High speed users are usually Caucasian users in the middle upper class and above. Low speed connections offer far less opportunities to use computer in interactive way, thus the learner is at a disadvantage.
New media is usually geared toward the high income population. This leaves less desirable demographics out of the technological advancement equation. Telecoms refuse to provide service to rural locations , which is termed “redlining” . These companies tend to concentrate on areas that are already rich in technology, leaving the have-nots behind.
If the criterion for closing the digital divide is that more than half of Americans use the Internet, people with disabilities are not there yet . The most current data I could find (October 2003) shows Internet use by fewer than 30% of those with disabilities over age 15. The same data shows that more than 60% of those with no disability used the Internet at some location.(http://rtc.ruralinstitute.umt.edu/TelCom/Divide.htm) One organization that is trying close this gap so to speak is Closing the Gap. The details of their organization can be found here, www.closingthegap.com Closing The Gap strives to provide parents and educators alike, the information and training necessary to locate, compare, and implement assistive technology.
In Pew’s most recent survey in 2008, their data shows that 55% of all adult Americans now have a high-speed internet connection at home. The percentage of Americans with broadband at home has grown from 47% in early 2007. This still leaves the poorer Americans at a disadvantage. Poorer Americans saw no growth in broadband adoption in the past year while at the same time nearly one-third of broadband users pay more to get faster connections. Inefficient means to money needed for education and technology creates a rift between the have and have-nots in education.
The Federal Government of the United States of America has put in place policy initiatives to try to address this issue. “The Department of Commerce has a strategy for making computers and internet accessible, and monitoring the levels of connectivity in relation to income, education, race, gender, geography and age” (p. 212, Moore & Kearsley, Distance Education ). The Department of Education’s Community Technical Center’s program, which ran from 1999 to 2004 “has provided money to develop model programs to demonstrate the educational effectiveness of technology in economically distressed communities” (p. 212, Moore & Kearsley, Distance Education ). Additional information on this subject can be found here: http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ovae/pi/hs/factsh/ctc.html
Software designers want to make money! Create products that only the affluent can access. Those that cannot afford the product are ignored: “market forces assume that designing solutions for them will not be profitable” 1 . Consider, for the example, cyber cafés. Years ago, many pointed to their spread as an example demonstrating that the digital divide was shrinking. But when a local youth in a Cambodia village ignores his school work and instead spends his evenings playing violent videogames with his peers, he is not really benefiting from digital technology. Thus giving to the poor digital technology that has been designed for the rich may actually add to the causes of poverty and accelerate the exodus of the rural poor into cities already bursting at the seams.
Despite gains in federal, state, and private funding in recent years, the quality of access varies substantially between poorer libraries and well-funded ones. Inequities exist in regards to hardware, software, number of computer terminals, and connectivity speed (Gates Foundation, 2004). According to the Department of Education’s website, 95 % t of public libraries in the United States offer free access to computers and the Internet. This has contributed to overall library visits increasing by more than 17 percent between 1996 and 2001. The likelihood that a person will use the library as a location to gain access to the Internet is also related to a person’s race and income level. In 2001, 19 percent of all black Internet users and 13.8 percent of all Hispanic Internet users utilized public libraries to gain access. Meanwhile, 11.6 percent of all Asian American Internet users and 8.6 percent of all white Internet users gained access through public libraries. Low-income individuals are also seeking out opportunities at public libraries in greater numbers than upper-income individuals. Approximately 20 percent of all individuals from the lowest-income group who use the Internet accessed it at public libraries. This is compared to 7.2 percent of all Internet users from the highest-income group (DOC, 2002). ( http://18.104.22.168/custom?q=cache:mjOsji0u-aMJ:www.ed.gov/about/bdscomm/list/acsfa/digitaldiv.doc+technology+and+library+and+digital+divide&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us&client=google-coop-np)
Henry Jenkins once said, &quot;What a kid can do at home with unlimited access is very different from what a kid can do in a public library with ten or fifteen minutes of access at a time and with no capacity to store and upload information to the web. We further handicap these children by placing filters on the Internet which restrict their access to information which is readily available to their more affluent classmates” (http://spotlight.macfound.org/main/entry/henry_jenkins_technological_access_solve_the_digital_divide_misconception/). The result will be to further isolate children from poorer economic backgrounds, to cut kids at risk from support systems which exist within their peer culture, and to limit the social and cultural experiences of kids who are already behind in acquiring important networking skills that will shape their professional futures. All of this will compound what we are now calling the participation gap (http://spotlight.macfound.org/main/entry/henry_jenkins_technological_access_solve_the_digital_divide_misconception/).
One Laptop per Child (OLPC): Strives to create educational opportunities for the world's poorest children by providing each child with a rugged, low-cost, low-power, connected laptop with content and software designed for collaborative, joyful, self-empowered learning. When children have access to this type of tool they get engaged in their own education. They learn, share, create, and collaborate. They become connected to each other, to the world and to a brighter future. Technology Opportunities Program (TOP) promoted the widespread availability and use of digital network technologies in the public and non-profit sectors through grants for model projects demonstrating innovative uses of network technologies. Global Digital Solidarity Fund - reduce the digital divide - put information and communication technologies (ICTs) at the service of development build a solidarity-based and inclusive information society. Learning Labs are deliberate, measured, strategic deployments of technology solutions used to gain insight and knowledge on how best to foster digital inclusion worldwide. To date, 50x15 partners have implemented dozens of Learning Labs around the world – helping people around the world confront the unique challenges they face every day.
Cloud computing: * Users can avoid capital expenditure on hardware, software and services, rather paying a provider only for what they use. * Consumption is billed on as a utility, like electricity Also can be subscription based like a newspaper Users can generally terminate the contract at any time Cancellations are often offset by steep financial penalties Other benefits of approach are: Low barriers to entry Many people would have access to computers based on this approach as cost would be cheaper Shared infrastructure and costs Low management overhead & immediate access to a broad range of applications.
They may not be as sophisticated as their commercial counterparts (I.e Microsoft Platform products) Google's Docs and Spreadsheets, may lack many of the advanced features in Microsoft Word but they support almost all the features needed for simple or routine tasks. Students in schools and state-sponsored or foreign aid programs are, at various levels, becoming more and more familiar with computers due to free Web 2.0 applications. Teacher and Learning tools can be found at : http://www.wssu.edu/WSSU/About/Administration/Office+of+the+Provost/University+College/CETL/General+Purpose+Tools.htm
One hurdle is that its applications are rarely available in local languages around the world. Another hurdle is raising awareness. Business developers, governments and societal institutions need to raise awareness of the business and development opportunities it presents. These institutions need to help adapt applications into local languages so more of the world’s people can use them. Another concern is that old hardware, commonly found in the developing world, may not be able to cope with most Web 2.0 applications. This is often the case for new tools. Web designers and developers usually become more economical with their newfound tools as they recognize the spectrum of their audiences If services continue to be free, the products will help close the digital divide. Income and money is one giant hurdle for the have-nots to overcome. Technology is mostly created and marketed towards the 20 % of the popluation that is in the upper and middle class. If these companies obtain their revenue from other sources such as advertising, they will continue to adjust their offerings to attract more users. This includes people in the developing world. Web 2.0 holds the promise of a business model in which real gains flow naturally to the world's poor. The application and use of free tools and open source software will hopefully close the digital divide that still exists between white/non white, disabled people vs. non disabled, and the wealthy and the poor. (http://www.scidev.net/en/opinions/web-20-can-benefit-the-worlds-poor.html)
the gap between those who benefit from digital technology and those who do not Image: johncorney, Flickr CC
What is it? <ul><li>Not really about access to digital technology but about the benefits derived from the access. </li></ul><ul><li>Upper-to-middle classes have high-quality access to digital technology. </li></ul><ul><li>Lower classes are at a major disadvantage without access to technology. </li></ul>
The have and have-nots <ul><li>Low-speed connections : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Are usually attained by people who can not afford computers or have access to them </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Uses: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>email </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>word process etc. </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>High-Speed connections: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Are usually attained by people who can afford computers or have access to them </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Uses: </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Social networking </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Blogging </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Online learning through online audio and video services </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
Causes of Divide <ul><li>High Price of Technology (Computers) </li></ul><ul><li>Broadband Connectivity </li></ul>Photo by Dominic Cambell (flickr) http://smartmortgageadvice.files.wordpress.com
Who is falling behind? "Our general finding is that there is no 'divide' between whites and English-speaking Hispanics." "The gap has narrowed a bit for blacks compared with whites, but there is a continuing, persistent difference in Internet adoption between blacks and whites. The much bigger divides are between young and old and between the well-educated and less-well-educated.” http://www.pbs.org/mediashift/2007/01/your-guide-to-the-digital-divide017.html Image: aardbei2, Flickr CC Image: cobalt123, Flickr CC Image: inju, Flickr CC
Accessibility Concerns <ul><li>In A Nation Online (2002), the National Telecommunications & Information Administration (NTIA) declared the digital divide was closed. </li></ul>
Demographic Divide A 2006 survey by Pew <ul><li>Overall Findings: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>High Speed access leads to multimedia approach to using the Internet </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Those without High Speed are left behind and use the Internet less </li></ul></ul>
What would it take to switch to broadband? <ul><ul><li>This poll was taken by http://www.pewinternet.org using: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>2,251 adults, age 18 and older </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Interviewing dates: 04.08.08 – 05.11.08 </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Based on those who have dial-up at home </li></ul></ul>Refused to answer 4 Don’t know 16 Nothing will convince me to get broadband 19 Other 11 When my children get older 0 If it was free 2 Someone else will pay for it 2 When my cable/telephone company offers it where I live 4 It would have to become available where I live 10 The price has to come down/be more affordable/Cheaper 35 %
Why is it a problem? <ul><li>According to Rasiej we will “leave behind a generation that is not able to participate in the 21 st century global economy.” 1 </li></ul><ul><li>Students with out access are: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>falling behind in the development of digital literacy skills (access, manipulation and evaluation of information) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Having less exposure to information </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The use of technology has become second nature for those with access </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Students without access need to play catch up to learn the technology together with the lesson. </li></ul></ul>1. Long, Mind the Gap
Distance Education <ul><li>Has the availability of technology-mediated distance learning increased participation in postsecondary education? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>In a series of case studies to evaluate the benefits and costs of distance education, evidence suggests that distance learning efforts can increase the number of people enrolling in postsecondary education (Jewett). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute was surveyed, 75 percent of the respondents indicated that that they would not have been able to participate in a course if it had not been delivered to their workplace. ( http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2004/2004831.pdf) </li></ul></ul>
Why should we care? <ul><li>Economic Equality: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Access to essential information such as career, civic life, safety, social services </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Social Mobility: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Role of technology in learning and career. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Divide creates unfairness to those of low SES. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Democracy: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Increased public participation </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Economic Growth: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Shortcut to economic growth in developing nations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>IT = productivity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Competitive advantage </li></ul></ul>
Software Designers <ul><li>PROBLEM: The “80/20 factor”: </li></ul><ul><li>80% of profit is made by serving </li></ul><ul><li>the most affluent 20%. </li></ul><ul><li>Only the affluent can access the expensive products </li></ul><ul><li>Those that cannot afford the product are ignored-- NOT PROFITABLE </li></ul><ul><li>RESULTS : Even if the poor have access to digital technology, it is indented for the rich. </li></ul>Image: Steve Wampler, Flickr CC
What can software designers do? <ul><li>Create products that are universally accessible </li></ul><ul><li>Usable by as many people as possible </li></ul>Ensure that underserved individuals and communities can access education and tools-- ex. Lowering price of software Create content that is: Gender neutral Culturally unbiased In many languages Create options: Low and high bandwidth Easy to use Text size Auditory & Visual cues Language options http://www.captionmax.com/en/max-channel/logos-symbols
The Participation Gap The latest version of the digital divide <ul><li>Gap between students with constant access to high-speed internet and those that don’t. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>This leads to a gap in skills and competencies. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Gap between what students can and cannot do with the amount of access </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The public library or a school computer lab often place time limits on how long they can work </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Filters are placed to block certain sites </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Limits on what can be stored, downloaded, and uploaded. </li></ul></ul>
<ul><li>According to PEW Research: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>30 million American households do not have a computer (low-income/rural communities) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Where can they get access? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>School or library </li></ul></ul>
<ul><li>Students have less opportunities to develop the digital literacy skills necessary for an increasingly technical world. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Students with access are able to be content consumers and creators of content. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The more time they spend online, the more comfort and experience is developed with the technology. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Kids without access are living in the past. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Their future will look different. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Innovators, increasingly integrate technology into their lives. </li></ul></ul>
What can Schools do? <ul><li>Cloud Computing: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hplXnFUlPmg </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Cloud computing cons: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>has been criticized for limiting the freedom of users </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>dependency on provider </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>(I.e. IBM, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, or Yahoo) </li></ul></ul></ul>
Web 2.0 to the rescue? <ul><li>WEB 2.0 BENEFITS: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Applications are web-based </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Users create,save, and retrieve files online. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Are not confined to any particular operating system or hardware. </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The applications are usually FREE!!! </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>http://www.go2web20.net </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul>tangyslice.files.wordpress.com/ 2007/09/800px-
Hurdles for Web 2.0 http://www.bluebird-electronics.co.uk/assets/hurdles.gif