ICT4D scholarship are discussed. Second, the paper argues for the potential of grounded theory as a promising methodological approach for ICT4D research, when the aim is to reveal novel perspectives for the study of relations between technology and development, favouring a local viewpoint.
Source: South African Computer Journal 54, pp 10 –19 (2014)More Less
In tightly circumscribed communication situations, an interactive system resident on a mobile device can assist Deaf people with their communication and information needs. The Deaf users considered here use South African Sign Language and information is conveyed by a collection of pre-recorded video clips and images. The system was designed and implemented according to our method of community-based co-design. We present several stages of the development as a series of case studies and highlight our experience and the implications for design. The first stage involved ethnographically inspired methods such as cultural probes. In the next stage we co-designed a medical consultation system that was ultimately dropped for technical reasons. A smaller system was developed for pharmaceutical dispensing and successfully implemented and tested. It now awaits deployment in an actual pharmacy. We also developed a preliminary authoring tool to tackle the problem of content generation for interactive computer literacy training. We are also working on another medical health information tool. We intend that a generic authoring tool be able to generate mobile applications for all of these scenarios. These mobile applications bridge communication gaps for Deaf people via accessible and affordable assistive technology.
The level of participation during the development of a mobile application for home-based healthcare data in a developing context : an actor-network theory perspective : research articleAuthor Retha De la HarpeSource: South African Computer Journal 54, pp 20 –33 (2014)More Less
The context of this study is home-based healthcare in a South African resource-restricted community. The research case involved the design and development of a mobile care data application, created to assist community caregivers in their professional activities. However, the development principles of a suitable mobile application for feature phones (limited functionality) in this context are not fully established. A participatory design approach was employed using a design science research in information systems strategy. Data was collected during the co-design sessions with the active participation of the caregivers to design and develop a suitable mobile application to capture process and report care data. The activities of the caregivers in practice and the design and development activities were observed. It was observed, conversely, that the level of participation of all stakeholders differed significantly during the process. It was especially observed that the designer and end-users were less involved in the actual development of the prototype. These differences may have an influence on the end product/result. Actor-network theory (ANT) was used to offer a new perspective on the development processes, concepts and structures. ANT has not been used extensively in development studies and may provide a mechanism to describe how the human and non-human actors formed relations as they participate in these processes through translation moments. ANT also considers the 'black-boxed' aspect of IT artefacts during development as a single node of the network that may need to be opened up. Considering the alignment of such networks, the coordination, devices and passages during the four translation moments provide valuable insights in the design and development of technology products. This paper will consider these elements in more depth. The socio-economic factors of the developing context influenced the complex socio-technical development of the mobile application. The role of technology artefacts to assist with the development of new IT artefacts is more complex in a developing context since there are not enough mobile artefacts that could be used as examples to guide the developers. This aspect, as well as the lower digital literacy of the end-users, influences their level of participation during the design and development phases. There seems to be a large gap between mobile development in the global North versus that in the global South.
Giving children voice in the design of technology for education in the developing world : research articleAuthor Helene GelderblomSource: South African Computer Journal 54, pp 34 –42 (2014)More Less
Of the numerous projects that involve ICTs to solve the problems of the developing world, many are unsuccessful. Reasons reported in the literature include lack of attention to how the human and social systems need to adapt to the new technologies, problems with the intent of the initiators, and lack of user involvement. Focusing on the design of ICT for education and acknowledging the range of complex reasons for possible failure, this article focuses on the lack of involvement of end users (specifically children) in the design and development of ICT solutions. Children in the developing world are not given voice when it comes to the design of technology aimed at providing them with better education. Through examination of the concept of "children's voice" as well as through discussion of a practical design case to support underprivileged children in South Africa, this article shows that
1. listening to children requires that adult co-designers have the correct attitude towards their child partners and that they are committed to really hearing them
2. power relations and context play an important role in the contribution children can make,
3. South African children have the ability to provide essential input into the design of technology for education.
The exploration of disciplines such as youth development, the cultural politics of education and childhood studies alongside ICT for development, provides an enriched view on the role of participatory design in the latter field.