Thursday, April 22, 2004

Just in the nick of time, here are Anna's three weekly questions.
1. The Warschauer text highlights the ineffectiveness of programs applied to a broad group of people with the purpose of elevating their technological skills. This reminds me of the video we saw at the beginning of the semester about integrating computers into public schools. Doing this had both positive and negative outcomes, but didn't remedy the digital divide. As we've discussed, it is entirely more complicated. How can nation-wide technology promotions, in public libraries or schools, be designed to address the more complicated issues? Or can they? Should the level of policy decisions be more local? It seems unrealistic to me for the federal government to devise an appropriate program for such a multi-faceted divide.

2. In response to John T's third question "If we no longer look at divides in a binary way, does this reduce the power of those less advantaged," I think it is much more realistic to approach the digital divide with multiple perspectives. People without access to or knowledge of technology are not a homogeneous group. In order to initiate real change, this group will need to be dissected and addressed per part. This may empower groups by recognizing them as distinct and tailoring programs to their particular barriers to technology.

3. On page 212, Warschauer comments on the importance of local effort in fueling ICT projects. This requires a fusion of effort from the community and technological experts. Is there an industry in place to coordinate such efforts? In the spirit of capitalism, it seems that this could be a profitable effort while also being an opportunity to create change based on specific community needs. There are so many places around the world that may benefit from such specialized knowledge.

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