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March 4, 2007

One Laptop for Every Non-User

Hi everyone. My apologies for the very tardy blog, especially since the parity issue is one that is of great interest to me.

I agree with what others in class have said about some populations having knowledge of the the Internet and what it can do--or some idea of what it can do, and having the right to shrug it off if they want. I think each new form of technology has had its corners of resistance. I have a cousin who does not have a television. However, you guessed it, his two teenage children, and he, are on the Internet quite a bit. It amused me that the tone of the Pew report, "The Ever-shifting Internet Population", was kind of between wonderment and irritation that anyone who was able would dare NOT use the Internet. It kind of reminds me of a scene in

The Coalminer's Daughter,
when Loretta Lynn's husband, Mooney, receives a message for her from a neighbor--yelled across a field--because the Lynn's are too poor, proud, or terrified to get a phone. (Relatives had to call the neighbor to send important, usually bad, news.) Finally the neighbor asks Mooney why they don't just get their own phone. Mooney says something innocuous, that I can't remember right now--like he prefers talking to people face to face.

There may be a point when not having Internet access will be just as much of an irritant as a neighbor without a phone, who has no problem giving out your number to relatives and friends. Have we reached that point yet? In my job we have gone from sending a series of mailings to admitted students to sending the information only by e-mail. It has been the rare admitted student who requests hard copies of information. Similarly, many areas of the University are directing people to websites rather than phone numbers or offices for information. Who are we not serving then?

I was surprised and disheartened by the information about disabled users and non-users in the Pew Population article. I had assumed that people with disabilities, though usually underemployed, had access to hardward and software for free or at a discount, because of the disability. Ceratinly, due to the limited populations such technologies serve, the costs are what they are, but don't state and federal programs assist with such costs? It seems like it would be good money spent--a user with limited mobility for whatever the reason is ideally suited for the specialized communities the Internet offers.

That the poor did not use the Internet did not surprise me since the costs of ISP service and hardware is an ongoing expense that is hard to justify when money is tight. I did wonder why the use of the Internet of African Americans tended to lag behind that of other groups, no matter the income or education level. I also wondered how American Indians faired in those groupings.

The OLPC project is laudable in my opinion, though I have to confess some of the technological specifications of the software elude me. I like that the hardware is durable and simple, the low energy options are thoughtful. I wonder how many emerging countries have accessible websites for children, however. I also wonder if what seems like a gift now could become a stigma later. No matter what word one uses for countries in need; developing, third world, emerging--there is a power structure at work of which I'm sure even children are aware. One needs to tread very carefully with other countries and their children. A failed program could bring a lot of bitterness later.

I also wonder if each country should be able to choose the level of technology it is able to sustain and not have standards imposed on them from outside sources. Or would this just cause a lot of confusion?

Internet Access For All: Yay or Nay?

I think that having “access? to the net simply means being able to navigate through the net to some extent. I don’t think that participating in online discussion forums or shopping on the net, classifies one as not being able to access the net. An individual may solely “access? the net for research and school purposes and doesn’t feel a need to use it for much else. I think the question of “experience? comes into play. According to Susannah Fox in the article Pew/Internet, “Internet users in their twenties are more likely than those in their fifties and sixties to have traveled far and wide online, trying new things and possibly learning hard lessons about the dangers that lurk in the network.? (2). Hence, the younger generation may have more “experience? in accessing the Internet’s newest and innovated capabilities, whereas the older generation may simply have more “experience? in accessing the general use of the beginning of the internet, which was primarily used as a research search mechanism.

I don’t think it’s necessary for all adults to be online; however, I think everyone should have the opportunity to access the Internet if they would like to. According to the article The Ever Shifting Internet Population,?38% of Americans with disabilities go online, compared to 58% of all Americans. Of the disabled who do go online, a fifth say their disability makes using the Internet difficult.? This is one group of people who I believe are cheated out of the experience of exploring the web. Something needs to be done to help lower the cost of technology and software that will help individuals with disabilities have equal chance to exploring the worldwide web. The web has some great resources out there for everyone to obtain and use. Children I think should be able to use the Internet, however, under certain supervised circumstances. For example, filters should be used and setup to allow parents to choose which websites their children are able to access. Much like the chip you place into the TV to control which channels children are able to view.

I think that a class in elementary school on Internet usage is definitely a good idea. Teach children at a young age about the safety of using the Internet and how the Internet can be used as a great research tool that can help in their academic studies. In elementary school children learn about sex ed, thus, maybe they should learn about the dangers of the Internet as well.

I guess I am pretty torn on the One Laptop per Child policy. I think that technology is a great innovation and that people should have the opportunity to accessing and using it. However, I believe the 3-essential/basic necessities of life: Food, Shelter, and Water should be a far great concern before technology. However, if technology is going to help improve conditions than I would say it definitely is a great idea.


March 3, 2007

Opposition to OLPC

India has rejected the One Laptop Per Child program. They feel that the money that would require for the success of this project could be better spent on teachers and building of classrooms. The India government also believes that the program would have a negative effect on their market and, thereby, should not be implemented. There is more information about this topic in the article that I got it from. The name of the artilce is "India rejects One Laptop Per Child" and the URL is www.theregister.co.uk/3006/07/26/india_says_no-to_olpc/ so go ahead and check it out!

February 28, 2007

Carriage, Horse, and the Great Divide

In looking at the PIP reports included in the readings, I found little of the information surprising. I suppose as a well-acquainted user of the parallel universe we call the web, I am aware of its myriad of uses and ability to save (or just as often, waste) my time. In the Internet Penetration report it says: In all four categories (health information, job, hobbies and shopping), the internet earns the highest marks among the most frequent users. This statement seems like an obvious observation. It's sort of like saying those who walk around the city more find more convenient routes while those who stay in their house remain skeptical of these so-called "short-cuts." Sarcasm aside though, this observation says something about the increasing regularity of being connected. As the technology of the internet grows and changes, those with only casual access will fall further and further behind and thereby further and further alienate themselves from our fastest-growing technology. This trend will definitely expand the divide between the cyber-literate and non further than ever before, making reports like those we read this week valuable.
However, in the same article (Internet Penetration) I found something disturbing about the methodology. The data was gathered using phone surveys, leaving out a segment of the population from their sample. Whether we can believe it or not, there are people who do not, or cannot, have regular phone access. Financial burdens, as well as a high rate of address change, keep many people out of the reach of phone surveys. For this reason, I feel the optimistic "Look how everyone's coming around on this internet thing!" tone of the Internet Penetration report to be a bit under-supported and at least partially unrepresentative of reality.
I would feel like some kind of Big Brother disciple if I were to assert that every adult should have access to the internet and cyber-literacy. For a variety of reasons, there are people who simply do not feel the need to be connected. And in a time when American culture is exported like a cash crop, it is important to remember the dangers of an ethnocentric view of these issues. Surely it is becoming more and more necessary in mainstream American culture to have a good understanding and adequate ability to harness the potential of electronic communication. However, be it due to personal values or simple disinterest, there will always be people opposed to adopting its use. In the PIP report, The Ever-Shifting Internet Population, it says "more than half of non-Internet users – 56% of them – say they probably or definitely will not ever go online," and in light of this, a goal of having every adult online not only seems impractical but autocratic.
For the reasons listed above, I do support implementation of the internet into elementary and secondary educational settings. For the young generations today, the internet is something that will pervade much of their personal of professional lives. I use the word pervade intentionally as it seems, for better or worse, the internet is expanding and slowing replacing real-world establishments at a rate so quick, it would be inaccurate to say we're implementing it. More accurately, it feels as though we're the ones being implemented.
For this reason, I see the validity in the pure intentions of OLPC but have definite qualms with it as well. The goal of encouraging independent thinking and an understanding of technologies is surely a grand one and I don't doubt OLPC's good intentions. However, when many of these children suffer from malnutrition and live in a culture where even their elders have little use for, or to be gained from, such technology, such an implementation seems presumptuous.

The good kind of users!

The internet is becoming more and more accessible. People from the older generations are making use of the internet more and more. My wife's grandparents are a testament to this. Her grandmother that lives in Illinois has learned to email. She seems to like emailing her grandkids more than writing letters because her grandkids are more likely to write back when she emails. All her grandkids are spread out across the country so emailing is a great way for her to keep in touch.
Her other grandparents that live in Ohio. They also go online but do not email that much. They just go online here and there but do not use it religiously. The interesting thing is that they hold a unique distinction when it comes to the internet, which is that they both can be found on the internet if you search for their names. Her grandmother composed music all her life, her name shows up on a few sites.

Her grandfather has an interesting tie-in to President John F Kennedy. At the time of Kennedy's assassination, Harry Meuser was the Air Force Marching Bands conductor. After the president was murdered, Harry was asked to choose the music for the funeral procession. He and his band also participated in the funeral.
Here's a link http://www.jvmusic.net/11thWingKennedyFuneral.html

It's interesting that I happen to know three people over the age of 65 that use the internet. Amanda Lenhart's Pew study claims that only 4% of people over the age of 65 use the internet. Maybe my wife's grandparents were more likely to go online since they are not on a fixed income as many seniors are.

I was also surprised to find (in Amanda Lenhart's Pew study) that a mere 18% of Americans in the 50 to 64 age bracket use the internet. Living in the Minneapolis, Saint Paul area I almost find that hard to believe. Lots of people in that age group used computers (online) at my former workplace. It seems that most employed people have to use computers nowadays. Then again, there are those that are less fortunate than I.

Shrinking space between the clicks and the click-nots

I think real, useable Internet access means that a person knows how to find what they’re looking for, how to evaluate sources, and knows the risks of certain online activities. I don’t believe we ought to create a situation where we say that everyone should be on the Web... people should be free to embrace or reject new technologies based on their own feelings about what is lost or gained by using them. According to The Ever-shifting Internet Population report, "Most non-users live physically and socially close to the Internet Internet use is so normalized in America that even most non-users say they are in close proximity to the Internet. " (Pew p. 3) Perhaps some of these non-users fer the social consequences of becoming dependent on the Internet: I imagine that if a kid can do all her research on the Great Depression for her school report, she might be less likely to go interview her own grandma. Her information might be more comprehensive (after she gets past all the sites about mental illness, psychiatric drugs, and geologic landforms), but she would have lost out on that interaction with a living source of history, and her grandma would have lost that opportunity to connect with her grandchild.

Considering whether all kids (or adults) should should be on the Internet, I say, everything in moderation. Kids should be encouraged to drink water, but if a you take a child to the ocean, you want them to know how to swim, have a life preserver, keep away from sharks, and able to come to back to shore when it’s time to do something else.

The Pew Internet Penetration and impact report tells us that "Those in the lowest-income households are considerably less likely to be online. Just 53% of adults living in households with less than $30,000 in annual income go online, versus 80% of those whose income is between $30,000-50,000." (p. 4) I think of how many services are online now—paying bills, communicating with a child’s school, getting health information 24 hours a day, requesting materials from the library, all sorts of educational materials, looking for work. Without easy access to the Internet, we have to spend lots more time and energy to get these things done, and some things are always left undone. The more we can do with the Internet, the more people without access are going to miss out on.

Continue reading "Shrinking space between the clicks and the click-nots" »

Access = Capability || Real Access = Understanding and Using Correctly

To me, access means the capability of getting onto the internet. I would

argue that it means one has physical access to technology. I completely

understand how ineffective the internet is if a person does not know how to use it,

what is available, and why it is helpful and of value to use. Education is key to

teaching the elderly, the young, and anyone without prior knowledge, how to use

the internet as a helpful tool. Unfortunately, nobody has had the same

experience with the internet, so it is hard to gauge where there understanding of

its function really is. As for Krista's relative who is afraid of putting herself out on

the internet, I still believe she has access, but just not an understanding of internet

security. Here, I sense she might have a case of " 'cautious clicking' " which is "a
behavior trait of many older internet users who may share a sense that one false

move on the Web could land them in unknown or unsafe territory" (PEW 2).
The immigrant example is a case-in-point of how a group of people

have perfect access, but not the right knowledge. This is too bad because there

are some people who have access but resist the internet due to other factors. ". .

. resistance is often related to a general misconception of what the Web and

email have to offer. In other cases, reluctance is connected to specific obstacles,

fears, or previous online experiences" (PEW 4).
Real, usable access, I suppose, would mean teaching a user all the

capabilities of the internet, its limitations, its security and dangers and its

uniqueness. If everyone understood this, and had access, it would be a much

more level playing field.
I would hope that one day all adults could be online. But, the internet

should not be a right, it should be a privilege. So everyone -- excluding felons,

internet-addicts, and anyone else that does not have the common good in mind--

should have access to the internet. As well, that same group should have the

opportunity to learn about the internet. Like many things that are

education-based, some users will have more reasons and ability to access the

internet more often, and therefore--know more about it. I think it could be a goal,

but I have never thought about it that way. It could turn out to become a

destructive tool if the internet gets into the hands of the wrong people. I think

children should learn from their parents. I do not always agree that children

should have the freedom to teach themselves and surf the internet too much. I

think that children need guidelines, guidance, and a guardian keeping them in

line (Just like any other activity, kids need rules.)
Lack of access or knowledge of the internet for low-income families

poses a problem just like many other things these families do not have access to.

Proof of this comes from the PEW study that, "While 40% of adults who have

less than a high school education use the internet, 64% of adults with a high

school degree go online. Among those who have some college education, 84%

use the internet, and 91% of adults with at least a college degree go online"

(Madden 4). If they cannot learn and utilize the internet, they are really put at a

disadvantage to those who are in constant contact with it, and who are accustom

and informed about all of its wonderful features and usefulness.
The positive parts of the one-laptop per child program are obvious:

everyone gains when everyone has the opportunity and chance to try and

succeed. But, sometimes, these types of goals are unrealistic. Providing free

services and donations can only reach so far and so many people. I think the

combination of technology and the basics of food, clothing, etc. would be the

best. It is a challenge, though, to decide which should come first. One would

hope that access to the internet would help those in 3rd world countries learn

about what "could be." But, its also like teaching a 2nd grader how to do

Calculus IV. Sometimes, its best to go step by step and not skip the basics and

important, fundamental parts of a civilized country. One missing step would be

instituting and education system or a working government.

The Big Division

Access to me means that you are in reach of the specific product or service and you are able to get to, however that does not mean that they want to or will use that product or device. Almost everyone in America has access to numerous different things, one being the internet. Although they may have access to the internet, many people may not have the education or knowledge behind it to be able to function it correctly. While I was reading each of the different articles, it made me think of my grandparents. They are each in their early 80’s and have no idea how to work a cell phone, let alone a computer. They each have access to these different new technology waves, however they are not educated in the proper use of the internet or a cell phone.
Each of the articles I felt were reiterating the common sense that I thought most of America had. I feel as though I don’t need a 5 page article telling me that the older generation doesn’t use computers and the internet as much as we do. It wasn’t even 6 or 7 years ago that my sister went through college at Madison without her own personal computer. She made it all 4 years and survived very easily. When thinking about this, I know for a fact that I would NOT be able to make it through a week without my own personal computer. I have access to many different computers throughout the University, but I do choose to have my own.
When it comes to adults, I believe that it would not hurt for them to be acquainted with the internet. Further down the road, we are going to have the internet in our lives even more than we have now. The internet is a very exciting and newer technology that the world is becoming more dependent on each year. According to Pew Internet, 74% of 50-64 year olds are using the internet which was surprising to me how high the numbers are, but they did not say what they used the internet for. The age gap between my generation and the age of 50-64 knows the world from a whole different perspective. My age group (around 18-25) use the internet for more social settings like we discussed last week and the children that are younger than us use the internet even more than we do from games on Nickelodeon to different computer games. As these children get older, the internet is going to be completely different from what my generation was used to as well as the older generation from me.
While I was a senior in high school (2003-2004), I was one of the first people to be offered an on line Physics class through Eagan High School. At the times, this was really exciting for our district because of this classroom setting change. I believe that schools should incorporate the internet through different lessons because for the lower-class children, school may be their only time that they are able to access the internet and a computer. As Pew Internet stated, Just 53% of adults living in households with less than $30,000 in annual income go online and the article did not state if this was during work or during their leisure time. If they are not using the internet as much, their children probably are not using the internet as much as they are as well.
Overall, Americans are able to have more access to the internet each year, especially because of the One Laptop per Child organization that is developing. Because of our society and the revolutions that technology is going through, it will not surprise me if in 10 years our world is completely reliant on the internet.

The place where everyone has a voice...provided they were taught how to speak

I see "the digital divide" as a radical narrowing of a greater topic. I think a better term would be "the educational divide". The question is raised in our assignment for this week (among many other places) if those who has don't know how to use the internet really have access to it. Do the illiterate really have access to libraries? Do those who don't understand how to read bus schedules really have access to mass transportation? What about the people who are afraid of flying...do they have access to the rest of the world?

Yes these examples take the idea too far but it serves as a reminder about the idea of knowledge in the world we live in. If someone chooses not to fly yet wants to see the world, they can take a boat, or maybe realize that flying is safer than driving a car (assuming they drive). Even if I've never seen a bus schedule in my life and I need to find my way downtown one day, Metro Transit has informational lines to call for information. For those who don't know how to read, the library very well might be their best resource for learning. This works for the internet just well. For those without a computer, again...the library (check out the first paragraph of the policy).

The real issue here is desire. I hate old adages but here's one I actually think is true when it comes to public resources: "You can do anything you put your mind to" (or maybe "Where there is a will there's a way"....meh you decide). There are enough resources in the world currently to allow everyone access if they look to long standing public sources of information for help. Tools available today even permit the blind to access the internet with or without a "standard" computer.

I believe that today the "digital divide" can easily be overcome by any of various, easy-to-access, means. Education is the real limiting factor in people ability to access the wonders of the digital age. And it is this very reason that it is important that our children continue to learn about the world they live in. When I was in grade school I learned to use a card catalog to locate library resources. Such a practice would be scoffed nowadays as obsolete and blocking access to the powerful indexing and search abilities of the internet and similar computer systems. (ok, that probably didn't need a wikipedia link in this crowd but the concept of treating something I learned in grade school as history makes me laugh) In order for anyone to have access to resources in this world they must be taught about them. In order for any kind of education to be effective, it must be flexible enough to change with knowledge considered relevant to the era in which it is being taught. This is true for the internet just as it was true for microwave cooking.

The important thing to remember that knowledge can be gained everywhere you look. It just needs to be applied in relevant ways. The digital divide is real but it is not a result of availability as commonly thought. It shares the same problem as many public works. If people aren't educated about their benefits, they will not be able to share in those benefits.

Do you use YOUR access?

The first thing that I thought about when asked to define “access? was physical access. If access were to mean specifically physical access, then it would mean that almost everyone would have access to the internet. People can use the internet at libraries and school facilities, as well as some cafes and coffee houses. This is not the case, shifting my interpretation of access while relating to the internet. The summary of the PEW findings shows that 24% of adults in the United States are disconnected, or offline (Pew, 3). Because of this, I interpret those with “access? to be those with daily access to a computer and the internet. I do not think that how easily one can navigate the internet has anything to do with whether or not a person has access to the internet.
I do not know very many people that do not have access to and use the internet on a regular basis. My friends, parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles all use the internet. One out of four people not having access to the internet seems high to me. This is not to say that I think less of those who don’t use the internet, though I do think it foolish to not at least attempt to learn a thing or two about the internet if you have that privilege. For this reason, I think it would be a good idea to teach at least some basic knowledge of the internet to elementary school children.
I don’t see any problems with the One Laptop per Child program. There are already programs to send other types of provisions to countries that need them, and this different approach could yield surprising results.

It's not the equipment, but the user.

So if 39% of daily internet users say that it the internet has improved the way they pursue their hobbies and interests, does that mean that the other 61% who use the internet daily feel no improvement? I guess it must, but it is hard for someone like to imagine how the internet cannot help a little bit improve the pursuit of happiness. Maybe it has something to do with the differing definition of “access? to the internet. I believe that there are many different levels of “access? to the internet. My “internet savvy? friend will come up with a bunch of random (sometimes interesting) stuff he has found on the net, and when people ask him how/where he found this, he simply replies that “there are two different internets out there, one of which you know nothing about.? True story, I am quoting him directly. Yes, my grandparents also have “access? to the internet, but their definition of “access? doesn’t stretch beyond that of going to cnn.com and aol.com/mail/. But I must say, I too was once at that point, it takes a while, but when you are not a “noob? to the net anymore that is when I believe you have actual internet access.

I do not believe that all adults and/or children should be on the net, nor should it be a goal. Simply because I feel there is too much reliance on it, why put all of your eggs in one basket? Sure it would be nice if we all were educated with how to fully “access? and use the internet, but I don not feel everyone should have a goal of becoming net savvy. Well maybe we as a people do not have anymore goals to go for, then yea, go for it.

Lower-income families are at a great disadvantage when it comes to accessing the internet. I cannot imagine using a 56k modem today, and that is just the start of it. For the underprivileged children who do not own, or do not have a reliable access to the internet just makes it hard for them to ‘catch up’ when they are older, similar to our senior citizens today. I think it is a good idea for elementary schools to have classes on the internet. It is very helpful when someone can help guide the “noobs? of the net, then let them roam free. The One Laptop Per Child Program has a very good means, but I feel that there are bigger problems within our world today that have a higher priority, at least in my view. Some will say today that internet access is a necessity, well, in the USA it may be that way, but in third world countries I believe the necessities are the bare essentials of life that should be first taken into consideration.

What about one regular meal per child?

As we said in the early weeks, Internet is not fairly accessible to everyone. The articles from this week confirm this assertion... The numbers speak for themselves : minorities, poor, old are less represented online. When this people go online, I don't know if we can say that they really have "access" to Internet. I do think that having access also involves gaining technological literacy. Even if many people discovered Internet on their own (myself included), school, University helped me a lot understanding it better or evaluating the risks. For a non regular user, it is hard to really measures the tricks that Internet can have, and to pay attention to everything. However, I was surprised that "Younger internet users take more precautions online" (Pew - Are wire seniors sitting-ducks page 2). The few old people that I know who use Internet are generally the most precautionous people, they have many anti-viruses / firewalls and don't visit websites that they don't know while my computer may be the most unsafe on Earth...

I don't think that all adults should be online. If everyone want to, that's ok, but some people don't and I hate the fact that more and more things are only available online (buying tickets for some events, finding some information, some music being released only in MP3). People should have the choice, and they have it less and less. I think it's really a Western point of view to say that everyone should have access, because it facilitates life etc.. Some kinds of culture disapeared or have been so modified because of technologies in the past (I think of oral cultures for example, which suffered a lot from television) so I hope Internet won't finish the work...
I am not a huge fan of technological improvement at all cost. I may sound paradoxal because I am a big Internet user, it helps me a lot but I understand that some people don't want that. Some would argue that they don't want it because they don't know what it is like, but that's wrong. Many persons have been users and abandoned Internet... ("In April 2000, 13% of non-users were net droppouts" Pew).

This leads me to my last point about the one laptop per child program. The title of my post may sound provocative and demagogic (or simply stupid) but let's think about it one minute. The idea of this program looks great on the paper but I'm definitely not convinced. I don't doubt that these people have good intentions (wiling to help poor children can't be blamed), but giving computers is a strange way to do that... If it's only educational, why not sending books? It looks to me that this will lead to a Westernization (not to say Americanization) of some weak countries which will lost a little bit of their identity.

I imagine many people won't agree with me, so if you react, let's just talk calmly!

What digital divide?

I believe that access means to be able to not only have a physical means to get information from a source, but to also be able to sustain that mean over a period of time. An example of this would be like my laptop or my pc at home. I can get access to the internet any time I want at home and it's always there and always on. If someone just goes to a library and gains access to the interenet and wants to shop or buy things or whatever I don't think that's having full access. This is because the library closes, you can't be there all day and you don't have full access to that source. I think in talking about access you have to think about having that access readily available to you any time you need it.

I think that all adults should be online and atleast experience it. From the reading, truly disconnected 24% offline (Madden, 1). That seems like a really small percentage of adults that are not online. I net penetration has now reached 73% for all American adults (madden, 1). Seventy three percent of all adults online is amazing, and that number will just keep going up. I think this goal of all adults being online can be useful, I think it shouldn't be a requirement or a necessity however. I think it would be useful so people can stay connected, stay up on current events, be able to shop and buy there goods online, and also be able to connect with new people and meet knew people and just basically keep the public informed of things that are going on in the world. As far as all children being online, I think kids these days need to spend more time on the jungle gym that at home on the computer. I think that face to face interaction would benefit them more and the internet for kids should primarily be just used as a learning tool.

A lack of access to lower income families does cause a barrier to advancement to them. As a learning tool, you can learn a lot from credible sources on the internet. Being able to communicate with people and also to integrade this into your work would be a barrier if you couldn't get a hold of someone. Advancing in technology and staying up on current events and learning new things would hinder there advancement as well without the ability to go online.

It would be wise to integrade internet use in elementary education because chances are they will have to use some form of internet use in there adults lives. Well not only there adult lives, even in high school and college it's a necessity to have internet access and if kids learn how to utilize it properly and efficently at a young age, it will help them better use it in the future.

The merits are that all children will have access to the internet and be able to use it properly when the get older. The draw backs could be the cost, and also just having the person to person communication, and also all the other junk that's out there on the internet, bad sites for children, identity thieves, etc.

I think food and other necessities would greatly improve developing countries better than handing them a lap top. I think we need to spend more time getting on the same page, ie, helping them from common diseases with vaccines, and also helping them out with shelter and food over technological issues.

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit

To me, access is the physical distance between you and internet access, whereas if you wanted to use it, you could. I see this as a parallel when an employer asks a pizza delivery candidate "Do you have access to a car?" We assume everyone over the age of 16 has a driver's license, so I think we can also assume that with a little "behind-the-wheel" training, everyone should be able to use he internet. If you have internet access in your house, at a library a few blocks away, or when your cousin comes over with his Sprint Wireless card in his computer, I think you have access to the internet. But like driving a car, some users have more skill than others. A pizza deliverer with 18 moving violations probably is not the best candidate for the job. At the same time, an inexperienced user without knowledge of how to Google something is no use to themselves if they are searching for information. For example, in Are "Wired" Seniors Sitting Ducks?, they talk about how younger users take more chances, but also more precautions than their elders. In my opinion, a younger driver is usually at a higher risk for accidents (takes more chances) but also stays up with the news and changing of laws better than the elderly. That being said, the elderly still have their fair share of accidents, and this is why I believe that not everyone should be on the internet, just as not everyone is on the road. In America, we have the freedom to do what we want with our lives (generally speaking). Using the internet and associated applications can be compared to optional things like checking your mail (or even having a mail box), meeting people, or reading the newspaper. So while I believe the internet is advantageous to use for most, it may not work out in a cost-benefit analysis for everyone. Children should be able to use the internet when they have the skills and are mature enough to understand what they will be seeing. It can really help their knowledge-base, yet at the same time possibly be harmful to their lives. So like in many other situations, the parents' opinion is probably best in this case.

The internet's barrier to lower income families has promoted another rich-get-richer scenario. But like all things in Capitalism, there are ups and downs. Using the internet to, for example, trade stocks or start a business, can make someone a lot of money. On the other hand, while many companies do earn money (on the internet and in the physical world) there are others that lose money (although they are not around for very long and are in some ways made into another company every single time). While the internet may or may not take a family in or out of low income, using the internet definitely increases the number of opportunities a family has. As The Ever-Shifting Internet Populations article shows that less income generally relates to a lower likelihood of internet access, I think that that also means that lower-income creates a lower occurrence of opportunities.

Basic elementary education should definitely include internet access. Our youngest generation will be working with the internet throughout their academic and professional lives. I think that the earlier someone experiences the internet, the more lifetime opportunities they will have with it and its extended network of applications. I wish I could quote or cite a source, but I once heard a study in one of my classes that showed a third-world community where the people were not uneducated because they were poor, but poor because they were uneducated. When a similar community had schools introduced, the poverty level dropped almost immediately as the people realized the kind of things they could do, mimicking examples they read about in books. They took more chances, made more mistakes, but overall raised their net worth. While I think that food and other basic necessities would be better to give to a nation in poverty than laptops, I think the XO concept is interesting. It brings back the whole "chicken or egg" question, making me wonder which would eliminate starvation faster. Providing children with laptops may be more like teaching them to fish, while giving them food is a straight hand-out with no skill advancement. The concept of these $100 computers and servers will of course give everyone "access" to the internet. But whether or not it will give them the life they want, I am not yet convinced.

Questions about Access.

To me access means being able to use knowledge critically. Therefore, I would reason that people who can not use the internet do not in truth have access to it. This being much in the same way a five year old would have physical contact with the novel Moby Dick…but still not have the capacity to understand (read), and access it. Likewise, and 85 year old American who has never used a computer could have one with internet capability, and still not truly have access to the internet.

Due to the fact that there is a plethora of knowledge on the internet. I would recommend that all people learn to use it. This is because almost 70% of Americans say that it has improved their jobs (Hadden April 2006). Obviously if 70% of American say the internet has improved conditions on the job, then one can ascertain that all people should get a working knowledge of the internet before they enter the workforce. This because there is a high chance than the average American will have to use a computer during the course of their working life.

Computer skills should be honed from an early age. However, the internet should be left out of the class room until middle school. I believe this to be true because to use the internet wisely, one must have a level of maturity. I guess I just do not want young children reading up on the latest crazes in drugs and so forth…that comes in middle school. As far as the one laptop for every child program being viable…I would have to disagree. A program like this, while well intentioned will not solve the poverty issue in the third world. To say that a laptop program will solve their problems, is like saying that Giving people money will solve it to. We tried it through the IMF, and we in the developed world failed miserably. Likewise, as back up by statements aforementioned in the entry, giving someone access to the information, does not mean they will understand and utilize it. Therefore, I believe that giving the third world laptop computers will not solve their poverty problem because there is no guarantee that their population can utilize such a resource.

Old & Poor / The Internet = No Access

I have heard the question of access from classes before and have found it to be a complex topic. This is because there are so many different ways that people are denied access to the Internet. I believe that access has two different definitions for different generations. For those that cannot understand or do not want to understand the Internet they are preventing themselves access while those that cannot afford to get online are physically being prevented from going online. My definition of access is: A person that has the will and ability to gain entrance onto the Internet and has the understanding what to do when they reach it. I believe this definition takes into account both problems with access. Only those that understand the Internet and its capabilities have true access.

I don't know if it is a good thing if all adults were online. From watching Dateline and seeing research there are plenty of predators I think that giving the chance for all adults to get on the internet is a bad idea because of the potential consequences that many could bring. Also, there are those that do not take advantage to get online so why should we bother getting adults online? It should not be up to the taxpayers or government to worry about adults. However, I totally agree with the fact that all children should get online. According to the PEW research 91% of those that have at least a college degree go online. This proves how necessary it is to teach children to use it because it is the key to their future. Learning the Internet gives lower-class children to learn on the same level as their middle class and upper class counterparts. Along with this, I think that elementary schools should require education using the Internet because by the stats from the PEW research allow children to go farther in life.

Schools need to allow those that are not fortunate enough to use computers. The barriers of cost and learning the internet have to come into account. Again it is obvious from the PEW research that those that do not have access to the internet fall behind in school and in life. It is sad that we now require knowledge of the internet to get a head in life but we have moved away from conventional, cheaper, methods of communication and have moved to a more expensive form.

There are both positives and negatives to the One Laptop to Every Child Program. The positives include learning the internet, connecting with other children around the world, and looking for an increased use of online features for businesses, marketing, and schools. Some of the negatives include cost, the potential of violence that could come from adults stealing these laptops, and the fact that there is not real way to ensure that every child will get a laptop. While it is a good, innovative idea, I do not believe that it can happen. There are too many obstacles and not enough resources that will give these children the opportunity to receive a laptop.

I think that while the Internet is an amazing thing, not everyone needs it to get by. I know plenty of elderly people that do not use it and they do just fine. My grandmother does not use it and she stays current. She has no need for a computer and neither do many other elderly individuals. I do not think that elderly people are "timid" as stated in PEW research they just do not care that much. They don't enjoy the internet and have no reason to use it. Why should we be pushing this fact when seniors do not care if they get online when there are children that have to get online in order to get a suitable education.

Access points

Do you have internet access? That's a question I'd consider to be fairly simple and innocuous, and personally, I'd actually be somewhat surprised if the answer was anything less than yes. Of course, much of that attitude is likely heavily influenced by my age and social demographic, as well as the fact that I'm up here at college, where most students and staff easily have multiple points of access even if they don't necessarily have their own computer. Still, as technology continues to increase, we will have more and more ways to use the internet, and many of those will be public. Generally though, I would personally consider having internet access and being able to access the internet to be two different things. Pew counts the people who choose not to use the internet along with the people who literally have no internet as people who aren't online in The Ever-Shifting Internet Population, but just because you're not online doesn't mean you don't have internet access. After all, it's always there waiting for you to use it, even if you don't necessarily know how. Most unwired seniors do have the opportunity to go online, but simply choose not to since they're more comfortable like that. Those who live in rural or underprivledged areas who simply can't obtain the technology or go somewhere they can use it for free are the ones who are truly without access.

As a wired society as a whole, it is becoming more and more important to be literate with both computers and the internet, but that doesn't necessarily make either of them an absolute necessity. Becoming dependent enough on the internet that it becomes a required aspect of living in society is a bad thing since it relies so much on machines, which can break down at a moment's notice. Giving everyone at least a choice to become internet literate is a good thing, but everyone needs to know that it's a tool, not a requirement, especially children. That said, I still believe giving children in less developed countries laptops is still a worthwhile goal because access to technology does significantly improve the quality of education, but it really shouldn't come at the expense of more basic needs, like food, shelter, and clothing.

Internet Access: For the Young and the Restless


I believe that having access means both physical access and cyber literacy. Today, and probably just today, I am anti-internet and anti-access. I just got back from vacation and even though I had set up an auto-reply on my business email accounts telling clients I was out of town and wouldn’t be available, my clients (and some friends) were still perturbed they couldn’t reach me immediately. (Mind you it there weren’t any emergencies.) I couldn’t relax because I knew that being ‘off-line’ for a few days had repercussions. This leads me into a diatribe of reasons why I don’t think people of all ages, races, socio-economic status, etc, should be pressured, expected, or judged for their ‘access’ or non-access of the internet.

I feel sorry for the senior citizens who are being forced to use the Internet.
I know if my grandma were alive today, she would not use the Internet, let alone own a computer. She lived in a town of 300 people, was a mother, and a farmer’s wife.
She taught me how to cook, sew, and plant a garden. I am so glad I learned these skills and hobbies from my grandmother, instead of a website. There is sentimental value there- that could never be replaced. While Pew reports that “The share of online Americans who say the Internet has greatly improved the way they pursue hobbies and interests has grown to 33%, up from 20% in March 2001.? (Pew, Internet Penetration pg. 1), I wonder if the hobby/interest offers instant gratification and then fades away with time because there wasn’t a human element behind it.

Pew’s findings appear accurate in terms of what groups of people are using the Internet. “Overall, 42% of Americans do not use the Internet. And there remain clear differences along five demographic dimensions: race, income, educational attainment, community type (rural, suburban, or urban) and age. Race, ethnicity & income? (Pew, The Evershifting, pg. 7). Again, my grandma was from a rural area, with little education, and earned an income as a farmer. I believe that Pew’s research concludes that the Internet is the rich white man’s playground, especially for the up and coming younger generations. Which is very unfair for my late grandma, my ex-Hispanic neighbors in California, and my starving artist friend in Australia. How will they ‘get ahead’ when they were already set up to be so far behind? Their lack of access to the Internet puts them at a great disadvantage.

With regards to children and Internet access, my belief is it’s best if used in moderation. When I was young, my elementary school owned 20 Apple and IBM computers. I looked forward to computer lab, but am glad that it was only a few hours of my week. By giving 1 laptop per child anywhere poses a danger that they will be held prisoner by technology and will lose sight of other communication methods. If there isn’t anyone to monitor the time spent on the laptop, how do we ensure they develop properly? Will they interact less (physically) with each other? Will they become dependent on computers? Will they lose their penmanship? Their ability to read social cues? Perhaps a better solution is provide 1 Family or Village with a laptop so everyone can learn the benefits and the dangers of the internet together-and seen as a tool, rather than a toy? so that they, their families and their communities can openly learn and learn about learning.? (OLPC.com), and give aid or food as well.

February 27, 2007

The Great Divide

What is the meaning behind the term "access" when it comes to the internet? The defining discussion I found was when the authors were simply stating that people have access if they actually use the internet. So therefore, it is means physically accessing the internet rather than a complete understanding of the applications. I personally think you could expand the word access in meaning simply having the ability to access internet whether it be at a physical location such as the library or through the help of friends and family. For example in "The Ever-Shifting Internet Popoluation article it sates that 76% of non-users know of public access sites to the internet and 74% hae family and friends who go online. Therefore internet accessibility is common among the American population. The concern I have is for the 27% of Americans who know of no access to the internet. Although an alarming statistic that some individuals may not even know how to access the internet this is why education and federal and state support of internet implications are so important. (Lenhart, p4) In conclusion I do believe that the 84 year and recent immigrants have accessibility to the internet whether educated on applications or not.

What constitutes real, useable access is simply education. I do not remember much formal training to go online but rather a personal pursuit of knowledge of online application. Rather I've noticed that the baby-boomers and elderly do require some additional written or formal training when learning online applications.

Should all adults be online? Is this a useful goal? Seeing the adults that most commonly use the internet are individuals with a college education making over 75,000 incomes. Therefore, maybe adult should be online as it could be beneficial professionally and personally. With this statement it was in the Internet Penetration and Impact article that Madden sated that only 35% of Americans say internet greatly improved their ability to do their jobs. (Madden, p1) This statistic was the most interesting amongst all the articles for me. There is no job that I feel wouldn't be beneficial with internet access. Whether it be a garbage man organizing his database or a sales person looking up businesses and contacts I see the internet beneficial in the work place for account maintenance and overall improved communication. Another statistic that proves that it is beneficial for adults to be online is that 20% found that it improved the way they get information regarding health care. (Madden, p1) This is great for the youngsters and baby-boomers who easily access their personal healthcare information but is alarming to the government and insurance companies requiring or promoting the elderly to chose health packages online.

Should all children have access to the internet? I do believe this would only help the children in the long run. I believe that the responsibility of online access lies within the school systems so therefore also within the state funding. Not all parents can afford internet as briefly discussed in the articles, but schools should provide each student with this equal opportunity.

How does lack of access constitue a barrier to advancement for lower-income families? Because at times these families have a more challenging time accessing internet. They maybe unable to afford broadband unlike the 42% of Americans that have this access. (Madden, p3) But this should not be used as an excuse to hold anyone back. There are many public access sites and might just require some extra initiative on their behalf.

Should basic elementary education include courses on internet use? Yes. Children easily pick up on computer applications and should begin to learn the internet as it is essential during years of college and within the workplace.

One Laptop Per Child Program?

I see this program as beneficial but not necessary. Even in American that are neighborhood schools unable to provide online access to their students. it would be beneficial in a manner to provide an additional medium to their education but is not necessary for everyday survival. It is important we have programs like this so that technology applications in these countries do not become foreign. This is a political question and has many implications to consider. In short, I see this program as beneficial.

The Great Divide

What is the meaning behind the term "access" when it comes to the internet? The defining discussion I found was when the authors were simply stating that people have access if they actually use the internet. So therefore, it is means physically accessing the internet rather than a complete understanding of the applications. I personally think you could expand the word access in meaning simply having the ability to access internet whether it be at a physical location such as the library or through the help of friends and family. For example in "The Ever-Shifting Internet Popoluation article it sates that 76% of non-users know of public access sites to the internet and 74% hae family and friends who go online. Therefore internet accessibility is common among the American population. The concern I have is for the 27% of Americans who know of no access to the internet. Although an alarming statistic that some individuals may not even know how to access the internet this is why education and federal and state support of internet implications are so important. (Lenhart, p4) In conclusion I do believe that the 84 year and recent immigrants have accessibility to the internet whether educated on applications or not.

What constitutes real, useable access is simply education. I do not remember much formal training to go online but rather a personal pursuit of knowledge of online application. Rather I've noticed that the baby-boomers and elderly do require some additional written or formal training when learning online applications.

Should all adults be online? Is this a useful goal? Seeing the adults that most commonly use the internet are individuals with a college education making over 75,000 incomes. Therefore, maybe adult should be online as it could be beneficial professionally and personally. With this statement it was in the Internet Penetration and Impact article that Madden sated that only 35% of Americans say internet greatly improved their ability to do their jobs. (Madden, p1) This statistic was the most interesting amongst all the articles for me. There is no job that I feel wouldn't be beneficial with internet access. Whether it be a garbage man organizing his database or a sales person looking up businesses and contacts I see the internet beneficial in the work place for account maintenance and overall improved communication. Another statistic that proves that it is beneficial for adults to be online is that 20% found that it improved the way they get information regarding health care. (Madden, p1) This is great for the youngsters and baby-boomers who easily access their personal healthcare information but is alarming to the government and insurance companies requiring or promoting the elderly to chose health packages online.

Should all children have access to the internet? I do believe this would only help the children in the long run. I believe that the responsibility of online access lies within the school systems so therefore also within the state funding. Not all parents can afford internet as briefly discussed in the articles, but schools should provide each student with this equal opportunity.

How does lack of access constitue a barrier to advancement for lower-income families? Because at times these families have a more challenging time accessing internet. They maybe unable to afford broadband unlike the 42% of Americans that have this access. (Madden, p3) But this should not be used as an excuse to hold anyone back. There are many public access sites and might just require some extra initiative on their behalf.

Should basic elementary education include courses on internet use? Yes. Children easily pick up on computer applications and should begin to learn the internet as it is essential during years of college and within the workplace.

One Laptop Per Child Program?

I see this program as beneficial but not necessary. Even in American that are neighborhood schools unable to provide online access to their students. it would be beneficial in a manner to provide an additional medium to their education but is not necessary for everyday survival. It is important we have programs like this so that technology applications in these countries do not become foreign. This is a political question and has many implications to consider. In short, I see this program as beneficial.

Digital Divide: To be or not to be?

I think each individual defines the definition of access. My parents, for example, are retired and were hooked up with the Internet (my sister did it for them). For them, it was purely entertainment. My mom tried to do some genealogy but became frustrated with the cost of software. The few packages she purchased proved to be useless. She tried to find people in Europe to email for help but found very few had access to the Internet. For her, it was easier to spend a day at the Historical Society or writing letters (the old fashion way) to people for her information and documents. My dad on the other hand, would play solitaire and read jokes from his siblings in the evening. But once the weather was nice, the computer was never turned on. It was a lifestyle choice, as the Pew survey defines this action. They have physical access and are technologically literate but chose not to connect to the Internet.

“The common perception of the timid older Internet user is quite accurate, even for relative newcomers to the ranks of seniors? (Wired Seniors, Pew, 1) is an accurate portrayal of the majority of seniors I know that get wired. They start out brave. But, once a virus hits the computer, they get defensive, frustrated, and paranoid. They become nervous about any updates and therefore, do not keep up on the security software updates. More viruses and more frustration lead to limited use and comfort of their computers and Internet activity. My parents eventually fell into this endless loop. They did not perform their due diligence and secure their computer.

When I purchased my Mac, the Apple Store said they actually sell a large percentage of computers to seniors (in the opinion of one salesperson in the store). Seniors like it for the graphics and projects they do (apparently life documentation is very trendy now.) So, the population is changing as more seniors hop on the Internet wagon. Hopefully they will put into place the security safeguards just as they do with telemarketers on the phone.

In my opinion, access for a younger person is more than having the physical access. Most positions require computer literacy and experience. Without this, a young person (immigrant or not) could miss out on a potential opportunity for employment. Many positions though discourage employees from using the Internet during work hours. To get more experience and comfort, the person needs to have access to a computer and Internet to explore and practice skills. The PEW survey (Internet Penetration & Impact) found 35% of people found that the Internet helped them do their job better (up from 20%). If job performance is up, the chances for salary increase or promotions increase. Lower-income families can advance their standard of life. Many of the community college courses geared toward novice users are helpful – especially when the cost is low and the class offerings to accommodate a working schedule (Ever-Shifting Internet Population PEW, pgs 11, 34). Opportunities should be available to those adults (or children) who want or need education on computers (Internet).

I personally am an “intermittent user? (PEW) and only use the Internet for work and classes. Once the semester is over, my laptop is rarely turned on. I don’t feel I need to be online to have a successful or fulfilling life. I would much rather be doing something physical than sitting at my computer. If I wasn’t at my computer all day, I might be of a different opinion. Since I sit for eight to ten hours, I’d rather be doing something else. Maybe I should get one of those computers that mount on a treadmill? Hmmmm…

A Divide from who's perspective?

Is the digital divide manufactured? Who decides we have a digital divide? Is it the “haves? or the “have-nots?? If a group of people is missing something from their society, whose responsibility is it to tell them they are deficient? Maybe they were satisfied until we explained to them that they should be miserable without online access…

When I think about the digital divide and access I think of the physical ability to go online. The fact that a technology is presented to a person or a group constitutes access. Whether they use that access to their full ability is another issue. The desire or lack of desire to go online can be based on a number of issues. The Pew article touched on barriers that are physical (don’t have a computer or their disability prevents them from using a computer) to ignorance (I don’t understand the computer, it wastes time and it will not provide any value to me).

Page 20 of the Pew article brings up a good point about the adaptation of a new technology. There are always going to be the first movers, the early adapters. But with all new technology there is going to be a lag time before complete acceptance. Telephone penetration dropped during the Great Depression due to lack of income to afford the new technology. That is a valid reason for the digital divide for some people.

I don’t think anyone should be forced to be online anymore than they should be forced to watch television or read a newspaper. The real issue is the opportunity to access the internet. As more and more communities become wired, more people will have economical access to the internet.

I think basic internet use should be taught in schools at an early age. As business becomes wired we have to prepare our children for the future. It is no different than the evolution of the slide rule to basic calculators to the TI 85. Basic computer and internet use should be a major part of the teachings of children.

I think the OLPC program has its’ heart in the right place but their head is in another. The idea of providing computing power to third world nations makes a lot of sense but I think the beneficiaries of the computers should be the people who can utilize the information to the fullest to help grow their resources. Providing laptops to children in third world countries is a nice gesture but I think it would be looked at as some sort of novelty.

The Great Digital Divide

I think that access to the Internet means both physical access to the technology that gives one access to the physical Internet and the technological literacy to be able to use the Internet safely and responsibly.

I do not think that all adults nor should all children need to be online. Online activities are a personal choice and should not be a requirement of life in our society. In my opinion, the Internet is a tool and not an electronic collar and tracking device as some would have it. We keep getting closer to a cashless society, but thank goodness for cold hard cash. I use cash a lot more now for the same privacy issues we discussed last week. I really hate coming back from a trip to find that my credit card company has left a voice message on my answering machine asking me to verify this or that transaction. Just like I don’t want big brother (or my neighbor) knowing about every single financial transaction that I make, I don’t want every Internet transaction, financial or social recorded either (Schneier, B., Lessons from the Facebook Riots, p. 4). The Lenhart studies did not go into detail about “what? people actually do online other that search for medical information (Lenhart, A., The Ever Shifting Internet Population). I would like to read research about online activities before forming an opinion of whether or not more adults or more children need to be online.

I do not think that there is a lack of access to the Internet for lower-income families. Through our tax dollars, public libraries give everyone the physical access to the Internet and libraries also have the tools and programs to help everyone become technologically literate. However, having said that, if the only access an individual has to the Internet is at a public library, they are at somewhat of a disadvantage. For example, they are not as likely to be able to share their online experiences with other members of their families simply because of issues with distance and scheduling. I think that basic elementary education should include courses on use of the Internet to help fill this void of peer interaction while online. Just as in this course blog, we grow by listening to and evaluating the thoughts of others.

I personally think that the One Laptop per Child program is ridiculous from what I could understand of it. Aid in the form of the basic necessities of life to third-world counties would be much more beneficial than a child in Ethiopia getting into a chat room with Sally in Hoboken. I think such a program may be detrimental in many third world countries. For example, the logistical concerns of power for a laptop and Internet access for one thing and the black market for the computers for another. It’s bad enough that people are already being killed around the world every day for humanitarian food shipments. Now someone thinks that it’s a good idea to place an expensive laptop computer in the hands of a child? Without power and access to the Internet what use would the laptop be?

Just How Wide is the Digital Divide?

It seems that the central question posed in this weeks reading is what constitutes access? Is it just having a computer available to you? But if one lacks the knowledge to use it, does that person really have access the internet? In my opinion they have access, but that access comes with qualifications. Until that person can gain the tools or knowledge required to use the internet, they have only half of what they need. With the constant expansion of the internet into programs that are easier to use all the time and materials that are constantly getting cheaper, it seems that the industry is destined to eventually give access to all those who desire it. We can see by the PEW research that usage in all demographics has grown fairly steadily in the last 10 years (except perhaps for the misleading data on senior citizens), and it's obvious that the internet is becoming more and more a part of daily life nationwide.
In regards to the life of children on the internet, it's clear that children that are now growing up in the digital age are more used to electronics than their parents were. I'm sure we all have experienced having to show our parents how to work the remote or do something on the computer at some point in our lives. With this in mind, it seems uneccessary to teach children anything but the most basic internet use, because they'll be able to figure it out for themselves before long anyways. However, I definitely think schools should take time to teach children about internet safety, because I believe that is the area they wouldn't pay much attention to on their own.
On the related topic of the One Laptop Per Child initiative, while it obviously isn't as important as basic necessities of food, clean water and shelter, computers are at their core (at least how they're being used in this case) an educational tool. I think it's hard to dispute that educational materials should be distributed to children around the world as widely as possible.

Internet and its mighty powers

Access is having the physical access to technology and not necessarily gaining technological literacy because understanding and using technology may not be a priority for the individual. For instance, I have a friend who has a computer but refuses to use it unless they absolutely have to. Usually this involves help from me, as a great friend! ? So, they do have that access to the computer but prefer to use other resources such as books or the news. Same with the example of the 84 yr old relative who has the access but chooses not to use it because of her fear of information about her on the net. As studied “Non-users say they feel no need or desire to use the Internet, or that going online is not a good use of their time. This nonchalance and resistance is often related to a general misconception of what the Web and email have to offer. In other cases, reluctance is connected to specific obstacles, fears, or previous online experiences.? (Lenhart, Amanda. Internet & American Life, pg 4.)

I don’t see a problem in why all adults should not use the internet. There is great information one can find although it isn’t necessarily a useful goal. There are other resources people prefer to use and feel more comfortable with. As technology advances, not everyone cares to take advantage of it because they feel comfortable where they are at. As for children, growing up in this time, it can be resourceful to learn because as they become adults, technology will be more important.
Access does create a barrier to advancement for lower-income families. As mentioned, they will have “less power as consumers and fewer economic opportunities, less access to high-quality health information, fewer options for dealing with government agencies, no chance to learn about their world from the millions of organizations and learning centers that have posted their material on the Web, and less opportunity to interact with others through email and instant messaging.? (Lenhart, Amanda. Internet & American Life, pg 6.) Therefore, because some are not as fortunate, including internet classes would be beneficial for elementary schools so students have the opportunity to alternative options for learning how to research, etc.

Personally, I think both food/necessities and education may be beneficial for third world countries. More so, the necessities. It’s a great thing for everyone to receive those opportunities but perhaps sending computers right away may be too soon. Access to technology can be helpful to third world countries in improvement but I think perhaps later down the road.

Internet access and its effects

My take on what "access" means is the physical ability of being able to log onto the Internet and use its features. According to "Internet Penetration & Impact" by Mary Madden, about 73% of all adults use the Internet. Only 24% of people truly have no direct or indirect contact with the Internet (Lenhart). The internet is mostly used for things like shopping, personal interests, work, and information about health care (Madden). I think that anyone who has the Internet in their homes or a way to get to a computer that has Internet, has Internet access. I think that the immigrants who go to the libraries to use the Internet also have access even though it's not located in their homes. Since they are able to go someplace that has it and use it for their purposes, I'd say that they have Internet access.

I don't see why all the adults and children should not have access to the Internet. I think that it's a way to communicate as well as educate oneself. The Internet is also a way to get necessary research done and also a way to pursue one's personal interests and hobbies. I definitely think that by not having Internet access, lower-income families are faced with a barrier. The barrier may not seem as large as a life or death situation, but it is a barrier in communication as well as attaining information about certain things. That's not to say that those people are cut off from society and have no way to communicating and getting information about things from different sources, but having the Internet in one's home is definitely easier and more comfortable. Lower-income families that do not have Internet access in their homes probably have to go some place where the Internet is offered, such as the library. According to "The Ever-Shifting Internet Population" by Amanda Lenhart, 41% of people who do not use the internet have a household income of less than $30,000. For those that fall into that category, I think that it would be better for them to use the library's Internet than to go completely without it. I think that in our fast-paced society, the Internet is definitely beneficial.

I think that it's a great idea to have Internet courses in elementary schools. I know that in my elementary school, we had little lectures on how to use the Google search engine and I think that it will make the kids more technologically competent. The Internet is not something that will go away or be replaced by another technology that we know of. So, the best thing to do is to make sure that kids know how to use it properly and how to make sure that a site is credible.

I think that it would be great to have a couple of computers with Internet access in Third World countries' schools. I think that it will motivate the children and let them know that there are great things and better places that they can go to when they succeed in their education. They will be able to learn more about technology and new technological advances and I think that it will let them know that they live in an incredible time of great advancements. However, I don't think that the One Laptop Per Child program should be in place of food and basic necessities aid. I think that it should complement the aid that the Thirld World countries are already receiving. I think that computer companies should just donate some of their computers and other software like computer games. I think that it will include those in poverty with the rest of the world. I don't think that the people in Third World countries should be technologically alienated just because they don't have a lot of money.

February 26, 2007

The "Power" of the internet?

In it's literal sense I believe having access to the internet is having a physical capability to log onto and access all that the internet has to offer, irregardless of whether one is capable of taking full advantage of that access or not. If you are speaking in terms of whether someone has the ability to actually implement all the tools the internet gives you are speaking more in terms of competency. In other words its the user's fault not the hardwares.

I see no reasons why all adults shouldn't be online. I believe the internet to be a good thing for society for the most part. I can see reasons why maybe there would be a reasonable cause for some particulars to not be on the internet however. This would be in cases of hackers who have a history of causing great harm or possibly child molesters who have shown repeated offenses stemming from internet chat with kids.

Also, I do believe that while most people should have internet access I think that everyone should have some sort of general knowledge before jumping into the internet. Obviously nobody should be tested on it before getting that access but it should be basic knowledge offered to everyone. Both young and old alike should be made aware of the dangers they might possibly find on the internet. Whereas the young might have to learn how to control the quantity of the data they expose, the old need to work on controlling the quality of the data they expose. As the Fox article says the young are more apt to taking extra chances but being more cautious and the old being the other way around (Fox 2).

I do believe a major barrier to "access" to the internet is a lower income as well. While there are places that offer free internet access to others (such as libraries) it still is not as pleasing or easy to get at as one's own home. A personal computer can be a large expense to those who are held under a much stricter budget. This seems to be the case as in the pew article only 53% of those households under $30,000 use the internet, whereas this number jumps to 80% for those in the $30,000-50,000 range (Madden 4).

In regards to basic elementary education including basic internet use I think that would be a great thing. The internet has become integrated into our society as a basic skill that the child is highly likely going to need in the future so why not? A lot has changed in our society in terms of internet usage which has almost forced it to become a basic skill of the average citizen. In fact it has changed so much that in the past eleven years internet usage has grown from 15% to 75% (Madden 3).

The one laptop per child program sounds like a good program in its heart. After all why shouldn't a third world child have access to this great technology in order to grow. I believe that the heart is there but some things might have been overlooked. For instance, does a person who is on the brink of starvation really care if he can check out myspace or would he rather have food for the next year? I do believe that one of the main reason's a third world nation will grow is through education and the internet/laptops can be a big part of this, but some of these kids should at least have their basic needs covered first.

Will the Digital Divide Ever End?

The question, “What does access mean,? can be justified in a couple ways. In my opinion, I believe that having access to the internet includes the following: Having an actual physical connection to the internet, understanding the possibilities that the internet can give us, and having the know-how to navigate ourselves through the online world. However, when taking the example about the 84-year-old relative into consideration, I believe that she does indeed have access to the internet. Even though she does not want to use it for fear of privacy and fraud, my guess is that she has the means, and the know-how to use the net. The fact that she doesn’t want her information on the internet is her decision. If a person really needed to get something done online, and was capable of doing it, I would call that having access to the internet. Where I draw the line for having access, is when a person does not understand or know how to use the internet, even though they have access.

The question, “Should all adults be online?? is a good one. In my opinion, I think that all adults could benefit from the internet in some way, shape, or form. However, I do not believe that all adults actually NEED to be online. There are many people who live a life-style that has nothing to do with the internet, computers, or even technology for that matter. I think that it should definitely be a goal to educate all children to understand and know how to use the internet if needed. I think that this would be a much more useful goal for us to try and reach as a society, as opposed to having all adults with access to the computer. However, as the PEW Internet American and Life Project explain in, “Are Wired Seniors Sitting Ducks,? eventually the wired baby-boomers are going to be the senior citizens in this world. At that point in time, the internet usage will be at an all-time high, due to the fact that a large majority of the baby boomers are well educated in the use of the internet, as all the following generations have taken after them.

We all know that the internet has been a great invention and tool for people to use. However, because of this, individuals who have a lack of access are at an extreme disadvantage in becoming successful. The PEW Internet American and Life Project article, “Internet Penetration and Impact,? shows us that the people who use the internet the most, are the ones who notice all the benefits and improvements that it has to offer. This being said, people who do not have this type of internet usage are therefore missing out on the many opportunities. There are many jobs today that require a person to be able to use the internet. It is nearly impossible for a child to receive a good education today without having the use of the internet. It has been implemented into many schools, and almost all higher-education opportunities. This would mean that if a person did not know how to use the internet, receiving higher education would be much more difficult, thus putting them at a disadvantage. This is why I believe that basic elementary schools should have specific, required classes on internet use.

In regard to the “one laptop per child? program, I don’t think that having the use of the internet in 3rd world countries is on the top of their priority list at this moment. First of all, I agree with the prompt with the fact that those areas need food and shelter for their communities before they become concerned with education of the internet, let alone, computers. Second, I do not think that these areas would have the infrastructure necessary to support such a task. I do see where the vision of this program is going however. It’s kind of like the old saying, “Give a man a fish, he’ll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, he’ll eat for a life-time.? Unfortunately, I don’t think that many of the third world countries’ ponds have any fish to hunt for. However, from what we see on OLPC’s website, this program is just starting to be implemented with Libya, Uruguay, and Rwanda just recently signing up for the program. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.