Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Hey. Sorry this one's late! I completely forgot about the blog. So here it goes.

My favorite part of the OLPC article was the part about the community not wanting to pay for the computers because they saw them just as black boxes with software that they didn't know how to use. This, and the video we watched in class today, just show how scary technology is to those who are technologically illiterate. It's easy for a class of college students, who have grown up looking at a monitor, to question why those on welfare don't apply for jobs, and why they don't continue their education. But for someone who is on the wrong side of the digital divide, like the children on OLPC, and many of those in the United States who are in povery, not having the skills puts them at a huge disadvantage. As we saw in the movie today, the mother tried to get a job multiple times, but was uncomfortable, as she didn't have the technological skills. Even after she was offered a free class, she was resistant to learn. It is next to impossible to teach those who have grown up without computers how to navigate them as efficiently as those who have grown up with them not because they don't have the capacity to learn, but because it is scary and foregin. It is often uncomfortable. The OLPC illustrates this as well, just by the language they use to describe the computers. They see it as a waste of money, because to them, it is a foreign concept.

Monday, March 30, 2009

James vs. Compaine

On page 56 James refutes Compaine’s argument that, "[A]doption of technologies such as television, radios, and telephones" will eventually lead to a closing of the natural gap.” Compaine compares the digital divide to the automobile gap that occurred in the past. That gap, which was significant and problematic in the past, cleared itself up. James argues Compaine underestimates the issues of the digital divide, and believes that the automobile and other technologies cannot be compared to the digital divide of today, because, for example, with the automobile, government spends money on public transit, and people live in places where cars may not be a necessity. This cannot be compared to people with or without the internet.

Compaine might reply by saying that James exaggerates his viewpoint. Compaine acknowledges the problems occurring because of the digital divide. However, when comparing developed countries to developing countries, the latter had issues far greater than closing the gap. “A society that has more important issues, such as feeding and housing its people and providing for safety and security, and creating a general well-being.” The digital divide is low on their list of priorities.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

James v. Compaine

James criticizes Compaine, on page 55, for assuming that the digital divide will close on its own.  James is not convinced that the digital divide will close just because the divides of the past have.  Compaine could reply to James by saying that the probability that the digital divide will close is greater than the probability that the digital divide will remain a large gap.  Looking at past technologies we see that the gap has closed.  There is not evidence of older technologies the retained a large gap.  Although we can not say with absolute certainty that the digital divide will close on its own, we can say based on past evidence that there is a good chance it will.

James also criticizes Compaine by saying that "affordability is just one such factor" (57).  Users not only need to have affordable technology, but they also need to have literacy of the device.  Compaine could argue that literacy is consequence of affordable technology.  Once the price of technology goes down there will be a larger quantity demanded of that device.  When there are more devices in the market, then the demand for computer literacy materials will increase, and companies will be encouraged to help out users.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Digital Divide Complacency

On page 55 of Jame's article, he criticizes Compaine for believing that the digital divide is dissappearing at such a rate that Americans need not worry about it any more.  James brings up Compain's argument that the lack of ownership of computers should cause no more concern than the lack of ownership of an automobile, both of which are important.  I feel that James was right to point out this flawed argument;  Compaine gives the impression that the problem of not owning an automobile, which was of highest concern in the mid 1900s, worked itself out naturally, without great government efforts or spending to fix it.  This impression is partially true, people moved to cities where owning a car was less important, however government did, and still does, spend a good deal of money and effort on public transit.  Although James did not point this out, he wanted to show that comparing the digital divide to the automobile divide was not a very valid argument on Compaine's part.

On the other hand, the false impression that Jame's gives us about Compaine is that Compaine believes that the digital divide is completely negligible but this is not true.  On p. 333 of Compaine's article he explains that he is very aware of the problems caused by the digital divide but that there are problems greater than inequities in technology.  He came to this conclusion because he used to teach the importance of technology in impoverished countries.  He then realized that most of the problems caused by the digital divide were trivial compared to the more serious problems faced by these countries.  Compaine would argue that while the digital divide does cause inequities for certain groups, the places in which it is a significant problem have other, more important problems to focus on.

Thursday, March 26, 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.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

No longer blue vs. white collar

Reich says that “the principal division is no longer between blue and white color workers but rather among three new categories.” These three categories are routine production workers (e.g. payroll clerks, factory workers), in-person workers (e.g. janitors, taxi drivers) and symbolic analysts (e.g. software engineers, strategic planners). These new categories are different from the original separation of factory workers (blue collar) and business executives (white collar). Before, usually blue collar workers had no reason to use computers for their jobs because their jobs did not require it. As technology advances, it is being incorporated into blue collar workers’ lives. However, the point that Reich is trying to make is that although blue collar workers now use computers, they are still be separated from other workers. Reich is saying that although more people are using technology, they are not using it in the same ways, and therefore, we are not making as much progress as we thought. These new categories show how the first two categories use computers or the internet in very routine ways, but the third category elaborates on this usage and makes of ICT for analysis and interpretation of data. As I said earlier, although technology is spreading, each person is using it differently. It may be widespread, but HOW it is used really causes the racial ravine to exist. For example, both a taxi driver and a business executive might have a cell phone. For the taxi driver, they might just have the phone for their job and for contacting their families. The taxi driver might only use the phone for its basic purpose: communication. On the other hand, the business executive may use the phone to check the stock market, type emails or read the New York Times online. Although researchers may say that the digital divide is closing because cell phones are more affordable for all people to use, they are not looking into specifics. The taxi driver might have a pay-as-you-plan flip phone while the executive has an iphone. Furthermore, the fundamental reasons each person has a phone differs. Since a taxi driver has no need for an iphone then why would they pay extra money to have one?

One Laptop Per Child--Repsonses

While I have my own personal views on the whole project that reign similar to those on the rest of our class blog, I went back to the original New York Times article to see what New York times readers had to say and what kinds of reactions they had to the article.

Reading through many of the resposnes on the article website I was surprised to find that there was a lot of disagreement and dissent with the program as a whole. Many responses pointed to the fact that we face technology problems at home and that directing our attention abroad will not help the domestic digital divide. Some posts went as far to say that we would be wasting our money and that supplying the country with these kinds of tools could put Americans at risk of these developing countries rising above us. However, there were many replies that this kind of charity was highly beneficial and the next step in connecting the developing countries on a global scale. One blogger made a point about how even though some people lack independent access to technology in the US, most communities offer some kinds of free access to technology that can be obtained with library cards. Many bloggers attacked other bloggers for shooting down the charitable ideas.

While both sides have stronghold arguements, I believe that the One Laptop Per Child is a great start, but not an end all be all. Of course, there are children and adults fighting for more basic needs and technology access but no matter what kinds of policies and services the country provides, there will always be exceptions. Despite the economic turmoil we face today, I think it is important now more than ever to direct resources to places that would not be able to attain these tools on their own. People also need to remember that this is only a stepping stone, a place to start, to begin to connect the world through technology. This whole concept ties into globalization and how our world, in order to keep up with each other, needs to stay connected through global Internet technologies. As we discussed in class, it is our best interest to help other countries keep up with us and one another as far as technology goes. Leveling the technological playing field,will allow countries to succeed together in a more successful global economy.


I think that this program is a good idea. The concept is a good one in trying to bridge the divide by give underprivileged children a chance to learn technology that they wouldn't have been able to access otherwise. The problem I see with this is that I'm not convinced that these children will take the time to learn and see how it is useful to them. If someone hasn't been exposed to technology and they are suddenly given a computer, they aren't going to understand the benefits it can have for them without taking a substantial amount of time to learn how to use it. Having said this, I still believe that it is important to expose these kids to technology when they are young. Even if they don't take the time to learn everything it can do for them now, hopefully, the next time they come across some technology, they will be more inclined to learn it and use it since they'll have that previous experience.

one laptop per child.

What really strikes me about the One Laptop Per Child idea is the concept of access. It seems that the masterminds behind the whole concept only took into consideration material access: they're helping the children in that they're giving them computers, but what about the other kinds of access? Do these kids have the skills to use the computers? Do they have anxiety about using them? Do they want these computers? Do they have the opportunity to get online, or is the computer just something they're supposed to use without Internet access? Do these children all have to flock to airports and other locations with wifi in order to use their computers to the full extent they were intended, or had this been taken into account when they were given the computers?

Another thing that stuck with me was how small the computer itself was. Sure, these kids will be able to use it when they're young, but what happens as they get older and start growing? I don't think that anybody in discussion had small enough hands to comfortably type on the keyboard. Once the children hit a certain age, are they expected to find themselves another computer, or do they no longer "need" one?

I think the One Laptop Per Child plan was a good idea, but in my opinion, it should have been executed better. Taking into consideration the lack of skills the children might have and making the computer a little larger could make a vast difference for the kids who use it.

One Laptop per Child

First of all, I found a website that discusses current news relating to the OLPC program - http://www.olpcnews.com/. There are some interesting articles here.

The OLPC program is an excellent idea and means of trying to bridge the digital divide between the developed and developing worlds. However, I think it's very important to consider the lack of technological experience that people using these laptops probably have. As we've discussed multiple times in class, having the technology is not enough. Learning takes time, and it's very difficult to learn for a person that hasn't grown up using technology. I guess the program targets children though, so that would be the best age group to start teaching this type of skill. Still, it seems like all of the information describing the program fails to acknowledge that even though the technology is inexpensive and relatively easy to acquire a specific skill-set is required to operate and effectively use the laptops. A large number of jobs could probably be created in order to teach people how to use the technology, which could be a large benefit to citizens of these developing nations.


This program seems to be a good one but i would also like to look at possible negatives it might have. With these computers little children could also be turned away from computers for later in life if they have a bad experience with them. They could still be too difficult for some children to operate, or a child could still be working at a much slower pace then someone else using the OLPC. This could almost start a competition at a young age as to who can start out better or who can understand and operate first. 

One Laptop per Child

After watching the video today in class, the "one laptop per child" idea seems like a great one. The technology that has reached African countries so far seems to be making a huge impact on businesses and jobs, but the video mentioned how many remote places have no access (many don't even have phones) and so the olpc seems like a great idea. With bringing more technology to a greater population, the spread of knowledge can stimulate the countries to grow and become more connected with the globalization, as one man mentioned in the movie. Also, with bringing these new laptops, you need to create a new workforce that can teach these kids how to use the computers. This can bring in more money to the countries and therefore stimulate them even more towards achieving globalization. But one question that I had was if these students have access, are they really more likely to go out and explore the world and take full advantage of what they are being given? It is hard to travel and see the world outside of a village or small town without the means to pay for such a journey. The internet would bring these children closer to this, but they might still not be able to actually do anything with this knowledge. How would this question be answered when the olpc comes to the remote places in Africa?

Monday, March 23, 2009


When Nathan brought in the laptop to class on Tuesday I knew exactly what it was. Back in 2007, I was watching a 60 Minutes vignette on CBS when they did a story about the dream of MIT prof Nicholas Negroponte. Which you can watch here at www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=2830221n . The idea came to him in a village in Cambodia. Negroponte and his family founded a school there in 1999, and equipped the school with a satellite and a generator. Once  computers were in the school attendance went way up. When laptops were given to the children the following year, there was a 50% increase in first grade attendance. The idea was that kids don't necessarily need teachers to learn how to use the computer. They would pick it up on there own or from friends. This computer has been designed for the child. Its the first computer that can be used outdoors in full sunlight, and can withstand water, heat, dirt, sand and any other natural elements. The battery can last 10-12 hours, and if it does, you can charge it up with a crank, or a salad spinner. It is a change in the way people use computers. He makes a great counterpoint citing thefts, the price of satellites, and higher competition (including Intel) as reasons against countries getting in on the OPLC. Yet, worldwide this small laptop computer can enable the way children can bridge the digital divide.

Negroponte is a true humanitarian by bridging the divide to students who cant afford normal computers. He is building the foundation to a better future for these 3rd world countries as well. We can only hope that his dream can be fulfilled in the future.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

OLPC response

One laptop per child is a good idea, but I'm wondering if the children in Africa even know how to use this technology.  I did not know how to open up the laptop without Nate showing how to open it.  I found this site, http:// www.dailymotion.com/video/x4dolb_olpc-laptop-unpacking_tech.  This website shows how to unpack and set up the laptop.  Of course, you need access to another computer to view this site about setting up your new olpc laptop.  The laptops are not much use if there are not programs to teach this kids how to use them.  This goes with the idea that which discussed in class that physical access is not enough.  I was wondering if there is a program that teaches kids in Africa how to use technology because it does not do much good to just drop off laptops in boxes.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

OLPC program.

I think it is interesting how on the website for OLPCO(http://laptop.org/en/participate/ways-to-give.shtml)....there is a link entitled "ways to give", which takes you to a page informing visitors of the website how they can donate a laptop to a child for $199. It offers many ways to pay for this, including paypal, through amazon.com, through a coporation, etc. This i think relates to class because it is in effect closing the digital divide. I think this option of donating a laptop is in essence allowing the people on the bottom of the "S-curve" who get the techonlogy first and are, generally speaking, well to do and better off financially to directly transfer technology to those who aren't well to do financially. This in essence shifts the "S-curve" and reduces the divide. This seems to be the point of the OLPC, and the point seems to be excentuated in the fact that on the homepage there is a huge button that leads to a page that makes donating this laptop easily...literally a couple clicks away.

vs the Ten Dollar Laptop?

I think the One Laptop Per Child is a great idea, of course. I came across some blogs discussing OLPC and found out that other countries now are trying to do similar programs. India came up with the "10 Dollar Laptop":

Unlike the OLPC computer though, the 10 Dollar Laptop is display-less and keyboard-less, and also requires printer paper. Regardless, at least India is taking a step in the right in the right direction: imagine how much progress could be made if other countries joined in on the race to help digitize developing countries. The competition would not only propel technological corporations (for instance, there's talk of switching OLPC from Windows to Linux--which could definitely be a great opportunity for Linux), but it would also involve everyone in the issues of digital divides. At least everyone then would be literate on the politics of technology, if not technology itself.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

the newest, biggest digital divide?

I know it's spring break, but the front page article on the New York Times today is pretty relevant to our class.
It's more about "divides" and less about the "digital" aspect, but the ESOL courses could definitely be looked at as a type of technology. In the article, immigration (whether legal or illegal) is cited as the biggest rift in American education today in many school districts. I think it's interesting that we've been focusing a lot on geographical and income and racial differences, but Hylton High School in suburban Virginia proves that those differences aren't really the pressing problem anymore. Every Hylton student has access to the same education quality and same technologies (and same libraries)--EXCEPT those who can't speak English well. The article's author repeatedly mentions "segregation," and it definitely provides a lot to think about.

Friday, March 13, 2009

OLPC in Afganistan and Rwanda

I found this pretty recent article on CNN.com that gives stories of the OLPC programs in countries of heavy conflict and unstable governments.  The OLPC program is providing many disadvantaged children and schools in countries like Afghanistan and Rwanda.  One of these schools, which had previously had only 50% attendance for enrolled students, has gone to over 1,000 students over capacity since the OLPC supplied the school with laptops.  The students quickly became familiar with the computers, (many had never seen one before), and they were allowed to take them home to their parents who also had never used computers before.  Many of the places where OLPC supplied computers did not have electricity, so traditional computers could not be kept there.  The solar powered laptops gave the children and the community their first experiences with computers which allowed them the kind of technology opportunities they had previously been without.

In these stories, two kinds of access are improved for these villages where the OLPC program is present.  The laptops are obvious improvements in physical access being improved.  The introduction of of these devices in the communities gave new opportunities to the children and even adults who live there.  The other improvement in access is the more ambiguous mental access.  The article shows how the introduction of the solar powered laptops in these countries helped the children realize the potential of technology in their lives.  This new motivation and interest in computers is seen in the increase of school enrollment and the desire to gain education and literacy.
in 2010 OLPC plans to release a new and improved laptop for the project. the plans include ditching the rubbery keyboard and instead has a square screen hinged in the middle that more or less resembles an e-book. the screens are touch screens an can mimic keyboard, books and etc. the new machine also promises to be more energy efficient and have a production cost closer to the aimed $100 per laptop as opposed to its current $188 cost.

this realtes a lot to the globalization trend we have been discussing in class. if the new economy is one in which capital, production, management, labor, technology and information are organized across national boarders then it only makes sense to consider ourselves part of a global economy. a global economy in which national trade barriers and egocentric barrier must fade in order for every involved party to prosper. giving laptops to children in africa is acknowledging that global technological literacy is essestial for further growth in the ever-expanding horizions of globalization

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

One Laptop Per Child Program

I believe this program is essential to bridging the gap on digital divide. However, I believe it is important not only to help the children in Africa become more technologically advanced, but also that the poorer children in America become more technologically advanced. If the OLPC program was for America as well as Africa, I believe that the gap between our country (i.e. those who have access and know how to use computers vs those who do not) and the gap between different countries such as America and Africa will decrease. These computers would teach basic computer concepts and would allow children to see and use the Internet when they haven't had the chance to do so before. In order to bring children around the world up to speed with technology, it is necessary to have programs, such as the OLPC, that enable learning. I fully support the One Laptop Per Child program.

Respose to "One Laptop Per Child"

I think that the One Laptop Per Child" program is a great concept. The article brought up many good points about how teaching kids how to use technology and providing them with internet access could help bring our countries together. This relates to what we have been talking about in class as it provides us an example of "closing the gap." One theory about the digital divide is that, based on the S-curve, people will catch up and the divide will diminish on its own. This can be applied to developing vs. developed countries, such as Africa vs. the U.S. However, I think it is worth mentioning that it might not be the correct time to "enlighten" the children of Africa on computer-based technology. Africa is a country that has more important issues to take care of, like feeding and housing its people, and making sure their society is safe and secure. It is developing for a reason, and the digital divide is probably low on their list of priorities.

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.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Division of Labore

As stated, the three categories are routine production workers, in-person service workers, and symbolic analysts. All three categories implement technology in some way, the first on a more basic level, with symbolic analysts implementing technology more creatively.
I agree with earlier posts that this is contingent with the four c’s. It is interesting that there are three separate categories, rather than the two, white and blue collar jobs. Technology has implemented all three classes; the poor, the middle class, and the wealthy. Those who work lower wage jobs, and who may not have a good education, still are required to know the basics of technology. It’s everywhere.

Warschauer Reading Question

The three new categories of workers which replace blue- and white-collar workers are routine production workers, in-person service workers, and symbolic analysts.

In my opinion, all three of the new categories of workers could contain people previously defined as blue- and white-collar workers. The boundaries are completely redefined. The first two categories, routine production workers and in-person service workers, use computers and the Internet routinely for day-to-day tasks and the third category, symbolic analysts, for more creative and analytical tasks. Overall, ICT has infiltrated all areas of work, and people that have not grown up with technology may not even have the option of working what was previously considered a blue-collar job. Also, since the third category is very heavily technology-oriented, even people with a college degree might not have the option of working one of these jobs if they did not grow up using ICT. In both of these ways, Robert Reich's divisions illustrate inequality, the digital divide, and more racial ravines caused by lack of resources in lower-income areas.

Digital divide and job division

According to Robert Reich (1991), there is a new job division, which is distinguished from the existing division, blue-collar and white-collar job. New job division is categorized to routine production workers, in-person service workers, and symbolic analysts. The workers classified to routine production workers are factory workers, payroll clerks, and taxi drivers or hospital attendants are belonged to the category of in-person service workers. The last category is called symbolic analysts and software engineers and strategic planners are in this category. Symbolic analysts have different features that they use ICT for their job and it contributes to workers be developed and provides better chance to access information, which has significant importance in nowadays society.

I feel this division could be the consequence of digital divide, because individual, who grew with exposure of benefit of technology, should be familiar with process requiring complicated computer-related work, and because this work requires professional skills, the income must higher than other two job categories. The difference in income provide different levels of abilities can afford education and environment people live, therefore; digital divide deepened the digital divide.

Chapter 1, Question 1

What is informationalism and what are the four main characteristics that distinguish it from other forms of capitalism?

Informationalism is the third industrial revoluion. It started in the 1970s with the introduction of the personal computer, transistor and telecommunications. The four features that distinguish informationalism from other forms of capitalism are:
1. Science and technology
2. Shift from material production to information processing
3. Emergence and expansion of new forms of networked industrial organization
4. Rise of socioeconomic globalization

Information needs to be spread thoughout the country and world. With the increased research and invention of new technologies and informations, the poorer countries are becoming poorer or staying poor and the rich countries are becoming richer. We need to work on getting information and technologies to the poor countries and help with making the world more equal. These four features will lead the world into a bright, infomed future.

Reich Question

Robert Reich, who served for four years as the Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration, described the three new categories as in-person service workers, routine production workers, and symbolic analysts.

The first describes jobs like waitresses, janitors, and child care workers. Routine production workers include those who perform repetitive tasks like assembly line workers and data processors. Reich says that these two categories of workers do not compete in the global work force and are at a considerable economic disadvantage. Whereas symbolic analysts are engineers, attorneys, scientists, professors, executives and  other "mind workers" who engage in processing information and symbols for a living. They make up about 20% of the labor force. 

A really good quote that Reich said is that " We are now in different boats, one rapidly sinking, one sinking more slowly and the third is rising steadily." There is a very present division of classes involved in this view as they all need to know how to use technology, yet some need to use them or understand current technology better than others for use in their line of work. Because of this, those who use it more are able to advance higher and faster as the other two are "sinking".

Monday, March 9, 2009

question 4 - week 7

Robert Reich has defined the three new divisions of workers as (1) routine production workers, such as payroll staff and factory workers, (2) in-person service workers, such as janitors and taxi drivers, and (3) symbolic analysts, such as software engineers and consultants. Blue-collar workers are defined as those who perform manual labor, earning an hourly wage. White-collar workers usually work in offices and perform non-manual labor, often dealing with customer interaction.

There is a distinct difference between blue- and white-collar workers, but the lines between the three new classifications of workers aren't so clear. While it is unlikely that blue-collar workers will use advanced technology, and highly likely that white-collar workers will, all three of Reich's divisions of workers can use technology. The only really defining division is that the third category of workers uses ICTs.

Division of Labor

The three categories are routine production workers like data processors, payroll clerks, and factory workers; in-person service workers like janitors, hospital attendants, and taxi drivers; and symbolic analysts like software engineers, management consultants, and strategic planners. They all use the internet and technology, but the first two do so in routine ways and the last use ICT’s for analysis and interpretation of data, create new knowledge, international communication and collaboration, and development of complex multimedia products. Those who have the lower two jobs (routine production workers and in-person service workers) are usually of a certain class and race, so therefore are not using this new technology to create innovation, so there is never an opportunity to escape these boundaries. So although the definition of jobs have changed, the racial ravine is still ever present and fully entangled in this new definition. There is also a digital divide because only the symbolic analysts are the ones who are fully developing their technology skills, so they are the ones who are staying in-synch with modern technology while the other two working classes are falling behind and are not able to climb the socioeconomic ladder because of this


The categories are routine production workers (factory workers), in-person service workers (mailmen), and symbolic analysts (software engineers). They are different then blue or white-collar divisions but also a somewhat similar. There is a difference in the amount of work that has to be done. People like mailmen or janitors have to do a lot of work and aren't as well compensated as maybe a software engineer that works the same hours. The people that get payed more are ones that go to school and are well educated. This can create a divide if some people aren't able to get that education or find a way to be as successful as a software engineer. Even if there are 2 people that are the exact same but live in opposing living conditions it would definetly be easier for the more wealthy or resource rich person to get better opportunities that the less fortunate person wouldn't be exposed to. This is what creates inequality or a divide.





Divisions of Labor

The three new categories are routine production workers (data processors, payroll clerks, and factory workers), in-person service workers (janitors, hospital attendants, and taxi drivers), and symbolic analysts (software engineers, management consultants, and strategic planners). These categories are different than the old blue and white collar workers because these new categories are based on computer and internet usage where the blue and white collar categories were based on if you worked in the office or did more hands on activities. The first two groups in our new categories only use computers in routine ways to do easy tasks, but the last group can use the ICTs in more advanced ways, such as the analyzing data, because of the specific training and education they are recieved. This plays into our discussion because companies are willing to pay much more for those people in the last group because of their education and it puts the people in the other two categories at a disadvantage because of their lack of training with computers.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Question 4 chapter 1

The three new categories rather than blue and white collar are routine production workers, in-person service workers, and symbolic analysts.  The routine production workers are data processors , payroll clerks, and factory workers.  These workers use computers on the job to do similar tasks each day.  The in-person service workers are janitors, hospital attendants, taxi drivers.  The people who hold these jobs are more likely to have face to face contact with people than on a computer.  The symbolic analysts are software engineers, management consultants, strategic planners.  These positions require some level of innovation where they come up with new uses of computers.  The blue and white collar categories was more between hands on and office work.  The new categories distinguish between routine, in-person, and innovation work. When i think of a blue collar work I think of a job that does not use a computer, and I think of white collar work as one with a computer.  The new categories are no longer based on computer use because anyone in each category could use a computer on the job.  The new categories are based more what the computer is used for.  This ties into inequality, digital divide, and racial ravines because blue collar work is disappearing.  Those who do not know how to use a computer do not have an equal chance in the job market.  Without the job they also lose out on the chance for more computer experience.  What started out as a small racial ravine could also grow.  If someone originally didn't have a computer, they could now lose out on the opportunity for a job.

Question 4-week 7

Routine production workers (data processors, payroll clerks), in person service workers (janitors, taxi drivers) and symbolic analysts (software engineers, strategic planners). These categories are different from blue and white collar divisions because first 2 use internet in routine ways, whereas the last makes use of ICT for analysis and interpretation of data, etc. The old school of labeling workers as either blue or white collared no longer holds true, and these two very broad categories have now been split into the more specified roles, or categories. In today’s society, virtually everyone uses technology; however the specifications of how and to what extent these people use the technologies vary. For example a taxi driver uses technology but not to the extent that a data processors has to on a day to day basis. Some fields have technology assisting them in their jobs and others couldn’t function without technology.

Labor Divisions from ICTs

The three categories of labor given in the article are routine production, in-person service, and symbolic analysts.  As Lisa said, the divisions between the categories are mainly based on the level of training and education involved in each, especially involving the use of ICTs.  Routine production jobs would in most cases require the least amount of education - usually just a short job training.  The level of training required for an in-person service job would depend more upon the specific situation.  Both serving food in a cafeteria and nursing would fit this category but nursing requires much more education and training.  Symbolic analysts, such as employee managers and doctors, usually require the most training and education.  Most of all, this last category is the most dependent upon the use of ICTs.

What makes these categories most different from blue-collar and white-collar jobs is that they are more dependent on the use of ICTs.  Even if they do not use them in their occupations, their jobs are usually directly affected or managed through the use of ICTs.  Even routine production workers, who need the least amount of training, usually use ICTs to make their jobs much easier; a good example would be a telemarketer or office receptionist.  These kinds of jobs use ICTs a lot, but companies can very easily train a new employee in the use of a telephone, email, spreadsheets, or other information technologies.  The demand for a skilled receptionist becomes much less with the simplifying of the occupation which then leads to lower salary for these kinds of jobs.  

A company's highest demand then becomes for a skilled and creative employee who can create effective systems for training employees in the routine jobs, utilizing ICTs most efficiently, and cutting down labor costs through the use of these ICTs.  This sort of management requires much more education than the routine or service jobs.  When a person does not have access to ICTs to gain these skills, or cannot get an education to prepare them for such a job, they must take much lower-paying jobs in the fields of routine production and service jobs.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Divisions in Labor-Technological Inequalities

The three categories that Robert Reich describes in Mark Warschauer’s “Technology and Social Inclusion: Rethinking the Digital Divide” are routine production workers, in person service workers, and symbolic analysists.

The technological integration is the monumental difference between these three categories and the traditional “white-collar, blue-collar” categories of the past. No matter what the task at hand, ultimate success relies on either the internet or some form of advanced technology. For example a janitor (categorized as an in person service worker) likely needs the internet to order products for their respective property or establishment. Similarly, a software engineer (classified as a symbolic analyst) will also need the internet to perform their daily tasks such as communicating with other coworkers. In the past, technology is what set the two divisions apart but it is now what bridges the categories together.

In regards to digital divides and inequalities, I think Jori brought up an effective point by relating it to the 4c’s (Content, Capability, Connectivity, and Context). Focusing on capability and using the same example as before, a janitor is likely to learn the technology necessary to order products online but is unlikely to expand his or her knowledge of other internet technologies simply because they don’t have to. A software engineer on the other hand will not only learn what is necessary to complete their job but will also utilize their knowledge in other online activities outside of the office. Although dependence on technology is what brings these categories together, the way in which it is used and applied ultimately sets them apart, further widening the digital divide.

Furthermore, Lisa brought up the different educational requirements that are necessary to become some sort of symbolic analyst versus being in the one of the other categories. To be considered symbolic analysts, a certain skill level must be achieved. The others require little to no prior training. This certainly contributes to racial ravines because white middle class Americans are much more likely to have specific opportunities for skill development while inner city ethnic minorities are not.

These opportunities to learn about technology and develop the skills ncecessary for real life applications creates the continuous cycle of technological inequalities across racial lines that we deal with today.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Division of Labor

The three new categories of labor, according to Robert Reich, are routine production workers (such as payroll clerks and factory workers) in-person service workers (like taxi drivers and janitors) and symbolic analysts (strategic planners and software engineers). All of the people in these categories use computers or technology in some way but the first 2 groups use computers or the Internet daily in their jobs whereas the last group uses ICTs to analyze and interpret data. This is different than the blue- and white-collar workers because the new division of workers all need to know how to use technology in some way to keep their jobs but some need to use them or understand computers better than others for their line of work.

Today's Divisions of Labor

Before, divisions of labor were classified by either blue or white collar workers. Today, people are classified into three new categories: routine production workers such as data processors, payroll clerks, factory workers; in-person service workers including janitors, and taxi drivers; and lastly, symbolic analysts, for example, software engineers, management consultants, strategic planners. These new classifications differ from the old blue/white collar categorization in that they are based on computer and Internet usage, whereas that wasn't possible in the old classifications. Symbolic analysts are the only category to have specialized training and make advanced use of ICTs. Therefore they are the only class to potentially have better education and technological skills which yield higher-paying careers.

New Divides In Labor

(1) Routine production workers--> They workers use technology on a more basic level for entry level tasks such as data entry and processing. Examples of Routine Production Workers are factory workers and processors. These workers use technology but on a much more primitive level than other workers.
(2) In-person service workers--> These workers are service oriented who work more with people and providing services such as taxi drivers.
(3) Symbolic analysts--> These workers use technology on a more advanced basis than other workers, integrating and applying it in their work tasks. Examples of these kinds of workers are engineers, planners, consultants, etc.

Compared to the older jobs that put workers into blue and white collared jobs, these are more specific categorizations and involve a much greater use of technology. As workers move up from Routine to Symbolic, not only their access but their ability to apply this technology increases. This principle obviously touches on the digital divide in the workforce. Most importantly, I believe it's relevant to the 4c's (Content, Capability, Content, and Context). Not only do workers need the right materials and access to these technologies but they need the willingness to use them. Because there is little need for high tech practices in janitor work, it doesn't make sense for In-Person service workers to familiarize themselves with this technology. Because they don't have the need to use these materials, they are placed at a disadvantage compared to someone who uses these technologies everyday. For someone who uses high tech materials on a daily basis, they have the ability to carry over their practices into all aspects of their lives (research as consumers, education, access, etc.) whereas the other workers struggle to understand how to use these materials. It is in this way that the digital divide between these kinds of workers drastically impacts their lives beyond the work place.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The New Divisions

The three new categories are routine production workers (such as data processors, payroll clerks and factory workers), in-person service workers (for example janitors, hospital attendants and taxi drivers)and then finally symbolic analysts (software engineers, management consultants and strategic planners). All three categories involve employees who must use computers or the internet in their jobs, but only the last category utilizes Information Communication Technologies for analysis and interpretation of data, creation of new knowledge, international communication and collaboration and development of complex multimedia products.

Division of Labor

The three new categories are routine production workers (data processors, payroll clerks, factory workers), in-person service workers (janitors, taxi drivers), and symbolic analysts (software engineers, management consultants, strategic planners). These categories are different from the old blue/white collar categorization as they are based on computer and Internet usage. The first two groups only use computers in routine ways, while symbolic analysts have specialized training and make advanced use of ICTs. These divisions play into our discussions about inequality, digital divide, and racial ravines as they demonstrate how people with more education and technological skills are usually able to find higher paying jobs as these jobs require specialized training.