New Media Technology Helping Developing Countries: Ideas Converge on Columbia Grad Student Wiki
March 3, 2008- NEW YORK
Today a Columbia University class launched a novel resource investigating innovative uses of new media in the developing world. The New Media and Development Wiki hosted by Columbia University is now open to the public allowing internet users to access this "survey of new projects and ideas from around the world."
The Wiki is the first of its kind- both a international publishing platform and social networking tool based on the discussion of how advancements in new media and technology can help people in developing countries face the challenges in their lives. This site is arriving on the heels of a enormous surge in online political discourse, owing to the rapid growth of blogs and citizen journalism. The Wiki is different in that only selected users can post articles, and content is considerably more lengthy than average news posts. As a compromise, the Wiki offers thouroughly researched content from active international grad students.
Over the course of their spring semester, graduate students enrolled in the New Media and Development Communication course, taught by Professor Anne Nelson at the Columbia School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), have studied the role of media in advancing social goals, human rights, and economic development in theory and in practice. The students conducted web-research in a dozen different languages, including Arabic, Urdu, and Farsi, to examine media projects beyond English language websites, and used social networking tools to survey Web 2.0 applications and related technologies, communicating with sources internationally. The class was broken into several teams to explore new strategies for "how new media can be used to help the people who need it the most, and how the impact can be measured." The students then created the class website (the Wiki) to document their conclusions.
The site features a variety of stories that seek to demonstrate the real impact of communications technology on helping to alleviate the plight of impoverished people in developing countries. Examples include the use of cell phones by Kenyan farmers to market crops, the internet as a job-finding tool for slum dwellers in India, educational radio soap operas for tribal communities in Afghanistan and social networking support for goods distribution in rural China.
See the wiki here: http://www.columbia.edu/itc/sipa/nelson/newmediadev/home.html
Tags: Wiki , Sipa , Columbia , New Media , Development , Communication
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.