Data Collection: The approach to collecting data in the case of the School Information Management system is two-fold:
- An initial set of interactions and interviews with Schools and their Partners:
A detailed questionnaire to understand a school's perception of technology has been devised. The questionnaire is not meant to collect and categorise large numbers of responses and statistically draw conclusions, but is meant to evoke a one-on-one conversation, one question leading to the next or another, in order to get a realistic view of the interviewee's understanding of technology.
All questions in the questionnaire can be categorized under these broad headings:
- An assessment of the available technology infrastructure (computers mainly) and who benefits from it.
- Understanding the frequency and modes of interaction of students, faculty and administrators with computers
- Gathering the extent of knowledge about the basics and latest in computer technology
- Initiating the interviewee to come up with a list of functions / areas in which technology solutions can make them more productive
- Understanding the day-to-day challenges they face in adopting technology either because of manpower related issues or mind blocks
- Getting a realistic estimate of their interest and bandwidth for computer training and if any trainings are being conducted already.
This questionnaire guides us during the interviews with school officials and faculty of both government run / aided schools as well as reputed private schools. NGOs who partner with the former will also be able to give us their assessment of the needs and challenges of technology for school communities.
With these interactions we are hoping to determine the baseline requirements for the School Information Management System.
- A second level of interactions will be start from the post deployment phase of the system and will be ongoing.
This may lead to a conclusive report that can be drawn on the nature of communities using and how certain communities participate in technology solutions. The nature of interactions being frequent has to feedback well into the system being re-configured for the needs of the community. This level of interaction may be very rewarding in terms of understanding the real challenges that technology may or may not solve for school communities. This may also help evolve the system to be a more generically accepted solution across a cluster of schools which can yet meet specific needs of a school.
The method of data collection for the monograph on communities involves:
- Interviews with people who are part of communities that have developed around ideas, ideologies and practices concerning open source, internet and software security issues, free software, list-serves, open content, etc. This provides us with background about certain kinds of communities, mainly about how they come into being and what are the concrete, abstract and ideological basis of different communities. I hypothesize in the monograph that it is important to pay attention to how different communities come into existence in order to gauge what impact technological interventions can have on them.
- Similarly, in the case of Lallubhai Compound where we had originally proposed to understand the community and work towards the community map development project, we continue to understand how communities existed in the pre-rehabilitation and resettlement (R&R) phase and how the communities have been (re)configured through the process of R&R. By tracing this history, we are also trying to understand where and how mapping methods got situated and how maps have transformed from serving a representation function to serving an enumeration function. Thus, even though we have had to abandon the idea of doing a community mapping initiative in Lallubhai Compound, it is still important to understand the role and influence of technologies such as mapping, GIS, etc
- For the research around Nemmadi, we are in the process of compiling a brief history of Karnataka state focussing mainly on the various regions in the state and the political, social and cultural dynamics which shape the governance of each region and the citizenry. Such a history is important because it provides us with a clear picture in which we can situate the introduction of the tele-centres. Ethnography, interviews and participant observation strategies will be devised once this history is completed.