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robertogreco : digitaldivide   43

Silicon Valley Nannies Are Phone Police for Kids - The New York Times
[This is one of three connected articles:]

"Silicon Valley Nannies Are Phone Police for Kids
Child care contracts now demand that nannies hide phones, tablets, computers and TVs from their charges."
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/26/style/silicon-valley-nannies.html

"The Digital Gap Between Rich and Poor Kids Is Not What We Expected
America’s public schools are still promoting devices with screens — even offering digital-only preschools. The rich are banning screens from class altogether."
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/26/style/digital-divide-screens-schools.html

"A Dark Consensus About Screens and Kids Begins to Emerge in Silicon Valley
“I am convinced the devil lives in our phones.”"
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/26/style/phones-children-silicon-valley.html

[See also:
"What the Times got wrong about kids and phones"
https://www.cjr.org/criticism/times-silicon-valley-kids.php

https://twitter.com/edifiedlistener/status/1058438953299333120
"Now that I've had a chance to read this article [specifically: "The Digital Gap Between Rich and Poor Kids Is Not What We Expected"] and some others related to children and screen time and the wealthy and the poor, I have some thoughts. 1/

First, this article on the unexpected digital divide between rich and poor seems entirely incomplete. There is an early reference to racial differences in screen usage but in the article there are no voices of black or brown folks that I could detect. 2/

We are told a number of things: Wealthy parents are shunning screens in their children's lives, psychologists underscore the addictive nature of screen time on kids, and of course, whatever the short end of the stick is - poor kids get that. 3/

We hear "It could happen that the children of poorer and middle-class parents will be raised by screens," while wealthy kids will perhaps enjoy "wooden toys and the luxury of human interaction." 4/

Think about that and think about the stories that have long been told about poor families, about single parents, about poor parents of color - They aren't as involved in their kids' education, they are too busy working. Familiar stereotypes. 5/

Many of these judgments often don't hold up under scrutiny. So much depends upon who gets to tell those stories and how those stories are marketed, sold and reproduced. 6/

In this particular story about the privilege of being able to withdraw from or reduce screen time, we get to fall back into familiar narratives especially about the poor and non-elite. 7/

Of course those with less will be told after a time by those with much more - "You're doing it wrong." And "My child will be distinguished by the fact that he/she/they is not dependent on a device for entertainment or diversion." 8/

My point is not that I doubt the risks and challenges of excessive screen time for kids and adults. Our dependence on tech *is* a huge social experiment and the outcomes are looking scarier by the day. 9/

I do, however, resist the consistent need of the wealthy elite to seek ways to maintain their distance to the mainstream. To be the ones who tell us what's "hot, or not" - 10/

Chris Anderson points out "“The digital divide was about access to technology, and now that everyone has access, the new digital divide is limiting access to technology,” - 11/

This article and its recent close cousins about spying nannies in SV & more elite parent hand wringing over screen in the NYT feel like their own category of expensive PR work - again allowing SV to set the tone. 12/

It's not really about screens or damage to children's imaginations - it's about maintaining divides, about insuring that we know what the rich do (and must be correct) vs what the rest of us must manage (sad, bad). 13/fin]
siliconvalley  edtech  children  technology  parenting  2018  nelliebowles  addiction  psychology  hypocrisy  digitaldivide  income  inequality  ipads  smartphones  screentime  schools  education  politics  policy  rules  childcare  policing  surveillance  tracking  computers  television  tv  tablets  phones  mobile  teaching  learning  howwelearn  howweteach  anyakamenetz  sherrispelic  ipad 
october 2018 by robertogreco
Equitable Schools for a Sustainable World - Long View on Education
"“The classroom, with all its limitations, remains a location of possibility. In that field of possibility we have the opportunity to labor for freedom, to demand of ourselves and our comrades, an openness of mind and heart that allows us to face reality even as we collectively imagine ways to move beyond boundaries, to transgress. This is education as the practice of freedom.” bell hooks

Instead of writing a review of Different Schools for a Different World by Scott McLeod and Dean Shareski, I want to try reading it differently, from back to front. I’ll start with the last topic, equity, and then proceed to talk about: innovation, boredom, learning, economics, and information literacy. But first, I want to touch on the book’s epigraph: Seth Godin tells us to “Make schools different.”

Different is an interesting word. It’s certainly a different word from what people have used to call for educational transformation in the past. If we were to draw up teams about educational change, I’m confident that McLeod, Shareski, and I would all be against the authoritarian ‘no excuses’ strand of reform that fears student agency. We’re also for meaningful engagement over glittery entertainment.

Yet, we also part ways very quickly in how we frame our arguments. They argue that we should “adapt learning and teaching environments to the demands of the 21st Century.” Our “changing, increasingly connected world” speeds ahead, but “most of our classrooms fail to change in response to it.” I start from a different position, one that questions how the demands of the 21st Century fit with the project of equity."



"What makes McLeod and Shareski’s take different from the long history of arguments about schools? Here’s their answer:

“In some respects, the concerns in this book are no different from the concerns of the authors of A Nation at Risk… We agree schools need to change, but that change should have to do with a school’s relevance, not just with its achievement scores.”

I think that relevance is exactly the right word, but we must ask relevant to what?

Their answer is the “demands of the 21st Century” that come from “shifting from an industrial mode to a global model and innovation model.” In Godin’s book, he presents the data center as a source of individual opportunity. While that can be true, the number of well-paying jobs at Google and Youtube stars will always be limited. Freedom of expression and civic participation can’t flourish in an age of economic precarity.

So what are the alternatives?

Jennifer M. Silva writes a counter-narrative to the worship of self-sufficiency and competition, and exposes “the hidden injuries of risk”, which often lead to isolation, a hardening of the self, and tragedy. One of her interview subjects died because she lacked affordable health-care.

What Silva finds is that “working-class young adults… feel a sense of powerlessness and mystification towards the institutions that order their lives. Over and over again, they learn that choice is simply an illusion.” Writing in a global context, (2014), Alcinda Honwana gives a name – waithood – to this experience of youth who are “no longer children in need of care, but … are still unable to become independent adults.” Honwana explicitly rejects the idea that waithood represents a “failed transition on the part of the youth themselves,” and she carefully documents the agency of the youth she interviewed in South Africa, Tunisia, Senegal, and Mozambique.
“Young people I interviewed showed strong awareness of the broader socio-economic and political environments that affect their lives. They are acutely conscious of their marginal structural position and they despise and rebel against the abuse and corruption that they observe as the elites in power get richer and they become poorer … They are critical of unsound economic policies that focus on growth but do not enlarge the productive base by creating more jobs.”

There’s no sustainable future in Western countries measuring educational success by the extent to which they out-compete the globalized Other. In her conclusion, Silva presents Wally, who is like her other working-class interview subjects in every respect except his political activism, as a token of hope. Instead of privatizing his problems, he is able to translate them into political issues. The alternative lies not in making schools different, but making the world ‘different’, sustainable, and just."
benjamindoxtdator  2017  equality  equity  socialjustice  schools  sustainability  education  children  economics  globalization  competition  bellhooks  scottmcleod  deanshareski  litercy  infoliteracy  sethgodin  capitalism  digitalredlining  digitaldivide  chrisgilliard  marianamazzucato  hajoonchang  innovation  labor  work  rosslevine  yonarubinstein  jordanweissman  aliciarobb  carljames  race  class  boredom  richardelmore  mikeschmoker  robertpianta  johngoodlad  engagement  passivity  criticism  learning  howwelearn  technology  johndewey  democracy  efficiency  davidsnedden  neoliberalism  richardflorida  tonyagner  erikbrynjolfsson  andremcafee  carlbenediktfrey  michaelosborne  davidautor  inequality  surveillance  surveillancecapitalism  shoshanazuboff  jonathanalbright  henrygiroux  jennifersilva  alcindahonwana  change  precarity 
october 2017 by robertogreco
Designed lines. — Ethan Marcotte
"We’re building on a web littered with too-heavy sites, on an internet that’s unevenly, unequally distributed. That’s why designing a lightweight, inexpensive digital experience is a form of kindness. And while that kindness might seem like a small thing these days, it’s a critical one. A device-agnostic, data-friendly interface helps ensure your work can reach as many people as possible, regardless of their location, income level, network quality, or device.

The alternative is, well, a form of digital disenfranchisement. Disenfranchisement that’s outlined—brightly, sharply—by our design decisions."

[See also: "The Unacceptable Persistence of the Digital Divide"
https://www.technologyreview.com/s/603083/the-unacceptable-persistence-of-the-digital-divide/ ]
broadband  empathy  internet  performance  kindness  webdev  webdesign  2017  digitalredlining  digitaldivide  us  access  accessibility  inequality  ethanmarcotte 
july 2017 by robertogreco
Watching my son experience school | Bryan Alexander
"He despises homework. Homework is a source of agony, even in this final year of high school. There is very little thrill in completion or in successfully overcoming an obstacle. He struggles mightily to complete assignments at school or elsewhere (public library, on the bus) so that the work doesn’t follow him home. He wants to preserve home time for himself. The flipped classroom isn’t a crazy experiment for him, but simply a good thing.

He’s skeptical about the possibility of going to a Vermont college or university. Not because of being too close or too far from us, his parents, but mostly because his experience of Vermont cell phone and internet connectivity is so awful that he dreads four more years of bad online experience. (Readers can get a sense of the state of affairs from these posts) . This is a big issue for him.

He doesn’t idolize his favorite teachers, at least not to us. A good teacher or class experience is something he’ll rarely mention. Some teachers describe Owain giving a great presentation or impressing his classmates, and that will be the first time we’ve heard of it. Instead, he describes bad experiences in epic detail, and remembers them for years. He’s a tough audience.

He has become deeply opposed to literature classes. On his own he reads constantly, and always has, but feels that academic lit is mostly about dwelling on depressing, frustrating, and upsetting readings.

When he struggles with homework he turns to us, his parents, for help. He always has. Recently it’s been bittersweet to see him advance past our respective academic abilities, especially in math or science or Python that we don’t recall.

Sometimes he struggles with technology issues, as when working on a digital video, trying to use some courseware, or fighting through Windows laptop issues. We do our best… and there we see the digital divide yawning wide. Ceredwyn and I can do a decent amount of tech support, because of our respective life experiences and professional work. We also own some technology (laptops, tablets, XBox…) so Owain has grown up with access to tools and toys. We’re not necessarily typical parents. How do young people fare when their parents lack these skills? When do they give up? Moreover, how do they do when the home lacks hardware and/or bandwidth? (These are rhetorical questions.) We have had to drive across the county to get him sufficient speeds for some assignments.

Owain expects teachers to communicate digitally, and is scathing when he feels they fail on that score. He’s not pleased when teachers and staff use email, Google Docs, etc.; he just assumes they will. If they don’t, or use the tech in an insufficient way, he mutters or rants about “technophobes” and “old people” and “Vermont.”

He communicates with classmates more online than in person, I think. Google Chat seems to be the preferred venue, although I don’t pry. He can’t text from home (see my earlier notes about Vermont), but happily texts when his phone gets signal.

Google Docs is his leading writing medium for class work, far more than desktop word processing. He’s fully accustomed to sharing docs with readers and working with their feedback therein.

The open web is his research space. I can’t think of a time when he’s used a commercial database, although he does like Amazon Kindle ebooks. He’s aware of the politics, and isn’t entirely confident in his search abilities.

Grades matter to him a great deal. He stresses deeply about exams, projects, and tests. He fears the results might not be accurate, especially if they overstate his actual abilities.

Libraries are sources of connectivity, computing, and also media (books, DVDs). They are familiar spaces for him. He prefers the public library to the school one.

Outside of class resources are important in Owain’s schooling. In high school he has spent significant time in “learning lab”, an after-class paracurricular center staffed by experts in the sciences and humanities.

He always listens to music or plays videos when working. He has a staggeringly vast YouTube playlist that he relies on, plus a bevy of favored video creators. He’ll play media on a tablet when working on a laptop.

I think he separates learning from school. He rarely describes learning in school. Instead, he views school as work, a set of tasks set by authorities usually without sufficient context. He fights to raise his passions (space, history, technology) in classes. He learns informally from books, YouTube, websites, and some games. That’s a different category than “school”.

I’m not sure how these behaviors and attitudes will change when he goes away to college.

If he does homework in his dorm room, will that space be less of a home for him? Or will he seek out other spaces for assignments? I can imagine him taking advantage of peer tutors and teaching and learning centers.

Will a professor rock his world and become a mentor? Will he rethink the university as a place of learning, rather than onerous work?

He might start using his phone for voice calls. He usually avoids speaking on phones, mobile or landline, but that could change if he lives in a campus with solid cell coverage and/or misses us.

After Owain leaves Ripton Ceredwyn and I are planning on moving. If we successfully land in a high-speed location, perhaps we’ll start using video or message services to stay in touch with our son. Maybe we’ll turn to texting each other.

As an educator and research I’ve tried not to rely heavily on my children as study subjects. I don’t want to speak of them too much, despite my urgent desire to do so every hour, because I’d prefer to stick to evidence where I’m not so biased. But I wanted to share this sketch now, partly as a memory aid for our family’s future, and also as a tiny view into education in 2017."
byanalexander  education  schools  learning  literature  2017  highschool  technology  digitaldivide  rural  vermont  unschooling  deschooling  libraries  howwelearn  youth  teens  homework 
april 2017 by robertogreco
Angola’s Wikipedia Pirates Are Exposing the Problems With Digital Colonialism | Motherboard
"That brings us to what’s going on in Angola. Enterprising Angolans have used two free services—Facebook Free Basics and Wikipedia Zero—to share pirated movies, music, television shows, anime, and games on Wikipedia. And no one knows what to do about it.

Because the data is completely free, Angolans are hiding large files in Wikipedia articles on the Portuguese Wikipedia site (Angola is a former Portuguese colony)—sometimes concealing movies in JPEG or PDF files. They’re then using a Facebook group to direct people to those files, creating a robust, completely free file sharing network. A description for a Facebook group with 2,700 members reads: “created with the objective of sharing music, movies, pictures, and ANIMES via Wikimedia.” I was not admitted into the Facebook group and none of its administrators responded to my messages for an interview.

Wikipedia’s old guard, however, are concerned with this development. Wikipedia has very strict copyright guidelines and some editors of the site say they’re tired of playing whack-a-mole.

“I am reporting a possible misuse of Wikimedia projects and Wikipedia Zero to violate copyright,” one editor wrote on a Wiki discussion forum. “I am not sure if users are doing it in bad faith, but they have been warned and keep doing it. I don't think that Wikipedia Zero should stop existing there of course, but maybe something could be done, like preventing them from uploading large files or by previously instructing them in local language about what they can or [can] not do.”

In several cases, wide swaths of IP addresses suspected to belong to Angolans using Wikipedia Zero have been banned from editing stories on Wikipedia, which has had the side effect of blocking Angolans who are using Wikipedia Zero to contribute to Wikipedia in a more traditional way. (In one case, IPs were unblocked because a Portuguese Wikipedia editor decided that an Angolan amateur photographer’s photos were “of immense value.”)

In an email thread on the Wikimedia-L listserv and on Wikipedia talk pages, users in the developed world are trying to find a compromise."



"Many on the listserv are framing Angola’s Wikipedia pirates as bad actors who need to be dealt with in some way so that more responsible editors aren’t punished for their actions. This line of thinking inherently assumes that what Angola’s pirates are doing is bad for Wikipedia and that they must be assimilated to the already regulated norms of Wikipedia’s community. If the developing world wants to use our internet, they must play by our rules, the thinking goes.

But people in developing countries have always had to be more creative than those for whom access to information has always been a given. In Cuba, for instance, movies, music, news, and games are traded on USB drives that are smuggled into the country every week. A 20-year-old developer in Paraguay found a vulnerability in Facebook Messenger that allowed people to use Free Basics to tunnel through to the “real” internet. Legal questions aside (Angola has more lax copyright laws than much of the world), Angola’s pirates are furthering Wikipedia’s mission of spreading information in a real and substantial way.

“When users are faced with a choice of partial access to internet services but not to the entire internet, they might come up with ways to use that partial internet in creative ways that might negatively affect the entity giving it to them,” Josh Levy, advocacy director at Access Now, told me. Facebook Free Basics was criticized widely, but Access Now is one of the few groups that has said Wikipedia Zero is a bad idea because it creates a tiered internet.

While the “misuse” of zero rated systems is a new problem, it closely mirrors ones that have been going on in the wider internet for decades, and the smart money is on allowing Angola’s burgeoning internet community to develop without our interference, even if it means growing pains for Wikipedia. Proposed copyright protection laws such as the Stop Online Piracy Act, which would have censored sites that hosted pirated content, was widely believed to be one that could have fundamentally ruined the internet; limiting how Angolans (or anyone else using Wikipedia Zero) access the site could have detrimental impacts.

The Wikimedia Foundation, for its part, seems to have good intentions with its wait-and-see approach. The foundation gives no money to Unitel as part of the program; a good solution here, probably, would be cheaper or free access to the entire internet. While Wikipedia editors in Portugual can simply go to another website to download or share pirated files, Angolans don’t really have that option

“This is the type of thing that reflects larger battles that have gone on about the internet overall,” Charles Duan, a copyright expert at Public Knowledge, told me. “In general, it’s better to allow people more openness and freedom to use Internet tools because you never know what ends up being useful.”

Angolan’s pirates are learning how to organize online, they’re learning how to cover their tracks, they are learning how to direct people toward information and how to hide and share files. Many of these skills are the same ones that would come in handy for a dissident or a protestor or an activist. Considering that Angola has had an autocratic leader in power for more than 35 years, well, those are skills that might come in handy one day."
angola  colonialism  digital  digitalcolonialism  facebook  web  internet  online  2016  jasonkoebler  wikimediazero  digitaldivide  zerorating  freebasics  designimperialism 
march 2016 by robertogreco
From Digital Divide to Language Divide: Language Inclusion for Asia’s Next Billion — Words About Words — Medium
"Thinking through language divides in online platforms and what we can do to reduce them"



"New Internet users who don’t speak majority languages will likely be unable to participate in global Internet culture and conversations as both readers and contributors; as Mark Graham and Matthew Zook have noted, minority languages speakers, especially those from the global south, will experience substantial information inequality online (Young, 2015). Indeed, people’s inability to speak English can significantly afect their very adoption and use of the Internet, even if they are aware of its existence (Pearce et al., 2014)."
anxiaomina  2015  language  languages  inclusion  internet  web  online  accessibility  kevinscannell  stevenbird  aikuma  translation  meedan  socialmedia  twitter  linguistics  katypearce  power  english  scotthale  technology  edbice  digitaldivide  asia 
december 2015 by robertogreco
The Digital Disparities Facing Lower-Income Teenagers - The New York Times
"The study found some overarching themes. Teens and tweens, for instance, generally reported spending much more time watching television than they did on social media.

The study also analyzed the differences in children’s media use based on entertainment prototypes — such as mobile gamers, social networkers and heavy consumers of television and music — and by race, gender, household income and parents’ level of education.

The stark differences in daily activities among teenage and tween subgroups are likely to spur further research into the implications of such divergent media access and use.

“The reason that we need to be concerned about disparities here is that technology and media are now part and parcel of growing up in America,” said Ellen Wartella, the director of the Center on Media and Human Development at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. A professor of communication, she has conducted research on children, media and race.

“When there are disparities, even if it’s a question of how smart your phone is, teens and tweens may not have access to what they need — not just for school, but for other parts of their lives as well,” Dr. Wartella said. “They aren’t able to participate in the way that more wealthy teens and tweens are able to.”

The study also found that, while black teenagers and teenagers in lower-income households had fewer computers at home, those who did have access to smartphones and tablets typically spent more time using them each day than their white or higher-income peers."
us  inequality  digitaldivide  2015  teens  youth  socialmedia  media  television  tv  smartphones  laptops  computing  internet  web  online  ellenwartella 
november 2015 by robertogreco
How wealthy kids’ use of social media sets them up for a more successful future - The Washington Post
"In this digital age, we have assumed that smartphones and apps are the new normal for youth. A recently released Pew Research Center report on teens and technology further corroborates this belief by showing that 88 percent of U.S. teens have access to a mobile phone. Of these, 73 percent have smartphones and 15 percent only a basic cell phone.

But it’s worth pausing to consider what online participation looks like for the 15 percent of teens with basic cell phones or the 12 percent who don’t have access to any form of mobile phone and what kind of a new “digital divide” might be emerging. In other words, low-income teens are unable to participate in the social media conversations of their wealthier peers.

Our team at the University of California, Irvine, has been conducting research and developing programs in coding and digital media for these less-connected youth. The nationally representative sample in the Pew data provides context for these populations of urban teens who we work with day-to-day in Southern California.

Teens use of social media

Last summer, we helped organize and conduct research on a digital storytelling course for teens in South Los Angeles. The 30 teens who participated all came from low-income households, were evenly split in gender and were predominantly Latino, with some black and Asian participants.

We designed one program around photo-sharing apps and mobile phone cameras, as we believed that was what teens would be most comfortable doing. It turned out, however, that none of them had an Instagram account and few had ever shared a photo online. We were struck by the contrast between the subjects of our study and those in the Pew study.

More recently, we conducted interviews with 14 teens in the same demographic, who were participating in a workshop using the Scratch programming platform, a creative online learning tool in which young people can develop and share their stories, animations and games. When we asked the teens participating in this program about their mobile and social media use, all of them said they texted to keep in touch with friends and family. Only half had a smartphone.

None of them used the photo-sharing tool Instagram. Only one used Snapchat, another photo messaging tool. They did have Facebook accounts, but none described themselves as active on the site. In a group interview, one of the boys called out the one boy who did use Snapchat: “We are all ghosts on social media except you. You have Snapchat.”

What’s notable is that these low-income teens do not use the social media in ways their wealthier peers do. One of our interviewees notes that she doesn’t use social media at all. “When I’m on my phone, I’m either reading or texting,” she said.

Peer groups will gravitate to the modes of communication that are most widely shared.

Income differences and smartphones

In low-income communities, fewer teens have smartphones, so texting is the most common mode of communication. It’s no fun being on Instagram and Snapchat if your friends are not. We’ve seen proclamations in the media about teenagers’ flight from Facebook and the growing hegemony of smartphone apps like Instagram and Snapchat. In other words, the shift to smartphones means low-income teens are shut out of the dominant communications media of their generation.

These observations are backed by the Pew survey data. Teens in wealthier households are more likely to have smartphones and to prefer Snapchat and Instagram. Compared to those in households earning less than $30,000 annually, twice as many teens in households earning more than $75,000 annually say they use Snapchat as their most visited website. For Instagram, the differences are less pronounced but the survey shows a slight tendency for teens in higher income brackets to prefer the app. That’s not surprising given the high cost of mobile Internet plans.

Contrast that with Facebook use, which is higher among lower income teens. While 51 percent of teens in households earning less than $30,000 use Facebook often, only 31 percent of the teens in the wealthiest households, earning more than $100,000, do so. Facebook can be accessed through a shared family PC or a public library computer, making it a much more accessible platform than those that rely on smartphone connectivity for an app.

An area of concern

Teens’ access to Snapchat and Instagram may not seem like something we should be terribly concerned about, but it is an indicator of deeper and troubling forms of digital inequity. Social digital and networked media use is where young people gain everyday fluency and comfort with the technology and social norms of our times. Whether it is managing a LinkedIn network or learning to code, young people who lack digital fluency and full access will always be a step behind their more connected peers.

In many ways, this emerging smartphone divide is more troubling than the digital divide we faced back in the 1990s. The digital divide at that time described the gap between those who had access to desktop computers and the Internet and those who did not. Public concern led to policies and community efforts to bridge the divide through public infrastructures. Schools and libraries emerged as important access points for children and youth who did not have access at home.

Today’s smartphone divide is potentially much more difficult to bridge as it goes hand in glove with expensive consumer technologies and private infrastructure.

We need to address this new divide head-on before it becomes entrenched in the experiences of this rising generation."
2015  crystlemartin  mimiito  teens  youth  technology  snapchat  facebook  socialmedia  smartphones  mobile  phones  communication  instagram  digitaldivide  inequality 
may 2015 by robertogreco
Aren’t libraries already doing that? — The Message — Medium
"My questions about the current big plan to “give” ebooks to low income kids

Yesterday’s announcement was exciting. The White House in collaboration with the Digital Public Library of America, The Institute for Museum and Library Services, and New York Public Library will work together with the rest of nation’s libraries to give low income kids better access to digital reading material and get them excited about reading. But are the project’s offered solutions really addressing the real problems and needs of the communities it is trying to reach?"



"What is missing from current e-reader book lending apps? Is the new app going to be available on all platforms? Will it work for people who are print-disabled? Who is offering tech support? Will people need to register to use the app? Will they need an email address to do that? Will their reading lists be tracked? Will the app’s privacy policy be in line with state patron privacy laws? Will the app also help people find print books since surveys are still indicating that print is what many Millennials prefer.

The Target Audience

Providing access to physical resources like print books is straightforward. Giving access to shared technologically-mediated resources is significantly more complex. How do we provide democratic access to content through libraries and schools but still reach the target demographic and provide digital equity?

How does providing digital content via apps serve the hardest to serve when, according to NPR’s All Things Considered “nearly 40 percent of households that earned less than $25,000 a year didn’t have a computer” and less than half had internet access? Even DPLA’s Executive Director Dan Cohen admits we’re still barely at majority smartphone adoption in low-income families. Will lending tablets — tangentially mentioned as part of this project — be enough to span this gap? Apple has said they’re donating $100 million worth of devices, but we don’t know if those are going to libraries as well as schools.

Will the app be for all children but just marketed towards low-income children? How do we get this program’s target audience to the library in the first place when transportation is often cited as a major impediment for low-income people to access their libraries? How will this program work with existing library ebook programs, or existing wifi hotspot lending programs (how are those going anyhow)? FirstBook has impressive statistics backing up its print book program. Is there any research that indicates that the lack of a good reading app and tablet computers is what is inhibiting the reading progress and literacy of low-income children? How will this program be assessed to ensure that it’s meeting its stated goals?

The Publishers

Publisher anxiety about offering up free digital content is understandable and yet the largest dollar amounts promoted in this program are for content supposedly being donated. What does it mean to “donate” ebooks?

Do publishers get tax writeoffs for the donations of thousands of digital copies of their titles to this non-profit project? What about overlap with titles libraries have already purchased? Will the project work with publishers to help make library patron access to ebooks in general a more pleasant and straightforward process? Does “unlimited access” really mean no Digital Rights Management or other technological limitations on accessing the donated content? Who will own these titles and what are the licensing terms? Will the content remain available to libraries and readers after the three year program period has ended?

Is anyone curating this collection to ensure that it’s balanced and appropriate for the target audience? We’re told that “Librarians will work with publishers to create recommendation and suggestion lists.” How is this different from what libraries are already doing?

The Libraries

We like to be part of these projects. Yet sometimes it seems that people are trading on the good name of libraries without actually providing material support to our infrastructure needs.

What do people feel isn’t working with libraries’ existing ebook lending programs? According to Paste Magazine, libraries in some communities are “promising to place library cards into the hands of young readers.” Aren’t they already doing this? Why, if this project “leverage(s) the extensive resources of the nation’s 16,500 public libraries to help kids develop a love of reading and discovery” is there no money in this wide-ranging project for the libraries themselves, besides money for broadband?

Who is going to teach digital literacy skills and help people use the app? Is it appropriate to have librarians volunteering for this via DPLA? Why are librarians being managed by DPLA instead of their existing professional organizations? Is there going to be an associated advocacy effort to ensure that school libraries continue to employ trained librarians, since this is one of the biggest threats to youth literacy?

The Ebooks

Ebooks are not as much of a monolithic entity as the name implies. Just saying “ebooks” does not give much information about what is being proposed.

Will these ebooks be in open formats or accessible at all outside of the program app? What about the free ebook/reading projects that have gone before, and still exist?"



"Many of the patrons who email us may have never interacted with an ebook or a library before. The library to them is not just the content but also the people they interact with and the interfaces they have to navigate. Setting your sights on low-income readers is an admirable goal; those people will need help, even with the best-designed apps and the simplest tablets. Plan for it, it’s a part of the project that won’t scale well.

The hardest to serve are often the hardest to serve specifically because they can’t be reached simply with apps and goodwill and a pure heart. If that was all it took, our work would be done already. Libraries have been working at easing the literacy divide, the digital divide, and the empowerment divide for decades if not centuries. No one wants to increase literacy and love of reading more than the public librarians of the world. So I’m excited, but also cautious. We’ve seen a lot of well-meaning projects come and go.

Kids have access to thousands of free books and ebooks from their public libraries right now in the United States. Think of what we could do if we worked together to invest in ebooks and our existing infrastructure instead of building yet another app and hoping that this time the things we promised would come true."
ebooks  dpla  libraries  accessibility  access  books  applications  smartphones  internet  privacy  equity  digitaldivide  reading  howweread  audience  infrastructue  ereaders  2015 
may 2015 by robertogreco
75 million Americans don’t have internet. Here’s what it’s like. - YouTube
"If you're reading this, you probably take the Internet for granted. It's on your phone and in your home. But some 75 million Americans aren't so lucky: They're completely off the digital grid."
economics  trends  inequality  internet  digitaldivide  2014  us  technology  education  schools  libraries 
january 2015 by robertogreco
Overstatements of 21st-Century Education Evangelists
"1. De-valuing the education most children currently receive
A favorite tactic of keynoters and their live-tweeters is to issue blanket condemnations of all current educational practice. While there is plenty wrong with what goes on in many classrooms today, such blanket statements simply denigrate the current nature of schools. I fear that this serves, outside the echo chamber, to further harm the reputation of education, schools, and teachers in the popular mind and thus detracts from the worth that children see in their own work and lives as students.

2. Humiliating and undermining the worth of educators
When gurus speak of the harm they believe done by “traditional” teaching and teachers (whatever these terms even mean), it adds to the general level of disrespect that the world at large seems to feel toward educators. This in turn devalues the experience of learning in the minds of students, as in #1, above. Educators tend to be people committed to doing right by kids; let’s honor this.

3. Exaggerating the failures of traditional educational systems
The educational practices of the past may have created the world today, but I don’t think that we can blame worksheets, lectures, or even boring textbooks for all of the world’s ills. I’m optimist and even romantic enough to believe that effective learning (and creative, thoughtful teaching) was taking place even before the Age of the Internet or even the “discovery” of Bloom’s Taxonomy. We can of course do better, and most of us are trying.

4. Mis-characterizing and undervaluing ethics education
There is ethics education and then there is coercive moral and character education. All attempts to help students understand, clarify (if you will), and form their own values are not examples of pernicious regimentation or egregious moral relativism. I am of a mind that education is indeed a deeply moral enterprise, and I believe that we ignore or scoff at this concept at our peril.

5. Undervaluing the teaching and mastery of fundamental skills like reading and arithmetic
The multiple C’s of 21st-century education are critical to effective educational experiences, but so are the old three R’s: effective reading and written communication and the ability to perform basic calculations and estimations. The deep flaws in the Common Core and its presentation do not make an argument for ignoring the idea that kids need to be able to read and extract information from multiple kinds of texts or that they need to be adept at writing and basic math. I’d go so far as to suggest that there actually some kinds of basic information that kids need to know (some basic place geography is one example, as retro as this idea may be) in order to more deeply understand the larger concepts and issues that could underlie both greater relevance and deeper engagement.

6. Proclaiming that entrepreneurship is the only path to a better future
I’ll go out on a limb and say that the idea that every child must learn to be a junior business tycoon is a little wacky. Sure, it’s great for kids to know how to create, organize, collaborate, and advocate around an idea, but the current penchant for learning more informed by Donald Trump’s The Apprentice than by John Dewey’s Democracy and Education makes me sad for kids.

7. Failing to take on the real issues in American education: equity and justice
As the fallout from Ferguson and the Garner case continues, I’m not hearing the technology and technique gurus working terribly hard to connect “21st-century learning” with issues of social equity and social justice—or straight-up racism and violence. We hear much about “empathy” in the context of collaboration and or PBL (of whichever sort, problem- or project-based), but it feels too much as though education for “innovation” and education for social justice live on opposite sides of the house. They shouldn’t.

8. Ignoring the limitations of technology and the continuing digital divide
Every time there is a power outage even society’s haves should be reminded that access to all the benefits of technology is not equitably distributed in our society. Furthermore, there is a tendency among what some folks I know call “technology triumphalists” to speak of technology as the universal cure to all of education’s ills. Research suggests that some learning actions (e.g., note-taking, even reading) happen more effectively when not mediated by gadgets, and even if this is a transitional state in our evolution toward homo gadgetus, we need to acknowledge that human interaction and certain kinds of manual action (call it “making,” if you like) still have value as part of the learning process.

9. Underplaying the issues that most imperil the world
Maybe they’re just too big and scary to contemplate, but climate change, persistent totalitarianism, and waves of intolerance and extremism are massive and omnipresent blips on the globe’s radar screen. There is danger in making education fear-based (although we weathered education against the backdrop of the Atomic Age air-raid drills and the imperatives of Sputnik Panic), but there is a compelling argument for having authentic and urgent global issues explicitly inform more of our teaching and learning.

10. Pretending that deeply reflective and creative thinking about education are their own invention
Perhaps it is that my immediate forebears were what I believe to have been thoughtful and even innovative educators, and perhaps is that I am fascinated by educational history, but I happen to be rather convinced that the generality the educators in the past were neither numb-skulled servants of the industrial state or child-hating cretins. Let’s give our ancestors in this enterprise credit for being caring, insightful, and creative men and women who were deeply committed to doing their best by the children in their classrooms. Just because some of those classrooms were single rooms with programs built around slates and McGuffey’s Eclectic Readers doesn’t mean that all teaching was horrid or that students were universally bored.

11. Failing to sustain their (our?) own enthusiasms
This might be the worst thing educational enthusiasts do to their (our?) schools, their (our?) colleagues, and their (our?) students. Every teacher can tell you about the serial enthusiasms that have washed over their schools in successive tsunamis of urgency, whether the urgency is based on market worries or sincere concern for students. And as everyone in schools knows, the defense mechanism that some educators develop against these tsunamis is cynicism that takes the form of passive(-aggressive) resistance to new ideas. As leaders we often haven’t done a great job of sustaining, or even making the case for sustaining, novel practices long enough to really see what really works or to build them into the culture of education."
education  petergow  2015  teaching  learning  policy  progressive  children  ethics  technology  edtech  purpose  history  enthusiasm  digitaldivide  equity  justice  socialjustice 
january 2015 by robertogreco
Nearly 500,000 Fewer Americans Will Pass the GED in 2014 After a Major Overhaul to the Test. Why? And Who's Left Behind? | Features | Cleveland Scene
"The numbers are shocking: In the United States, according to the GED Testing Service, 401,388 people earned a GED in 2012, and about 540,000 in 2013. This year, according to the latest numbers obtained by Scene, only about 55,000 have passed nationally. That is a 90-percent drop off from last year."



"But there is another reason for the small number of people passing the GED test in 2014: Hardly anyone is taking it this year. And that has as much to do with how the test is administered as the content. The previous test was administered with pen and paper, but this version can only be taken on a computer. And here's the kicker: More than half the people in the U.S. who do not have a high school diploma do not have a laptop or desktop computer at home. The same number, not surprisingly, have no Internet access either.

Those making less than $25,000 clock in at similar rates regardless of their educational background. So many of those who need a GED most — those without a high school diploma and with a poverty-rate income — do not have a computer or Internet access, which puts them far, far behind from the very start for two reasons: It's hard to build keyboard and mouse skills for a timed test without practice, and GED Testing Service (the company that administers the test) makes it maddeningly hard even to print sample questions to study at home.

To get sample tests, students must have access to the Internet to take them, pay $6 for each sample test section with a credit card (if their tutoring program won't buy it for them, and most don't), and have an active email account. All of that makes having a computer and Internet access paramount to passage.

"We are just finding that students without a computer or credit cards are not able to keep up as well, and in studying for a test like this, it is easy to find reasons to quit," Bivins says. "The way this test has been set up has put barriers in front of people, when we should be doing a test where keeping the goals in front of them is what they see instead of more reasons to quit.

While a certain lack of access makes studying for the GED harder, the content itself makes it even more difficult.

And that raises the question that has dogged the GED test since its inception after World War II: Is the primary purpose of the test to measure a student's college preparedness? Or is it a measure of a dropout's willingness to achieve a goal that makes them more attractive to employers?

In other words, is the GED designed to measure whether a student can handle Jane Austen novels and polynomial equations, or whether that person has the wherewithal to stock shelves at Walmart or hang drywall? The current test suggests it is the former that seems to be more important. And while the old test seemed to have some "just showing up" success rate measurement attached, which in some eyes was a practical way to administer the GED, the new one seems to have none of that.

To put it another way, we all would agree that high school students need to know more before entering college and that sound math and language skills are part of that. But are we going to ace out a whole group of people from getting a GED because some college administrators don't think their incoming students know enough algebra?

"What I've noticed more than anything is that the participation rates are shockingly low this year over previous years, so the word has gotten out that it is extremely hard," says Stan Jones, president of Complete College America, a non-profit based in Indianapolis that works with states to get more of the poor and disadvantaged into college.

"The way I see it, they have effectively gutted the GED program by these changes they have made," Jones says. "Adult students who have been out of high school for a while aren't passing this test. There needs to be a viable option for older adults to get into college and move up in the job market, and the changes made this year have greatly diminished the GED as a pathway to get to that goal.""
2014  education  via:audreywatters  policy  ged  highschool  assessment  testing  standardizedtesting  digitaldivide  inequality  employment  technology  edtech 
december 2014 by robertogreco
As Internet behemoths rise, Chattanooga highlights a different path | Al Jazeera America
"Chattanooga’s municipally run Internet is faster than most connections in the world and could be a sign of the future"
chattanooga  munipalinternet  internet  infrastructure  2014  web  access  digitaldivide  netneutrality 
june 2014 by robertogreco
Center for a Stateless Society » A Modest Proposal
"Al Jazeera recently covered Chattanooga, Tennessee’s high-speed Internet service (“As Internet behemoths rise, Chattanooga highlights a different path,” June 6). [http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2014/5/29/chattanooga-net-neutrality.html ] The “Gig,” as it’s affectionately known, operates at one gigabyte per second — about fifty times the U.S. average — charging each customer about $70 a month. It uses a preexisting fiber-optic infrastructure originally built for the electrical power utility.

A couple of little-known facts regarding local Internet infrastructure: Telecommunications companies were given billions in subsidies and phone service rate hikes back in the ’90s based on their promise to build local fiber-optic infrastructure for high-speed Internet access — then they simply pocketed the money and never built that infrastructure. The original promise was something like the kind of ultra-high-speed, low-price Internet service available in most of Western Europe.

You can get a lot of the facts at the website Teletruth.org. Today, telecommunications infrastructure construction by these companies is down by about 60%, while revenues are way up. Instead of near-instant page loads for $40 a month, it’s typical to get gouged for more than $100 and suffer slow speeds and wireless connections that constantly fade out. Believe me, I know — I get my wireless service from AT&T U-verse, and they suck more than a galactic-size black hole. This is a classic example of the oligopoly style Paul Goodman described of the companies in an industry carefully spooning out improvements over many years, while colluding to mark up prices. The telecoms, far from building out their infrastructure to increase capacity, are strip-mining their existing infrastructure and using it as a cash cow while using oligopoly pricing to guarantee enormous profits on shoddy service.

Hundreds of cities around the United States have high-capacity municipal fiber-optic networks just like Chattanooga’s, originally built to support local government communication functions, but they’re forbidden by law in most states (passed in response to telecom lobbying) from using those to offer Internet service to the general public. Not only that, the telecommunications industry raises hell in the state legislatures even when local school districts propose using their own fiber-optic infrastructure to provide Internet service to the public schools instead of paying Verizon, Cox or AT&T for their sorry producst. These telecom companies — which received billions on subsidies for a service they failed to deliver — have the nerve to whine that it’s unfair for them to have to compete with a service subsidized by the taxpayers.

So here’s my proposal: In any community like Chattanooga, with an existing fiber-optic infrastructure capable of providing better quality Internet service to a significant part of town, this infrastructure should immediately be put to use for this purpose, with rates set at actual cost of provision. But instead of being administered by the city government, it should be spun off as a consumer cooperative owned and governed by the users.

In Cory Doctorow’s novel Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town, dumpster-diving hardware hackers in Toronto attempt to construct a free wireless meshwork using open-source routers built from discarded electronics, persuading neighborhood businesses to host the routers at the cost of electricity. In the real world, schools, public libraries and municipal buildings could host such routers and provide free wireless access to those in the areas covered.

In fact, why not take it a step further? Forty years ago, in “Confiscation and the Homestead Principle,” Murray Rothbard argued that government property should be treated as unowned, that it should be claimed (via homesteading) as the property of those actually occupying and using it, and that government services should accordingly be reorganized as consumer or worker cooperatives. Further, he argued that the property of “private” corporations that get most of their profits from state intervention should get the same treatment.

The way I see it, the telecom companies that pocketed those subsidies and rate increases back in the ’90s owe customers about $200-odd billion, plus all the profits they’ve subsequently collected via price-gouging. So when local communities with municipal fiber-optic infrastructure organize those Internet service cooperatives like I describe above, they might as well go ahead and void out the telecom companies’ property claims to the “private” infrastructure as well and incorporate that infrastructure into the consumer cooperatives.

Those who follow the “net neutrality” debate are rightly outraged that Internet service providers are threatening to gouge customers based entirely on their ability to pay, simply because they can. But the proper expression of this outrage is not hacking at the branches through regulatory legislation. It’s striking at the root: The ability of the telecom companies, thanks to government subsidies and privilege, to get away with such behavior.

It’s time to expropriate the expropriators."
broadband  telecoms  infrastructure  internet  connectivity  2014  subsidies  law  legal  public  private  chattanooga  isp  teletruth  money  government  policy  internetaccess  digitaldivide  netneutrality  kevincarson 
june 2014 by robertogreco
Check Out the Internet - Knight Foundation
"To bridge the digital divide by allowing New York residents with limited broadband access to borrow portable Wi-Fi hotspot devices for up to a year.

In a city where 27 percent of households don’t have access to broadband, The New York Public Library will expand its efforts to bridge the digital divide by allowing the public to borrow portable Wi-Fi hotspot devices for up to a year. Through its pilot project launching in September, the project seeks to reach 10,000 households, providing 24/7 quality access to people whose current access to the Internet is limited to 40-minute, once-a-day time slots, available on a first-come, first-serve basis in one of the library’s 92 branches. Providing continuous access will expand their ability to participate fully in the modern economy and allow them to continue to learn, work, explore and create after the library’s doors have closed."

[See also: http://www.knightfoundation.org/press-room/press-mention/cpl-nypl-wifi-hotspot-lending-programs-funded-knig/ ]
wifi  nypl  via:litherland  knightfoundation  access  boradband  digitaldivide  2014  libraries  nyc 
june 2014 by robertogreco
What Internet.org's Stirring Video Cut From the Kennedy Speech It Quotes - Alexis C. Madrigal - The Atlantic
"And that's really the point here: Don't pretend to be saints. We are not stupid.

Because the narrow scope of Internet.org's actual mission sounds both reasonable and, perhaps, attainable, given the 60-year decrease in costs associated with all semiconductor-based technologies.

Not even a grump could take issue with an industry trying to make itself cheaper, so that more people could use its products.

But that's only one level of what Internet.org is trying to do. The public facing-side of Internet.org is not satisfied with looking and sounding like an industry collaboration to increase technical efficiency. It's also working at an ideological level to reinforce the idea that connectedness means peace, that Internet access means progress (or even Progress), that working for a tech company is about making the world a better place. 

At some point, it may (may) have made sense to associate Facebook with peace. But that time is over. 

The thing is: People love the Internet, and they'll hop on it if it's available, even given all privacy concerns. The tech business is safe. But its leaders also want our adulation. 

And we shouldn't have to worship web products, or the people who make them, or the values they hold, to use the Internet."
2013  alexismadrigal  internet.org  sainthood  markzuckerberg  facebook  internet  web  online  digitaldivide  quoteoutofcontext  context  jfk  technosolutionism  silverbullets  politics  policy  worldpeace  whitewashing  ideology  connectiveness  adulation 
august 2013 by robertogreco
California Dreamin' | MetaFilter
"Undoubtedly libraries are a good thing. The access and training that we provide for technology isn't offered by any other public service (largely because public services are rapidly becoming a dirty word in this gilded age of decadence and austerity), and without our services it wouldn't be the end of the world, but it would be a significant dimming.

If you can take yourself out of your first world techie social media smart-shoes for a second then imagine this… [lengthy case study]

So that little melodrama right there is every minute of every day at the public library…The digital divide isn't just access, but also ability, and quality of information, , and the common dignity of having equity of participation in our increasingly digital culture."



"Every day at my job I helped people just barely survive. Forget trying to form grass roots political activism by creating a society of computer users, forget trying to be the 'people's university' and create a body of well informed citizens. Instead I helped people navigate through the degrading hoops of modern online society, fighting for scraps from the plate, and then kicking back afterwards by pretending to have a farm on Facebook (well, that is if they had any of their 2 hours left when they were done). What were we doing during the nineties? What were we doing during the boom that we've been left so ill served during the bust? No one seems to know. They come in to our classes and ask us if we have any ideas, and I do, but those ideas take money, and political will, and guts, and the closer I get to graduation the less and less I suspect that any of those things exist."
policy  politics  society  participatory  digitalculture  budgetcuts  povertytrap  poverty  librarians  technology  california  survival  skills  access  informationaccess  information  digitaldivide  education  libraries  learning 
february 2012 by robertogreco
OLPC: The Beauty of Failure - Adaptive Path [via: http://berglondon.com/blog/2011/08/19/friday-links-10/ ]
"OLPC was a failure - but don’t products fail all the time?

In light of all the discourse on the shortcomings of the product, there seems to be little said on the things that OLPC accomplished that were interesting…Most of all, I believe OLPC at heart had a virtuous Buddha nature. It was created on the belief that people can improve their lives with technology & the desire to increase access to technology throughout the world.

Failure is part of the creative process & yet when we scathe each other on our individual failings, we make it difficult for people in our industry to take the creative risks necessary to push design & technology forward…

If we head for the ash heap of history, there are countless examples of failures that were necessary in order to realize a dream in the areas of science, transportation & technology…Perhaps like Apple Newton & Wright Brother’s early flyers, OLPC will be remembered as one of the colossal failures necessary to bridge the digital divide."
olpc  failure  technology  digitaldivide  risktaking  nicholasnegroponte  unschooling  technologicalleaps  progress  deschooling  learning 
august 2011 by robertogreco
CDI - Center for Digital Inclusion
"Our mission is to transform lives and strengthen low-income communities by empowering people with information and communication technology. We use technology as a medium to fight poverty, stimulate entrepreneurship and create a new generation of changemakers"

"Founded in 1995, pioneer of the digital inclusion movement in Latin America, CDI (Center for Digital Inclusion) is one of the leading social enterprises in the world with a unique socio-educational approach. CDI Founder and Ashoka Fellow Rodrigo Baggio and our work at CDI have been recognized with more than 60 international awards. Today, we are a network of 816 self-managed and self-sustaining CDI Community Centers throughout Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay – monitored and coordinated by our 32 regional offices."
education  design  technology  social  community  latinamerica  brasil  argentina  bolivia  chile  colombia  ecuador  mexico  paraguay  perú  uruguay  digitalinclusion  cdi  poverty  activism  digitaldivide  learning  grassroots  computers  software  ngo  brazil 
june 2011 by robertogreco
Getting Serious About Reimagining Learning in the Digital Age | DMLcentral
"As things stand right now, unless participatory media takes a deliberate step into classrooms & into testing data, long-term sustainable funding & adoption seem unlikely."

"As someone who regularly works with kids outside of schools in after-school & summer programs as well as spending the majority of my days waking up early & scrawling on a whiteboard, there is a significant mode of participation to which young people have become unnecessarily acculturated. With literally tens of thousands of hours spent being conditioned to facing forward & remaining in seats, we have created factory-minded young people who need to be gently provoked. This work takes time & trust; once those two things are present, a classroom of enthused minds is limited only by imagination.

Years after its implementation, I still get messages from former students about how the seven weeks they spent learning through and playing the Black Cloud game made an impact on their day-to-day lives."
education  dml  digitalmedia  digital  media  internet  learning  change  unschooling  deschooling  tcsnmy  assessment  henryjenkins  anterogarcia  2011  schools  afterschoolprograms  participatory  participatoryculture  digitaldivide  participationgap  schooliness  industrialschooling  gamechanging  funding  k12  publicschools  quest2learn  cv  innovation  collaboration  socialemotionallearning  trust  engagement  socialemotional 
april 2011 by robertogreco
Much of Rural America Still Struggles With Broadband Access - NYTimes.com
"In rural America, only 60% of households use broadband Internet service, according to a report released Thursday by the Department of Commerce. That is 10% less than urban households. Over all, 28 percent of Americans do not use the Internet at all.

The report was developed in conjunction with a national broadband map that was also released Thursday, as part of a billion-dollar effort to improve Internet access in the United States, particularly in rural areas.

Pushing America’s digital expansion is a point of emphasis for President Obama, who on Thursday night held a private meeting w/ Silicon Valley’s elite, including Facebook’s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, & Carol Bartz, president & chief executive of Yahoo. His administration has given $7.2 billion in stimulus money toward the effort, including the map, which took 5 years & $200 million to develop & shows a number of discrepancies in the quality and availability of broadband access btwn rural & urban communities."
internet  broadband  us  connectivity  2011  rural  via:russelldavies  digitaldivide 
february 2011 by robertogreco
What Happened to “Hole-in-the-Wall”? « Papyrus News
"It turns out that the two Hole-in-the-Wall sites that she visited both stand in ruins, one closed down within a few months of its opening due to vandalism, the other surviving until it became inactive. According to the article, while the broader Hole-in-the-Wall project still exists, it has evolved from its earlier approach of eschewing relationship with community organizations, schools, and adult mentors, and has now “started to focus more on the building of ties with the school, particularly in regard to using the teachers or others in the local communities as mediators in learning.” This is a welcome change and reflects the important realization that mentorship and institutional support are important if children are to learn effectively with technology."

[References: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/123429684/abstract ]

[Also points to this: http://www.gse.uci.edu/person/warschauer_m/docs/ddd.pdf ]
computers  education  india  learning  literacy  olpc  slums  technology  sugatamitra  holeinthewall  digitaldivide  access  unschooling  deschooling  research  self-directedlearning  self-directed  informal  curiosity  tcsnmy  unsupervised  sustainability  almora  hawalbagh  outdoctrination 
july 2010 by robertogreco
Hope-in-the-Wall? A digital promise for free learning. Payal Arora. 2010; British Journal of Educational Technology - Wiley InterScience
"It is posited that this approach, which is being used in India, Cambodia and several countries in Africa, can pave the way for a new education paradigm and be the key to providing literacy and basic education and bridging the digital divide in remote and disadvantaged regions. This paper seeks to establish why two such open access, self-directed and collaborative learning systems failed to take root in the Central Himalaya communities of Almora and Hawalbagh. The purpose of this study is not to deny the achievements and potential of such an approach in other settings, but to examine the tenets and sustainability of such initiatives. It is argued that there is a need to distinguish between Hole-in-the-Wall as an idea and as an institution and to reflect on the key suppositions on how unsupervised access, informal, public, self-guided and collaborative work can help in children's learning."

[via: http://papyrusnews.com/2010/06/22/what-happened-to-hole-in-the-wall/ ]
education  learning  holeinthewall  sugatamitra  self-directedlearning  self-directed  unschooling  digitaldivide  informal  curiosity  tcsnmy  access  olpc  unsupervised  sustainability  almora  hawalbagh  deschooling  outdoctrination 
july 2010 by robertogreco
Finland makes broadband access a legal right | Technology | guardian.co.uk
"The Finnish government has become the first in the world to make broadband internet access a legal right.
finland  technology  internet  politics  policy  government  access  broadband  law  legal  rights  digitaldivide 
october 2009 by robertogreco
One Laptop Per Child - The Dream is Over | UN Dispatch
"The laptop never came down to the hundred dollar price that was promised. The huge orders never materialized, and the project was very slow to allow sales to NGOs and charities instead of just governments. They abandoned the human-powered power source. They abandoned the special child-friendly OS. The laptop still didn’t sell to their target market in the developing world...Once the laptop finally started arriving in the developing world, its impact was minimal. We think." Response from Negroponte: http://www.olpcnews.com/commentary/press/negropontes_response_to_un_dis.html AND Jon Camfield: http://www.olpcnews.com/commentary/press/in_defense_of_olpc_xo_laptop.html AND See also the comments like this one: "for most people, who have been spoon-fed their knowledge all their lives, they are not capable of making the leap and learning on their own"
xo  olpc  negroponte  $100  digitaldivide  technology  debate  criticism  deschooling  constructivism  learning 
september 2009 by robertogreco
The Bamboo Project Blog: Forget the Kids--It's the Adults Online Who Need Critical Thinking Skills
"If anyone needs training in critical thinking on the Internet, it's the adults who are still living in a world where media is something they consume unquestioningly because they've never had the experience of making it themselves. It's the adults who were raised on "authorities" and "experts," in a monocultural world where many subcultures remained hidden from view and therefore assumptions about "truth" and "fact" were not questioned." [via: http://www.downes.ca/cgi-bin/page.cgi?post=49665]
criticalthinking  digitaldivide  digitalliteracy  informationliteracy  literacy  netgen  online  learning  media  internet 
july 2009 by robertogreco
Cory Doctorow: One Laptop Per Child - what went wrong? | Technology | guardian.co.uk
“Mobile phones are necessarily an interim step. Adding software...difficult or impossible without permission of a central carrier...very hard for local technologists who have a very particular, local itch that needs scratching ...Mobile phone use is always metered, limiting their use and exacting a toll on people who can least afford to pay it. Worst of all, the centralised nature of mobile networks means that in times of extremis, governments and natural disasters will wreak havoc on our systems, just as we need them most.
olpc  corydoctorow  technology  mobile  phones  education  digitaldivide  laptops  development  it  africa  future 
january 2009 by robertogreco
Meraki helping narrow digital divide | Wireless - CNET News
"Wireless equipment maker Meraki is helping make universal broadband a reality.
meraki  broadband  wireless  digitaldivide 
january 2009 by robertogreco
Next American City » Magazine » The Digital Divide
"“Broadband is important. You can’t survive in a digital economy and be useful. We haven’t made it the priority that we need to,” warns Meinrath. “When you have a global economy, people don’t understand what the detriments that people without Internet will be in. Even if the U.S. fails to do so, other countries will not.”"
digitaldivide  broadband  internet  policy  government  economics  us  world 
december 2008 by robertogreco
Just How Large Is The Business World's Digital Divide? | The Future Buzz
"There are plenty of people my own age (25) or younger that are at the same level (perhaps even further behind) than those twice their age. In fact, age has nothing to do with this, there are many high level and highly influential bloggers/social media power users that span demographics. The divide exists between those who have dove in and actively use the innovative tools of communication that have changed our world forever, and those who have not."
via:hrheingold  socialnetworking  marketing  literacy  digitaldivide  digitalnatives  technology  change 
september 2008 by robertogreco
Rising Voices » Blogging Since Infancy: reducing the digital divide in Uruguay
"With the help of a Rising Voices Micro grant, Pablo Flores of Ceibal Plan will organize a series of workshops which will gather national and international bloggers with the young laptop-toting students to show them how to set up a blog and take advantage of other social media tools."
socialmedia  uruguay  education  literacy  blogging  children  schools  learning  olpc  digitaldivide  participatory  proyectoceibal  planceibal 
august 2008 by robertogreco
Putting people first » Mito Akiyoshi: the digital divide does not vanish with the mobile
"interview provides us with an opportunity to take a unique look at what is happening in Japan: it allows us to not focus on the technology, as is so often the case, but on how this technology is used, which is often more varied and complex than one might
japan  mobile  phones  digitaldivide  culture  communication  inequality  technology  ubiquitous  society  internet 
june 2008 by robertogreco
humanitarian.info » OLPC: a different type of disaster altogether
"OLPC has been a textbook example both of the worst kind of development (broadly, rich white people believe that they know what’s best for poor black people) and the most egregious kind of technotopianism (broadly, complex social problems can be solved
olpc  education  development  digitaldivide  technology 
may 2008 by robertogreco
Putting people first » Recent immigrants driving advanced mobile phone use, both in Europe and in the US
"Interestingly, “the cell phone in some cases is being used as the primary computer for Latinos, serving up e-mail and the Internet, in the process bridging what has been called the digital divide that still exists for some minority and disadvantaged gr
mobile  phones  immigration  digitaldivide  smartphones  texting  sms  computing 
may 2008 by robertogreco
Question Box - All About Question Box
"telephone intercom...connect people to Internet...requires no literacy/computer skills...Users place free call...pushing green button...operator w/ Internet-enabled computer..finds answers to questions, sends & receives emails on caller's behalf."
accessibility  development  internet  rural  search  literacy  india  knowledge  information  email  technology  voice  access  digitaldivide 
march 2008 by robertogreco
Our Cells, Ourselves: Planet's Fastest Revolution Speaks to The Human Heart - washingtonpost.com
"It's technology most adapted to the essence of human species -- sociability"..."It's ultimate tool to find each other. It's wonderful technology for being human." Maybe. But do our mobiles now render us unprecedentedly free? Or permanently tethered?"
digitaldivide  future  global  history  literacy  mobile  revolution  phones  sms  social  society  terrorism  trends  kevinkelly  demographics  hardware  gamechanging 
february 2008 by robertogreco
textually.org: Floating a New Idea For Going Wireless
"Jerry Knoblach wants to bring wireless service to millions of rural Americans. His plan: Beam it down from balloons hovering at the edge of space. The Wall Street Journal reports."
rural  connectivity  wireless  internet  online  digitaldivide  balloons 
february 2008 by robertogreco
The XO Laptop: It’s the Software, Stupid | Xconomy
"laptops are getting into hands of kids...software developers...starting to use them...discover things they like & don’t...fixing the bugs...supporting each other. It has exceeded my expectations, the level to which the community has engaged in the proc
olpc  digitaldivide  uruguay  proyectoceibal  planceibal 
february 2008 by robertogreco
Jan Chipchase - Future PerfectShared Mobile Phone Practices
"What happens when people share an object that is inherently designed for personal use?...based on how & why people share in what ways can devices & services be redesigned to optimise shared user experiences?...should they be re-designed?"
mobile  phones  community  social  communication  nokia  janchipchase  ethnography  anthropology  africa  uganda  india  collaborative  mobility  digitaldivide  usability  design  culture  research  user  interaction  future 
february 2008 by robertogreco
conectandoachile.org
"queremos CONTRIBUIR A REDUCIR LA BRECHA DIGITAL EN NUESTRO PAÍS, para lo cual trabajaremos para mejorar el entendimiento y promover actividades que ayuden a la democratización del uso de las nuevas tecnologías."
chile  internet  technology  digital  digitaldivide  activism  policy 
january 2008 by robertogreco

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