Friday, February 27, 2009
For purposes of this assignment and this course, the video did reinforce several important points from the readings and lectures. It visually represented how cultural backgrounds and socioeconomic status play an integral role in how technologically savvy an individual has the ability to be. For example, the contrast between Cedra’s technologically advanced background and successes (resulting from her father) to that of Lucia who had no background at all and her eventual struggles proves that individuals of higher class have better technological opportunities. Furthermore, Kips story makes it apparent that cultural differences also play a part in technological opportunities (racial ravine).
In addition to these points, the 4Cs are addressed during the course of the film. Through each individual, context, capability, connectivity, and content are all indirectly examined to an extent. It captures the context of each students’ learning environment and the capabilities that they do or do not have.
Despite this, I feel as if the video could have focused more on different types of context and a lot more on connectivity and capability. All of the students were attending some sort of technologically advanced school that accordingly allowed them to excel at computers more than other people might be able to.
To truly make an effective point about the digital divide, the filmmakers should have followed a few more ordinary people’s struggle to access computers and focus more on their attitudes towards the future of technology in addition to the students experiences.
I understand that they specifically addressed the digital divide and how it effects our nation’s youth but including more interviews with older individuals and more opinions from people who weren’t given the same opportunities would have made it even more influential and realistic.
Also, these individuals do not really face a connectivity or capability problem. They managed to include how Lucia faced a connectivity and capability problem because she could not afford a computer but they didn’t take note of other types of connectivity/capability problems that exist. Including examples of disadvantaged people who live in areas where Internet service isn’t available, people who live where there are no tech labs/schools in their area, or simply people that don’t know what a computer is or how to work one could have made a significant impact on exploring the digital divide.
Overall however, the video did provide us with an opportunity to see real world examples of the digital divide. I now have a better understanding of how much of an impact technology or the lack of technology has on everyone. It definitely demonstrated many aspects of the course but could have been extremely effective if additional aspects of the digital divide were considered.
I enjoyed listening to the stories of young kids following their dreams and taking advantage of the technological opportunities out there. I also liked that many of these kids worked to pass their knowledge onto an even younger generation, further advancing our society in technological communication and literacy.
In regards to the technology high school, I don't necessarily think that it is a good idea to put kids in a specialized school at that young of an age. It makes it more difficult for the student to gain knowledge in other subjects and display his or herself as a well-rounded individual. It may be more beneficial for the student to make use of computers as a hobby, or through a club, or something of the sort. This way, the student may get the best of both worlds: knowledge of telecommunications AND traditional school subjects.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Some good starting points would be to compare and contrast the differing stories. We witnessed four different stories--those of Luisa, Cedra, Travis, and Kep. How do issues that we've been discussing in class relate to their stories? How can we think about their narratives in terms of racial ravines, 4Cs, or social capital? What sorts of differences allow some of them to do well but not others?
I'd also like everyone to reply to one of the responses. In particular, I'd like you to respond to a classmate that noticed something you hadn't. Was there any reason you didn't notice that particular point? Do you think about labor and race differently now because of that post?
Monday, February 23, 2009
o Context: The authors describe the Internet as a “socio-technical network.” What does this mean?
§ According to the article “By conceptualizing the Internet as a pluralistic domain that includes the broader context in which the technical components are embedded, we explicitly connect social with technical to form the intimate interdependency of the Internet as a socio-technical network.” So a socio-technical network is a network in which social and technical aspects are combined in a way that’s interdependent of one another.
o Connectivity: What are some of the nuances of connectivity the authors describe? Is it enough just to be plugged in?
§ The main nuance of connectivity the authors describe is the discrepancy that certain areas receive in their broadband signal strength. The telecommunications act of 1996 labels high speed internet as “connection speeds above 256 kbps.” Yet “higher connection speeds are required to effectively utilize many WWW applications in use today.” This creates a digital divide in underserved communities because their broadband strength is insufficient to connect to programs or sites that require faster connection rates.
Capability: What is defined as “skill” in this article? Is it simply computer skills? Or are there more needs to be addressed?
“The utility of any technology derives directly from the skill of the user as well as the delivery capacity of the local institutions, capability gauges the ability to deliever or acquire the service.” So there is more to skills than just ability with computers because you need to consider ones capability to learn and elevate their skill set as they acquire more skills than they initially had.
o Content: What if they built an Internet and no one came? In other words, once we have the first three Cs, what else is necessary to get the groups the authors identified into a participatory mode in an increasingly Internet-dependent society?
§ “Relevant content is necessary because it provides a forum for interacting within local communities as well as a window to the outside world.” “If content that is relevant to individuals and members of the community is not available, it will be difficult to encourage and sustain use.”
Sarling, J. H., & Van Tassel, D. S. (1999). Community analysis: Research that matters to a north-central Denver community.
The researchers talked to local principal and a school librarian about education in that area and found out there were complex problems in busing students, such as changing operation area every year. It effected on both students and parents in negative ways (makes parents tired of picking up their children, unable to join school activities for students, long bus rides).
“While the 1990 Census indicates an existing problem, those statistics so not reflect the gravity of the situation.” (p. 18)
• List some recommendations made by the researchers upon completion of their study.
They made several recommendations cover from external form to policies in that libraries.
- “We strongly recommended a continuation of the library’s visible presence begun during the Community Analysis.”
- “To counter these feelings of mistrust [feelings of residents towards library], we recommend that the design of the branch be a building with a permanent, solid… “
- “The research elicited information suggesting a variety of library policies”
• With whom did they share their study, and who requested copies? Why? List some examples, both expected and unexpected.
- “The written report of our community analysis was given to all interested parties, including the City Librarian, Library Commissioners, … during our investigation”
- “copies of the report have been requested by many people including the Swansea Elementary School principal who was facing an important School Board decision, … and a regional library director who wants librarians in his area to learn how to practice community analysis.” (p. 23)
• Who is Pilar-Casto-Reino? Why is she important?
- “Almost four years after the analysis was begun, we interviewed Pilar Castro-Reino, the Outreach Librarian for the Valdez-Perry Branch of the Denver Public Library to evaluate our recommendation." (p. 24)
- From the interview, she showed how she followed the recommendation that researchers suggested, and proved the development according to the analysis result.
· The importance of social capital is that crime is lower when neighbors know each other
o Tangible examples of social capital: bowling club, marching band
· The “problem of leisure” came up in the 1960s
o It was defined by as “the most dangerous threat hanging over American society is the threat of leisure,” and that “Americans face a glut of leisure.”
o It was a problem because Americans were combining in numbers (at bowling leagues) and then getting their way from their public servants (like new roads, etc.)
§ People were becoming political activists
· Putnam says that the change in social interactions came from how people interacted
· “Frequent interaction among a diverse set of people tends to produce a norm of generalized reciprocity,” and “when economic and political dealing is embedded in dense networks of social interaction, incentives for opportunism and malfeasance are reduced””
o Putnam gave examples of the firefighters fundraisers that said “Come to our breakfast, we’ll come to your fire”
o People also thought that people were becoming more “trustworthy,” so they interacted more with strangers
• What main question did the researchers hope to answer with this research study?
The researchers were hoping to characterize the factors contributing to neighborhood public library use in New York City. (p450)
• What is GIS, and how and why did the researchers use it in the context of this study? Why were notions of space important?
Geographical Information System (GIS) is software that captures, stores, analyzes, manages, and presents data that refers to or is linked to location. The researchers were able to use this software to study the population characteristics in certain neighborhoods and correlate them with library usage data. Since the study focused on neighborhood branch libraries, the neighborhood characteristics (space) were important. (p451)
• What is “central-place theory”?
“Central-place theory is a location theory in geography explaining the location of consumer services such as library service. The concepts of range (the distance people travel to obtain a service) and hexagonal market area in central-place theory have often evolved into travel time of library users, distance between libraries, or size of the library market area in the studies of library accessibility.” (p448)
• How did the researchers define “neighborhoods”?
“There is a consensus that [a neighborhood] is a geographical or spatial entity with boundaries. All of a neighborhood’s attributes work together to give the neighborhood an identity, although some attributes are more important than others in doing so.” (p449)
• What were the primary findings of the study? (Big picture rather than specific stats for this)
There are several important neighborhood characteristics that contribute to library use, including race, income, education, and the spatial accessibility of the library branch location. (p460)
• What did the researchers discover about circulation statistics? What main recommendations did the researchers make?
The researchers found that “the relationship between circulation and neighborhood characteristics is nonlinear.” Thus, more funding than is proportional to their circulation numbers should be given to library branches in disadvantaged neighborhoods. (p461)
Sunday, February 22, 2009
• Circulation statistics, an easy measure to take, come back up in this article. Why are these problematic? What kinds of materials do they miss? What kinds of use and users do they miss?
- Circulation statistics are problematic because they are outdated. We need to re-evaluate the way libraries are being used in today's society. Minorities use reference services and attend library programs more often than they check out books.
• What can the outcome be of low circulation statistics?
-Libraries play a main role in low-income learning because of the services and programs that they offer to everyone for free.
• How do libraries fulfill a role in the process of lifelong learning for low-income persons?
-See above bullet-point. Low-income persons can take advantage of these offerings free of charge, and thus learn how to keep up with life in today's technologically advanced society.
• What was the stated goal of this study?
-"The project’s primary goal was to demonstrate the value of collecting alternative measures of library use and develop
standardized methodologies for collecting such data at the outlet level. There were three major questions that the collected data were designed to address:
! What are differences in library use within library markets, with special emphasis on
majority–minority and majority White/low income markets?
! What new library performance measures can be developed to capture these alternative and
! Is it possible to develop a generalized yet customizable data collection system that can be
standardized across different public libraries?"
• List some of the “alternative measures of library use” the researchers identified and collected usage statistics on.
-"Data Category 1: In-library use of materials
1. Material format (e.g., book, magazine, newspaper)
3. Language of material (e.g., Spanish, English)
4. Circulation status (i.e., circulating, noncirculating)
5. Material type (e.g., easy, juvenile, young adult, large-print)
6. Dewey decimal (100’s and 10’s) or Library of Congress (first two letters)
Data Category 2: Library assistance data
1. Transaction type (i.e., in person, by phone, over computer)
2. Age of user (e.g., preschool, juvenile, young adult)
3. Assistance question type (e.g., travel, science project, genealogy)
4. Time to answer question (e.g., 1–5 min, 6–15 min)
Data Category 3: Observed library user activity data
1. Library location of activity (e.g., adult area, homework center)
2. User activity (e.g., reading, browsing, using computer, library program)
3. Computer software used (if applicable)
4. Number of users in activity
5. Age of user (e.g., preschool)"
• What can these alternative measures tell library management, administrators and others about a given branch library’s use? (Think “funding.”)
-"Additional measures are also critical at a time when many public libraries are facing
budgetary constraints. In reaction to reduced funds, public libraries are merging, resiting, or
closing outlets. Available evidence indicates that actions such as merging, resiting, or
closing a public library branch disproportionately reduce access to information resources
and lifelong learning opportunities for minority and low-income groups (Chu, 1998; Hayes
& Palmer, 1983; see also Koontz, 1997, pp. 44–54)."
Libraries funds need to now be used for references services and additional library programs offered.
• What can the measures tell the librarians on-site about that library’s use by community members? (Think “services.”)
- Libraries need to develop programs and services that are accomadating to the people that use them at each specific library. That is why understanding how people are using their libraries is important.
What is "Community Informatics"? What does it hope to accomplish?
Community Informatics is the "practice devoted to enabling communities with information and communications technologies." it is also described as a "multidisciplinary field for the investigation and development of the social and cultural factors..." p. 6 of the Ann Peterson Bishop article.
With the us of CI, one hopes to be able to understand how the knowledge is shared and shaped around a certain community. What makes them different, similar, unique needs, etc.
What is an ICT?
ICT stands for Information and Community Technology and it can be anything from the Internet, computer, etc. They support "collaboration, creativity, learning and new forms of expression and social action" p 6. In my opinion, they help bring a community closer.
Define "pragmatic technology"
The term "pragmatic" means that instead of acquiring research in a lab, one goes out and about and tries to find a solution to solve a certain problem.
CI in real-world life. Three examples:
Prairienet is a 10 year old community network that uses Web CI applications and available online. It offers various services, such as directories, human and health services information, emergency drop-in childcare, etc. They also try to establish CTC's(Community technology centers) in low-income and non-profit organizations.
Community Inquiry Lab:
The Community Inquiry Lab has produced a software called iLabs, its free and open source and can be used by anyone around the world. iLabs can be used to create websites that "support the communication and collaboration needed to pursue their inquires in classrooms, coomunity centers, libraries, etc." p. 9. It contains software for just about anything needed on the web.
The Paseo Boricua Community Library project's goal is to "create a distributed community inquiry whose participans come from all walks of life and in which each participant has both something to learn and something to contribute." p. 9.
They want to take care of the digital-divide and enrich library and information science with the experiences and knowledge of the community by offering unique services.
On page 38 of the article, Mayor Richard M. Daley and the Chicago Public Library hoped that the new library would encourage improvements in Cabrini Green and that it would bring together residents of two neighborhoods who had virtually no contact with one another. The library is located on the border between these two neighborhoods because both communities had been requesting a new branch.
How did the location play a role in the creation of the library?
Chicago Public Library Commissioner, Mary Demspey, was given the task to build the new library. She decided to pick a site in Cabrini that was close enough to Gold Coast that those residents would still "feel" that the library was accessible. (pg. 38) Dempsey also decided to build a large parking lot so that people who were not comfortable walking in the dangerous neighborhood would be able to drive there safely.
Friday, February 20, 2009
A study guide will be distributed later this week, and your online blogging assignment this week is to choose one part of it and answer a question for your peers. As others fulfill this assignment, try to choose something someone else hasn't answered. The test preparation will be much more effective if it covers a broader set of questions.
Cite page numbers, too! Part of good scholarship is allowing others to check your work. Be kind, and be as specific as you can about how and where you are getting your answers.
To keep this all organized, please respond in the comments to this post.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
This is question 1 for "Bowling Alone" off of the study guide Prof. Whitmire emailed out last night.
Social Capital: What is this? Can you define it?
social capital is "developing networks of relationships that weave individuals into groups and communities"
This topic was covered in lecture on Tuesday, January 27 (which is where the above quotes are taken from) and appears on page 19 of the article, which is the first one in our reader.
The article describes social capital as:
"connections among individuals - social networks and the norms of reciprocity and trustworthiness that arise from them. In that sense social capital si closely related to what some have called "civic virtue." The difference is that "social capital" calls attention to the fact that civic virtue is most powerful when embedded in a dense network of reciprocal social relations. A society of many virtuous but isolated indivuduals is not necessarily rich in social capital."
Social capital, as shown in the article, emphasizes how our lives are made more productive by social capital.