Showing posts with label developing countries. Show all posts
Showing posts with label developing countries. Show all posts

Friday, October 26, 2018

My paper 'Decolonizing Privacy Studies' is out in the TV & New Media Journal

My paper 'Decolonizing Privacy Studies' is out in the Television & New Media Journal ! This is part of Stefania Milan and Emiliano Trere's Special issue, ‘Big Data from the South: Beyond Data Universalism.' I presented this earlier at the Amsterdam Privacy Conference in October 2018 so thrilled its out in time.

Basically, this paper calls for an epistemic disobedience in privacy studies by decolonizing the approach to privacy. As technology companies expand their reach worldwide, the notion of privacy continues to be viewed through an ethnocentric lens. It disproportionately draws from empirical evidence on Western-based, white, and middle-class demographics. We need to break away from the market-driven neoliberal ideology and the Development paradigm long dictating media studies if we are to foster more inclusive privacy policies. This paper offers a set of propositions to de-naturalize and estrange data from demographic generalizations and cultural assumptions, namely, (1) predicting privacy harms through the history of social practice, (2) recalibrating the core-periphery as evolving and moving targets, and (3) de-exoticizing “natives” by situating privacy in ludic digital cultures. In essence, decolonizing privacy studies is as much an act of reimagining people and place as it is of dismantling essentialisms that are regurgitated through scholarship.

This is part of a growing call for decolonizing the university, curriculum, the internet, and many more other critical realms. In other words, let's question the power structures that are normative and dictating our practice and seek to change it together so we can move forward with a more progressive and fairer science. 

Friday, January 29, 2016

Project leader for an UNESCO Report on prize-based incentives for innovations in ICT's in Education

In the next few months, I will be working on a UNESCO commissioned report on prize-based incentives to foster innovation in the area of ICT's in education. This is indeed timely as there is much hype on mobile-based learning and educating through gamification, particularly in developing countries. New technology again promises to come to the rescue by circulating hope in the midst of chronic failures in schooling in these contexts. With a majority of people in the global South gaining access to mobile phones, there is much proclamation that learning is now literally at their fingertips.


At the UN Mobile Week in Paris with the UNESCO Secretary General Irina Bokova
Since we cannot afford to have another 'lost generation' as the state fails the youth, funders are taking on the neoliberal approach to education, using financial incentives to capitalize on new ICT's to provide engaging and relevant e-content for these emerging platforms of learning. But are these incentives working to attract the best innovations in this field? What constitutes as sustainability in such schemes and is this coming at the cost of funding traditional modes of education? Is there an expectation that mlearning innovation will supplant traditional models of schooling? And who are the target audiences anyway for these innovations and is this overlapping with the actual gaps and inequalities within these societies? These are but a few questions one needs to tackle when approaching a project such as this.

Previously, I have worked on two major projects that were recipients of such prize-based incentives for innovation, namely the Development Marketplace Award for the Same Language Subtitling initiative on Bollywood songs to sustain neo-literacy by the Founder Brij Kothari. I have written a number of articles on the impact of SLS on literacy outcomes that can be accessed here. The second project was my critique of the much celebrated Hole in the Wall initiative by TED prize winner Sugata Mitra.

The bottom line is that today, the use of prizes to spur innovation in education has dramatically increased since the beginning of the millennium, but, to date, no organization has attempted to critically examine the impact these prizes have had on education. UNESCO proposes to fill this gap by conducting a landscape review of education prizes with an ICT focus. I will be taking the lead on this project, working with a promising young scholar Andrea Gudmundsdóttir as my research assistant. Should be a fun couple of months ahead!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

New article out on big data and the global south

Last year, I initiated the Privacy and the global South Project with fieldwork on digital privacy in the favelas of Brazil, townships of South Africa and the slums of India. Its been an exciting year and while at it, big data is one of those topics that dominate this discussion. So, wrote a thought piece on this for Discover Society which just came out. Check it out if you are interested in how conversations on surveillance, privacy, big data and trust transfer to this much neglected setting and populace. 
Big data and the global south project


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Romance with "self-directed" and "autonomous" learning as a design gaming solution for universal education

Educational gaming is becoming big business and definitely seen as a solution to the chronic issues of poor/ absentee teachers in schools in poor and disadvantaged contexts, particularly in the developing world. Sugata Mitra and his Hole-in-the-Wall project inspired the director of SlumDog Millionaire and resulted in him winning the TED prize for innovation


The Global XPrize for Education also holds a similar perspective of emphasizing how the youth need to be empowered by gaming with the assumption that they will teach themselves and don’t need to rely on others, especially bad teachers. But is there such a thing as 'self-directed' learning? Does this imply no intervention at all and that these gaming platforms fill the human gap? Do children make the best decisions for their own personal growth? When we talk about autonomous learning, are we talking about being independent of schooling as we know it? Are we saying its an institution that has failed our children and thereby, we require novel interventions in this digital age- and what better platform than games that is most loved by children?

Sounds appealing for sure. But would anyone in the West seriously propose the poor kids in say, the Bronx to play learning games as a potential solution, given the school system has failed them? Hardly. We instead fight the system, protest, partner with teachers, and bring in new inspiration through mentors, activists, and success stories from within. While schools are limited as an institution no doubt, nobody would seriously propose to rid them from society as we have not found an alternative ideal for socializing our children. Learning games are important to diversify our means of engagements but to seek in them a schooling substitute, is to give up on these children altogether.

A recent NPR article by Anya Kamenetz 'With the Right Technology, Can Children Teach Themselves? explores this further especially in light of the new announcement by Global XPrize.
Check it out. ..

Friday, February 26, 2010

Let's talk dirty?

Good intentions drive me mad. The moment you start talking about intent, it means you've failed in what you were trying to achieve right? I'm a victim of my own good intent. In class, I want to talk about countries and people that have been made exotic over decades if not longer; I want to talk about countries that have been written off as poor, corrupt and pretty much basket cases of the world. Say you bring up Ethiopia, besides our Michael Jackson's We are the world pop song charity event and famine jokes (that apparently is now off the politically correct radar on what can be made fun of), what comes to mind in the average youth? Or take South Africa and but for our man Mandela and Bono duo, rugby, and apartheid, it's pretty much a frozen picture. The idea here is to get to be less myopic about the world and more excited about global dynamism n all. Sounds all noble but hey, intent is pretty much always screwed. This is why.

To talk about a context, you've gotta first talk dirty. To talk about South Africa deeply, you need to dig deeper. And then what? You come up with statistics such as it being one of the crime capitals of the world, high unemployment, townships, busing, poverty, corruption, rape and more. And if you can somehow get the youth to get pass these stats, they can discover some amazing sides and exciting new developments in SA. But here's the catch. It's like going down a supermarket isle of products screaming buy me and expect to come out of that trap empty handed. Doesn't happen much. By the time you've gone through this dirty talk, one's mind is likely to be made up.

Need to clean up my act for sure! Perhaps stop dirty talk and go straight to business? Focus more on the hot entrepreneurship, emerging cell phone markets, fabulous art and music scene and more, and then let the dirty unravel later?