Stepping outside your comfort zone is a great way to learn lots of things. Not just about yourself, but about the world around you and the things you may take for granted. Take technology for instance. Most of us have a smartphone in arm’s reach 24/7. If you’ve ever traveled to a developing country, you know that’s not the case.
Everything from cell coverage infrastructure, to electricity availability, to langue can be a barrier to modern technology for developing countries and communities.
It goes farther than just cell phones. The opportunity for people to learn about technology is also different in developing nations. A few years traveling the globe examining technology education materials shows just how diverse technology resources can be and how sometimes access is nearly impossible.
Nerds Abroad partner Rex Global Media crisscrossed developing countries visiting bookstores and universities to learn about continuing education technology resources. Using a global system of market monitoring while working for a major technology firm, Rex Global was able to see firsthand resources available (or not available) to local communities.
In Brazil technology textbooks are widely available in the local language of Portuguese. General topics like operating systems, networking, at IT administration are widely available at major big city bookstores in Portuguese. More advanced topics, however, are harder to find and are sometimes outdated. Even bookstores that specialize in technology had less than ideal offerings. Advanced hardware texbooks, including embedded system design, can be outdated, but at least are available in translated editions.
Translated editions of English textbooks are often outdated in Brazil, leading one computer science professor to say, “We don’t like waiting so long for books to come and already be an edition late. So we mainly use online resources.” But online resources are not always available to everyone. It’s important to consider a community’s online readiness when assessing its technology education potential.
Textbooks are expensive and only work if you know how to read. University students have a solid educational background and can keep working to learn more. Other students may need to practice their reading skills before they can learn more about technology. Everywhere is different. Some communities need specific guidance to go from good to great. Others need basic support to go from zero to decent. Rex Global helps Nerds Abroad asses needs in identified communities and strives to identify the best ways to improve each community’s unique educational landscape- which may be outside your comfort zone.