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Final Report

Sao Tome and Principe Project Assessment


LIS451 – Introduction to Network Information Systems

Chi-Chi Erondu

Julia Pyatetsky

Kara Ryks

Desiree Triste-Aragon

Executive Summary

Organizational Opportunity, Need, or Problem

What organizational opportunity, need, or problem is being addressed through this project?  How will technology support and enhance existing programs, or enable new programs within the organization?  What specific populations do these programs serve?  How will technology help the programs better serve these populations?

This project is addressing the need for a Science and Technology school on the island for students that live far away from traditional schools. This school will have new technology, which will educate the students on the uses and study of indigenous resources on the island. This school will serve the socio-economically challenged, and these students will be the leaders of the future.


Project Summary

Briefly, what is to be accomplished by the end of the semester?  What are the main outputs to be created by the students?  What needs to be accomplished by the organization prior to final delivery of the products?

By the end of the semester, we want to create different use scenarios for the computer lab that will be constructed inside the school.


We also want to assess the technology inside the school that the students and faculty will be using inside and outside classroom. We will evaluate the technology that is available in Sao Tome and find best practices in the U.S. or other countries that have successfully used this model.


Project Plan: Resource Analysis

What resources are already available from the organization to be applied to this project?  What resources will be purchased and by whom?  What resources are available from the LIS451 donations?

The Sao Tome Project has allocated a budget of $300,000 for technology. Since the school is still in its planning stages, we have estimated hardware needs.  A hardware list and price sheet is attached at the end of the document. We have also tried to utilize available open-source software applications.

We recommend using Linux or Windows as the Operating System for the laptops/desktops.


As Windows will cost money to license, Linux might be the better option because it is open source and you can find specific versions of Linux that look almost exactly like the Windows user interface. This will allow the students to be able to also have more flexibility in their technical education because they can work on Linux with the command line interface or the GUI interface. In terms of specific versions of Linux, Lubuntu or Ubuntu are the most recommended because of their user-friendly interfaces.


Windows comes with all the basic elements and start-up applications on its operating system, but Linux operating systems do not. Certain applications will need to be downloaded in order to be able to, for example, look and listen to videos on YouTube.

Recommended start-up applications for Linux:


Audio Applications:

We recommend Audacity, which is an open source application.

Other open source options are:

Ardour (,

Grip (,

Hydrogen (

Graphic Design Applications (2D)

We recommend Scribus ( but other open source options would be

Pixelize (,

MyPaint ( is great for tablets

GIMPshop (,

Inkscape (

Graphic Design Applications (3D)

We recommend Art Of Illusion (, but other options would be

Blender (,

G3DViewer (,

PovRay (

Video Applications

We recommend AvideMUX (, which is a free video editor. Other options would be

Cinelerra (,

CinePaint (,

Slideshow Creator (

System Applications

APTonCD ( is a tool that allows you to create CDs or DVDs

Picasa ( is a free application for photo editing.

VideoLAN ( is a VLC media player.

ClamAV ( is an anti-virus toolkit that is designed especially for e-mail scanning on mail gateways.

FileZilla ( allows for fast file transfers.

K3b ( is a CD burning application.

OpenOffice ( has key desktop applications like word processing; it’s features and userface are similar to other office suites.

openSSH ( encrypts all traffic for security purposes (including passwords).

PDFedit ( for manipulating PDF documents.

Pidgin ( is a multi-protocol Instant Messaging client.

Wine ( is a compatibility tool for running Windows-based programs.

Bugzilla ( is a Web-based general-purpose bugtracker tool.

Firefox (

SeaMonkey ( has an HTML editor that allows you to create a web page.

Google Earth (

Educational Applications for Linux

Kalzium ( is an open-source chemistry tool.

Stellarium ( is a free open source planetarium for the computer.

TreeView X ( allows for you to easily view and explore phylogenetic trees, which is a diagram that shows the evolutionary relationship between different species based on their characteristics.

Quantum GIS ( allows one to create, visualise, query and analyse geospatial data.

GRASS ( stands for Geographic Resources Analysis Support System, which is an earth science application.

GnuPlot ( is an interactive 2D/3D plotting tool

Smartphones should be Android phones because they utilize a Linux OS, which would allow for more cohesion between the software on the phone and the software on the laptop/desktop. 
Tablets will also be Android-powered to allow for cohesion. 
Below is a list of educational applications from the Android app store:

Google Translate (translates languages)


Google Star Maps

PCM Recorder or Voice Recorder

MyAndroid Protection for Android 1.5-1.6 (enables antivirus and malware protection)

MyAndroid Protection for Android 2.0 or later (same as above but different version)

World Atlas

Google Reader

My Docs Google Docs

Science Pal ($1)

Science Facts

Chemistry Helper

Nature Facts


IT & Computer Dictionary 2.1 ($2.17)

The Physics Professor ($0.99)

Biology I: Plant Biology ($0.99)

Google Voice


Project Plan: Use Scenarios

Scenario 1: Teacher as Leader

After breakfast the kids meet in the classrooms for daily assignments and to pick up equipment. They then head into the field/local areas for research equipped with a Tech Bag, which has cameras, video recorders, and other things for taking samples of flora/fauna/soil.


Before lunch, the students head inside to download any digital data to their personal laptops, which were left inside.


The students break for lunch.


After lunch, the students go to their regular classes, taking notes or interacting with each other via their personal laptops. These classes are in a traditional classroom set up, with one teacher leading the discussion over a variety of subjects as needed. After about three hours of the traditional classroom teaching, students return to the computer lab with their laptops.
Once in the lab, students spend two hours researching and doing homework from the days lesson. This could include looking up information about the samples or photos they had taken in the morning.


After the evening meal, students have some down time. This could involve visiting the lab and using the resources there (printers, internet) for personal use or for additional studying.


Scenario 2: Teacher as Facilitator; “Students as Active Learners”

Students arrive in the morning and sit in a classroom that is outfitted with movable desks/computers that enables them to meet in small groups. There are also several individual desks where students can work on individual work on desktop computers.


In this scenario, the students are encouraged to participate invgroup activities and learn from each other’s experiences, while using the teacher as a facilitator of their education.


After meeting and discussing their current projects, the students go outside for biological/scientific exploration activities. They are using tablet computers to photograph and catalog various flora and fauna that they are learning about in the classroom.


After a few hours outside the classroom, they return to the classroom to discuss their findings in small groups.


They upload their findings from the tablet computers to their desktop computers. They format their research in order to do a short presentation to the class about what they have found.  Their presentation will be done on a Power Point type format with photos, online links to other research and their own written work.

The students are active participants in shaping their education and providing feedback to other students’ work. The teacher is available to guide instruction, provide a backbone for lesson plans and answer educational and technological questions.


Scenario 3: Mixed Classroom – Teacher as Facilitator and Educator

Students arrive in the morning after breakfast and once they are all together, they all head outside to do research on agriculture. The students use their smartphones that they’ve rented for the year to take photos and look up information on plants/fauna/flora/soil as they investigate and work on collaborative and individual research projects.


The students break for lunch and then head into the classroom to utilize the Elmo projector. With the items that they’ve collected outside, they can use the projector to collaborate on the same found items altogether. The teacher utilizes the projector while the students sit in small groups with movable desks that hold desktops on them. After a few hours of discussion, students break up to do individual research, with the teacher available for help.


The students break for their evening meal, and then break for the evening. Students do a variety of things such as use the internet on their smartphones, or go to the computer lab to continue working on the desktops/laptops and utilize the printer and/or projector for group collaboration.



Project Plan: Priorities

Based on the site description and interviews with leadership, what are the highest priorities for this project? What components of their technology plan must be successful? What cannot fail?  What must not change even as the project is implemented? Where are they able to experiment or absorb risk? Any focus groups or testing results can be described here, as well.

The priorities of the project are as follows:

Infrastructure – Solar panels, satellite internet, building access. Having internet access and energy capabilities is the most important aspect of design a workable computer classroom.

Physical Building – Heating/cooling, size of classrooms. Designing desks/ classroom setup that would allow for flexibility and changes in the future.

Computer Hardware – Deciding what technology to purchase that would best fit the pedagogical design of the classroom.

Computer Software – Deciding what software to purchase/install that would best fit the pedagogical design of the classroom.

Training – To provide teachers and staff with detailed training to provide with the necessary tools to train students and to maintain the computer hardware/software.

Items to be covered during a 2-week training:



Operating Systems







Educational Priorities

ISTE Standards for 21st Century Digital Technology:

Education Must Change

As technology dramatically changes our society, educators need to demonstrate the skills and behaviors of digital-age professionals. Competence with technology is the foundation.

Societies are changing

Expectations are changing

Teaching is changing

Educators must lead

Transforming Learning Environments with Technology

Today’s educators must provide a learning environment that takes students beyond the walls of their classrooms and into a world of endless opportunities. Technology standards promote this classroom transformation by ensuring that digital-age students are empowered to learn, live, and work successfully today and tomorrow.




Project Plan: Technology Infrastructure

Based on an analysis of the organization’s leadership, physical space and primary needs, what specific technology infrastructure makes sense? What do they need, and why do they need it? How long can this equipment reasonably be expected to fulfill their needs?

Connecting to the internet will be a top priority for the campus in order for students to perform research and cooperate with international students in joint projects. International personnel, guest teachers as well as researchers or other guests of the school, also expect access to the internet.

Initially, we suggest working with satellite internet. This will allow for a consistent connection, which, despite issues such as lag time, will be more dependable than the current internet connections available on the island. There are several companies in the reference section that may be used, and it is suggested to contact one of companies would be willing to sponsor or partner with the school for future locations for a discounted rate. However, the use of satellite connection is meant to be a temporary means of connection.

One goal is to set up wireless zones, to be expanded to cover the entire campus. Priorities are the computer lab, administration buildings, personnel/visitor quarters, the rest of the school buildings, and locations in on-campus agriculture fields.

Ultimately we advise the school to connect to the West African Cable System (WACS), the underwater cable that is slated to 5.12 TB p/s, and should be connected within the next two years.   This cable will ultimately be more affordable than satellite connections, and according to the data available from other undersea cable connection consortia, is highly reliable.

Since the total design of the building, and thus total energy usage, has yet to be finalized, there is no one best solution or model for solar panels. However, there are sources listed at the ‘References” section of the document .

Solar power is currently being used by the Ukengee Foundation in Tanzania to power their computer labs and schools. The Ukengee Foundation may be able to work with administrators about the specific issues they have seen with solar powered computer labs.

Since there will be a significant expense for the energy for the main computer lab building, we suggest supplementing grid power with solar power. This will also combat the issue of power blackouts.




Project Plan: Sustainability

How will this space evolve over time? How can sustainability and flexibility be engineered into the plan? How can we make this lab easy to change or upgrade after a period of several years? What role will documentation play?  What training can be provided to technology leadership within the organization to enable them to better support the space and the technology?

Since the physical space has yet to be designed, we are hoping that sustainability and flexibility will be engineered into the design of the school. In our user scenarios, we have provided several options for fluidity of movement such as: moveable desks, laptops, tablet computers and smartphones. With moveable desks, the students and teacher will be able to rearrange the classroom to best suit the needs of the lesson being taught. With a technology budget of $300,000, the students and staff will be provided with the most up-to-date computer hardware and software that will stay current for years to come.

The students will be spending a significant amount of time on the field in order to have a hands-on educational experience and will be using mobile devices outside the classroom. They will be able to take rugged laptops, tablets, smartphones and cameras into the field to catalog and research the area’s flora and fauna.

The teachers of the school will be provided with a 1-2 week technology training “boot camp” where they will develop the skills needs to operate and troubleshoot the hardware and software that will be used in the classroom. They will also have the support of an on-site IT employee to help with any technologies problems or questions that may arise.


Project Outcomes

Other Resources Provided

Educational aides, pathfinders, documentation provided to site.

In the ‘Project Plan: Resource Analysis’ section, we have provided several educational aides that students will be able to use inside and outside of the classroom. Coupled with the latest hardware technology, students will utilize both open source and for-profit educational software.

We have provided software applications for a variety of resources including:

Audio Applications

Graphic Design Applications (2D and 3D)

Video Applications

System Applications

Educational Applications for Linux

Smartphone Educational Applications


Interview with Jeanie Austin-Sao Tome

Chi-Chi: What were the specific goals of the trip?

Jeanie: Citizen journalismàphotovoice (not sure on the spelling)

  • Photography used around a central issueà the culture of Sao Tome
  • Photo documentation posted in a public space
  • They brought cameras with them to do photovoice
  • When arrived photovoice wasn’t as feasible as they intended it to be
    • Wasn’t a lot of discussion as to whom the project was to be directed
    • Difficult to figure out was once the island
      • Would they (the photos) go to the library? Do people go to the library? Do they go to the government?

Chi-Chi: Can photovoice be continued?

Jeanie: Yes, it could be continued, but the technology needs to be considered

  • Not same level of familiarity in ST about the technology (cameras), so classes need to be setup à a way of finding people to be in the project that represented what the intents of the project were.
    • Needed people with an interested in the technology and the use of photovoice
  • Doing on the ground work w/o knowing how it was like there
  • Needs more structure à where do people meet? à What is the meaning of the place?
  • Some of the technology worked once landed and some didn’t
    • Once technology gets to ST it doesn’t go anywhere
      • # of machines that aren’t functional or if they do function….

Chi-Chi: Are you saying the computers were junk?

Jeanie: No, technology is always changing; there is a certain level of functioning that is

disrespectful if it isn’t up-to-date

  • When technology gets to ST it doesn’t leave the island
    • It either sits in a house to be taken apart for the parts
    • There isn’t a nationalized trash service, so a lot of trash gets burnt on the mountain there
    • There are a lot of chemicals that are being released into the environment b/c of lack of disposal
  • What they brought to the island?
    • The intent wasn’t to build a lab
    • Previous trips setup a lab, but this trip mostly talked about photovoice.
    • They led a networking class while there; did computer maintenance also.

Chi-Chi: When giving the networking class, how did you feel the educational status of the

people there, was?  Do you think they were able to comprehend what you all were


Jeanie: Yes, the class was successful à majority of students came daily à did the class for 2

weeks, Monday – Friday

  • People that were attending the class seemed to pick up on stuff really quickly.
  • Martin did a really fast into to server setup that was a bit confusing for the students; it was more for the more advanced students in the class.
  • A problem with the class was that something that can create economic opportunity, you know something the students can be applying in the workforce, or on their résumés; the opportunities surrounding the class are very limited on the island à there isn’t a need for people with those skills

Chi-Chi: If you had those classes, for instance, take the new school that they are building.  If

you keep offering them do you think that whoever takes that class (or maybe one       person), do you think they could be the network admin for the whole school?

Jeanie: Clarification: somebody taking the class at the school that Paul is involved in and

moving up within the school and become the teacher?

  • There are a # of people with really highly specialized degrees that are living in ST and the opportunities aren’t there to apply their knowledge
    • Met people that knew the endemic species, and the way that water was being used on the island
    • A lot of people native to ST and had gone to Europe to get their degree and come back

Chi-Chi: Do you think these highly specialized people could have a job in the school was it is done?

Jeanie: Yes, the school can be an opportunity for teaching and to share those skills (esp. the

endemic species)

  • ST has a lot of rare plant and animal species


Big issue/topic w/Jeanie àSao Tome was founded as a slave state of the Portuguese

  • The culture is heavily founded by that memory
  • The Portuguese have only been gone, officially since 1970’s
    • Difficult issue
    • Now a global economy à is putting a school like this attributing to globalism; contributing these western views on what should be happening in ST or is it equipping the residents of ST to have a more competitive edge in the globally economy? Don’t know how to answer that question

Chi-Chi: What is the economy like? Is it a poor island?


  • I can only speak to Sao Tome didn’t go to Principe
  • Sao Tome City and a lot of little villages scattered around the coastline
  • I guess there are different ways of talking about poor

Chi-Chi: I guess what I am saying is, do you think that the school will be something other people from Africa will want to come to, to bring money to the island and the Sao Tome economy?


  • A lot of buildings were left there from the Portuguese
  • I think poverty is a really big issue
  • If you are talking about economically impoverished, then yes
  • There still is a tourism industry, mostly people from Portugal coming to the island
    • The hotels for them were offset from the main people
    • Brought in some money for the island
  • The government is not very clear; it’s very shady in how power is established and who is in charge of what ß not clear on how accurate this statement is, this is just what she heard while there.
    • Because of this she doesn’t know how much from the tourism and hotels is going back into the ST economy

Chi-Chi: All in all, for the 451 side, do you think the trip was successful?

  • I think aspects of the trip were successful
    • The network class, removed from any social place, just a place for ppl to learn, that was successful.
    • The GIS was successful on making the maps of Sao Tome
    • Also worry about the implementation of projects àif someone is going to talk about it, they need to do it.
    • Helpful to know someone on the island, helps with implementation and seeing projects through.
    • A lot of technology talk, if that talk is going to happen, for there to be a follow through or else the relationship with the U of I and the Sao Tomese is going to crumble.
      • A concern: she wants the GIS project she worked on to continue
      • For the 451 stuff, either to continue to move forward if the school is going to happen
        • Funding from the Taiwanese gov’t
          • Who will benefit from what it’s made the school?
  • I think there were a lot of considerations to take in account when going into this project.

Jeanie: Some of the cultural and personal dynamics and confrontations that we were handling on

the island, really deeply affected the efficacy of our project ß in response to Damon’s


  • Damon faced a lot of personal and races problems
    • They thought he was Sao Tomese, so he was frustrated a lot
  • Any project can’t be done without admitting that the institution that is involved doesn’t have a certain level of power
    • Going into ST as Americans, there is a certain level of power
      • There was a certain level of privilege accorded to them b/c they were American, whether they were seeking it or not.
        • They weren’t necessarily prepared for this

Chi-Chi: Did you notice anything about the electricity or water? Did they have those

infrastructures?  Did the electricity go out at certain times?  Was there indoor plumbing

or did they have to go to a well to pump it?

Jeanie: It depends where you lived

  • In Sao Tome City the electricity was fairly constant, but we still had blackouts.
  • Internet was through a modem connection, which was extremely expensive; it costs too much to stay connected while doing things (Ex: so open email, then shut it off, then turn back on to go to another message, and the process repeats).
  • They have blackouts at least once a week
    • Had a blackout for more than a day once, so no Internet or charging computers.
  • Did people have backup generators?
    • I didn’t see any and there wasn’t one in the house where we stayed
      • We were in a fairly wealthy part of town where a lot of ex-patriots lived (beach bums).
      • A higher income bracket for the island.  You would think that people had generators.
    • Heard about Fablab in the school having solar panels à a way to solve this issue.
      • Mainly in the summer
  • At one point the water stopped coming into the house; the water well lost pressure at that point in time àthey had indoor plumbing where they lived
    • The well was a concrete block with a lid over it
    • The water flows from the mountain through these aqueducts that were built by the Portuguese into village wells.
  • Did you go to other places on the island?
    • I went to mostly businesses and they had indoor plumbing
    • In the communities they have shared water sources and that was one of the issues that came up when I was doing the GIS stuff àdiseases

Chi-Chi: My main thing is if the school decides to have broadband Internet, would it be feasible

to have it, if the electricity goes out and they don’t have backup generators?


  • This is a potential problem
  • She doesn’t know how much has changed since she went
  • There was talk about laying a cable around the coast of Africa for Internet connectivity.
    • Doesn’t know what has happened with that project, if it has happened, or didn’t à maybe ask Martin about this???
  • Worked in the lab at Step-Up(the community partner that they worked with in ST)
    • Did not set up labs, but checked other labs around town
      • Thinks this was don’t for a study that Paul and Martin were doing on how the computers held up on the island.

Chi-Chi: Did you notice if the labs/computers were maintained?


  • There was a huge problem with viruses on the computers; came up repeatedly
    • They became overwhelmed with them and stopped working
  • Of course there are ways around that
    • The open source anti-virus software: Clamwin??
    • Did an update every so often, but that is connectivity time, so time that people are paying for to access the Internet to get the anti-virus software
  • Didn’t know if users had to pay for the Internet, but someone had to pay
  • Went to a school (or community bldg.) and there were a high level of computers not working
    • It was really humid, so this could’ve been the cause
  • Is there a way to address the hotness and humidity with more technology?
    • Maybe a dehumidifier or an A/C unit to have in the rooms with the computers.
      • But this is also an electricity cost
  • Communicating more about electricity availability is really important
    • Lack of electricity or even surplus of electricity
    • There is a different pace in ST (slower, more causal), different from
    • Because of resource availability
      • If the electricity were to go out, they would wait until they had it again, instead of trying to fix it.

Chi-Chi: Maybe see if there is funding for a U of I student to go and live in ST and continue to

see the project grow and monitor the school ßan idea


  • I think it’s possible
  • The project could benefit from an in between who is communicating with U of I and the island
  • If classes continue to do projects on the island, its beneficial

Chi-Chi: The mentality of the people, are they still suffering from the effects of the Portuguese?


  • Don’t know, don’t want to generalize
  • But in ST the Portuguese did setup a system of management, where the Sao Tomese were managing other Sao Tomese.
  • According to Enrique de Silva???
    • There still is a cultural memory
    • The natives(dark skinned) worship the white
  • The Portuguese that stayed on the island were very removed from the natives, but there was still this idea of accommodating the Portuguese
  • There are still Portuguese monuments and resistance (war) sculptures
  • After the Portuguese left, the natives formed a ppl’s state à there were ties to the Chinese gov’t and Paolo Freire.
    • Not sure what happened to the ppl’s state; it seems like it disintegrated
    • Chinese left when the people’s state fell apart, then the Taiwanese came in

Chi-Chi: Do people know English in Sao Tome?

Jeanie: There are English classes in the schools, but I don’t know how often schools are

regularly attended or if there is a mandate to go to school, or take the English classes.

  • I think the gov’t runs the schools
  • The community partners spoke English, a lot of people didn’t speak much English
  • I do think that if you plan to do research on the island, you need to know Portuguese.
    • Know the technical lingo in the language you are speaking for the specific industry, so you can communicate your thoughts better.

Jeanie: A lot of the students in the networking class spoke enough English so they could get the

grasp of it.  Also the class was very hands on, so that helps a lot with the understanding

of things.

Possible Ideas:

  • Solar lab
    • Some sort of current economic system
    • What if every building has a solar panel, what happens there?
      • It would be easy to reach a saturation point with solar panels in Sao Tome
      • They would have to be created as an export
  • Maybe find a way to use the islands natural resources
    • Use it to help implement technology or to maintain stuff
    • If it’s always sunny, then solar panels
    • If it’s windy, then windmills
    • If it rains, then a windmill (hydroelectricity)
    • The endemic species also
      • Talk about eco-tourism
  • Implementing the above technologies, people need to be cognizant of maintaining the island in some way.


  • She went in 2009 with Damon McGhee
  • Wasn’t heavily involved in the 451 project like Damon was
  • Took LIS 451 and was working with Prof. Gant (GIS-geographic information systems)
    • Went for the class and to do GIS researchà has two directions
    • Her and Damon worked 2gether on the 451 project
    • She could see benefits of the profits, but is very critical because of the history of the island.
    • The natural environment was really nice, with the oceans and mountains
    • Portuguese is the national language









Interview: Sarah Costa

Conducted by Chi-Chi Erondu

Summer of 2009 with the one laptop per child internship evaluation of the one laptop per child program

there for GIS class with Jeanie

reason the experience was so hard was personality differences

difficult because of living with professors and students

and the project being different than what you had planned

didn’t have high expectations, so the trip was positive for her

GIS project wasn’t sustainable

there for needs analysis

one laptop per child model

laptop project in developing worlds

for a sense of sharing and community

technology saturation will improve the kids and the community

laptops walking off

had to talk to kids about stealing

biggest problem is power

power strips break down

not enough outlets to keep computers charged

laptops with long battery life

windows computer that went along had so many viruses

some of the HS kids wont be that familiar with computers

they will be able to learn how to use MACs

keep the OS running at a longer time throughout the years

Paul and Martin are interested in community involvement

tuffbooks – rugged computers

no integrated language instruction

Portuguese merged into a pigeon language

what ever we install make sure in Portuguese

Portuguese colony until 1972

not a lot of cultural identity

just beginning to have pride in their identity

Lev lev = slow slow, take it easy

take education very seriously

James Nevisch: helps out with Step-Up, they run a technology school

every highly educated people work more than 1 job

more training will be needed if we use the local population in the school

will make the school more sustainable

would go back but there needs to be a bigger plan of sustainability

would be wonderful if there was a University liaison, a former student, on the island

Paul Adams will go back and forth from Sao Tome to Monticello, IL throughout the year

was head on Prairienet and the East St. Louis project

retired from the university





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