Worldwide mobile phone sales to end users totalled 1.211 billion units in 2009, a 0.9 per cent decline from 2008, according to Gartner, Inc. In the fourth quarter of 2009, the market registered a single-digit growth as mobile phone sales to end users surpassed 340 million units, an 8.3 per cent increase from the fourth quarter of 2008.
Comparing data on broadband coverage across OECD countries still faces some challenges because of the use of different metrics across countries. This report aims at providing information on the advantages and pitfalls of existing indicators used to measure broadband coverage, considering coverage related to different types of technologies (e.g. xDSL, cable modem, FTTH/B, 3G, satellite, WiMAX). Every technology capable of providing high speed Internet access involves specific issues when measuring availability.
Assistance to UNESCO Member States in the formulation of national information policy frameworks has been the main focus of the Information for All Programme (IFAP) in 2008-2009. The IFAP Annual World Report 2009 offers an overview of major international and national policy documents and highlights the most important trends of the information society during the last year.
Information Society Policies. Annual World Report 2009 was written by researchers from the Information Society Research Institute of the Budapest University of Technology and Economics. According to their analysis, the most important effect of the information society is probably the fact that it eliminates several historical divides. Social differences caused by the unequal distribution of ICT tools are being eliminated by the same tools, which causes a paradoxical situation.
The Report outlines cultural and geographical aspects of the digital divide and highlights solutions offered by the information society, such as broadband Internet and mobile technology. It also analyses the link between social and technological changes, which vary from country to country. Among the most significant trends introduced in the Report are some important technical achievements that are likely to change people’s lives in several aspects.
Information society strategies increasingly focus on e-government, which is becoming more and more socially oriented. The authors of the World Report examine the e-government aspects that proved to be the most important last year: the breakthrough of social networking, the increasing importance of open source software and of the green IT. No information society strategy today can disregard these trends.
The last section provides an overview of the worldwide penetration of ICT tools, both globally and regionally, showing the social and policy challenges faced by particular regions.
The Middle East e-Learning Association (MEEA), established for the purpose of providing innovative open educational practices, was launched on 1 February. MEEA is supported by UNESCO, together with several other international organizations.
The Middle East e-Learning Association is a regional independent, non-political, non-profit association established for the purpose of providing innovative open educational practices and promoting quality, innovation and transparency in higher and continuing education. It also aims to develop policies, procedures and practices with respect to the design, development and implementation of e-learning curricula.
MEEA has an ambitious vision of achieving several activities in the region which include:
* networking and information sharing,
* strategy and policy development,
* establishment of special interest group,
* design and professional development programmes,
* establishment of awards to recognize excellence in various practices of e-learning,
* research and dissemination of research outcomes through publishing reports, newsletters, articles in journals and profession magazines and other means.
MEEA received support from several international organizations, such as UNESCO, International Federation for Information Processing (IFIP), Commonwealth of Learning (COL), Swiss Centre for Innovations in Learning (SCIL), EDUCAUSE, European Learning Industry Group (ELIG), European Distance Education Network (EDEN) , the International E-Learning Association (IELA), United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA), and it will continue to work on establishing further international relationships.
Right at the beginning of its launch, MEEA was able to attract members from different countries including the Kingdom of Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Palestine, Kingdom of Jordan, and Malaysia.
Only seven percent of Swedish firms operate a formal policy for how employees may use social media such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter during working hours. The equivalent figure for the rest of the world is 20 percent, according to a new survey conducted by staffing firm Manpower. "In Sweden it is perhaps part of a more general IT policy. Perhaps we see social media as more of an opportunity than a problem. Perhaps business culture in Sweden places more responsibility on the individual," Hans Makander at Manpower Sweden said. Many firms express concern over the use of social media and its impact on staff productivity. There is also a concern that sensitive information could leak out, according to the survey of 34,000 companies worldwide. "Companies need to find ways to capitalise on social media in their operations. A formal policy for the use of external social media can be fine, but it should not be used to control staff," Manpower Sweden CEO Peter Lundahl said in a company statement. The survey also asked employees across the world in what areas social media could be applied to boost company performance. The largest benefit was within brand development, the report shows. Manpower recommends firms to also make use of social media to develop new methods for teamwork, stimulate commitment among employees, and for recruitment purposes.