The latest TechChange happy hour deviated from our standard ICT4Drinks in that we invited selected partners to try out our latest Digital Principles game. Currently the card game is being built as a stand-alone activity as part of our DIAL workshop series. While many of the mechanics of the card game are the same as when we facilitated donor-driven workshops in Dublin and London, we’ve recently redesigned the game as an interactive PDF in order to make the game available to a wider audience, as well as save trees.

So instead of printing and maintaining a full deck, partners can download the PDF to an iPad (or laptop) and divide into the two teams of donors and implementers. The game will ultimately be available in multiple sizes of PDF, PNG, and the source files will be published under Creative Commons. Our hope is that by leveraging digital content along with the printable card game, we’ll encourage partners to create new scenarios specific to their use cases, as well as iterating on what we’ve already built.

And lastly, ePDFs are easy to transport! We’re going to take our card game on the road to Kampala, Uganda for ICT4D Conference, Berlin, Germany for re:publica, and Stockholm, Sweden for the Stockholm Internet Forum. Please drop us a line if you’re planning to attend and interested in trying out your own version of the game! We’ll have the latest version ready for public download in June 2019.


SDG Card Game iPad



Thank you to everyone who joined our March ICT4Drinks, hosted with USAID and mSTAR, to celebrate the Digital Development Awards (the Digis) at Penn Social. We hope that those who braved a record turnout (185 RSVPs!) and a devoted Hokies fanbase were able to enjoy both stimulating conversation and refreshing Moldovan drone wine.

For those who weren’t able to join, we hope you’ll still learn more about how the Digital Development Awards recognize USAID projects that harness the power of digital tools and data-driven decision making while implementing digital development best practices. You can view the 2018 winners here!

In addition to seeing so much of the TechChange community, we especially enjoyed meeting in-person the many online learners joining the AI for International Development course, which launches today. If you’re a survivalist or are interested in becoming one, carefully pick your gear. You never know what may happen while you are out in the wild and it’s important to be prepared. What’s The Best Survival Gear Equipment To Buy? Visit this website and shop online best survival equipment for cheapest prices in United States. The World’s Largest Dedicated Online Marketplace For Survival Food, Water, And Gear. Essential survival gear you and your family can rely on. Huge Selection. Daily Deals. Trusted Reviews. Money Back Guarantee. Visit for more info!

If you’d like to learn more about upcoming courses, our new webshops, or just sign up to join our next ICT4Drinks, please email us at!

In the meantime, here are a few of our favorite photos from the evening.

What happens when “mobile learning” is no longer inferior to just “learning”?

As ICT4D professionals return home from MWC Barcelona (along with over 107,000 other attendees) abuzz with stories of 5G (such as the very, very cool Sprint 5G Maps with Mapbox), that enthusiasm is not yet shared by industry executives.

A new study by Accenture of 2,000 technology and business executives in 10 countries show that few believe predictions on dramatically improved speeds of 5G networks, and half don’t expect the technology to do much that it can’t already do. But with early tests suggesting that 5G networks will be as much as 100 times faster than existing mobile technology, ICT4D leaders should be doing more to prepare their industry and organization for the full potential.

Nowhere is this more badly needed than in elearning. Most of our current ICT4D solutions for sharing knowledge and building capacity rely on expensive annual-convening events (*cough* MWC Barcelona) or overly simplistic push-content built on outdated, passive elearning approaches (watch a video, take a quiz, repeat). Where there is competition in elearning, it’s around which solution contains the most pre-loaded, low-quality videos to be distributed on tablets or smartphones in low-bandwidth environments. The digital divide in convening and capacity building is clear — fancy conferences for headquarters, and low-quality videos for field staff.



And look, I get it. But if we’re going to think through a mobile-first approach to elearning, then what happens when mobile distribution is no longer the inferior, one-way video learning we keep being sold on? paperhelp org coupon What happens when 5G networks leapfrog broadband and suddenly these devices are valuable not just for consuming elearning, but for co-creating learning experiences?

Most likely, you’ll have a revolution in elearning, as all models that rely entirely on consuming content (looking at you, LinkedIn Learning, Coursera, MasterClass, edX….Ok, almost everyone really) are annihilated by the sudden emergence of a universe of facilitators and educators in countries where we currently “push” elearning experiences.

Think AirBnB for hotels, or Uber for taxis, or the countless other examples of expanding a consumption approach to a sharing economy.

And it can’t happen soon enough.

Quick question! Which of the following pictures was a real participant in the TC301: Artificial Intelligence for International Development course….and which ones were generated by face-generating AI on

Did you guess correctly? Well if you guessed the top right, that’s Priyanka Pathak the Facilitator for the upcoming course on April 1. If you didn’t, then you’ve been fooled by AI, with natural-looking results that managed to stay safely out of the uncanny valley. Not an easy thing to do for faces, which humans are pretty good at recognizing slight differences (there’s a reason they are often on money, after all).

How does it work? According to the BBC, the website generates a new lifelike image each time the page is refreshed, using technology developed by Nvidia, which developed a pair of adversarial AI programs to create and then critique the images, in 2017, which has now been made open source.

According to Fast Company:

“Nvidia’s StyleGAN was designed around something called “style transfer.” It doesn’t copy and paste elements of different photos to create a new one. That’s too imperfect and would never look good, according to the scientists who worked on the project. Instead, StyleGAN analyzes three basic things in every photo–which they call styles– and then merges them into something completely new.

The styles are called “coarse,” “middle,” and “fine.” Coarse deals with parameters like the cat’s face, its pose, and the type of hair. The middle is the facial features themselves, like the eyes, mouth, and nose shape. And finally, the fine styles are things like the color of the hair. The scientists describe in their paper how StyleGAN uses this combination of technologies to effectively eliminate noise that is irrelevant for the new synthetic face–for instance, distinguishing a bow on a cat’s head and discarding it as superfluous.”

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But there’s more to AI and Machine Learning (ML) than generating faces. For example, USAID is exploring making AI work for international development with the hopes that navigating emerging ML/AI landscape in developing countries will contribute to fair, equitable, and empowering future.

If you’d like to learn more about how AI like this can be used for more than comparing faces, we hope that you’ll join our community (of real learners) in our next course on TC301: AI for International Development, which starts on April 1, 2019.


Nearly two decades of data-driven schooling demonstrate that better learning outcomes won’t come from more learner data, but rather from better trainer strategies. And nowhere is this more vital than in teaching soft skills that are more valuable to construction company employers and in less danger of automation.

However, the primary means of online education still focus on cheap credentials and low costs to acquire technical skills, instead of providing high soft-skill value to the learner. But as more learners tire of the MOOC bait-and-switch, online educators run the risk of re-learning the same lessons online, as have been uncovered in person.

There’s no substitute for practice. But here are some research-based principles of instruction established through cognitive science, classroom practices of master teachers, and cognitive supports to help students learn complex tasks.

1. Begin sessions with a short review of previous learning, as well as context for the session for the students.

Our webinars are geared towards adult learners, who are globally distributed, but united in being extremely busy. Deloitte estimates that the average employee can only devote an average of 24 minutes per week to professional development, which means that every minute counts. Even in the most engaging of classes, participants are unlikely to recall all relevant concepts and vocabulary from working memory, making it difficult to learn new material required for subsequent learning. This also provides facilitators with the opportunity to directly connect the coming session with learning outcomes, which is critical for purpose-driven adult learning.

2. Present new material in small steps with opportunities for students to practice at each step. Make sure they all start at the same time.

Presenting too much material at once will confuse participants because their working memory will be unable to process it. Rather than an all-encompassing course module, seek to break up your content into a series of short presentations that provide opportunities for guided student practice. This will also provide you more opportunities to check understanding at each point and reteach selected modules where necessary, rather than getting to the end of the course and being surprised at poor results.

3. Ask a large number of questions and check responses of all participants. Involve the class if you can.

Always remember that you can involve all participants through having them respond to threaded forums, answering one another’s inquiries, and responding to polls during live events. Not only is active participation powerful for learning outcomes, but also it will provide you with an opportunity to assess what percentage of your students are confident and correct in their responses so that you can see where reteaching or further examples are needed. Some examples of prompts are:

4. Require and monitor independent practice, as well as cooperative learning where possible.

Participants do better when they help one another study, as cooperative learning provides an opportunity to explain the material to someone else, and then get feedback from their peers. Not only is independent / cooperative practice required to achieve learning outcomes, but also it provides good structure for when the class is over an learners will have to maintain and update their knowledge on their own.

5. Embrace mistakes and adjust when needed to prevent students learning errors. Our free chat will open for you the world of bright impressions. Connect and use a normal webcam to watch what happens in the rooms of the girls. You can also write girls private messages and conduct dialogue. On our website live porn cams watch explicit porn from Webcams online, without registration and absolutely for free. All videos can be downloaded to your phone in mp4 format. Naked Russian beauties solo and private recordings of married couples with laptops.

It’s important for learners to achieve a high success rate during instruction, where around 80% of learners are learning the material yet still being challenged. And part of that depends on adjusting if you are not achieving that target, as it’s harmful for learners to practice errors that they will eventually have to unlearn. Through an iterative approach, you’ll be able to prevent learners from falling behind (which then means they are likely to fall further as the class progresses), and achieve even better success for the other strategies presented.

There’s always more steps to take to improve an online learning approach, but starting earlier is an advantage. If you’d like to learn more about the TechChange model, take our online course, TC101: How to Teach Online.

Our next event is coming up! And we wanted to share notes on how we’re trying to standardize the ICT4Drinks format for 2019.

What is ICT4Drinks?

This is a monthly happy hour sponsored by TechChange and, often, another organization in the development, tech, or public health industry.

Why are we doing this?

To provide an informal environment for nerds, do-gooders, and nonprofit types to socialize, share projects, and stay up to date.

What’s the format for an event?

A typical ICT4Drinks starts at 5:30pm in DC. We’ll give you a free drink ticket when you show up and register with our team, and then around 6:30pm the sponsors will give a light announcement.

Wait, are there any long speeches?

No. We abide by a hard 5 minute cap for event partners. Generally this is so you know who they are (and can go say hi in person!) and what they’re working on that might be of interest.

Why do you need me to register my email?

We have a variety of event organizing formats, but email is still the primary means. It helps us keep in touch with you for future events and maintain a high-quality networking event.

Are you going to send me unsolicited, irrelevant emails?

No. Only ICT4Drinks event announcements and follow-up will be distributed. Sometimes we may add promotional material to event emails , but will not do any stand-alone email campaigns on anything other than events.

Does anyone else get my information?

When we do an event with our partners, we share a full list of attendees and their emails with them. They may send one, single email to those who attend, asking if they would like to join a separate mailing list. But they may NOT add you to another mailing list without your consent. We see this as a way of using the event as a catalyst for other organizations to build their own communities.

What’s with the pictures?

We like to take pictures at events that show the warm, welcoming environment that we’re trying to create. If you are ever in a picture and don’t want to be, let us know! We’ll make sure it’s removed right away.

What if I want to partner or host my own ICT4Drinks?

Please do! They typical event cost is $300 per partner and we are happy to share the mailing list for approved partner events. The main requirement is that you stick to the format described above in order to be considered an approved event. Email if you’re interested in hosting with us!

Breaking news! The most engaged online participant in TC116: Blockchain for International Development will receive 1000 Stellar Lumens (currently worth around $220 according to CoinMarketCap or possibly useless according to The Economist).

…but why?

With an online model of flipped classroom model for social learning, the value comes not only from the course content, but engagement with experts and other learners to co-create the course experience. When it works best, learners are creating positive experiences online, as well as offline such as when students in the former course had their own blockchain party in South Africa. But much as college athletes are not compensated for their contributions of value to the educational experience (Go Hoyas!), students are often left out of the consideration when it comes to assessing the online course experience.

And one of the first exercises in TC116 is an exercise to practice transferring Stellar Lumens to digital wallets to get the hang of what it means to exchange cryptocurrency and view on a shared ledger. One of the reasons we chose Stellar Lumens can be found from its roots in international development, as demonstrated by Joyce Kim during her PopTech presentation.

Of course, TC116 has typically been among the highest engagement courses, with the last session leader having 336 TechPoints on course close (with a mean around 94.3). And not all engagement is valuable, as moderators have to guard against high-activity but low value posts which are all too common in webinars and forums. In fact, paying students to learn is not a new idea and could even be counterproductive through creating extrinsic motivations — an outcome that’s entirely possible in this course environment. And given that we’re also partnering with Learning Machine Technologies to explore providing the course certificate on the blockchain, it’s probably not even the most interesting application of the blockchain in the course.

Our hope is that this will be a fun follow-on to our educational exercise, a chance to incentivize high-quality participation, and to return value to the students. But it could also be a disaster….which we’ll share in a follow-on blog post.

Does investment and entrepreneurship have a role to play in international development?

Lawmakers are currently exploring creating a new U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (IDFC) to invest in and draw private capital to international development projects in exchange for equity. But the idea of unlocking finance to promote growth in developing countries is not a new idea.

USAID Development Credit Authority (DCA) targets emerging markets where small businesses cannot access the loans they need to grow and offers risk-sharing agreements to mobilize local private capital to fill the financing gap. Through DCA, more than 500 guarantees between financial institutions and USAID have made up to $4.8 billion in private financing available for more than 245,000 entrepreneurs around the world.

When we started working with DCA in 2017, we wanted to communicate this global impact in simple terms to broader audiences. So we settled on three strategies based on the questions we wanted to answer.

First, we wanted to connect the community not just with DCA’s mission, but with individual entrepreneur stories and how they and their communities were affected by access to loans guaranteed by DCA. The resulting 2-minute animation on Mobilizing Local Wealth for Entrepreneurs Around the World tried to tell the story of individuals in different countries, contexts, and industries through kinetic text and light character animation. The negative-to-positive shift in music is accompanied by a color palette change to represent an unlocking of the full potential of development dollars for entrepreneurship. As with many of our animations, this tried to answer the “why” question for the relevance and importance.


Second, we wanted to create an informative annual poster for the 2016 DCA Impact Brief that would hang in every USAID mission to answer “what” had been accomplished in the previous year using attractive infographics, “where” the impact had taken place along with highlights, and a reminder of “who” was benefiting from the investments. While not everyone will click a link and watch a video, a poster hanging in a hallway is a printed physical prompt to engage with information. Click on the image above to check out the full poster online!


And lastly, we wanted to create a series of explainer videos using a combination of whiteboard-style animations, motion graphics, and 3-D effects. While the first animation sought to connect viewers to the entrepreneurs who were improving their communities, these videos attempted to explain concepts using representative animations and statistics. The animation was intended to connect viewers with information, rather than with other people.


These are just a few examples of of how we’ve tried to communicate impact. If you’ve seen great examples, share them with us at @techchange on Twitter!

Panels are a generally terrible formats for online webcasts, but solo presenters often lose the spontaneity of expert interaction. Can a new format help produce better conversations and better insights?

Today, TechChange Founder Nick Martin participated in the IFC Sustainability Exchange 2018, where he was interviewed by Kavya Kopparapu, and then turned to interview Reg Manhas of Kosmos Energy. This 15-minute rolling conversations continued between a dozen experts on topics ranging from energy, healthcare, politics, and more, with each expert linking the conversation to the next. The full archive is available online, but represented an interesting an interesting new application of online conversation format.

The Long Conversation” format was adapted in this instance from The Smithsonian, where 25 leaders from the arts and sciences in a relay of two-person dialogues. But the unscripted back-and-forth of experts-interviewing-experts has also been used by organizations such as The Long Now Foundation, in 2010 which combined the 6-hour 19-minute presentation with data visualization performance by Sosolimited and a live performance of composer Jem Finer’s Longplayer.

What was most interesting about this format is how well it fits in with online-first pedagogy, where the shift away from broadcast-based technodeterminism of Ted Talks is moving towards more participatory approaches. Thus far, the main method for altering presentation formats has been to engage audience participation in solo presenters (including ignite talks) and panels via polling or questions. These are steps forward, but still represent the “sage-on-a-stage” approach to learning.

What is interesting about the Long Conversation format is the approach that each presenter has something to share, but also something to learn from another presenter. Through curation of speaker selection, each speaker provides a link between ideas to flesh out their own understanding, which acts as an intermediary for the audience’s own learning. Through this manner, each binary “hop” happens through paired learning, which can then flesh out increasingly complex themes such as sustainability.

There’s no one way to create an online learning experience. But concepts such as the Long Conversation may make a more natural fit than panels and ignite talks for the evolution of online discussion formats.

According to new research, learners who passively observe experts feel confident that they’re prepared to try a task themselves. Unfortunately, they often show no measurable improvement when they attempt the task itself. And most of online learning content is currently built on exactly this observational method using instructional videos.

Whether it’s sitting through mandatory HR training DVDs or spending free time on watching MasterClass to learn basketball from Stephen Curry, the model is almost exactly the same as what you’d find in the world of Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCs). But while mandatory compliance and higher production values may improve on dismally low MOOC completion rates (one edX study found only 5.5% of learners who enroll in a course receive a certificate), the learner may not be better off for having completed the course.

Engaging content, whether its recorded experts or instructional animations, is still vital to the online learning process by capturing and retaining learner attention. But investments in production value are best understood as a starting point rather than as a the desired end result of building an effective course. A more useful method for evaluating online learning is through the lenses of the traditional four levels of interactivity and their intended purpose:

Level 1: Passive – The learner acts merely as a receiver of information. The learner may read text on the screen as well as view graphics, illustrations and charts. The learner may interact simply by using navigational buttons to move forward or back through the program.

Level 2: Limited Interaction – The learner makes simple responses to instructional cues. As in Level I, there may be multiple choice exercises, pop-ups, rollovers or simple animations. Level II adds a component of scenario-based multiple choice and column matching related to the text and graphic presentation.

Level 3: Complex Interaction – The learner makes multiple, varied responses to cues. In addition to the types of responses in Level II, complex interactions may require text entry boxes and manipulation of graphic objects to test the assessment of the information presented.

Level 4: Real-time Interaction / Simulation – Real-time interaction creates a training session that involves a life-like set of complex cues and responses in this last level. The learner is engaged in a simulation that exactly mirrors the work situation.

Most online learning solutions are best understood as Level 1: Essentially a slide-based presentation with the potential inclusion of multimedia. Level 2 enables students more control over their training and to do more than watch, read, and navigate through interactive exercises and scenario-based learning. But once learners start engaging with Level 3 and above, their course experience begins to shift from a passive presentation of static content to a participative experience with a dynamic course environment. Level 4 includes all elements of 1, 2, and 3 at higher levels of sophistication, as well as simulated or real-time simulation.

Not every course demands Level 4 interactivity. Cost and time implications should be measured against the nature of the content, intended target audience, and available Learning Management System (LMS). But as LMS solutions are gradually upgraded from their outdated SCORM standards, learners will soon come to expect their content to be effective as well as engaging.

Fortunately, research also indicates that instructors can still incorporate this passive content into higher levels of interactivity. One technique is to mix watching and practicing, as learners benefit from watching after they’ve already practiced a skill. Another is to combine reading and thinking exercises along with passive content, as those are less likely to cause learners to overestimate their abilities while still providing valuable information.

Much like the class textbook and engaging lecturers, engaging content is still the foundation of an online classroom. But educators don’t need to stop there.


Would you like to learn more? Consider signing up for our four-week course on Online Learning for International Development!