Digital Divide Laurie Shteir
Digital Divide • The "Digital Divide" describes the gap between individuals and communities with greater and lesser access to technology resources and training. • “Digital Divide” refers to the gap between those able to benefit from digital technology and those who are not. • Larry Irving, Tech Advisor to President Clinton popularized the term in the 1990s • Goes beyond access and encompasses who is actually helped by technology • Related to social inclusion and opportunities
Digital Divide • What has helped with the Digital Divide • Falling price of digital devices • More computers in public schools and libraries • Cell phones and handheld devices that connect to the internet have helped more people to gain access the internet • Evolution of the web into a cultural crossroads - of work, play and social interaction
Digital Divide • Using new technology to provide clean drinking water available to poor people • Improving health care services for the poor. • Thus, closing the Digital Divide is about catalyzing the digital economy so that it serves poor people whether those people have their own direct access to computers or not.
Digital Divide • (Pew Report, 2005 on Internet Usage) • Income • 53% of households with incomes of less than $30,000 are on-line • 80% of households between $30,000-50,000 are on-line • 86% of households between $50,000-75,000 are on-line • 91% of households above $75,000 are on-line • Education • 40% are on-line with less than a high school degree • 64% are on-line with a high school degree • 84% are on-line with some college work • 91% are on-line with a college degree • Race • 73% of White, non-Hispanic are on-line • 60% of Black, non-Hispanic are on-line • 70% English-Speaking Hispanics • Location • 75% of urban users are on-line • 73% of suburban users are on-line • 60% of rural users are on-line
Digital Divide • Tendency to view digital divide as binary and simplistic • Solutions have tended to be physical and digital while ignoring other factors • Does the individual have access to a computer • Where? Work? Home? Library? Community Center? • Library • Where is the library, how do they get there, what is the cost, what are the hours, how long can they use the computer • Home • What programs are on the computer, can they read files downloaded, can they copy MS Office? Is that legal? • Infrastructure to support the access • Internet Access • Cost of the Internet Access? • Speed of the connection? Reliability?
Digital Divide Job Market: More and more jobs require IT skills, Career Development Economic Equality: Access to Information and Services, Self Sufficiency Democracy: Access government services,participate in discussion of policies thru blogs, mailing lists, deliberation forums
Digital Divide • Gradations based on different access to Information, access to communication technologies and varying tech skills • Consider these scenarios • A Professor with high a high speed connection in his office • A student in Seoul occasionally using a cyber-café • A rural activist in Indonesia who has no computer or phone line but whose colleagues in her women's group download and print out information for her • Economic Divide, Usability Divide and Empowerment Divide
Digital Divide • Barriers • Physical Resources • Access to a computer and internet access • Digital Resources • Content Gap • Human Resources • Literacy and training • Social Resources • Community Support
Global Digital Divide • Economic Divisions • 60% of Internet users reside in North America (5% of the world population) • Developed vs Developing Countries • Variety of software available • Maps • E-Commerce/Shopping/Price Comparisons • On-Line Research • Electronic Government Services
Wireless Use • Feb 2007 Pew Report • Some 34% of internet users have logged onto the internet using a wireless connection either around the house, at their workplace, or some place else. • Laptop, PDA, cell phone • Those who have logged on wirelessly from a place other than home or work 27% • Those who have wireless networks in their homes 19% • Those with personal digital assistants that are able to connect to the internet wirelessly 13 %
Digital Divide • Among the 34% of internet users who have gone online wirelessly: • 72% of wireless users check email on the typical day compared to 63% of home broadband users and 54% of all internet users. • 46% get news online on the typical day, compared to 38% of home broadband users and 31% of all internet users.
$100 Laptop • OLPC (One laptop per child) • Delaware based, US non profit created by faculty from the MIT Media Lab • Design, Manufacture, Distribute a low end – low cost laptop • Sold to governments and distributed thru schools • 7 countries have made commitments to purchase the machines (Argentina, Brazil, Libya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Thailand and Uruguay.) Intended to be distributed to children around the world, especially to those in developing countries, to provide them with access to knowledge and modern forms of government Quanta Computer, the project's contract manufacturer, said in February, 2007 that it had confirmed orders for one-million units. The founding corporate members are Google, News Corp, AMD, Red Hat, Brightstar and Nortel, each of whom donated two million dollars to the project.
City wide wireless high speed network • Wireless Philly’s ISP: EarthLink • Allocation of discounted accounts to low-income households ($9.95/month) • Refurbish computers, teach workshops on internet applications and provide technical support to new Internet users • Free “hot spot” areas in the city • Proof of Concept Areas(pilot) • 15 neighborhoods • Wireless routers on flag poles and other tall structures
Digital Divide It's absolutely true that people need food and shelter, but I think it is also undeniably true that information technology can, in real and immediate ways, improve people's standard of living Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina
Digital Divide • Warschaurer, M (2002). Reconceptulaizing the Digital Divide. Retrieved March 5, 2007, from Reconceptulaizing the Digital Divide Web site: http://www.firstmonday.org/issues/issue7_7/warschauer/ • Dickard, N (2002). Digital Divide: Where we are today. Retrieved March 5, 2007, from Information and Inspiration Web site: http://www.edutopia.org/php/keyword.php?id=188 • Iacolare , L (January 2007). The Digital Divide: Issues And Possible Solutions. Retrieved March 5, 2007, from The Digital Divide: Issues And Possible Solutions Web site: http://www.masternewmedia.org/news/2007/01/27/the_digital_divide_issues_and.htm#