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Colin Rhinesmith - New Approaches to Bridging the Digital Divide - GCS16

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Colin Rhinesmith - New Approaches to Bridging the Digital Divide - GCS16

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Colin Rhinesmith - New Approaches to Bridging the Digital Divide - GCS16

  1. 1. Presentation Title Subhead New Approaches To Bridging The Digital Divide Colin Rhinesmith, Ph.D. Gigabit City Summit May 17, 2016
  2. 2. How Not To Bridge The Digital Divide “Low-cost technology is just not an effective way to fight inequality, because the digital divide is much more a symptom than a cause of other divides.” - Kentaro Toyama (2015)
  3. 3. Problem Statement • Only 67% of Americans have broadband at home (down from 70% in 2013). • Low-income people face significant barriers to broadband adoption. Only 41% of people with an annual household income of less than $20K have broadband at home (down from 46% in 2013). - Pew Research Center (2015)
  4. 4. Federal Broadband Policy Context Federal Communications Commission (2015) • Lifeline Program: Creating a broadband subsidy for qualifying low-income consumers Broadband Opportunity Council (2015) • How can the federal government promote best practices in broadband deployment and adoption?
  5. 5. Definitions • “Digital divide implies the gap…between Americans for whom Internet access is readily available and those for whom it is not… • Digital literacy encompasses the skills and abilities necessary for access once the technology is available… • Digital inclusion is the policy developed to close the digital divide and promote digital literacy.” - Paul T. Jaeger, John Carlo Bertot, Kim M. Thompson, Sarah M. Katz, & Elizabeth J. DeCoster (2012)
  6. 6. Meaningful Broadband Adoption “When we talk about meaningful broadband adoption, we imply an ecology of support— institutions, organizations, and even informal groups that serve to welcome new users into broadband worlds; share social norms, practices, and processes related to using these technologies; and help policy targets make sense of and exercise control over how broadband enters users’ lives.” - Gangadharan & Byrum (2012)
  7. 7. Research Questions • What are the key characteristics of low-cost Internet and digital literacy training initiatives? • What indicators are used by digital inclusion organizations to measure the success of their programs?
  8. 8. Research Design • 3-Month Qualitative Study (July – Sept 2015) • 8 Digital Inclusion Organizations • 75 Participants (multiple perspectives) a. Digital inclusion organizations (administrators, staff) b. Community partners c. Low-income individuals & families
  9. 9. Research Sites Austin, TX | Cleveland, OH | Kansas City, KS/MO | Los Angeles, CA | Machias, ME | Portland, OR | St. Paul, MN
  10. 10. Findings 1. Four-part digital inclusion strategy to promote meaningful broadband adoption. 1. Digital inclusion organizations are connected to broader citywide and regional initiatives. 1. Few organizations used an outcomes-based evaluation framework to show their impact.
  11. 11. Four-Part Digital Inclusion Strategy 1. Providing low-cost broadband 1. Connecting digital literacy training with relevant content and services 1. Making low-cost computers available 1. Operating public access computing centers
  12. 12. Four-Part Digital Inclusion Strategy Low-cost Internet Digital Literacy Training Low-cost Computers Public Access Computing
  13. 13. Ability to Pay v. Willingness to Pay • The low-income individuals and families who participated in this study explained that paying for broadband is not as much of a choice that involves what they are willing to pay for different Internet speeds, but rather a choice between broadband service and the ability to pay for food.
  14. 14. The Ability to Pay for Broadband • “It’s hard because we’re in Washington County. Internet’s expensive—and we’re on our own doing this. It’s either rent, food, or Internet. They need to do something for low-income people to get Internet. I mean, I’m not asking for like a hand- out, but something to make it easier for low-income people to get a cheaper deal.” - Anne, a young female adult in rural Maine. • The $10 is definitely easier. I mean, some months it might help to pay more. It is a little bit more if you pay by month. I think it is like $15 or $13 or something, and sometimes it is what you got to do. You know, it is that or groceries, but it is nice if you do have the money you can pay ahead and that has been really helpful. - Theresa, a single mother with three kids in Saint Paul, MN
  15. 15. Four-Part Digital Inclusion Strategy Low-cost Internet Digital Literacy Training Low-cost Computers Public Access Computing
  16. 16. One-on-One Personalized Training
  17. 17. Ashbury Senior Computer Community Center • Low-Cost Internet • Digital Literacy Training
  18. 18. Four-Part Digital Inclusion Strategy Low-cost Internet Digital Literacy Training Low-cost Computers Public Access Computing
  19. 19. Four-Part Digital Inclusion Strategy Low-cost Internet Digital Literacy Training Low-cost Computers Public Access Computing
  20. 20. Findings 1. Four-part digital inclusion strategy to promote meaningful broadband adoption. 1. Digital inclusion organizations are connected to broader citywide and regional initiatives. 1. Few organizations used an outcomes-based evaluation framework to show their impact.
  21. 21. Meaningful Broadband Adoption
  22. 22. KC Coalition for Digital Inclusion KCLibrary KCMO Digital RoadmapDigital Inclusion Strategic Plan eSteward Enterprise Community Connections Community Centers HUD ConnectHome Sprint Best Buy ALA GitHub EveryoneOn US Ignite College Board & Khan Academy Age of Learning, Inc. PBS Boys & Girls Clubs of America HUD Choice Grants White House City of Austin Housing Authority of Austin Texas UTA HAKC KCDigitalDrive Connecting for GoodW.E.B. DuBois Learning Center YMCA LiteracyKC MCPLDigital Inclusion Fund Google Fiber Digital Inclusion Fellowship AT&T Time Warner Cable Comcast Kauffman FDN LINC UrbanTec FEC Metropolitan Community Colleges KC School District Surplus Exchange Lincoln Building Black Family Technology Awareness Association The Upper Room aSTEAMvillage Digital Inclusion in Kansas City
  23. 23. Findings 1. Four-part digital inclusion strategy to promote meaningful broadband adoption. 1. Digital inclusion organizations are connected to broader citywide and regional initiatives. 1. Few organizations used an outcomes-based evaluation framework to show their impact.
  24. 24. Outcomes-Based Evaluation Challenges • Lack of time & money • Most organizations are focused on outputs Number of Internet subscriptions, classes, computers, public access computing hours, etc. • Fewer are heading toward outcomes • Only one had a developed framework
  25. 25. Youth Policy Institute: Home Internet Adoption Logic Model
  26. 26. Addressing the Digital Divide • Poverty is intimately connected to the challenges facing low-income people in adopting broadband Internet at home. By looking outside the home and into the community, digital inclusion researchers and policymakers can gain a deeper understanding of the important role that community-based organizations, as trusted local assets, play in helping people gain access to technology in meaningful ways that reflect their everyday experiences with poverty.
  27. 27. Addressing the Digital Divide • Rather than focusing on the human-to-computer interactions, meaningful broadband adoption emphasizes the human-to-human interactions in community contexts that are most helpful to individuals and families.
  28. 28. Recommendations • Cost – continues to be a major barrier to broadband adoption. Successful policy interventions will need to address “ability to pay” rather than “willingness to pay.” • Sustainability – additional funding from government and private foundations is needed to support digital inclusion organizations’ meaningful broadband adoption efforts. • Outcomes-Based Evaluation – digital inclusion organizations need assistance in developing evaluation frameworks to help gather data, show impact, and connect their work to broader public policy goals.
  29. 29. How Not To Bridge The Digital Divide “Low-cost technology is just not an effective way to fight inequality, because the digital divide is much more a symptom than a cause of other divides.” - Kentaro Toyama (2015)
  30. 30. Thank you Contact Colin Rhinesmith, Assistant Professor School of library and Information Studies University of Oklahoma • email: crhinesmith@ou.edu • website: http://crhinesmith.com • twitter: @crhinesmith

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