Wednesday, May 13, 2009

reading race online

Supposedly the Internet can be an anonymous environment where people can pretend to be whoever they want to be. It can be an equalizer where people can be anonymous and not face discrimination based upon gender, age, race/ethnicity or class because the usual clues are absent. However Burkhalter suggested that racial cues can still be read online.

I think that Burkhalter is correct in his suggestion. Race is a result of physical qualities depicting how an individual is treated. Race is more of a social phenomena rather than solely skin color. Keeping this in mind it makes sense that when people use the Internet they can, to an extent, be identified This is because even without the physical there are still the consequences of that social relation between that individual and the actions and treatments of society. The result of the skin color is still present in a person's character and personality and therefore is only natural that it can be identified without the physical cue of skin color.

Exam 3 review

Chatman's theories about life in the round are similar to the experiences in Legacy in this way:

Chatman believes that life in the round sis a public form of life in which things are implicitly understood. In this round, there is a small world that establishes primary insiders. Also within the round there are social norms and types which tell us if our behavior is appropriate or not. Also, these norms and their acceptance (or lack thereof) help to create our worldview, held by boundaries of language, values, and symbols. Without a particular need or urgency, people in the round will seldom cross boundaries of their world to seek information.

These ideas of life in the round can be seen in Legacy because these characters have set for themselves worldviews that they are unwilling to cross. Due to self-protecting behaviors, we will not do something that others in our round deem inapporpriate, therefore limiting ourselves to only living in our world. The characters of Legacy were very stuck in their worldviews and ideas of social norms that they only began to cross them when it became clear there was a pressing need, and that their lives in the round were no longer functioning in ways that were beneficial to them.

one laptop per child

i guess i never did this post either...

I think the concept of One Laptop Per Child should be our ULTIMATE goal, however deploying diffusion strategy NOW should not be an IMMEDIATE goal. I think when it comes to technology and developing countries, it becomes a "What came first?" equation. Do we give these countries all the technology they need in order to develop faster and remove themselves from poverty and war, or do other things like food and government intervention need to come first in order to achieve the level of technology desired? I believe the latter strategy must be deployed.

In my opinion, I don't think the issue is "will these kids be able to use this?" as much as "is this practical in these child's lives now?" is. Referencing Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, food and shelter comes much before entertainment and mental stimulation. I think our eagerness to see these countries in Africa get on a fast track towards 1st world status has blinded us to the actual needs of these countries. While OLPC may be slightly practical in nations such as South Africa, who have a greater deal of development, it would gain much less momentum in a nation like Sudan. I think instead of asking wealthy nations to contribute to the program, ask them to contribute to one meal per child, or one home per family.

Disregarding my beliefs that One Laptop Per Child should not be our first initiative in Africa, I do believe in what it is trying to establish. Even though these children receiving the laptop may have no idea how to use it, there is a level of curiosity that I guarantee will be generated. I think that by sparking even the smallest bit of curiosity in what this machine is, and how it works, the rest will come. Getting these children started early in the processes of research and learning will be so beneficial for countries and will breed a new generation more eager to change their current situation.

week 12

•Jaeger et al. (2006) found that 99.6% of all public libraries provided Internet access on their public terminals. However, there were still things related to that access that continued the digital divide. What were the issues?

- sufficient of connectivity: ex: broadband access
- main point: how gov't is now becoming internet and digitally inclusive.......counting how many people are on the internet as opposed to not on the internet.....this drastically effects funding!
- number of work stations in public libraries
-CIPA banning content deemed as unsuitable to minors--> this leads to less internet freedom and could decrease access.


ahh! Sorry I forgot about this one! After reading everyone's responses, I would have to say that I agree with the majority of people's concerns like the issues of access, what if the kids grow out the computers, will they know how to use them and doesn't Africa have more important concerns on its mind. However, I would like to say that we are being too negative about this great initiative and step in the right direction. I don't think we are giving kids enough credit when it comes to learning how to use the computer. I think that as long as there is someone to guide them through the first steps of turning it on and opening it as well as using the other programs then they will be able to figure out the rest- kids are a lot smarter than we notice. Secondly, I think that they will be grateful enough to have a computer that even as they grow up they will still use it. However, I think that a lot of the issues we have with the program are future ones, not present. I think that while this project could have a positive influence on the kids receiving the laptops there are bigger issues at hand. I really feel that if these laptops were delivered to people in starving areas of the country they wouldn't really care about them, they would be more worried about where their next meal is coming from. I would expect that most of them would sell the computers in exchange for food or other necessities, and to be honest, who wouldn't? People's lives are a lot more important than having a computer. As Compaine said in his article, "a society that has more important issues, such as feeding and housing its people, providing safety and security, and creating general well-being would place access to entertainment and information well down on the list of priorities." I would totally agree with the African government being skeptical about these computers because they have real, pressing issue to deal with. Although this idea is a valiant one, it might be better for people in stable environments that can make use of the computers.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Exam Review: Servon, Chapter 8

Which Seattle residents were less likely to have access to computers (page 201)? Compare these statistics with the Collins family. How many of these characteristics did the Collins family share?

African Americans in Seattle had significantly less access than compared to Caucasians and Asian-Americans. 35% of African Americans did not have access to the Internet at the time of the study, and only 52% of African American respondents had a computer at home. More than half of the people without computer access were over the age of 65, 68% had low incomes, and 36% had a high school education or less. These statistics go along very well with the Collins family -- they were African American, low-income, and the parents had a high school education or less.

Be able to describe some of the solutions that various organizations in Seattle designed to help close the digital divide. Would any of these solutions benefit the Collins family in Chicago? If so, which ones?

  • Citizens' Telecommunications and Technology Advisory Board: use money from the Citizens' Literacy and Access Fund to create a citywide IT planning position within the Department of Information Technology (formerly Department Technology Division). This made Seattle the first city to have a community technology planner.
  • The Citizens' Literacy and Access Fund also includes a Technology Matching Fund, which gives money to increase access, support IT training, and/or "encourage IT applications that support neighborhood planning and action" to organizations that provide their own volunteer labor, materials, professional services, or want donations matched.
  • Information Technology Indicator Project: aims to build a "technology healthy community," in which technology enhances the local economy, is equitable and affordable, meets needs and solves social issues, promotes relationship-building and community development, and supports the "sustainability of residents' quality of life."
  • NNC: helped establish more than fifty CLCs (computer learning centers) in Washington. The long terms goals are to provide each center with internet access, to form alliances with small businesses, to make all centers accessible to the elderly and disabled, and to establish a software clearinghouse.
The Collins family likely would have benefitted from the Information Technology Indicator Project (meets needs, solves social issues, supports residents' quality of life), the CLCs started by the NNC (with internet access, finding jobs or getting a GED/college degree would have been easier), and possibly the different projects supported by the CLAF (like the IT training).


If anyone has not seen or wants some more information on Legacy, there are some good things on the PBS website about the documentary and how it came to be made.