information access

ICTs for Agricultural Extension: A Study in the Indian Himalayan Region

Posted by EKStallings on Dec 16, 2011
ICTs for Agricultural Extension: A Study in the Indian Himalayan Region data sheet 991 Views
Kameswar, V.L.V, Devash Kishore, Vinita Gupta
Publication Date: 
Jan 2011
Publication Type: 
Journal article

This  paper reports on the availability, use and information seeking behaviour of  a farming community with specific reference to Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). It fills a research gap by examining what people do with a medium when they have access to it, rather than looking at barriers surrounding the use of ICTs and digital divide issues arising due to differential access and capabilities. The study was conducted in a state in North India, and  provides insights into intentions and factors surrounding the use of various media by farmers. It highlights the socio-cultural context within which information seeking and use 



Speech vs. Touch-Tone: Telephony Interfaces for Information Access by Low-Literate Users

Posted by MarkWeingarten on Feb 16, 2011
Speech vs. Touch-Tone: Telephony Interfaces for Information Access by Low-Literate Users data sheet 3850 Views
Sherwani, Jahanzeb, Sooraj Palijo, Sarwat Mirza, Tanveer Ahmed, Nosheen Ali, & Roni Rosenfeld
Publication Date: 
Sep 2008
Publication Type: 
Report/White paper

Information access by low literate users is a difficult task. Critical information, such as in the field of healthcare, can often mean the difference between life and death. We have developed spoken language interface prototypes aimed at low-literate users, and tested them with community health workers in Pakistan. We present results showing that 1) in contrast to previous reports in the literature, well-designed speech interfaces significantly outperform touch-tone equivalents for both low-literate and literate users, and that 2) literacy significantly impacts task success for both modalities.

Mobile Research at Your Desk - No RSVP required!

Posted by MohiniBhavsar on Jul 25, 2010

At MobileActive, we’ve held a bi-weekly Research Ignite series to keep up with the latest in research related to mobiles for development. For the past few weeks, our team has been learning and discussing new research and reports. We invite you to put on your learning caps and plug into our screencasts, where we will feature some exciting developments in the world of m4d.

For this Ignite, we’re featuring three studies that were presented at the 28th ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. The research covers mobile games in rural India and China that address literacy, and a study on mobile Internet use in South Africa.


mGames for Literacy and Mobile Internet - Research Ignite #1 from on Vimeo.

Practice Chinese Strokes and Learn Characters

Researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, University of California, Carnegie Mellon University and Nokia Research Palo Alto developed two mobile games, Multimedia Word and Drumming Stroke, which aim to help young children in rural China recognize Chinese characters and practice strokes. It is the first known m-game that leverages a mobile learning tool for the Chinese language.

A Mobile Marakothi, a Traditional Children’s Game in India, that Teaches English

In rural India, empirical studies show that children often miss school largely due to family labor, assisting in domestic work at home or in the farm without wages or as hired labor. The authors believe that “Mobile learning can empower poor children to balance their educational and income earning goals,” and so, pursued the development of a mobile game to teach English vocabulary. Mobile phones with the m-game were deployed to children living in rural Uttar Pradesh, India for 26 weeks. The pilot identified opportunities for out-of-school learning, revealed gender influences on m-game usage and surprisingly, showed that m-games traversed caste and village boundaries and facilitated social interaction.

Presentation starts at 4:03 min.

Challenging Assumptions of Mobile Internet Access: The Experience of Women in A Township in South Africa

More and more mobile users are surfing the internet on their phones. For most people in developing countries, there is no plan B – in other words, no PC-based internet access. This study reports the experience of a group of women in Khayelitsha, in Cape Town, South Africa who connected to a mobile-based internet for the first time. In this article, six challenges facing mobile-only internet users in developing countries are identified. The authors propose how to the mobile industry can move forward by keeping the end-users in mind and introduce the concept of “digital divide” that is secondary to mobile access – it’s “after-access”.

Presentation starts at 9:59 min.

Thank you to the authors for providing permission to use images, screenshots and data as well as helpful feedback for the screencast. For more research, reports, and white papers about mobile technology for social change visit our mdirectory.

Mobile Research at Your Desk - No RSVP required! data sheet 5541 Views
Countries: China India South Africa

A Mobile Voice: The Use of Mobile Phones in Citizen Media

Posted by LeighJaschke on Jul 15, 2009
A Mobile Voice: The Use of Mobile Phones in Citizen Media data sheet 3824 Views
Verclas, Katrin
Publication Date: 
Nov 2008
Publication Type: 
Report/White paper

This report explores the dynamics of the role of mobile phones in creating and enhancing access to information and citizen-produced media. It explores trends in the use of mobile telephony with a focus on software and platforms that make content creation and broadcasting easier. It also presents an inventory of current and potential uses of mobile phones to promote citizen media and freedom of information, and presents short case studies of examples from the community.

It further discusses security considerations that might impact citizen media and freedom of information. Finally, it describes possible medium-term directions for future development and donor investments. To the end of adding additional tools, case studies, and insights to the document from reader contribution, there is A Mobile Voice addition to the wiki.

The document includes an introduction, key observations, definitions, trends in news production and consumption, industry trends, mobile phone functions and their use in citizen media, citizen media projects, security considerations, open source citizen media platforms, counter-productive uses of mobile phones, cost, knowledge gaps, hardware and software gaps, industry issues, and recommendations.