Thursday, April 30, 2009

A digital divide?

Now that there's a substantial amount of scholarship out on the digital divide, I feel that future progress in regard to the creation of theory and policy can only be had through an examination of other conceptual tools. Looking into Tichenor, Donohue and Olie's Knowledge Gap and other modes of analysis with help to show that the underlying concerns about a digital divide have been voiced in other areas and earlier eras.

There's definitely inequity in regard to access and use of ICTs throughout the world and between various groups of people. I believe that in order to address the underlying issues, we need to depart from categorizing people into groups like the information-haves and have-nots. While it may be just a point of semantics, I think that it creates an impression that there are specific methods/policies/etc. that can be universally enacted to ameliorate the digital divide. One of the many points that I gleaned from this class is that the diversity of human needs and experiences cannot be adequately addressed through linear methods.

I feel that grassroots activism is an effective way for people to address the information needs of their specific groups and communities. Education is always a key element in this process, but I worry (with good reason) that many of the humanitarian efforts made by corporations within the U.S. and other industrialized nations to help address information poverty are market-driven and not helping marginalized groups develop the skills and tools they need to make informed decisions about how they use ICTs in their lives.

No comments:

Post a Comment