Archive for July, 2008

Research Questions

By js, 31 July, 2008, No Comment

These are the research questions which I began with:

  • Do blogs written by women who self-identify as Chicana exhibit the various elements of cultural capital as defined by Yosso: aspirational, linguist, familial, social, navigational, and resistant

Now it seems to me that this theory is flawed. I think all people have these elements of cultural capital. The way in which the different forms of cultural capital are created and utilized may be different.

For example, everyone probably has aspirational capital. For POC, the aspirations may be more difficult to attain, but (according to Massey, data shows that these aspirations are becoming harder and harder to achieve) the fact that POC believe that they can achieve more if only the work harder and smarter helps to maintain the status quo which benefits white people who benefit from societal structures which will help them to achieve those aspirations. As long as POC also believe they just have to work harder and smarter does not put any pressure on society to make societal structures more equitable so that everyone can reach their aspirations.

Similarly, everyone uses their linguistic capital. POC may have different languages which they can use but those languages, be it Spanish or an English dialect, do not command the same power in society. On the other hand, those in power do have linguistic capital; they are able to control the different forms of language which help to distribute power, such as legal language, structured language, disciplinary languages, etc.

Familial capital is also something that everyone draws from especially those in power. According to Massey’s research, family connections help poor people when they have rough patches because they are able to turn to one another for support but it also depletes any reserves which may have been saved by the family. On the other hand, affluent families help each other to prosper because they seldom experience rough patches which deplete their reserves.

Social capital….

Navigational cap..At least a couple of the types, navigational and community capital are not exclusive to people of color. In fact, Massey argues that people in power have been very successful in using their navigational capital and their connections in the community for advancement.

By looking at what the inequality literature is arguing, people are just adapting to their contexts in different ways. So how people use their navigational capital is going to be much different if they are not in power. So those in power, namely white people in the US, will navigate institutions in ways that will benefit them and those institutions are designed for just such use. On the other hand, those who are disenfranchised will not be able to navigate the institutions in the same way. Their methods will have to be different. But that does not mean that only POC have navigational capital, but the ways in which this capital comes to be and how it is utilized is different. Massey makes the same argument about how poor people, usually POC, react to violence around them; they will become violent in response to violence, more distrusting, and less willing to get involved. Whereas white people deal with violence by moving away from the places with such dangers. So both have to deal with the reality but they do so in different ways because of the context in which they find themselves.

The important part in all this is that none of these are exclusive to POC as Yosso and others claim.

If we follow Massey’s argument, then we can argue that the forms of cultural capital which Yosso points out are only manifestations of the way in which POC deal with their situations but those same types of capital are also used/created by non-POC.

So if it is not exclusive to POC (chicanas), is it worth looking at?

  • If so, what rhetorical strategies do these bloggers use to construct each type of capital?

I can revise this question to ask: what rhetorical strategies do Chicana bloggers use to communicate online?

  • What implications does this knowledge have in the writing classroom?

I guess this question does not need to be changed.

Technical Communication and Inequality

By js, 31 July, 2008, No Comment

Reading Massey and Gaudin about inequality really makes me think about how my own work either contributes to or helps to fight inequality.

This reading has made me look at my research questions and I’m wondering if I’m looking at the wrong thing.

According to the theory that I am testing, people of color have different cultural capital which they value. At least a couple of the types, navigational and community capital are not exclusive to people of color. In fact, Massey argues that people in power have been very successful in using their navigational capital and their connections in the community for advancement.

By looking at what the inequality literature is arguing, people are just adapting to their contexts in different ways. So how people use their navigational capital is going to be much different if they are not in power. So those in power, namely white people in the US, will navigate institutions in ways that will benefit them and those institutions are designed for just such use. On the other hand, those who are disenfranchised will not be able to navigate the institutions in the same way. Their methods will have to be different. But that does not mean that only POC have navigational capital, but the ways in which this capital comes to be and how it is utilized is different. Massey makes the same argument about how poor people, usually POC, react to violence around them; they will become violent in response to violence, more distrusting, and less willing to get involved. Whereas white people deal with violence by moving away from the places with such dangers. So both have to deal with the reality but they do so in different ways because of the context in which they find themselves.

This reading has lead me to different research questions:

Does technical communication contribute to inequality? If so, how?

I know this particular question is too broad but that will be the guiding question as I seek to focus it even further.

How does assessment contribute to inequality?
How does the structure of online learning contribute to inequality?
How does design of online spaces either contribute to or help fight inequality?
How does change in literacy requirements to include digital literacy contribute to inequality?

This particular question has been at the center of much of my thinking but I have not been able to articulate it. I have noticed in TC a lack of discussion about race; how does this lead to inequality. For example, even in usability there have been those who say that race does not matter; how does that contribute to inequality? Perhaps race itself is not central to qeustions of usability but what is central are those realities/inequalities which people have to deal which are connected to race.

Even when I was thinking of participatory design, I was thinking about inequality. In fact, participatory design seeks to level out the field by giving everyone involved in a project an equal say in the design of the project. The question would be if the ultimate outcome of participatory design also redistributes the benefits derived from the participatory project back to everyone.

Where has participatory design been implemented? What have the short term results been? What have the long-terms results been? Do the long-term benefits of participatory projects get distributed among all participants?

When I think about how literacy is being redefined to include digital literacy, I wonder how those people who do not have access to the technology will gain access to that literacy. Even as schools bring in technology to schools, students use the computers in passive way rather than in an active, critical activities which will help build their digital literacy. Schools have substituted programming classes with classes which teach students how to use specific office tools. The approach to the classes themselves provide students with significant messages about what they are capable of doing with the technology they learn.

As I moved to the discussion of race in online spaces, I was interested in looking at the way in which the online spaces are designed give unequal opportunity for POC to control their identity. The design itself assumes a white user unless someone has the audacity to actually articulate their identity in direct ways, but unless someone has the knowledge and experience in doing this, they may not know that it is an option.

Reading about inequality

By js, 31 July, 2008, No Comment

Reading Massey and Gaudin about inequality really makes me think about how my own work either contributes to or helps to fight inequality.

Unequal America

By js, 31 July, 2008, No Comment

Summer of Distractions

By js, 29 July, 2008, No Comment

As the second full month of my summer ends, I am distressed about the amount of work that I have NOT completed.

I shouldn’t be surprised; summers never go as intended, but I am disappointed. I know that I will be unable to complete my goals. It’s time to look at my timeline again.

Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century

By js, 4 July, 2008, No Comment

Occasional Papers

 

http://digitallearning.macfound.org/site/apps/nlnet/content2.aspx?c= enJLKQNlFiG&b=2108773&content_id={CD911571-0240-4714-A93B-1D0C07C7B6C1}&notoc=1

Digital Divide and Digital Literacy as White Property–my ideas

By js, 4 July, 2008, No Comment

Pendergast argues that literacy has been constructed as white property

That means that

  • access to literacy for non-whites is limited
  • x
  • y
  • z

Does this also occur with the concept of digital literacy?

there is alot of discussion about the access to digital technologies which affects the learning of that type of literacy

  • but even access to the technology itself does not guarantee access to the literacy skills needed to be smart consumers and producers

Alot of the research done about minorities and access to technology is driven by their marketshare; that means by how much money they can spend; if alot of advertisements are moving onto the digital realm then that target consumer population needs to be reached; this is so that the companies selling can reach their buyers; this means that the type of research which is being done is geared for the businesses and for the type of strategies they should be using to get their market share; of course, they may not have alot of control; for example, ATT may not be willing to spend to get fiberoptic cable to communities which cannot pay for the services; but businesses want to lobby ATT to provide the cable to they can push their advertisement to those so that population can access the ads; so the companies will make deals with ATT to get that population (unless of course the population doens’t have alot of money and wouldn’t be able to buy the services in the first place); these people are interested int he consumer and not necessarily making the population become the producer

which may be one of the reasons why digital TV is being pushed so hard; everyone gets TV, even the poorest households

Other research has to do with technology and education; how does the technology access affect the access to education; in a sense this is digital literacy

if the people do not have access to the technology and to the web, then they will be at a disadvantage to many of the services which are provided online; so many of the support services; the additional instruction; the just in time help for the learning tohappen is not happening; they cannot get online for that

many teachers are beginning to design the course with the expectation that the students do have access; that is not necessarily the case; so that makes the student be at a disadvantage

so the digital technology; access to the web becomes property which is linked with literacy; just as having books is property which is linked to literacy; having the books makes kids become better readers; having access to the web makes kids better consumers/producers of text; in essence, makes them more literate

so even though the research and the political climate has pushed to get technology in schools, who is getting the technology and the type of technology they are getting, the way in which the technology is being put to use is all part of the literacy as white property; who gets to be a consumer, who gets to be a producer; what type of consumer one becomes, etc.

one is more empowered and can ultimately take control and the other is always at a disadvantage

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN IN THE LONG RUN?

this can affect policy decisions

this can affect pedagogical decisions

this can affect funding decisions

this can affect research agendas

WHAT CAN I LOOK AT FOR MY STUDY?

studies and their designs

studies and their findings

policy decisions

how technology is implemented in schools

discourse of distance education

WE MUST GO BEYOND THE ISSUE OF ACCESS to what our concern for access tells us; and what that focus may be blinding us to

Study says many dial-up users don’t want broadband

By js, 4 July, 2008, No Comment

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080703/ap_on_hi_te/ tec_broadband_study;_ylt=Aoo0WCIqw7gTyTX_5jgRr.QjtBAF

Study says many dial-up users don’t want broadband

By ANICK JESDANUN, AP Internet Writer Thu Jul 3, 1:34 AM ET

NEW YORK – A new study suggests that attitude rather than availability may be the key reason why more Americans don’t have high-speed Internet access.

The findings from the Pew Internet and American Life Project challenge the argument that broadband providers need to more aggressively roll out supply to meet demand.

Only 14 percent of dial-up users say they’re stuck with the older, slower connection technology because they can’t get broadband in their neighborhoods, Pew reported Wednesday.

Thirty-five percent say they’re still on dial-up because broadband prices are too high, while another 19 percent say nothing would persuade them to upgrade. The remainder have other reasons or do not know.

“That suggests that solving the supply problem where there are availability gaps is only going to go so far,” said John Horrigan, the study’s author. “It’s going to have to be a process of getting people more engaged with information technology and demonstrating to people it’s worth it for them to make the investment of time and money.”

Nonetheless, the Pew study does support concerns that rural Americans have more trouble getting faster Internet connections, which bring greater opportunities to work from home or log into classes at distant universities. Twenty-four percent of rural dial-up users say they would get broadband if it becomes available, compared with 11 percent for suburbanites and 3 percent for city dwellers.

Vint Cerf, one of the Internet’s key inventors and an advocate for the idea that the government should be more active in expanding broadband, suspects that many more dial-up users would be interested in going high-speed if they had a better idea of what they’re missing. He pointed out that broadband access is available from only one provider in many areas, keeping prices high and speeds low.

“Some residential users may not see a need for higher speeds because they don’t know about or don’t have ability to use high speeds,” Cerf said. “My enthusiasm for video conferencing improved dramatically when all family members had MacBook Pros with built-in video cameras, for example.”

Overall, Pew found that 55 percent of American adults now have broadband access at home, up from 47 percent a year earlier and 42 percent in March 2007. By contrast, only 10 percent of Americans now have dial-up access.

Despite the increase in overall broadband adoption, though, growth has been flat among blacks and poorer Americans.

Of the Americans with no Internet access at all, about a third say they have no interest in logging on, even at dial-up speeds. Nearly 20 percent of nonusers had access in the past but dropped it. Older and lower-income Americans are most likely to be offline.

Pew’s telephone study of 2,251 U.S. adults, including 1,553 Internet users, was conducted April 8 to May 11 and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 2 percentage points. The error margins for subgroups are higher — plus or minus 7 percentage points for the dial-up sample.

Home Broadband Adoption 2008

By js, 4 July, 2008, No Comment

Home Broadband Adoption 2008

Adoption Stalls For Low-Income Americans Even As Many Broadband Users Opt For Premium Services

PrintEmailShare

Summary

Some 55% of adult Americans now have broadband internet connections at home, up from 47% who had high-speed access at home last year at this time. From the March 2006 to March 2007 timeframe, home broadband adoption grew from 42% of Americans to 47%.

http://pewresearch.org/pubs/888/home-broadband-adoption-2008

full reportTechnology & Media Use

Home Broadband 2008: Adoption Stalls for low-income Americans even as many broadband users opt for premium services that give them more speed

7/2/2008 | MemoReport | John Horrigan

Some 55% of all adult Americans now have a high-speed internet connection at home. The percentage of Americans with broadband at home has grown from 47% in early 2007. Poorer Americans saw no growth in broadband adoption in the past year while at the same time nearly one-third of broadband users pay more to get faster connections.

View PDF of Report
View PDF of Questionnaire

Questions

By js, 4 July, 2008, No Comment

How does the discourse about the digital divide affect policy?

How is computer literacy/ digital literacy another form of literacy for which minorities are at a disadvantage? Does Pendergast argument about literacy as white property supported by the documents surrounding the digital divide?

Who publishes the studies, who funds them, and how do those elements affect the studies and the reporting of their findings?

How are those studies used to make policy decisions? Can that be tracked?