ICT & Knowledge Economy

ictIn building on its existing leadership in this StrategicTheme area, USP will benefit key stakeholders including government, policy makers, students, industry, public servants, academics and researchers. The development of this skilled human capacity will enable the region to make full use of, and benefit from, the emerging Knowledge Economy. The University will play a key role in this area as well as develop a Knowledge Hub and ICT-based pedagogies, making its knowledge creation both a regional resource and a means to developing and enhancing regional capacity to take advantage of the rapidly emerging ICT-based industries and environments.

English for Deaf Sign Language Users, Still a Challenge in Pacific region? Study and Solution on ICT tool

Team Members:  Utkal Mehta (Project Leader)

     Inise Tawaketini, Sign language Interpreter, DMC office

     Nikhil Avneet Singh, GA, Engineering and Physics, FSTE

     Merelesita Qeleni, Manager, Disability Resource Centre

Funding: FJD$ 33,145

Duration: 18 months from June 2017

Overview of Project

Sign language is a language that uses manual communication to convey meaning, as opposed to acoustically conveyed sound patterns. It is a natural language widely used by deaf people to communicate with each other1. However, there are communication barriers between hearing people and deaf individuals either because users of sign language may not be able to speak and hear or because hearing individuals may not be able to communicate using sign language. As a result, this communication gap can cause a negative impact on the livelihood and relationships of deaf people. Two traditional ways of communication between deaf persons and hearing individuals who do not know sign language exist: through sign language interpreters or text writing. The services of interpreters are very expensive for daily conversations and their involvement can result in a loss of privacy and independence of deaf persons. Text writing is also not an efficient way to communicate because writing is too slow compared to either spoken/sign language and the facial expressions used during sign language or speaking will be lost.

The aim of this research project is to develop new concepts (hardware and software tools) that will enhance the communication between deaf and hearing people. Before establishing any prototype, a systematic study and data analysis on sign language usage challenges amongst deaf people in selected PICs will be conducted. This information will assist the research team in better understanding the following information in selected PICs: (a) difficulties in learning as well as teaching Sign language script for deaf; (b) literacy challenges and levels amongst deaf; (c) levels of local school support for deaf r children; (d) level of teacher skills/competencies and IT knowledge; and (d) experiences of children who are self-taught ESL learners.

Enhancing Research Capacity at USP through advanced UAV acquisition and training

Team Members: Associate Professor Nick Rollings (Project Leader)

    Dr Stuart Kinninmonth – SMS

    Professor Maurizio Cirrincione – SE&P    

Funding: FJD$24,150

Duration: 12 months

Overview of Project

UAV or unmanned aerial vehicles provide a rapid and cost effective way of collecting remote sensing data for research at local scales.  USP has an embryonic UAV research programme and some capacity in multispectral image acquisition and terrain modelling via photogrammetry.  This project seeks to expand our area of expertise to include thermal imaging and underwater imaging.  Experts from World Banks and WeRobotics will provide the hardware, sensors and training for USP researchers to branch out into the use of these sensors for research into mangrove productivity and health and coastal flood modelling.

This project is the first stage and is designed to increase our research capacity using UAVs via acquisition of hardware and imaging sensors and training in their use by international experts. In particular the project will:

  • Identify appropriate UAV technology in the areas of:

-Thermal imaging

-Underwater imaging

  • Undertake training and capacity building in the use of these technologies
  • Deploy the technology as part of

-Fiji Mangrove Project – health and productivity

-Fiji Seagrass Monitoring Project – Distribution and health

  • Publish the results in international journals

Tradition and ICT – a powerful partnership for empowering youth and community awareness of longer term environmental change

SRT Sub-theme: Tradition and ICT

Project Leader: Dr Nicholas Rollings

Team Members: Dr Joeli Veitayaki. (USP),Professor Juergen Boehmer (USP), Dr Jito Vanualailai (USP), Dr John Lowry (USP), Dr Stephen Galvin (USP), Dr Leo Dutra (USP), Dr Assaf Mansour (USP), Dr Keith Morrison (USP)

Funding: FJD $ 191,278.52 (inclusive of the amount funded by PTC)

Duration: 12 months (first phase)

Overview of Project

While debates continue on the contributors and attempted abatement of climate change, people in the Pacific face a more direct reality, the certainty of a changing environment. An awareness of this change, an ability to monitor it and predict its trajectory will be essential if communities are to adapt and thrive in the face of uncertainty. ICT can be a core tool for the empowerment of youth through self-management and monitoring of the local environment. Today’s youth are the leaders of tomorrow. What is missing is the enabling environment for communities to monitor their local environment in a regional context of climate change. Traditional methods allow communities to make assessment of changes in their local environment. Gradual change in the environment can be difficult to quantify however when communities experience their local environment on a daily basis. Using a combination of scientific method, traditional knowledge and ICT, communities can collect and record the data they need to make informed decisions on changes in their local environment over time and assess the likely future impacts these will have. The community is then in a position to implement appropriate strategies for adaption.

Integrating science, technology and local indigenous knowledge is emerging as a new paradigm for natural resource management. This project seeks to tie rigorous scientific field investigation of pacific island environments with appropriate monitoring and information technology in the context of local community resource management initiatives.

Scalable Computational Framework for Interdisciplinary Data-driven Research

SRT Sub-theme: Scalable Computational Framework

Team Leader: Prof. Ansgar Fehnker

Team Members: Prof. Ansgar Fehnker, Nicholas Rollings, Sunil Lal, Vladimir Zadorozhny, Ano Tisam

Funding: $260k

Duration: 3 years (1/3/15 – 28/2/18)

Overview of Project

In the Pacific Region Information and Communication Technology (ICT) will be the deciding factor in realizing a Knowledge Economy for an area that is sparsely populated and faces challenges by geography and size. One of the major challenges is enabling efficient research collaboration. ICT will provide the necessary infrastructure to enable research and learning in the small island countries of the Pacific and to facilitate their productive collaboration.

We propose a novel university-wide integrated computing infrastructure to encourage and support systematic collaborative and interdisciplinary research. This infrastructure will efficiently combine computational resources, data repositories, and information processing methods from a variety of disciplines. For example, consider the task of exploring long-term and short-term social changes, which requires consolidation and analysis of comprehensive sets of data on social-scientific, health, and environmental dynamics.

Smaller groups focused on specific disciplines commonly conduct their research without full awareness of available computational resources, related datasets, and most advanced information technologies. The experience of other groups, if properly utilized, would considerably facilitate those efforts, as well as enable new opportunities for interdisciplinary research.

The infrastructure will help to shift emphasis from curiosity-driven, silo-based projects to solution-driven integrated science. It will facilitate integration of the natural and social sciences. It will also efficiently support partnerships with researchers at other institutions. The proposed infrastructure is meant to support and encourage collaboration. This project will be open to the entire USP community. In fact this is an open project and anyone interested is welcome to join. We will be actively soliciting cooperation.

Completed Projects

Creating a mobile application (app)-Kakana for a healthier Fiji-a collaborative effort of The University of the South Pacific and the National Food and Nutrition Centre, Ministry of Health and Medical Services, Fiji

Project Leader: Dr Irene Mary Chief

Team Members: Rajneel Totaram, CFL,
Mojito Jione, CFL,
Fulori Sarai, Pacific CFL

National Food & Nutrition Centre, Fiji; Ministry of Health and Medical

Services: Ateca Kama

Funding: $49,905

Duration: 6 months

Overview of Project

The focus of creating an app for mobile learning is to strengthen the knowledge of CFL’s staff in mobile learning. This app will be an opportunity to apply learning design, and web design to the Ministry of Health and Medical Services’ Strategic Priority 1: Non-communicable diseases, including nutrition, mental health and injuries.

NCD is a common issue in Fiji and many Pacific Islands. There are many apps available to monitor diet/calorie intake. However, there is no app for Pacific foods, particularly traditional foods. This project uses the ubiquitous nature of mobile phones to promote healthy diets for Fijians. An interactive mobile app is proposed to be developed to “educate” about healthy diet and potentially record/monitor the calorie intake.

This app creation will develop a process, for creating templates, where there is testing to ensure reliability and validity. The process can be revised and deployed to an applicable area of national importance. The process will be documented as research and engagement with the community. Research with the Ministry of Health & Medical Services can enrich Fiji and the USP region. The development of this app is important because the process of apps development can be re-purposed and customized for campuses in the USP region.

Creating Electronic Portfolio (e-Portfolio) at Pacific TAFE to assess students’ competencies for industry at the University of the South Pacific

Project Leader: Dr Irene Mary Yee Chief

Team Members: Rajneel Totaram, CFL
Mojito Jione, CFL
Hashmukh Lal, Pacific TAFE
Parijita Singh, Pacific TAFE,

Funding: $49,280

Duration: 6 months

Overview of Project

The focus of e-Portfolios is to create content, organise, share and publish. Sharing of artefacts within the USP region will provide learners opportunities to integrate contextual knowledge to create evidence of their learning at USP. Creating and establishing a framework for Pacific TVET will enable other TAFE programmes to use ePortfolio in the USP region. This consists of Train for Trainer (TOT) guides, electronic toolkit for adult learners to acquire digital literacy skills, and re-useable templates for ePortfolio. This will be created by CFL researchers as artefacts. The artefacts can be re-purposed to ensure closer alignment to the objectives of the local campuses. The use of USBs will include guides to address intermittent internet in the USP region. The e-Portfolio framework can be replicated at various campuses and be delivered via a blended mode.

Phase 1: Sustainably Transforming Learning and Teaching through ICT’s

Cluster Sub-theme: Learning and Teaching through ICT’s

Project Team Leader: Dr Akanisi Kedrayate

Team Members: Ian Thomson, Dilawara Grewal, Shikha Raturi

Funding:
 $51,052

Duration of Project:

Overview of Project:

ICT

ICT

SOE-FALE is proposing a workshop slot I the area of use of ICTs I Primary Schools of Fiji during the 12th Pacific Inter Congress on the 8-12th July 2013 as a stream under the ICT for Sustainable Development Theme.

The proposal is based around Fiji’s Ministry of Education plans to transform Primary Education through the use of the OLPC laptops and the three trial schools in Suva.

Fiji is relatively pristine in terms of ICT and the very early stages of modernizing the education system to 21st Century skills in schools. This workshop will offer insights into developing countries attempts to transform education systems through the use of technology and share best practices from the classrooms with the international counterparts.

The main objective is to transfer good practice information on using ICTs to transform teaching and learning to the Fijian participants.

The expected learning outcomes are:

  • Teachers will improve their teaching and learning practices
  • Education officials will learn to implement ICT projects in schools in ways that improve learning outcomes.

Outputs

Workshops

Project title – Sustainable Transforming Learning & Teaching through ICTs Project

  • 1 Workshop on The Use of ICTs in Primary Schools of Fiji