3. Digital Inequality Presentation

Studies have been done on both digital divide and digital inequality.  When researching the digital divide, writers look more globally instead of regionally.  The digital divide is basically the division between those who have Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and those who do not (bridges.org, 2006).  It looks not necessarily at individuals as much as at countries.

Digital inequality zooms in and looks at the quality of access within the country or region.  Do people have the same quality of ICT?  Are there factors that figure in to receiving access like: location, socioeconomic status, gender, race and age (Dimaggio, Hargittai, Celeste, Shafer, 2004)?  These are the questions that are answered when studying digital inequality.

Using the scenario these are the suggestions from Superintendent (1-7), and my ideas (8,9) including pros and cons I have found for each of the suggestions.

  1. Install computers in all public libraries in the state and expand the hours when the computers are available.
    1. Pro- Control on how the computer is being used
    2. Con- Location could be bad; must pay fees if not in city limits
    3. Con-Could have to expand building ($$)
  2. Expand staffing and other resources so that public schools can be open to the public after normal school hours, on weekends, and during the summer months.
    1. Pro- Control on how the computer is being used
    2. Pro- Gives more options for locations
  3. Provide individuals in disadvantaged communities with computers.
    1. Pro- Everyone has a computer
    2. Con- Many will not be educated on how/why to use it
    3. Con- Many will not use it/could be misused
  4. Provide high-speed Internet and mobile access for all state residents.
    1. Along with expanding broadband coverage
    2. Pro-More people will have access with their own devices
    3. Con-Some do not have devices so nothing changes for them
  5. Subsidize Internet Service Providers to provide low-cost Internet to all state residents.
    1. Pro-Makes services cheaper for those interested in ICT
    2. Pro-Effects all residents- not just low/high income families
  6. Provide information literacy courses to enhance computer skills and enable knowledgeable use of digital technologies.
    1. Pro- People will learn the benefits of using ICT
    2. Pro-People will broaden their usage of ICT
  7. Develop free online educational content, giving first priority to content most relevant to lower socio-economic groups before content that is relevant to the rest of the public.
    1. Pro-Education!
    2. Con-Interest level (need to create motivation for these educational programs)
  8. Provide technological support for troubleshooting, and fixing ICT problems.
    1. Pro-Education!
    2. Pro-Systems will be kept in better shape
  9. ICT program for families to “rent” digital technologies like they do books from the library.
    1. Pro-Families that are interested will have access to try different digital technologies
    2. Con-Technologies could be abused/misused

In the order of importance, these are the 7 options I think we should further research to implement within our state.

  1. Expand staffing and other resources so that public schools can be open to the public after normal school hours, on weekends, and during the summer months.
    1. This allows parents, students, and other community members access to technology and yet having some control on content.  School technology already has safeguards set to protect unnecessary and inappropriate use of the devices.
  2. Provide technological support for troubleshooting, and fixing ICT problems.
    1. Many people may have access to ICT, however once problems arise, do not know how to fix them.  Most problems are very easy to fix, yet many people do not have the ability or confidence to fix the issues within the technology.
  3. Develop free online educational content, giving first priority to content most relevant to lower socio-economic groups before content that is relevant to the rest of the public.
    1. Education is key!  Providing information to lower socio-economic groups gives citizens the option to learn how to improve their own situations.
  4. Provide information literacy courses to enhance computer skills and enable knowledgeable use of digital technologies.
    1. Again, education is key!  Courses will help community members learn how to deal with troubleshooting on their own and widens the possibilities on how to use different ICT produces.
  5. Provide high-speed Internet and mobile access for all state residents.
    1. This is a convenience to all residents within the state!  Each resident will benefit from it no matter what economic group one is in.
  6. Subsidize Internet Service Providers to provide low-cost Internet to all state residents.
    1. Very similar to the previous idea.  This should also include expanding the broadband coverage as well.
  7. ICT program for families to “rent” digital technologies like they do books from the library.
    1. I liked the idea of “renting” devices for a certain amount of time instead of giving devices away (#3).  Renting devices, like books from the library, does put some responsibility on the people who rent.  There would be financial restitution for damaged devices.

Please view my presentation on digital inequality from the following site.  Enjoy!

http://prezi.com/presentation/jaimepiatt@u.boisestate.edu/p07bivw/

Resources:

Barzilai-Nahon, K. (2006). Gaps and bits: Conceptualizing measurements for digital divide/s. The Information Society, 22(5), 269-278. (PDF link)

bridges.org (2005).  Overview of Digital Divide.  Retrieved from http://www.bridges.org/

DiMaggio, P., & Hargittai, E. (2001). From the ‘digital divide’ to ‘digital inequality:’ Studying Internet use as penetration increases. Princeton University Center for Arts and Cultural Policy Studies, Working Paper Series number, 15. Retrieved from http://www.princeton.edu/~arts…gittai.pdf

DiMaggio, P., Hargittai, E., Celeste, C., & Shafer, S. (2004). From unequal access to differentiated use: A literature review and agenda for research on digital inequality. Social Inequality, 355-400. Retrieved from http://www.eszter.com/research…uality.pdf

World Bank, World Development Indicators.  (2011).  Internet Uses As Percent of Population.  Retrieved from http://www.google.com/publicdata?ds=wb-wdi&ctype=l&strail=false&nselm=h&met_y=it_net_user_p2&scale_y=lin&ind_y=false&rdim=country&idim=country:USA&tdim=true&hl=en&dl=en

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