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Wireless Wednesday – Barriers to Adoption of Mobile Technology in Education

Education, Wireless Wednesday

October 21, 2014

As technology has become more powerful and pervasive, it has provided educators with a valuable tool to support learning. Mobile technology, which has advanced considerably over the last decade, has enabled learning to be more accessible. This accessibility has provided educators with a way to support learning inside and outside the classroom.
Mobile technology integrates a wide set of tools and applications that enable learning to be dynamic so that students are no longer tied to their desks to experience and interact with learning objects. However there are some barriers hindering the full adoption of mobile technology in learning.

Participants during the previous Wireless Wednesday on Education

Participants during the previous Wireless Wednesday on Education

m:lab East Africa will host one of its frequent meetup dubbed “Wireless Wednesday” on education on 29th October 2014. The two hour meetup will bring together stakeholders in the Education Sector to discuss and explore the barriers hindering adoption of mobile technology in learning.
Details of the event
Venue: m:lab East Africa Balcony
Date: 29th October 2014
Time: 12 Noon – 2:00 pm
Wireless Wednesday meetups are aimed at creating a forum for exchange of views and networking between mobile application developers and practitioners in various industry sectors. The series of meetups on Education in particular are aimed at giving the different stakeholders in the Education sector a platform to share their thoughts on how to grow the EdTech ecosystem.
Participants networking after Wireless Wednesday Meetup on Education

Participants networking after Wireless Wednesday Meetup on Education

To participate in the event, kindly RSVP HERE . There will be a live twitter stream during the event, you can join the discussion using the hashtag #WirelessWednesday.  Some observations made in the past Wireless Wednesday meetups on Education may be found in this blog article.

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The Role of mAgric Solutions in Improving Agricultural Productivity (Wireless Wednesday Recap)

Agriculture, Wireless Wednesday

October 21, 2014

Agriculture is the major contributor of the Kenyan economy. It is the leading economic sector, accounting for  approximately 51 percent of Kenya’s gross domestic product (GDP) both directly and indirectly. The sector also employs more than 75 percent of the workforce. Growth of the national economy is therefore highly correlated to growth and development in agriculture.
Now that agriculture is a major contributor of the Kenyan economy, it’s important to understand some of the factors that cause agricultural productivity to decrease and how innovation can help increase agricultural productivity.

A participant sharing his views during Wireless Wednesday on Agriculture

Participants during Wireless Wednesday on Agriculture

Factors that cause agricultural productivity to decrease
Weather:The changing and unpredictable rainy seasons in the country has greatly affected their ability of farmers to plan their farming activities. Unusual weather patterns, such as drought, a prolonged rainy season and other factors, can ruin crops and bring productivity down.
Disease and pests: Pests and diseases have continued to cause a lot of losses to farmers. This is caused by lack of information by the farmers on how to control these diseases. Post-harvest losses are caused by poor handling and storage facilities.
Poor soil quality: The continuous cultivation and reduction of fallow periods has led to rapid depletion of soil nutrients, declining yields and environmental degradation. Farmers need information on the right farming practices aimed at restoring the soil nutrient.
Limited access to extension service: There is limited access to extension services in most parts of the country with the National extension staff: farmer ratio standing at 1:1,500. This situation has hindered most farmers from keeping pace with changing technological advances
Poor seeds quality:  Poor seed quality can decrease productivity. Farmers with access to specialized seeds such as crop hybrids specifically developed to produce more can improve their productivity.
The capacity of a given farm: This is another important factor. Soil cannot be forced to produce beyond capacity, although there are methods that can be used to improve production capacity, such as fertilizing to add nutrients to the soil so that it can support more crops
Use of inputs– Most farmers lack information on the right type of farm inputs to use and the appropriate time of application of the same. The cost of key inputs such as seed, pesticides, fertilizer, drugs and vaccines is high for poor farmers. Most farmers therefore do not use them and this greatly reduces the yield that the farmers get.
Lack of agribusiness mindset– Innovation is a key factor for agricultural productivity. Farmers who can develop creative ways to farm smarter, as it were, will experience productivity increases. If there are enough entrepreneurs to make agribusiness work, farming can actually work.
A participant sharing his views during Wireless Wednesday on Agriculture

A participant sharing his views during Wireless Wednesday on Agriculture

Importance of extension service in the sector
The agricultural sector extension service plays a key role in; disseminating knowledge, technologies and agricultural information, and in linking farmers with other actors in the economy. The extension service is one of the critical change agents required in transforming  farming to modern and commercial agriculture to promote household food security, improve income and reduce poverty.
However there is limited access to extension services in most parts of the country with the National extension staff: farmer ratio standing at 1:1,500. This situation has hindered most farmers from keeping pace with changing technological advances. There is therefore need for recruitment of more extension staff and the involvement of NGO’s in the grassroot to increase access of extension services to farmers.
How innovation improves agricultural productivity
Improving agricultural productivity is one of the most pressing issues in Kenya. Technological innovation, especially in mobile, is critical in  improving  productivity. Mobile technology can radically transform smallholder farmers’ access to critical and timely information. Critical and timely information is very important when it comes to agriculture. mAgric applications are being developed that allow farmers to call a helpline and get advice from an agriculture extension service provider or receive personalized daily agriculture alerts through SMS or voicemail. Farmers get up-to-date information on pests and diseases, seed and input varieties, fertilizer outlets, weather, market prices, and so on. Farmers are able to track inventories and crop activities and monitor and report on crop cycles and yields. Mobile technology has also enabled farmers to access mobile payment systems that provide them with the ability to exchange money easily
In many African countries, agricultural extension agents are stretched to service up to 4,000 farmers each, which results in long delays between visits. Mobile phones technology provides a complementary way to reach farmers with timely and personalized information.

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Can mHealth solutions improve health service delivery in Kenya?

Health, Wireless Wednesday

September 24, 2014

The application of mobile technologies, ‘Mobile Health’ (mHealth), in the healthcare industry is increasingly seen as a way to provide high quality and easily accessible  healthcare services at lower costs hence improving the health outcomes . In regions where basic access to healthcare is a challenge, mHealth can provide remarkable opportunities.

Participants during the last Wireless Wednesday meetup on mHealth

Participants during the last Wireless Wednesday meetup on mHealth

According to GSMA’s report on Mobile Technology’s promise for Healthcare, mHealth can deliver a number of important advantages. These advantages fall into 3 main categories;
[list type=”bullet”] [li]Better communication with patients – Mobile communications can greatly increase public awareness of health issues. Simple programs like SMS reminders for patients taking medication on a regular basis have shown dramatic improvements in compliance with treatment programmes.[/li] [li]Improved care and treatment; Mobile healthcare initiatives can provide for better overall care outcomes. In terms of overall disease management, remote monitoring can play a significant role in data collection and early warning systems, which are particularly critical for patients with chronic diseases such as heart conditions and diabetes [/li] [li]Broader benefits to society. Finally, not only will patients benefit from improved access to information, better care and treatment and improved communication, but mHealth will translate into broader benefits to society. These broader benefits could include; (i) improved life expectancy (ii) quicker diagnostics of potential epidemics and management of associated risk (iii) better insight into the causes of certain diseases, (iv) greater and quicker information sharing to identify appropriate treatments and (v) reduced absences from work. In summary we can create a smarter, healthier society. [/li] [/list]
Nick sharing his thoughts on the theme of the day during the previous Wireless Wednesday meetup on mHealth

Nick sharing his thoughts on the theme of the day during the previous Wireless Wednesday meetup on mHealth

m:lab East Africa will host one of its frequent meetup dubbed “Wireless Wednesday” on mHealth on 1st October 2014. The meetup is themed:  “Can mhealth solutions improve health service delivery in Kenya?.” The meetup is a two hour mobile for Health forum where mobile app developers meet industry practitioners to exchange views on the opportunities and challenges in the health sector and how the challenges could be addressed through mobile phone technology.
Specifics of the event;
Date: 1st October 2014
Venue: m:Lab East Africa’s offices (3rd Floor, Bishop Magua Center, Ngong Road)
Time: 12:00 Noon – 2:00 pm
Participants networking after Wireless Wednesday Meetup on mHealth

Participants networking after Wireless Wednesday Meetup on mHealth

To participate in the event, RSVP HERE. There will be a live twitter stream during the event, you can join the discussion using the hashtag #WirelessWednesday.  Some observations made in past Wireless Wednesday meetups on the mHealth may be found in this blog article.

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Opportunities and Challenges of Adoption of mHealth Solutions

Health, Wireless Wednesday

August 18, 2014

Mobile technologies are widely available and can play an important role in healthcare at the regional, community, and individual levels. mHealth opens up new avenues for doctors to make healthcare even more patient-centered, and to overcome difficulties posed by the location or timing of appointments. mHealth can improve patient care, treatment and safety for example through early disease diagnosis, improved patient compliance, and improved disease testing. m:lab East Africa hosted a meetup dubbed “Wireless Wednesday” on mHealth to discuss the opportunities and challenges for adoption of mHealth solutions in Kenya. Adoption of mobile health technologies may happen faster if and when healthcare organizations, telecom providers, app developers and other stakeholders in the health sector work together on legal and regulatory mandates and restrictions, system integration, and patient-centered research to bring costs down.

Participants during Wireless Wednesday meetup on mHealth

Participants during Wireless Wednesday meetup on mHealth

One of the factors accelerating adoption of mobile solutions in health is the rising healthcare cost. Mobile health solutions can reduce the cost of health care through remote monitoring of patients suffering from certain diseases, thus reducing the number of outpatient follow-up visits and also patients consulting on prevention hence fewer people have to visit a doctor or hospital. Other opportunities of adoption of mHealth solutions includes personalized healthcare. Many people are now practicing self-tracking, in which individuals measure and collect personal data to improve their health, monitor sleep, food intake, exercise, blood sugar and other physiological states and behaviors. In some cases, they are using the data to identify what triggers or worsens flare-ups of

chronic health disorders on their own, or with the help of an online community.

George Mwangi Sharing his thoughts during Wireless Wednesday Meetup on mHealth

George Mwangi Sharing his thoughts during Wireless Wednesday Meetup

Some of the challenges in the adoption of mobile technology in healthcare include confidentiality. Even as much as we are encouraging the use of mobile health, issues like confidentiality of patient information/data and diagnosis should be addressed. Patients will not be comfortable using any health application until they are assured of privacy and security protection. Mindset adjustment is another challenge where some patients and also physicians are used to the traditional healthcare system and it’s hard for them the embrace the new technologies in health. Also not all patients understand English and Kiswahili, in the rural areas the some of the patients and doctors communicate in their mother tongue. The patients should be empower with medical knowledge in everyday language.
Participants networking after Wireless Wednesday Meetup on mHealth

Participants networking after Wireless Wednesday Meetup

Lack of clear regulation and policies in the mHealth ecosystem is delaying the comprehensive and widespread of the use of technology in healthcare. There is the need for creation of policies and frameworks that encourage the development of innovative mHealth solutions and harmonize the regulation between the delivery of healthcare and mobile health services. mHealth brings more than new technologies. It facilitates a new way that enables health enterprises to engage patients, improve outcomes and lower costs. It’s clear that technology is giving the healthcare industry a much-needed upgrade, from medical translation tools to mobile apps that help patients live healthier lives.  

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Mobile Technology Transforming Education Outcomes

Education, Wireless Wednesday

August 17, 2014

In the past few years, teaching and learning has taken on a whole new dimension due to the major impact of technology in education. Educators now have a medium to communicate effectively with one another and share ideas to better their teaching skills. They have a pool of endless resources they can utilize to offer students the assistance they need to develop their ability and advance.
Despite all this, there are still some barriers that we need to overcome like the cultural resistance from some teachers who are still skeptical about embracing technology in the classroom. They are comfortable with the status quo, seeing technological experimentation as outside the scope of their job descriptions. Also some of the teachers, school leaders and parents are still reluctant about the introduction of  smartphones and tablets in the classroom hence the students are not able to take advantage of the available innovations in education during class period.

Participants during Wireless Wednesday Meetup on Education

Participants during Wireless Wednesday Meetup on Education

Technology makes it easier for students to access educational solutions tailored to their unique requirements. Tapping this potential can transform the way students learn and how they perform in the educational system. Technology is not only used in the learning process but also as an administrative and management tool. This enables streamlining of the operations in the schools. The innovations can help to collect important data on students’ learning outcomes, that can then be used to advise and inform both teachers and parents.
Technology is helping to solve three important challenges in education which are access, personalization and cost.
[list type=”bullet”] [li]Personalization: Technology has provided students with a personal way of learning where activities can be tailored to meet the students needs. Teachers can also engage with their students in a more personalized, individual manner rather than the traditional one-size-fits all approach.  With the available technology, students can source or create their own content, share it with peers, share different learning paths and evolve better answers through collaboration.[/li] [li]Access: Technology has made education more accessible and flexible to the students. Apart from the traditional education system, technology has made it possible for students to receive education anytime and anywhere that matches their own pace and learning style this has helped overcome time and space constraints of traditional classroom environments [/li] [li]Cost: Students can now be able to access most of the learning material online without having to buy textbooks which are very expensive. Also most of the Universities have introduced online/distance learning where students don’t have to be physically in the classroom to learn. The program is much cheaper compared to the other regular program. There are also mobile applications that help students who cannot be able to afford money for after school tuition study like Eneza Education.[/li] [/list]
A participant sharing her thoughts on the theme of the day during Wireless Wednesday Meetup

A participant sharing her thoughts on the theme of the day during Wireless Wednesday Meetup

on 6th August, m:lab East Africa brought together stakeholders in the education sector to discuss how technology can help improve education outcomes during Wireless Wednesday Meetup. The meetup attracted a good number of teachers from the grassroot who shared some of the challenges hindering the adoption of technology in their schools. The challenges are;
[list type=”bullet”] [li]Lack of Electricity: Most of the places in the rural area still do not have access to electricity. The only way they get to charge their mobile  phones is by taking them to the shopping centers where they have to pay some fee to charge their phones. This is a challenge because even as all this innovations are coming up, they do not have the power to run the technological devices. Until power is widely available, reliable, and affordable in the rural areas, educational technology uptake will be slow in some of these areas.[/li] [li]Teachers training and Development: Most of the teachers in the rural areas are not technology literate, even using a simple computer is a challenge to them. There is a need to provide training and support to the teacher if they are to integrate technology into the classrooms.[/li] [li]Poor Infrastructure: Limited access to infrastructure is a challenge in that some of the rural/remote areas have limited or no access to internet, mobile devices (smartphone) and computers. During the meetup, one of the teacher from Kisii said that their school has only one computer, the oldest model which takes more that 10 minutes to boot.[/li] [/list] Device manufacturers have discovered the role that technology is playing in education and are working to design ruggedized devices that operate reliably in harsh usage environment and conditions without spoiling after a month. They are also working to extend the batter life of  the devices especially the smartphones. Mobile Network Operators like Orange are also willing to partner with players in the education ecosystems to provide connectivity to some of this solutions especially in the rural areas.
Participants Networking after Wireless Wednesday

Participants Networking after Wireless Wednesday

Recommendation
[list type=”bullet”] [li]Creating awareness: We need to create awareness to the parents, school leaders and teachers of the available technologies in education and how to integrate them well in the classroom. Technology plays a key role in education and if Properly used, technology can help students acquire the skills they need to survive in a complex, highly technological knowledge-based economy.[/li] [li]Pilot projects in rural areas; Most developers pilot their applications in the urban area and take long to penetrate to schools in the rural areas.. From the meetup we had, most of the teachers from schools in the grassroot do not know of some of this applications. Developers should also target the schools outside Nairobi.[/li] [li]Better understanding and sharing of available innovations and best practices so these can be utilised, where applicable, in different learning scenarios around the country [/li] [/list]  
 

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How to Use Mobile Phones to encourage information sharing within the agricultural value chains

Agriculture, Wireless Wednesday

August 15, 2014

Smallholder farmers form majority of the farming capital in Africa, yet more often than not they are left out of the value chain’s growth. Mobile is a powerful tool in Africa. In fact, according to a report by GSMA, Mobile penetration across the region was 54% in 2012 and contributed over six per cent of the region’s GDP. Most farmers have access to a mobile phone, can they leverage mobile technology in strengthening agricultural value chains and in enabling them to become agriprenuers and more actively engaged in market-led agriculture? Can mobile innovations help in impacting the agricultural value chains?

A farmers speaking during the event

A farmers speaking during the event

On the 30th of July 2014, mobile application developers, farmers, government representatives, NGOs, exporters, Investors, entrepreneurs and other stakeholders in the agriculture sector met at m:lab east Africa to discuss this during Wireless Wednesday event sponsored by USAID. The meetup was meant to help the attendees have an understanding of what factors are necessary for value chains to thrive, development of the value chain and how mobile technology can encourage information sharing within the value chain to the benefit of the smallholder farmer. Some of the Highlights from the event: Extension Officer’s Ratio: According to an extension officer from Kakuzi, Mr Mwaniki,their ratio is 1 officer for 15,000 farmers. He reckons that mobile tech can help them in information sharing more efficiently, fast and to masses. Farmers suffer because of information lag and lack of proper advice from extension workers on disease outbreak, weather updates, good practises, just to mention a few. Mobile technology can bridge this gap. Government Involvement: According to Grace Agili, government would like to support mobile innovations in agriculture but they have inadequate resources. In fact they have so much information in the govt websites that are available for all stakeholders for free, but very few know this. She encouraged developers to leverage on that, to share useful information to farmers

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in simpler,more effective ways. Govt currently disseminates information to smallholder farmers using radio for free, but farmers have to buy directories, documentaries and manuals. When asked about government working with developers, Grace Agili Said, “We do not have to reinvent the wheel or compete with developers but support you to reach more farmers and create more awareness about available solutions in Agriculture.” Government is a key player in the value chain and their participation, in terms of policy and infrastructure can impact the value chain immensely.

A farmers speaking during the event

Attendees the event

Engagement: Farmers were urged to share information and adopt the family approach to integrate youths in agriculture. And in order to grow the value chain they were encouraged to take the wheel and team up with developers, give them guidance and together build solutions that not only connect with farmers but solve pain points in the agricultural value chains. Awareness: Farmers need to give or receive some information to / from other farmers, buyers, government, extension workers, agro-vet etc from time to time.But they normally experience hardship accessing or sharing information required during farming activities or at post-harvest level because they don’t know available technology solutions to help them. Farmer present at the meetup agreed that mobile phone could help speed up, and open up flow of information within agricultural value chains. Actors in the agricultural value chains – (including farmers, agro-vets, buyers, extension workers, government, financiers etc) stand a realistic chance to benefit from improved information flow if there can be mobile phone solutions working a large scale (the scale at which M-PESA operates or even on a global scale). Public Awareness is missing. Farmers need to be sensitized and informed especially on these factors:

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  • Market and pricing information
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  • Type of Crop to plant
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  • Crop Management and Ecology .
  • o

  • Potential Buyers
  • o

  • Profitability of the crop

These information can help a farmer make sound decision even before he/she starts planting the said crop. Improved information sharing within the agricultural value chains will benefit all the stakeholders in the chain.

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Wireless Wednesday – How to use mobile technology to improve education outcomes

Education, Wireless Wednesday

August 1, 2014

Its time for mobile devices to play a pivotal role in education. There has been a rise in the number of mobile technologies deployed within the education sector. A majority of these mobile applications have been devised with the purpose of offering teachers and students a more flexible approach to learning and bringing digital content to students. The applications make it possible to extend education beyond the physical confines of the classroom and beyond the fixed time periods of the school day.

Previous Wireless Wednesday Meetup on Education

Previous Wireless Wednesday Meetup on Education

According to a research conducted by GSMA on Transforming Learning through mobile Education, the research shows that mobile education offers three advantages with the potential to improve education delivery and thereby enhance learning outcomes:
[list type=”bullet”] [li]It simplifies access to content and experts, overcoming traditional constraints of time,location and collaboration[/li] [li]It personalizes education solutions for individual learners, helping educators customize the teaching process, using software and interactive media that adapt levels of difficulty to individual students’ understanding and pace[/li] [li]It addresses specific challenges that lower the efficiency of educational systems worldwide.[/li] [/list] Eneza Education is a good example of how mobile technology can improve students learning outcomes. Eneza Education is a virtual tutor and teacher’s assistant on a low-cost mobile phone. The technology provides students with a tool to study and learn, as well as a means to collect important data on students’ learning outcomes, that can then be used to advise and inform both teachers and parents.
Njeri Wangari from Safari Tales speaking during Wireless Wednesday Meetup on Education

Njeri Wangari from Safari Tales speaking during Wireless Wednesday Meetup on Education

With the aim of assessing the impact of Eneza as a tool for revision,  Eneza conducted an impact study in 2012 at M.M Chandaria Primary School. The impact study that took a period of nine months involved 30 students who were selected randomly to use Eneza for 30 minutes weekly in the entire period. The outcome of the impact was just amazing. The impact study showed that Eneza students scored 9 points above the average student. This depicted a 5% growth in the scores for the individual students. For subjects examined, each of them showed a significant improvement. You can view the Infographic representation of the impact here.
Last year, m:lab East Africa organized two Wireless Wednesday meetups on Education that focused on first understanding the edTech ecosystem including the key stakeholders in the ecosystem, then understanding the role that stakeholders play in the ecosystem. On 6th August 2014, m:lab East Africa will host another Wireless Wednesday meetup on education to discuss “how mobile technology can help improve education outcomes”. The two hour meetup will attract the stakeholders in  the education sector.
Details of the meetup;
Date: 6th August 2014
Venue: m:lab East Africa Balcony (Bishop Magua Center opposite Uchumi Ngong Road)
Time: 12.00 – 2.00 pm
Key discussants and invitees include:
[list type=”bullet”] [li]Philip Omondi – Consultant and E-learning Lecturer Catholic University[/li] [li]Martin Njoroge – Product Marketing Manager at Samsung Electronics[/li] [li]Tonee Ndungu Founder Kytabu[/li] [li]Mary Amisi – Kenya High School[/li] [li]Twinomugisha, Alex – Business Development Manager Intel[/li] [/list] Also in attendance will be teachers from Kisii, Kisumu, Bungoma, Meru, Nakuru, Muranga and Nairobi
 Enock Liech and David Ochieng from Thika Road Christian testing the Samsung tablet before Wireless Wednesday for kids

Left: Enock Liech and David Ochieng from Thika Road Christian testing the Samsung tablet before Wireless Wednesday for kids

To participate in the event, kindly RSVP HERE. There will be a live twitter stream during the event, you can join the discussion using the hashtag #WirelessWednesday.  Some observations made in the past Wireless Wednesday meetups on Education may be found in this blog article.

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Wireless Wednesday – How can mobile technology encourage information sharing within agricultural value chains.

Agriculture, Wireless Wednesday

July 24, 2014

Agriculture is critical to global stability and development. It accounts for a third of the gross domestic products and three-quarters of employment in sub-Saharan Africa. (World Bank 2008). But most farmers still remain poor and out of touch with best practices that can yield to high production, prevention of post harvest losses and market information.  According to a report by GSMA, Mobile penetration across the region was 54% in 2012 and mobile contributes over six per cent of the region’s GDP.
Mobile technology has the tools and the capability of reaching farmers, providing them with the needed information and potentially link them up with the markets, locally and internationally. But do farmers know this?Or is it that technology is too far from them? What is missing? Information sharing along the agricultural value chain has been broken for a while now. Can technology be used to improve or encourage information sharing and communication within the agricultural value chain?

Attendees at a previous mobile for Agriculture event

Attendees at a previous mobile for Agriculture event Attendees at a previous mobile for Agriculture event

Join other discussants and stakeholders in the agricultural value chain as they discuss this on Wednesday, 30th July 2014, at the m: lab premises in one of their frequent meetup dubbed Wireless Wednesday. The event themed “How can mobile technology encourage information sharing within agricultural value chains.” The event will attract mobile application developers, farmers, government representatives, NGOs, exporters, Investors, entrepreneurs and other stakeholders in the agriculture sector. The event is sponsored by USAID.
Details
Date: 30th July 2014
Venue: m:lab East Africa Balcony
Time: 12.00 – 2.00 pm
Key discussants and invitees include:

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  • Grace Agili – ‎Director, Agricultural Information Resource centre at Agricultural Information Resource Centre
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  • Phineas M’Ndaka, Extension Officer, Ministry Of Agriculture – Ngoliba
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  • Milton Lore, Chief of Party, Kenya Feed the Future Innovation Engine at Land O Lakes
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  • Pauline Wairimu Githinji, Impact Data Officer, Root Capital
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  • Farmers from Kisii, Kisumu, Ngoliba, Magadi, Lugari, Thika,
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  • Other invitees include representatives from Safaricom, Orange, Airtel, Technoserve, Amiran,GSMA, Kilimo Salama, Exporters among others

To participate in the event, RSVP HERE. There will be a live twitter stream during the event, you can virtually join the discussion using the hashtag #WirelessWednesday.
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Seven Wireless Wednesday meetups on agriculture have been held since 2012. Recap articles on the meetups can be found below as follows :-
30th October 2013: Understanding the challenges of uptake and increase the awareness of mAgric innovations
27th February 2013: Improving the quality and uptake of Agricultural mobile innovations
29th August 2012: Mobile Apps Targeting post harvest challenges in Agriculture
27th June 2012 : Reviewing Mobile Applications Targeting Agricultural Productivity
25th April 2012: Using mobile tech to overcome post harvest challenges in horticulture
29th Feb 2012: Nine considerations for implementing apps for Agriculture
29th Feb 2012:Using technology to enhance productivity in agricultural value chains

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Wireless Wednesday- Opportunities and Challenges for Adoption of mHealth Solutions in Kenya

Health, Wireless Wednesday

July 15, 2014

Mobile technologies are making a significant contribution in addressing the challenges of healthcare provision in Kenya. mHealth, is seen as a complementary strategy for strengthening health systems and could significantly cut costs, increase the reach and accessibility of healthcare services in the country.
Some of the key opportunities for mHealth are enhancing quality, improving convenience,extending reach and reducing the cost of healthcare. A major obstacle to the rate of adoption of mHealth solutions is the lack of standardisation and regulatory frameworks to guide its scale-up. In addition, inadequate monitoring and evaluation and use of meaningful, consistent indicators and rigorous evaluation methods for cost-effectiveness may make it difficult to scale up mHealth solutions.

Previous Wireless Wednesday meetup on mHealth

Previous Wireless Wednesday meetup on mHealth

m:lab East Africa will host a meetup dubbed “Wireless Wednesday” on mHealth on 23th July 2014. The meetup is themed:  “Opportunities and challenges for adoption of mhealth solutions in Kenya.” The meetup is a two hour mobile for Health forum where mobile app developers meet industry practitioners to exchange views on the opportunities and challenges in the health sector and how the challenges could be addressed through mobile phone technology.
Specifics of the event;
Date: 23rd July 2014
Venue: m:Lab East Africa’s offices (3rd Floor, Bishop Magua Center, Ngong Road)
Time: 12:00 Noon – 2:00 pm
Key discussants during the event will be:
[list type=”bullet”] [li]Vincent Sunda- Community Health Extension Worker Gikipa Health Unit[/li] [li]Juliana Kimatia-Embakasi Subcounty Health Focal Point[/li] [li]Felix Kimaru – Entrepreneur and Director Totohealth[/li] [li]Carol wanyoike-Parent among others[/li] [/list] http://mlab.co.ke/wirelesswednesday/
To participate in the event, RSVP HERE. There will be a live twitter stream during the event, you can join the discussion using the hashtag #WirelessWednesday.  Some observations made in the past Wireless Wednesday meetups on mHealth may be found in this blog article.
Wireless Wednesday meetups organized by m:lab East Africa are aimed at creating a forum for exchange of views and networking between mobile application developers and practitioners in various industry sectors. The series of meetups on mHealth in particular aims to give the different  stakeholders in the health sector a platform to share their thoughts on how to grow the regional mHealth ecosystem.
Participants networking after Wireless Wednesday Meetup

Participants networking after Wireless Wednesday Meetup

Video clips of discussions and issues raised during Wireless Wednesday meetups are available to the public through m:lab East Africa’s youtube channel. A pictorial view of the discussion and the ensuing networking are available at the meetup’s photo stream.

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Enhancing interaction in the classroom using technology

Education, Wireless Wednesday

December 6, 2013

One of the common mistake that entrepreneurs and developers make is assuming  what the end user wants. Most of the times what you think the end user needs might not be what they really want. Most developers and entrepreneurs in the edTech ecosystem assume that educational games are mostly what the kids like so everyone is developing educational games for the kids. But that is not the case with most of the kids who attended Wireless Wednesday for kids.

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Left: Enock Liech and Derrick Owino from Thika Road Christian testing the Samsung tablet before Wireless Wednesday for kids

Steve Blank emphasizes on “getting out of the building” he says, “in a startup, no facts exist inside the building, only opinions”. Unless you get out of the building, get out of your comfort zone and talk to potential customers, entrepreneurs stand the risk of build a product that nobody wants and talking to customers after spending a lot of your resources, and many times don’t have enough resources left to achieve success.

m:lab East Africa for the first time held Wireless Wednesday on edTech for kids. The meetup was aimed at giving the students a chance to sample some of the applications in the edTech ecosystem and share their thoughts on how learning can be made more interactive using technology. The forum enabled the students, who are the end users of the mobile innovations in education a chance to tell the entrepreneurs and developers what they want and how they want it.

Wireless Wednesday Kids

Participants during Wireless Wednesday for kids

 “Technology is interesting but it can be distracting at the same time” says one student. Most students especially in Secondary school said incorporating things like video clips to accompany the theory part especially in sciences can make learning more interactive. It is easier for the video clips to explain more about the theory part just like practicals in school but the difference is, with video clips the students can keep referring back.

One student from Precious Blood Riruta Secondary School suggested that developers can come up with an education social site like chat/WhatsApp where students can be sharing what they have learnt in a certain subject say Biology and get to ask their friends in the group questions where they did/do not understand. This creates a more relaxed way of learning for the students at the same time they get to interact with each other.

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Edgar Odeng from St. Mary’s Secondary School being interviewed by a journalist from Germany Radio about the event

Students are willing to use the available applications in education for learning but the problem is they do not know about the existing applications in edTech. This is a challenge for the developers and entrepreneurs in the edTech ecosystem. How well have you marketed your application? Do the students know about it? have you partnered with the relevant people like schools, the teachers name them. Students are looking for applications that will help them study, no parent will refuse to pay for an application that helps their children. It is every parents wish to see their children excel in their studies and if it means paying a fee for an application that is of help to the children then why not!

Samsung, the sponsor of Wireless Wednesday for education informed about the tablet they are planning to roll out late December or early January. The tablet can be used by grown ups and also kids. It has a kiddie mode where when your kid wants to use the table you switch it to kiddie mode then all the games and fun activities that the kids like come up. The parent can be able to control what the kid does with the tablet. The tablet comes in bright colors that are attractive to the kids.

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