Friday, March 27, 2009

The Difference between James and Compaine

Hi all,

We didn't get to talk about the James article as much as I would have liked. To make up for it, I'm hoping to move our class discussion to our blog. The question comes from the list I sent out last week.

What are some examples of James’s evidence that he uses to argue against Compaine? How might Compaine reply?

James's article is replying directly to Compaine's--as well as a few others. You can see the number of times he cites him in his article. I'm asking us to give Compaine a chance to rebut. How might Compaine use James's evidence to argue for his point of view?

Please reply in the comment section of this post.


I think the OLPC is misunderstood.  It is not a question of having water or a computer.  These computers are only distributed to certain countries in which kids are fairly well trained on how to use them.  However, upon doing research I found that they previously have had problems with punctual shipping to those who chose to buy an OLPC.  I think it is good to have kids thinking in different ways, whether it be by an OLPC or not.  I think the OLPC should focus more on how to create programs within it that can apply or help someone learn within their own country, but it is a good attempt.  The OLPC in class seemed a little hard to navigate and it didn't seem like learning could be continued for years with the simple applications it provided.


I think the OLPC program is an innovative and a great attempt to connect the rest of the world to the rapidly advancing information age. It is clear that children in third world countries cannot afford much more than the food they survive on, if that even. Therefore, they are at a great disadvantage as compared to people who have the skills to compete in this competitive world. But to compete, it is crucial to have the tools and information, and I think the OLPC program is a good initial attempt to provide less privelaged individuals a more level playing field, however it is not perfect. Everything has to be done in small steps and someone has to take the first one, and the program's ambitious effort to provide education to distant and less privelaged individuals is frankly admirable. This helps to close the digital divide because individuals that did not have access to computers, internet, or even electronics will be able to connect with the rest of the world and acquire a whole new level of education which would not be possible if they did not have access to a computer.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

O & X signifies the head and body of a child.


While I admire MIT Media Labs Professor Nicholas Negroponte’s efforts to advocate the information revolution in 3rd world countries and banana republics, I could applaud him further if his empirical studies included U>S> residents who fall below the International World Bank’s definition of abject poverty. However, a peer had a hyperlink to the OLPC website where I understand now that Negropointe is not an ugly American chameleon bartering with American’s international image.

Instead, I found out he was French and that UW-Madison’s last chancellor donated funds to this non-profit to advance the concept of one laptop per child to Madison’s low-income children. This bridge in social capital was self-governed by Chancellor John Wiley; who donated $20 thousand dollars to insure under-privileged, underemployed, and underpaid Madison residents could take advantage of the new information society.

Talking with one of the sponsors, UW engineering professional development professor Sandy Courter, she explained that Madison children have tremendous capacity for learning new technology. Her, and others like her are bridging the gap of the racial ravine. Besides its durability, another remarkable aspect of the XO laptop is how one laptop can work as a satellite to other computers on its network.

This model of access has personal and social limitations without the Internet. However, software and other information can be downloaded to one laptop and shared with other computers. When Internet access is limited or non-existent researchers also discovered other, conduits of universal needs are lacking. Electricity and phone service are just two meaningful necessity’s to access 21st century information and communication technologies according to

Stratification from 21st Century good schools, hospitals, and family wage jobs is a caste system created by social engineering. This new paradigm of information is just as important as the pencil. Would you deny someone writing paper because you deem him or her too ignorant to manipulate a writing tool? Like the original users of pencils, and like our early Petroglyphs users; users of XO are naturally curious and become familiar with the operating design of the unit quite easily according to Couter. Social, cultural and educational inequalities are challenged by the philosophy of the Internet.

The philosophy of President Bush’s definition of the digital divide would have you believe that those who want Internet access have it, and those that don’t want it don’t have it. This affluent postindustrial opinion believes the normalization thesis explains why there is a generational trend to undermine the underprivileged in America. While other nation states have acted to counteract the demographics of a digital divide, Americans still pay a high price for conduit access. While Europe’s IT networks are nationalizing broadband service, its American counterparts are trying to increase profits from citizen consumers.

While the diffusion theory has empirical evidence of technological stratification, the status quo supports class cleavage of the social structure. Many of today’s occupations depend upon computer software and Internet access. This is unlike the manufacturing industrial jobs of yesteryear. Manual and managerial workers are part of the information society of service workers. While education is a determinant of connectivity, occupation is an exceptionally rich in Internet research, training support, technical backup and computer operators. Unlike robotics in industry, the service industry is too maladjusted to be done by a program.

XO laptops give children an avenue that prepares them for this new society. In Madison, children learn computer graphical and audiovisual interfaces at four convenient locations. Since state interaction is not forth coming, continued donations will help increase the strategic and informational skills of these new operators. The adoption of computers and the Internet for low-income children is essential for competing in this millennium. This new media should not wait for lassize fair capitalists to put a strangle hold on broadband like the ones they have done with electricity, telephone, and other conduits of information.

Audio about XO:
Essay about XO:
UW-Madison Engineering:

Saturday, March 14, 2009

One Laptop Per Child

Hey all, we didn't get to talk about the OLPC computer as much as we could have in class. So let's talk on the blog! Luckily, one of the students from my other sections had already made a fairly substantial critique several weeks ago. It's pasted below. Please comment on this post with some new information about the OLPC program.

What does that mean for your responses? You'll have to read the post and your classmates' comments to make sure you're not repeating anything! We want to know as much as we can so we can make informed decisions about how this laptop relates to the issues we've been discussing in class.

In relation, try to also provide some commentary about how your OLPC information relates to some portion of the class content.

This will be fun!


One of the most striking digital divides that I have come across, though unrelated to American libraries, is the vast difference between the technology available to children here, and that available to those in Africa. The One Laptop per Child organization strives to bridge that gap by donating inexpensive, interactive laptops to children in Africa. The article that I read described the program and stated how it lacks funding not only because we, technologically advanced nations, aren't giving enough but also because the governments of these countries are not willing to spend the money to test these unproven products that could take away from the standard teaching environment. The African governments are concerned about buying "an odd looking box with unfamiliar software" which is a valid concern. Relating this article to our class though, I think that this initiative is one that needs to be explored more. If we can provide children in Africa with internet access and computers, we will be able to further break down cultural and physical barriers between countries and people. This program will help promote business practices that can occur across any distance and can link up children in different countries to help with learning and understanding the size of the world. Further, children will get involved with technology at an early age and will have an advantage, or at least an even playing field in the business world in the futures. This is something that libraries in the US provide as well. While one laptop per child here too would be a stretch, every family having access to a computer and the internet is not. That is achievable thanks to libraries which, much like the One Laptop Per Child organization, serve to bridge the digital divide and bring those underprivileged individuals to the level that the rest of the world is at.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Van Dijk and Hacker

We have totally made some of these arguments in class.  The 4 successive kinds of access listed; experience, possesion, skills, and usage opportunities are complex and different for everyone in every part of the world.  They analyze all four of these types of access for males and females of different ages, and education levels.  

They argue that many people who do not use computors are people who could have access but choose not to utilize opportunities or spend their money on technology.  They argue that part of the digital divide is the fact that much of the reason the younger generation utilizes digital technologies is because they understand them and have no barriers with the tools themselves.  Simply by making applications that are easy for older people to use and applications that can greatly help older people and minorities, the digital divide would be greatly lessened.  We have talked about this in class but not in the same light.  Van Dijk and Hacker are making a point that one way to lessen the digital divide is creating new and changing existing digital content.

The Three Divisions

The three categories that Reich mentions are routine production workers, symbolic analysts, and in-person service workers. Unlike previously when jobs were defined as either blue or white collar, these new divisions have occurred as the result of the information age, where the focus on manual labor is significantly less than what it used to be. Now more technical and computer skills are needed to succeed within an ever competing business world.

Routine production workers tend to deal with every day tasks and most resemble the blue collar label. Their tasks can range from sealing envelops to packaging boxes for companies. They tend not to require a lot of education. In service workers are those that provide various services for companies and customers alike. Examples of in service workers can range from secretaries to people taking your order at a drive through. Here again, not much education is required, but comparatively less manual labor is involved with in-service jobs for the most part. Symbolic analysts are the brains of the operation. They are entrusted with development and management and require more technical and computer skills than the previous two categories. Hence, the education required for symbolic analysts is much longer and almost always require them to go to college to obtain the skills needed for their line of work.

However, these divisions do represent a hierchy in that people who can't afford an education are unable to become symbolic analysts. They are stuck in lower rung jobs such as routine production workers, which causes a financial divide within society. Because of this lack of education, lower income families get stuck in a racial ravine and often can't afford to get out of it, hence the cycle continues.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


4. Robert Reich (former Secretary of Labor who also made a cameo in the “Digital Divides” video) has suggested “the principal division [in labor] is no longer between blue-and white-collar workers but rather among three new categories” (22). What are those categories and how are they different than blue- and white-collar divisions? How do these divisions play into our discussions about inequality, digital divide, and racial ravines?

The reading broke down the new social classes into three primary groups which replace the old two class (white/blue collar) worker classes. It specified that people fall into either production workers, or in-person service workers , or symbolic analysts. These three classes differ from one another based on how dependant they are to ICT. The production worker may be involved with some ICT but only to a very elementary level. ICT isn't critically involved with their fields and in often, they make less money since such workers dont need much training in ICT; they often just need to operate a certain part of an assembly line. Such workers are often less educated and earn less money.

Then there is the in-person service workers. for example, the cashier at a mcdonalds register, the secretary at a law firm, or a police patrol office. Although they may use ICT for common communications that they need to carry out on a daily basis. I.e. ringing up a customer, sending/recieving emails for the boss to arrange their schedule for the day or checking on someone;s records. However, becuasse these jobs do not require much technical ability, and are often quickly accquired without the need for much background knowledge - but still require a modest familarity with ICT, such workers recieve mediocre pay.

Lastly, there are the Symbolic processers who depend on ICT on a daily basis. For example, a city;s traffic transit monitor, a computer programmer who is learning a new program; a PR trying to find new clients while maintaining the old ones. In essense, anyone who is ultimately working under a "network" infrastructure, as the readings would suggest, would fall into this group of workers becuase they HAVE to communicate with many others frequently to get things done and then use what has been communicated, interpret/develope and expand upon it. Obviously, this requires a mastery of ICT: emailing, tele-conferencing, setting up servers to communicate withing a network and consequently, as ICT employed in a large network setting yields higher production, and probably higher profits these employees - on average - probably make the most out of any of the other groups.

Blue collar and white collar are very white/black. To me i feel like white/blue collar means one either works in industry or one works in an office and that there is no mixing in between. In addition, this model of the job industry doesn't account for the service industry which - in today's soceity, every one falls into one or the other of the classes.

IN relationship to our discussions, the class of job that one falls into definitely plays a role on that person's success and salary and consequently, their socioeconomical status which in -turn could be seen as an inequality . So it comes to no suprise that the totem pole generally comes to production workers < in-person service workers < symbolic processors. Since the production workers dont make much money and have little to no opportunity to use ICT unless they actually go out there and actively pursue that skill, they will not advance. So they are basically in the hole. The in-person servers dont get to expand upon the skills that they already have since they probably dont have much opportunity/need to process/interpret the information communicated through ICT. And obviously, since the symbolic pocessors are already required to have high level of understanding in said technology and apply it on a daily basis, they are unlikely to lose those skills. Therefor, we have clear divides where - unless someone actively put themselves out there to pursue their goals - people cannot easily move between.

Three new categories of jobs

The three new categories to replace white and blue-collar workers are the routine production workers, in-person service workers, and symbolic analysts. Blue collar workers are the labor workers with more physical, unskilled jobs. The white collar workers usually work in offices and work more with data than with physical items. This division represented the way the work world used to be. Now, the categories have been divided into three. The routine production workers are people who can work with either data or physical goods, including data processors and factory workers. These people most likely do not make as much money as the symbolic analysts. These people work with data and ideas, like software engineers and management consultants. The final category is the in-person service workers, such as taxi-drivers and janitors. These people work directly with people, but they work jobs "lower" in society and don't make as much money as other people.

This plays a lot into the digital divide because the people without the technological know-how and the access to computers will most likely be working jobs that don't require the use of them. Taxi drivers and janitors for example do not use modern technology in their jobs, so people on the wrong side of the digital divide will take these jobs. Unfortunately, these jobs are among the lowest paying, which further contributes to the digital divide and prevents these people from crossing it. However, people who have the knowledge and the access to computers, will probably fill jobs like software engineer or management consultants, where computer technology is used on a daily basis. These jobs are high paying, so in addition to their prior access, they now have more money to keep up with the latest technology and stay on the right side of the digital divide.

This also ties in to our discussion of racial ravines and inequality. Statistically speaking, racial minority communities, especially African American and Hispanic communities, have lower incomes than Caucasian communities. This means that Caucasians are more likely to be on the side of the digital divide where they have access to computers, technology and ultimately high paying jobs. However, minorities on average have less access to these technologies and jobs, so they get stuck on the wrong side of the digital divide. The side of the digital divide people end up on has a large part in what job they will most likely end up in. Clearly then, there is an issue of equality since people of certain ethnic backgrounds are unable to get equally paying jobs as their White counterparts. Of course, all of this is an over generalization, as minorities are able to get high paying jobs, however, it may be more difficult for them to cross the digital divide.

Division of Laborers

The main thing I noticed about these three new divisions lean more toward the white collar half of the original two divisions. While some of the in-person service workers may be more on the blue collar side, like janitors. For the most part there is a lack of available jobs in actual manual labor. The routine production workers and the symbolic analysts both definitely need education and computer skills. They are very white collar. There is an imbalance in available jobs and for people who would have gone into a blue collar career and been able to live decently it can be difficult because the majority of jobs now involve more schooling and not everyone can get the education that they need to succeed in this economy. It is as if there are still divisions but the entire range of opportunities for jobs has shifted upward in the amount of skill needed, especially considering the need to be able to use computers. The factory work is now routine production is not true physical labor but has all been computerized.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Chapter Two - Question 3

Question 3 - from our discussion questions for week seven - underneath Chapter 2 is:
What are the four different resources related to ICT access?

This is found on pages 47 and 48 of Chapter 2.

The four difference resources are: digital, physical, human and social resources.
Digital resources are the digital material that is available online
Physical is the actually access to the computer or telecommunications
Human deals with the issues of literacy and education
Social is the community that supports access to the ICT

These were taken straight from the readings, but we need to remember that each of these are a contributor to the ICT, but also is a result from the use of ICTs. Works in a cycle.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Digital Divides video response

What struck me the most out of the video was the trend of specialization at a very young age. Some of the students in the video were expected to master certain career skills before they even graduated high school. The "Tech High" seemed like a great place to become prepared for the work force at first, but after seeing the film I realized the students missed out on many things they would have learned in a normal high school. The first thing I thought they missed out on was having to learn to interact with many different types of people. At "tech high" they worked with kids that were pretty similar to themselves. Not being exposed to many different types of people may prevent career advancement in the future. The second was not being able to participate in normal high school sports and clubs. When I look back on some of the things that made me who I am today, it is really hard to ignore the athletic teams and clubs I was apart of. They taught me to be competitive and team oriented. Finally, as it was mentioned in the movie, the students of "tech high" were not as advanced in English and other subjects. Although the high school clearly made them technologically savvy, I think they are not as well rounded as equally intelligent students at a normal high school.

When I tried to figure out why some of the students in the video failed, and other succeeded, the first thing that came to mind was the differences in their families. Although all the families in the video wanted their kids to do well, Travis and the girl that worked at long john silvers were both at a disadvantage. Both were lacking a father figure in their lives, and had to take on more than the average student has to. Kep on the other hand, had a very supportive family that highly valued his education. The girl that was accepted to brown also had to successful, supportive parents. When I look back to see why I've made it to where I am today, it was not because I always had the newest computer, the best software, or that I knew how to use either. It was because I had two parents that were concerned with my education and my best interests. Had Travis or Ms. long john silvers had a more complete family, I think their lives would have been different.

side note: frosted flakes

There's been this frosted flakes commerical on that says frosted flakes is giving money to build parks and to log on to tell them where the parks should be built. AH! Digital divide! The problem here is that the kids who really need the parks (low-income/minority kids) can't afford computers and therefore aren't going to be able to log on and vote. Frosted flakes must be aware of this problem. They couldn't think of a more fair way to vote? I thought this class would appreciate this.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Literacy Practice

     Literacy practice is the skill of reading and writing that takes into account social contexts.  What is considered skillful varies across historical, political, and socioeconomic contexts.  
      An example of varying literacy practice was that the pre-Gutenburg era focused on the memorization of manuscripts in order and then interpreted those manuscripts to analyze its meaning.  Compared to that of the 12 century, original authorship of new material and using a variety of different sources became the literacy practice.  Castell and Luke broke up more recent literacy changes into three distinct paradigms within U.S. history.  First, the 19th century classical period where copying, oral recitation, and imitation was important.  There was an emphasis on aristocratic social structure and obedience to tradition.  The second, was the post-industrialization period of the 20th century.  Skills and literacy evolved to include the commercial and urban society and interaction between teachers and students was encouraged.  Tradition still remained but using the imagination and self expression became important.  Lastly, the technocratic paradigm focused on functioning in society , clear common objectives, and feedback from students about how the message is of importance.  
       The point of this section of the article was to portray how literacy practices are different politically, economically, culturally, and socially and the unequal distribution can restrict access to literacy in general.  There are have and have-nots still within literacy practices and literary practices continue to evolve.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Three Categories

As mentioned Reich breaks up labor into three categories: routine production workers, in-person service workers, and symbolic analysts. These jobs are different than blue and white-collar because they are not broken up into manual and physical labor. The new categories may be more relevant today because there is much less focus on manual labor.

This is my interpretation of the categories: Routine production workers can be manual laborers, but they deal more with everyday tasks such as assembling boxes or filing reports. In-person service workers deal with presentation of the company from making sure the building is clean to greeting customers. Symbolic analysts are more behind the scenes and deal with product development and business models. Here the roles are just manual/physical, they have more to do with what part the worker plays in the company.

The inequalities among these categories are similar to blue and white-collar jobs though. Routine production workers and in-person service workers do not have to have great thinking skills or advanced computer skills, whereas symbolic analysts do. And people in these advanced jobs mostly acquire their thinking and computer skills from a good education. People in low-income families (who are often minorities) frequently do not have access to an adequate education system that would allow them to obtain a job other than a routine production worker or in-person service worker. Also, in order to be a software engineer, for example, you have to go to college, which low-income or minorities can’t afford—the tuition or the opportunity costs. Because of this lack of advancement, people get stuck in a poverty cycle.

Digital Divides in the Suburbs

I just thought I'd share a little anecdote about my weekend that relates to one of the 4 C's (capability). My family had been having trouble with one of our computers and had tried to run some anti-virus software to clean things out. When I went home for the weekend they begged me to take a look at the computer and see if I could do anything about it. They had been having trouble installing an older version of AVG from a disc, so I went online and downloaded the most recent version.

It seemed interesting that one of the things that is somewhat required to do in college (I remember being prompted to set up an Anti-Virus and Firewall program when riving on campus) was far out of the reach of my parents.

Sadly all is not well, because a trojan virus keeps preventing the AVG program from updating its database of viruses through some internet trickery.

Has anyone else found that computer literacy has become much more common amongst our generation as opposed to that of our parents? What do you think it would take to get older generations up to speed with somewhat basic computing know-how?

Discussion Answer for Informationalism

Instead of breaking the labor force into the two category blue vs white collar division, which compares manufacturing (blue) to information processing (white) jobs, the author took a three part approach. He divided jobs into routine production, which would most closely correlate to blue collar jobs; in-person service, which would be part of white collar; and symbolic analysts, which would be the higher tier of white collar workers.

He claims that the first two would use information communication technologies (ICTs) in a routine way, whereas the third group would use ICTs to analyze data and draw conclusions.

I believe that the digital divide could be troublesome because those with vast knowledge about ICTs clearly have the upper hand in this 3-part economy. Those unable to access or understand ICTs may even be forced out of the workplace due to the routine purpose they serve in the first two categories.

Response to Question 4

Merriam Webster online defines blue collar jobs as jobs that require work clothes or protective clothing. Blue collar workers perform manual labor, while white collar professionals usually work in an office. Robert Reich suggests that this way of categorizing labor is inadequate for two reasons:

1)In our current information centered economy, many blue collar jobs are disappearing

2) The distinction between what we associate with blue and white collar jobs is becoming blurred. (For example, most jobs now are requiring the use of computers and internet).

As an alternative, he offers three new categories: routine production workers, in-person service workers, and symbolic analysts (22), but the difference between these three groups also seems blurry to me. My question is, what makes each of these groups distinct from the other two and why is it important to come up with general categories for labor at all?

Friday, March 6, 2009

Informationalism and Division of Labor

Hey all, we didn't manage to cover all our discussion questions this week, so this week's blogging prompt is from the question list. As you're responding, please note your classmates' responses. Try to respond to each other as much as my prompt.

4. Robert Reich (former Secretary of Labor who also made a cameo in the “Digital Divides” video) has suggested “the principal division [in labor] is no longer between blue-and white-collar workers but rather among three new categories” (22). What are those categories and how are they different than blue- and white-collar divisions? How do these divisions play into our discussions about inequality, digital divide, and racial ravines?

Movie Review

The story of the Asian immigrant was easily accepted by the white community. The dedicated student had was bridged and bonded by family and community. The mass media had empathy for his plight from the Vietnam War and the community easily accepted his family by contributing to their success in America. The social, economic, and educational war where lower classes want to share the advantages of white upper class america receives no empathy from those who profit from the separation of race and class. Without regard to lack of sustainable jobs, quality education, affordable housing, and access to health care; the segregation in the white community and the mass media have shown though empirical studies that institutional racism is alive and well in America.
Another issue I had was a blogged response indicating a 'racial ravine' did not exist. Not every person of color had access to the school. And I only recall seeing one black male presented as a token for the 250 computers. From this personal observation, it is evident that the racial ravine is part of the digital divide.
Both opinions show how examples of digital, economic, educational, and social divisions placed in emperical studies have no influence on thinking rationally. Of the many I read, three seemed to base their opinion on the fallacy that institutional racism and rural economic class divisions is a fantasy conquered up by quantitative and qualitative studies.

While the movie is only 11 years old, some reviewers felt it was antiquated. While the plot had something to be desired, I believe it is relevant given the criteria we have examined so far. But reviewers could not accept that in 2009 computers, education, housing, and health care is not affordable nor accessible. There is no social capital without a pyramid of paradigms to built upon. Lucia and others like her are working at underpaid underemployed jobs to obtain the basics others take for granted. I believe if business had an actual interest in the success of all the students and their continued contributions to technology, the school and the capitalists should of supplied financial aid, computers and broadband access to qualified students.

The importance of social capital was evident in L. 's maternal instincts to transfer her computer skills. She wanted to secure a practical 'bridge' between her and the children. The information revolution will not be televised. I commend her for achieving her social responsibility. If she would of been exposed to classic literature, she may have learned from Benjamin Franklin that to be true to yourself before you can help other people. I wonder where was the school counselor who could not see change her destructive pattern with offering life skills training. More evidence that these teenage adolescents were training to be industry clones.

I'm surprised that someone as committed as x student could not find employment. He had placed himself on a hierarchal level above his peers that was induced by his superiors at school. While students are only in school a few hours a day, the morals and values gained from supplementing some education in humanities would of helped to mature him towards being an adult. In fact, how else would an immigrant learn about the heritage he is inheriting without structured education. The fact that the school board, school administrators, computer and software salesmen, lobbyists, and politicians benefited, but the students only gained a sense of failure. It is obvious that the 4 c's were not completely metby the disillioned faces of the participants. But we must remember, these were only 4 out of 225 students. Otherwise employment would of been guareteed before these children entered the program. It is hypocritical that promises were made and nothing was delivered. Obviously, the computer industry business representatives and the school career counsler did not reflect upon the skills necessary to be ahead of the curve. While the computer industry changes every 6 months, it is not a quantum leap, and unless you lack the basics of computer programing, employment anywhere in the U.S would of been accessible. In fact, living in Seattle at this time, I know that Microsoft stock doubled and their buildings tripled during this period. I also know that Boeing was making dramatic changes to include computer technicians and programmers. With this in mind, it is obvious that ulterior motives were made by officials involved because these childrens hopes and aspiratons were taken advantage of. Every state has a viable future analysis that specifies in microscobic detail employment trends. Why were these not allocated by the participants?

One of my classmates stated that increased funding for an urban school district produced the same low test scores. He implied that it was genetics that would keep the poor poor and not technology. While I was offended by foreign ignorance of the free market system in America, I can see how he would invalidate the relationship between technology and cognitive thinking. First he is implying that computers are only used for education. Besides, learning software, the internet provides unlimited free access to information from universal websites. As Jefferson stated, a democracy cannot stand alone without the education of its citizenry. The internet provides that resource. Second, let me say I read a similar study, but further research surmised that after kickbacks were paid and equipment was brought there was no money for technicians and teachers. Out of millions of dollars dedicated by the Bush administration for technology upgrades, only a thrid actually reached the dedicated schools and less then that actually benefited from the federal money because of bad planning by greedy capitalists whose priorities were not honorable.


Although I found the video kind of interesting, my initial reaction was I felt that a lot of the ideas and problems they posed were outdated. I feel like most of the problems they discussed are not as prevalent as they used to be. The idea that a high school could not have any computers or the internet nowadays seems completely absurd to me. I think trying to compare the type of digital divide that is happening today isn't very related to the digital divide that was shown in the movie. Computers are no longer a luxury for high schools but are accepted as an easy access tool to aid your education.
Also, I didn’t like the idea of New Tech High or whatever it was called. I understand the idea was to give students opportunities they wouldn’t normally have however it seemed to extreme to me, it was like the movie showed two opposite ends of the spectrum. I feel like students that went there yea obviously learned how to use a computer but they missed out on so much extracurricular activities and general education that they lacked in all other areas. I think in our world today, it’s not enough to be really good at one thing; you have to be a much more well rounded person to succeed.
In the video we saw the lives of four different students Kep, Luisa, Travis, and Cedra. They all came from different backgrounds which aided some and hindered others. Obviously Kep who came to the country from a very poor background and barely spoke English but had a tremendous work ethic and got a good job straight out of high school was one of the more successful stories. On the opposite end of backgrounds though is Cedra who came from a more wealthy family and was accepted into Brown. I believe those two used computers as a tool rather than a sole way of success, where as Luisa who also came from a less fortunate background and Travis placed too much emphasis on computers as their scapegoat. Luisa actually is worse off in school because of everything she’s tried to add to her plate and relied too much on her computer.


Although it has been stated in almost every post, the fact that the video is extremely outdated is still an important fact. The way technology affected the digital divide in 1993 is mildly interesting, but irrelevant. The idea of having computer labs in a high school is no longer a strange concept. Presently, access to computers and the internet is not a luxury for college and high school students, but a necessity.

As for the technology driven high school, I think the past 15 years gives us an idea of how well they worked. The idea of high schools that prepare you for actual technology jobs never really caught on. Part of this is because the technology you learn in high school is almost guaranteed to be outdated by the time you get in the workforce. The other aspect of these high schools that makes them unsuccessful is the lacking social element and lack of a rounded education. Kids don't want to travel to neighboring high schools to play football. Even students who intend on getting technology based jobs need both the social atmosphere of a normal high school and to be educated in the subjects of English as well as a foreign language. It is unclear whether or not the students actually benefited from their unique college experiences. The reason Kep was so successful may have had nothing to do with his high school, but his individual intelligence and dedication. Although he was able to find a good job, their is no telling how his lack of education in other areas could end up affecting his productivity.
The idea that this movie most reinforced to me was that fact that fair distribution of information technology is not a panacea for the divides we see in society. This movie followed the stories of multiple teenagers in a time period right before the tech bubble burst. In this time period, there was a lot of opportunity for people that had even basic tech knowledge to make a good living (50k+ per year) in graphic and webpage design. 
The system in which internet startups were often purchased by larger internet startups at a usually inflated price created a window where intelligent, hardworking, creative people could make a good living in tech jobs. We saw this at the end of the movie when Kep ended up with the job for the internet company. However, it seems the fact that he was hardworking, ambitious, and extremely eager to learn new things were more valuable assets in him getting the job that just his tech education alone. The girl going to Brown also seemed to have not only intelligence, but wealthy parents going for her.
While a tech education is a valuable thing have access to, it is not a concrete indicator of success in future life. Even a video that is pro-tech education could only produce a one- half success rate. Kep and the girl who went to Brown were the only two real success stories. Travis and Louisa still had to work low-tech jobs even with the education in technology they received. The point of all this, I think, is that tech-education is a great thing for high school kids to have access to, however, calling this the solution to the racial divide in this country is perhaps a little too optimistic of thinking.

Video Response

My initial response to the video was a bit critical. First of all, it seemed extremely outdated. How is it even possible to be even part of a digital divide when the technology is not available to most people anyways? Al Gore's appearance in the video emphasized how outdated this video was, and during the early and mid 90s was when the internet age was just starting to boom, therefore not everyone had access to it because of the fact not enough time had passed. In that regards, i felt that the video fell way short of explaining the digital divide with the student and high school examples it gave.

Louisa saved up for nearly 3 years or so to buy a computer working at Long John Silvers. This is way too antiquated because even with minimum wage, computers nowadays are not that expensive. Thus, I believe only a privileged few had access to personal computers during this time, but does that really mean a digital divide was occurring? It may have been a start to the digital divide, but the video explains it as if it were in full blown effect already which is definitely not the case. Even though Louisa got access to computers and it was her way out of a gang, it did not necessarily help her succeed in her education. She failed to graduate with her class, therefore attributing success to computers and computers only is a big claim which should be taken with a grain of salt. There are other factors that attribute to one's success, and the video seemed to contradict itself in that manner.

Travis went to New Tech High thinking it would create new opportunities for him in the future. He compared his friends and said how they didnt have goals in mind for their future just because they werent that tech savy with computers. I feel that is a load of crap. Lets be honest, even though Travis graduated with his class, just like the overwhelming majority of other students from other high schools do, he was still unable to go to college due to his financial situation. New Tech High, even with all its glory and computers and visits from Al Gore could not educate Travis enough or give him an extraordinary skill set which could allow him to get a scholarship. Therefore I think its a leap to blame an education system on the basis that if it does not provide enough computers or high speed internet access, it will fail to create opportunities for its students. Travis found no opportunity, either in the work force or for college, after graduating from such a "Tech savy" school.

Kep's reason for success was not due to which high school he attended, it was because of his work ethic, intelligence, and ambition that made him stand out and succeed. But this is the case with any individual, whether they are going to New Tech High or any other high school in the country. Therefore I feel that the video attempting to explain the digital divide did an extremely horrible job trying to do so, with the use of bad examples, antiquated film, and narrow focus on computer education.

Video Response

I thought the video was... interesting. It actually scared me a little bit. There was so much emphasis on technology that it seemed like subjects that weren't particularly helpful to a career in technology weren't given their due. The schools these kids went to (especially the one with the RIDICULOUS amount of computers) reminded me of vocational schools. That's fine, but I think that in high school subjects like English, History, Math, Science, etc. can't be forgotten. And the fact that there were very few extracurriculars. Part of being in high school is being a kid, you should be able to have fun and goof around. A computer screws up and you can't show your final project so it's possible you won't graduate? That's way too much pressure. It seems like the computer school (I totally can't remember what it's called) was just churning out little techie drones, and, hey, it's a booming market, but can they hold a reasonably intelligent conversation about literature or history? Are they aware of the all the implications of the education they have chosen for themselves? You don't need to know how to use a computer to be intelligent... and you don't necessarily need to be intelligent to use a computer.

As for their individual stories: kinda blew my mind. I knew the girl who use to be in a gang wasn't going to get the job she wanted. She was working at Long John Silver's too much and she was on a time crunch. But now what's going to happen to her? She let her grades slide at school because she was so focused on this elusive chance that kids all over the states are going for the same thing and she failed. Now what? Is she going to work at Long John Silver's for the rest of her life? Now Kep restored my faith in humanity a little bit. His family immigrated and so they probably weren't very well off and he gets some fancy job straight out of high school. Cool. He was a smart guy and this'll work for him. But his friend with the bad haircut is screwed, even though he did manage to graduate. He was mediocre, even if he does really like computers, he doesn't have that great of skill and he doesn't have the work ethic. So, this, conjoined with the fact that nearly EVERYBODY in America wants to do something with computers means he's not going to be all the successful. The one girl that lived in silicon valley... well she's already well off and she's going to a good school... no surprises there.

So, Kep and the silicon girl had all 4 c's, I believe, Louisa barely had context and had to work really hard for it, she didn't have much connectivity unless I miss my guess, she didn't really have the capability (she didn't get the job,) and the content is probably somewhat relative to her so she would've made use of the internet. The dude with the bad haircut had at least 3 c's but personally, I think capability was a little sketch.

video response

For starters, this movie, probably vhs.. was made in 1997! Considering that technology is rapidly improving and the digital divide has changed vastly over the past 12 years the information seems outdated.

The concept of a high school with an emphasis or foundation on technology initially seemed beneficial. It would provide all 4 C’s; context, connectivity, capability, and content to all students. The tech high school seemed as if it would narrow the digital divide or racial ravine within this community of students because it created equal access, capability, and accepted students of all race and income level. The classes provided guest speakers and contacts with business moguls that increased the student’s social capital. With all of these obvious benefits and preparing students for a career with technology, the tech high school was still obviously a failure.

The video analyzed typical tech high school students, two are Luisa and Travis. Luisa was a part of the digital divide, prior to enrolling in the school and purchasing her own computer. She showed determination and willingness to learn; yet, she did not graduate. She fell behind in classes because she was working full time to support her family. Luisa is stuck in the divide, even though it would seem the tech school provided her with an opportunity to surpass this ravine. Another student, Travis, admitted to procrastinating his final project. His final project was a disaster and yet he still graduated? In my opinion he’s not a student I would have given a diploma to…

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Ah the video

I think most of us can agree that the video was a bit painful. It was, as already mentioned, quite old and as technology played a major part in the subject it was hard for me to take it seriously. Technology changes so much in a year let alone almost 20. For most of the film I felt like I was watching some 80's corporate training video for a new kind of high school. It was also boring.

Putting aside my problems with the video, it was obviously relevant to the subjects we have been discussing and learning about in class. The digital divide was easily seen just by the fact that the students at the school had so much time with computers and were able to learn how to use "current" technologies that would help them excell for the rest of their lives. The advantage that all the students at tech high school recieved by gaining technology fluency versus the typical high school student of the time is the digital divide. The digital divide was also evident within the school as the girl who worked at Long John Silver's had trouble graduating with her class because she had to work to make money where many students there simply had money and were able to focus on their schoolwork. I thought her case was especially interesting because it was kind of paradoxical how she was an example of the digital divide in tech high but her even getting into tech high was an example of narrowing the digital divide. Tech high encouraged her to drop out of gang life and focus on her love of computers but she was still part of a lower income group and didnt do as well at school because of it.

I liked the parts of the video concerning the first community technology centers. It was interesting to see how the LA urban league worked to train people to use technology and help them become competitive in the job market. It helped me understand how important community technology centers could be to any community by benefitting those who need it most and gradually benefitting the community as a whole.

Video Response

My initial reation to the video was that I had mixed feelings about Tech high school. On one hand, it's a good thing to educated high schoolers in technology. This helps students get an understanding of how to use technology to better their situation. With their skills, they are able to go into better technological jobs. They probably have more skills entering their chosen careers then other people who went to a regular high school. It's definitely a good thing that they are being taught about computers and how to use them, because it opens many doors to other forms of communication (social capitol) and information. Because much information is on the internet, including job openings, these students will have resources that they can use to better themselves and their situation. However, I personally would not have liked to attend that high school. I felt that the education seemed very narrow. Of course, the students were trained in technology, but what about the arts, literature, music, or even basic science and math? I feel like the video showed the technical side of the school as being a huge sucess, but I wonder how well-rounded the education at that high school really is. I also felt like the school was a manufacturing line of kids who would immediately step into the business world. What ever happened to exploring options or different subjects to find ones passion? It seemed to me like every person at that high school would have to go into computers. It was slightly disturbing that even at such a young age, they were already working with corporations and business leaders. I think that high school should be the place to explore a variety of subjects, instead of focusing on only one.

The digital divide was very evident in this video. Luisa, coming a Hispanic culture, seemed to have fewer opportunities, than Cedra, who was from a much wealthier community. Cedra in particular had many more advantages. First, she could afford a computer at home. This allowed her to access the internet and work on homework faster and more efficiently than Luisa. In addition, Cedra most likely didn't have to work many hours outside of school just to earn money for basic things. This allowed her more time to study and work on projects. If she needed to, I'm sure she could have accessed the library for more information, since she had the free time to do so.

Luisa is a different story. Luisa, a former gang member, is clearly trying to improve her life. She is a hardworking person, more hardworking than anyone else in the video, in my opinion, however her circumstances are against her. For one thing, working at Long John Silvers for countless hours definitely contributed to her falling behind in school. Since her family didn't have enough money, she had to work around the clock to buy herself a personal computer. Howver, all those hours most definitely took a toll on her schoolwork. Luisa is an example of someone, who to me seems stuck. I believe that she is intelligent and that she could suceed in the business world, however her financial problems keep holding her back.

People like to say that in America, we all get equal opportunites, but this video clearly demonstrates that this isn't the case. Luisa worked just as hard as Cedra in the video, yet she fell behind. I believe its mostly due to her financial status. If someone is born into a poor family, they simply do not have access to the resources that richer children do. Now it is possible to work from the bottom to the top of society, but it is unlikely to happen for most people of low economic status. Less money means more work hours at dead end jobs. More work hours means less time for education and less education generally means less money. It's a cycle that must be broken in order to overcome the digital divide.

Video Response

My initial reaction to the video was that it was an interesting portrayal of the change in our economy that was brought about by computers. It talked about how the advent of computers in the business world led to a loss of blue collar jobs and the potential to make a community poor because the workers did not have the proper skills for the new computer age. It was also interesting how the different kids had such different experiences with their exposure to computers and with their expectations of their computer use in their adult lives depending on where they were from.

Teaching computer skills to kids was shown as a way to build social capital. It was both individual social capital for the kid and community social capital in some cases. The girl from the rich community noted that nearly everyone in her community worked for a computer company. The wealth of that community was built on computers and those skills were being passed on to the children who had computer access both at home and at school. The girl from the poorer community took the skills she had learned and hoped to use to better her life and taught them to younger children, allowing them a head start she never had in gaining computer skills and thus trying to better her community.

I was especially interested in the relationship between the tech high school and the businesses. The children were building their own social capital by learning skills that would help them in the increasingly computer based business world while the businesses were making an investment so that high school graduates would have the skills that they now needed in employees. They no longer needed factory workers that could work by the bell and do their assigned job with no interaction. They now needed creative people who could work in groups and had computer skills. The businesses were building their own capital by sponsoring a school that taught young people what they needed for the new work environment.

The digital divide was seen most readily in the girl from the poorer family. The very fact that she was poor made her have to work while she was in high school and she spent so much time working that she eventually fell behind in school. This perpetuated her difficult living conditions because she was not able to finish high school when she should have and she continued to work a low paying job instead of moving up in the world as she had planned to by using her computer skills.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Video Response

I initially thought that this movie was obsolete but had some good goals/points driving it. There's really only two things I want to comment on about this story: computers/technology will not make a failing education system better and that yes, a technological divide does exist but so what?

As someone who is living in this country, i do care about the general welfare of the population as a whole and hence, feel that school systems could and should be improved. However, computers will not do that and the movie proved this. Take Travis for example; his entire story centered around that he "felt" that he was more comfortable with computers than his friends. Now that didn't say much for Travis or his friends and the fact that he couldn't transfer his computer "skills" into a job any better than the other kids meant that him "feeling" comfortable with computers meant nothing. I remember reading an article about this country's education system with regards to funding. They took an inner city kansas school and trippled their operational budget for a peroid of several years. Their results: the same low test scores and high drop out rates. This craze over computer is just another extention of that concept: no amount of goods are going to make kids smarter or school better. It takes people and a willingness to work for one's goals.

Luisa and Travis both came from disadvantaged backgrounds; were introduced to computers and still came up with the same unfortunate endings. Cedra came from a high socioeconmic status, probably a supportive family, had computers and ended up in a good college; no suprise there. To be honest, the only success story that this movie produced was Kep, and I didn't so much feel that it was computers that made it possible for him but rather his willingness to work hard and his supportive family.

A technological divide exists (that i'm not contesting) but its mostly of socioeconomical status and education level rather than race. The library study that we read about new york libraries indicated that the most consistant predictor of library use was not RACE but EDUCATION. It just so happens that the lower socioeconmic status people are primarily black and latino. And as such, I don't think it is so much as "racial Ravine" as much as an idiot-proof line where people - who would rather spend 100's of dollars on shoes and "bling" and then complain about not having opportunities - fall short.

America is regarded as a land of opportunities and despite what one might hear today, it is still true. If it was easy getting rich and succeeding (legally) then everyone would be rich. No its not easy to succeed in America but honestly, i would much rather be pulling myself up the rungs of society in America than in ANY other country. Those that fail and dont succeed like travis and luisa should be thankful that their life expectancy and income is still going to be higher than a HUGE percent of the world.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Respond to the vedio

Is it that important to have the good accessibility to computer and internet?

I use computer around 2 hours a day, and I think a lot of people do the same thing. However, I personally think computer is not something neccessary in my life. I can probably survive with out internet and still live happily everyday, and I am guessing many people have the similar feeling.

For the case of myself, I live in a relatively good community and middle-high class area, there is no difficulty for me access up-to-date information and gain knowledge. However, in some poor communities and minority areas, schools teach badly and kids cannot obtain the knowledge they need. Computer becomes an important source and really help some people to stay competitive. Just like what the kids in the vedio said, "computer gave me a goal."

I think what the vedio really wants to tell us is that some people do not have the good accessbility to computer while they need them. And when we are very lucky to live in this nice community, we should be thinking there are some kids/people need help for their future.

Richard Huang

"Digital Divides" Movie Response

The first thing that struck me from this movie was how outdated it felt. Hearing about Al Gore congratulating the first school to implement internet connections seemed outrageous to me, as they have been an extremely important part of my education and I can't think of a time when I've learned without them. The part of the movie where they talked about how it was controversial to implement internet access in all schools also baffled me.

Another topic that the film touched on only briefly that interested me was the shift from blue- to white- collar work in the American workforce. LIS 201 discussed this shift at length. Basically they found that with labor overseas becomming cheaper, outsourcing became more and more attractive. Companies shifted their needs for physical labor and assembly line workers was diminishing. but at the same time the demand for internet fluent information workers was increasing. America had gone through a transition from being an industrial society to a postindutrail (network, information) society.

The story about Luisa's struggle to bridge the digital divide was very interesting to me. It seemed interesting that her desire to cross the gap was at first benificial, but later detremental. At first she was able to seperate herself from some dangerous activities that her peers were involved in, but eventually her demand for a new computer made her fall behind in school, because her job took too much of her time.

As far as the whole New Tech High School idea goes, I feel like it was an antiquated fad from the internet boom era. The students attending that school were cheated out of a "normal" high school experience, but it also put them in boxes (it makes me think of the theme song from "Weeds"). They were all expecting to go into the same feild. Perhaps that is to be expected, since they chose to attend New Tech instead of their normal school, but the whole idea seemed both foreign and stupid to me.

Video Response

After finishing watching the movie, my first reaction was that the majority of the students they interviewed, aside from Kep, seemed to be no more ahead than any other high schooler applying for college. Actually, they seemed worse off to me. Since their high school experience consisted solely on technology education, I felt as if they missed learning about other valuable information. It seems as if they would be lost if they were unable to get a job in computers--they seem very limited in their career choices. Maybe if they had a broader education, they would have a more secure future ahead of them. Furthermore, two of the individuals, Luisa and Travis, had no idea what they were going to do now. Luisa is still stuck working at her fast food job, and Travis is without a job because none in his field are available.

Also, while they all seemed to have a high work ethic and interest in their education, it was surprising how poorly they seemed to be doing. Travis wasn't sure if he would be able to get his project done and graduate, and Luisa was unable to graduate. I think it is interesting that the video would include 2 such individuals instead of more individuals from the school that graduated and moved on to be more successful.

I also agree with Nick and eemartin2 when they say that they were cheated out of a normal high school experience. The lack of sports, music, art, and other extracurricular activities, I believe, will have a negative impact on their future. It is important to be exposed to a wide variety of things, not just a specialization so early on in one's life. What if they find later that they really don't enjoy computers or their work? With their lack of other experiece, it may be very hard to break away into something new.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Video Response

I found this movie somewhat interesting. The individuals they chose to interview and showcase really brought the digital divide that does exsist. In particular, I am thinking of Louisa and Travis. On the one hand, we have Louisa who was involved with gang activity. Probably the farthest away you can get from technology in todays world. And we have Travis who attends a New Technology High School.

In Louisa case, just being in her situtaion created many disadvantages. Your friends have a lot of influence on what you do in life. By being in the gang, she wasn't exposed to computers. This already puts her at a disadvantage. While people her age are already learning how to utitlize them (capabitliy). I am very amazed how one could get out of the gang world and turn to computers. We are very lucky to have grown up with computers and our learning of it started when we were young. In her case, she needed to learn at a later age. I was also surprised by her determination. She saved money for 3 years(!) to buy a computer. I would never have guessed that. But it shows how much she wanted to learn and use a computer. At the end, I was surprised how she had a photoshop test which she did not pass. Based upon her willingness to purchase a computer and get out of the gang activity, I thought she would have passed with flying colors. However, she didn't.

On the opposite end of the realm, is Travis. He was far ahead of Louisa when it came to computers. Going to a technology based high school, he had it all at his fingertips. He had all the four C's. This gives him a distinct advantage over people who aren't around computers, like Louisa. He started at a younger age. You can only get better at something the more you are around it. After reading eemartin2's post, I never even thought about something at his high school. His h.s. didn't have music or sports. I think he got cheated out of a typical high school life. Everybody can remember the clicks in the hallways, letter men coats, prom, senior year. Its the typical life of a teenager growing up. Would you trade all that for a little advantage by going to a technology based high school?

I thought this video was very interesting. Growing up with computers all my life, I have never met somebody who never had a computer or the Internet. Watching a video like this, really makes me appreciate that I was able to have that "luxury" in my life.