[iDC] Jenny Aker. Can SMS be used as a tool to promote literacy in Africa?

Trebor Scholz scholzt at newschool.edu
Thu Aug 26 02:38:56 UTC 2010

Dear all,

With the clouds moving faster over the roof of the New School this morning, I can see the summer come to an end. Suddenly, students are back and many of you will have had a productive and restful few months. I would like to thank Nancy White, Stephen Downes, and George Siemens for their various interventions in June and July. (To revisit their contributions please see the links at end of this post.) 

This is also a good time to mention that we started working on "Mobility Shifts: An International Future of Learning Summit," which will be a year-long program of discussions, publications, curriculum development, podcasts, video interviews, performances, and other collaborative projects culminating in the conference in the fall of 2011. So, stay tuned-- more information will follow very soon. 

Today, I'm extremely excited to be able to introduce you to Jenny Aker who is involved in a project that I admire: Frontline SMS (http://www.frontlinesms.com/). Jenny's research aligns with the questions that the Mobility Shifts Summit will ask. Her focus is on the impact of information technologies --especially mobile phones-- on development outcomes, mainly agriculture, education, and health. Jenny Aker is a professor of Economics at the Fletcher School Department of Economics at Tufts University. She has conducted field work in many countries in West and Central Africa, including Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Sudan, as well as Haiti and Guatemala.

One of Jenny's projects focuses on mobile phones, literacy, and market information in Niger. Specifically, the study seeks to assess the impact of mobile phones on literacy and agricultural marketing outcomes in two regions of Niger. She asks if SMS can be used as a tool to promote literacy in Africa. 

Please welcome Jenny Aker.

R. Trebor Scholz


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