Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Video Reflection

Our group went through several ideas and finally decided to highlight the differences in access between a student and the general population. This allowed us to compare our personal access to the rest of the world, which helped me better appreciate how significant differences in access are. What we realized is that a short time without internet access for us seems catastrophic but is minor when compared with the many people who have no home access at all and may have trouble getting transportation to CTC’s. The largest divide students see on campus is the divide between students who have computers and high-speed internet access and students who do not have a computer at all but can rent one from the library or use a workstation anytime. Although this divide may seem significant to us, it is minor compared to the real digital divide. This project forced us to think about the divides we see personally and then look at the bigger picture. Otherwise it is hard to appreciate the significance of the digital divide when our exposure to it as students is so limited.


For those of you who need a refresher on the movie Legacy there is a great link that does a good job of displaying themes and summary of the documentary. The link is this:

Check it out before the final it may help


How did Elfreda Chatman’s theories about Information Poverty and Life in the Round match the experiences of the Collins family in the documentary Legacy?

1)The information poor perceive themselves to be devoid of any sources that might help them

This is obviously true with the legacy video, the mother of the family felt that the welfare ppl were uncooperative and refused to helpp her the way they promised that they would. A big difference was that the daughter, (nikki?) knew that there were ppl that are willing to help them (schoalrships) and went to her mentor to get it.

2)Information poverty is partially associated with class distinction
The Collins family obviously didnt have much information and thus can be seen whent hey went to other ppl for help on alot of basic things.

3) Information poverty is determined by self-protective behaviors, which are used in response to social norms
Because the mother didnt want to seem ignorant and worthless, she didnt really stick with those information sessions and job offers.

4) Both secrecy and deception are self-protecting mechanisms due to a sense of mistrust regarding the interest or ability of others to provide useful information
> well i cant really think of anyhting in legacy that relates to this point but its definitely a good point which we are aware of in real life - we often ask - why is this person being soo nice/.?

5) A decision to risk exposure about our true feelings is often not taken due to perception that negative consequences outweigh benefits
Again, this can be related to the mother not going through fully with school.

6) New knowledge will be selectively introduced into the information world of poor people. A condition that influences this process is the relevance of that information in response to everyday problems and concerns.
Sholarship information with Nikki.

Toward a New Agenda- group 4

"Toward A New Agenda" in Bridging the digital divide: Technology, community and public policy
1.) Providing a summary/ 6. Relating your article to the larger themes from the class
Toward a new agenda focused on two arguments. First in order to further the CT movement information concerning limitations of technology needs to be analyzed. Secondly, in order to achieve bridging broad social goals coordination is needed between CBOs, CTC, the government and new key actors. The article begins by explaining the current situation; currently, ITs offer "freedom, flexibility, and opportunity primarily to already powerful groups". Technology is currently not being used properly as a tool is it is not supported and thus aggravates inequalities and the digital divide. To achieve the goals outlined in the article the article suggests focusing on youth. This may not have immediate benefits but has positive long term effects. This plan will erode "existing inequalities in the span of one generation". A second suggestion is to integrate the government with key actors. To further governmental support thus creating incentives for collaboration between schools and CTCs. Libraries are the current leaders in in the communuity technology movement, due to available resources. Libraries have a existing infrastructure, staff, training in information science and advanced skills. The main emphasis of the article is to create partnerships between existing resources and further government support. This will be achievable through a "new generation of policy efforts characterized by greater integration"... "and a willingness to change".

2.) Defining key terms
"Digital Exile" : one of five categories individuals are grouped into concerning technology in the workplace. It is the extreme or the wrong side of the digital divide.
"Power Users": Also one of five categories individuals are grouped into concerning technology in the workplace (an It savvy category). this is the opposite of the digital exile, these individuals have all types of access and use technology for analysis
"Tech-fix": Describes the myth that technology is primarily a problem solver
"social leveler": the ability to erode the relative power of all kinds of hierarchies structured on the control of information.

3.) Analyzing potentially weak points in the author’s argument
The Article gave suggestions on how to advance the community technology movement but failed to mention why their ideas were thought to work. The article gave suggestion after suggestion, ranging from government intervention to partnerships but never gave a reason for why their suggestion was thought to be correct. Support of their ideas from previous analysis or experiments was never given.

4.) Comparing your article to our past readings
Past articles have discussed CTCs and their importance in bridging the digital divide. Toward a new agenda critiques the role CTCs are playing. This article suggests not enough collaboration with other organizations with the main goal of education, training, and bridging the digital divide.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

"Understanding Digital Inequality"-Key Terms

Digital Inequality- "inequality in the access and use of information and communication technologies" (pg 98).  

Socio-economic Inequality- "associated with differential behavioral patterns in such fields as sociology, marketing, health psychology, and child development.  Socio-economic status essentially brings out a synergy of social and economic forces that derive from assets internal to individuals and resources contained in their surrounding environments" (pg. 99).

User Acceptance- term used to "represent individuals' continuance usage intention of the sponsored technology" (pg 98).  User acceptance is important in that "government initiatives to implement ICT (information and communication technologies) will not alter the state of digital inequality unless there is continued usage."  In other words, closing the digital divide is not possible by simply providing access, users must be willing to continue to use the technology even after they are provided with material access.

Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB)- "suggests that attitudes, subjective norms, and perceived behavioral control will influence the individual's behavioral intention, which will in turn determine the individual's behavior.  Unlike other theories that have been applied to examine ICT acceptance, TPB captures information about social and behavioral control factors" (pg 99).

Personal Network Exposure- "represents the cumulative proportion of adopters in one's personal network" (pg 104).  This research tool is used to measure how behaviors of one's personal network influences ICT use.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Comparing "Understanding Digital Inequality"

This article overlaps quite a bit with van Dijk’s article, in which he discusses the four barriers to access. The “Understanding Digital Inequality” article states early on that “most governmental digital inequality initiatives have emphasized technology access,” and later states, “disadvantaged individuals still need to deal with psychological and material barriers.” Van Dijk would agree that more than just “material access” needs to be addressed and that “mental access” is an equally important barrier. According to the reading, lack of confidence “is one of the most important factors deterring the disadvantaged from accessing and using ICT.” The article also states that “technological complexity” or hard-to-use software is a significant barrier and that programs to increase ICT usage require “significant social support,” which van Dijk would call “skill access,” which is “caused by insufficient user-friendliness and inadequate education or social support.” Finally, the article claims that a higher education level enables the advantaged to “more readily access and comprehend information signals related to ICT innovations.” This is comparable to van Dijk’s instrumental (ability to operate the equipment), informational (ability to search or literacy), and strategic (using information for a purpose) digital skills. A more educated user is more likely to possess these skills or obtain them easily.

The articles we read early on stressed the importance of understanding a community to have the most relevant library services possible so that resources would not be wasted. This was particularly stressed in the “Branch Libraries” article, which explained the steps Chicago had taken to match services to the community. The “Understanding Digital Inequality” article emphasizes this too. “Unsuccessful projects results in a waste of valuable resources, which could discourage the government, residents, and other stakeholders from orchestrating similar initiatives in the future.” Therefore, like earlier articles have suggested it is necessary to “replace the typical generic policy that treats everyone as the same.” These articles also point out that when government takes on a large project to improve the lives of its citizens, it is showing that it takes the community seriously. In other words, building ICT’s shows that the “government is committed to their interests.” The article also encourages “partnerships between government and the private sector,” which is largely emphasized in the “Learning from Seattle” articles.

One of the findings of this article is that less educated people tend to use ICT’s for entertainment. This is consistent with the “Public Internet Access for Young Children in the Inner City” article’s findings. However, neither of the articles discourages this kind of behavior. Instead, the reading states that “recreational use of various kinds of technologies can have educational value.” It suggests that ICT’s should “infuse an educational element into such services so that the disadvantaged can develop useful skills, rather than just enjoying the technology.” Instead of discouraging play altogether, education should be mixed into ICT’s.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Group 3-comparing the article to larger class themes

Servon.  Building the Bridge:  Learning from Seattle.


     This article relates to many larger themes discussed that we discussed throughout the entire semester.  It provides an excellent example of narrowing the digital divide, various organizations and the city working together to solve problems with technology and improve IT problems as well. 

    Seattle's attempt to deal with the technology gap earlier than most cities relates to various attempts to close the digital divide that we have discussed.  Seattle has attempted to address the major challenges of the digital divide by improving access, closing minority technology gaps, and continues to provide more CLCs and to address education issues.  Instead of being content with digital inclusion, as other articles have suggested, Seattle is continuing its quest to minimize the digital divide by setting the goal of technological literacy for all of its residents.  

      Seattle has created a strong emphasis on various organizations and the city working together to make improve technology for everyone within the city.  The city created the Citizens’ Telecommunication and Technology Board to help solve problems with access, income, education, and connectivity.  The city also has a planner to help set goals the city hopes to achieve by narrowing the digital divide.  Seattle works with HUD to help create more CTC is needed areas and to keep them running efficiently.  Bellevue, a local community college provides IT training to all of Seattle’s residents and works closely with technology companies to improve education and access.  The city has created IT tools that work toward their planned goals and promote better technology to all within the city.  The community technology planner has created the ability to work across all local government departments to benefit the residents within the city.

The city of Seattle has attempted to minimize their digital divide by working together and not accepting what they have already accomplished as "good enough".  As a result, more minorities are moving across the digital divide, people dealing with educational issues are able to get training and become skilled, low income residents are able to access CTC centers without the fear of transportation difficulties, and things will continue to improve as long as they stay on track with their goals.  I think this article represents a great attempt to solve all the problems that cause the digital divide.