Live from ICT Society and Human Beings

IADIS international conference ICT, Society and Human Beings 2011 stated Sunday July 24th with a beautiful opening session by the conference co-chairs Diane Whitehouse and Professor Emerita Gunilla Bradley, of the Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden.

I noticed with pleasure that Prof. Bradley’s presentation made use of visuals and visual metaphors, like the sunflower to symbolize ICT applications that can grow “to beautiful flowers”:

This is a good connection with my research topic, which is concerned with the use of visual representations for better communicating and engaging the audience. However Gunilla doesn’t need any additional aid for connecting with the audience: she is an explosion of energy, color, positiveness and a role model for all women in academia, especially in IT!

Then the presentation session started with a couple of papers on facebook use (a hot topic!) and a brilliant study on “e-commerce trust beliefs & national culture” by Regina Conolly.

In the afternoon Ashir Ahmed presented an interesting study of BoP, with a model of e-commerce for the unreached community, focusing on Bangladesh. Ana Gonzales provided insights on gender and mobility of ICT professional in Spain. Jorge Franco showed applications of ICT educational tools in primary education in Brazil, including the use of VRML virtual worlds created by the kids, and programming!

In the evening Mauricio Velasquez gave a very informative talk on ICT4D (Information Communication Technology for Development), starting with the definition of development itself, which is not only concerned with economic development but more holistically on human development. He pointed out that the advancement of ICT allows for student-centered learning, however obstacles to the deployment of ICT are not limited to material resources as infrastructure and bandwidth, but also to immaterial obstacles, such as teacher training, the need of defining how to use technology for education (children access to the computers in not enough for appropriate learning).

Finally we had a panel on ICT and Diversity, with insights from every corner of the world, including the role of Social media in the Arab Spring by Alice Robbin and Osama, Puerto Rico Digital Preservation by Sarai Lastra, the difference between digital divide and digital inequality by Margaret Tan, and Moral Landscaping through ICT by Sangeeta Sharma:

Today, Monday July 25th I had the pleasure to chair the first session. Steve Walker of the Open University presented his research on infinite bandwidth, for which he conducted workshops using the “imagine methodology” and rich pictures, which was developed by Bell and Muse in the context of sustainable development:

We concluded the morning with a panel on ICT & human rights, chaired by Olga Werby, who gave a very informative, energetic and visual overview of the topic:

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