Posts tagged ‘digital divide’

Black American and the Digital Divide

By js, 8 September, 2008, No Comment

Digital Divide Narrows: Two-Thirds of African Americans Online

July 10, 2008

The digital divide between Black Americans and other groups in America has narrowed, with 68% of African Americans reporting they are online (compared with 71% of all Americans), according to a survey by Yankelovich that was sponsored by Radio One Inc.

Among Black teens, the number of digitally connected is even higher, with 90% reporting they are online. Of all Black Americans, two-thirds say they shop online. Blacks who live in the south are least likely to be online (63%).

These findings are part of the “Black America Survey” of 3,400 African Americans age 13 to 74.

The large-scale study finds strong group identity among Blacks across age and income brackets but also reveals differences in segments among Blacks that should preclude marketers from approaching Black America as a monolithic group.

Thinking about Focus

By js, 6 September, 2008, 1 Comment

Being there when Lennie’s pre-proposal got approved has given me some renewed energy. I’m going to have to consciously ignore everything else that is vying for my attention. Here goes…

So I know that I want to concentrate on

  • People of color and technology

Of course, that is too broad. I know, I know. So I have to focus even further. This was my path…

I started researching people of color and technology and this lead me to the discussion of the digital divide. This discussion, of course, is very big and very important. This is a discussion about

  • access to the technology which means
  • access to those skills which means
  • access to future jobs
  • access to self-representation
  • which ultimately means access to a better life via economic opportunities gained by those jobs and control over how one sees oneself

Now access to technology does NOT mean that the rest will follow but only that they CANNOT follow without it. Why is this important? Because alot of the research that I have seen has centered on access to the equipment and that research has been funded by industry which means that those providing the funds for the studies want to know how to reach those people who have alot of money to spend. It is all about market share. That is what I have seen about Hispanics. Hispanics are a big part of the population. Hispanics have a lot of money to spend. Hispanics are not accessing the web as much as others. That has alot of implications for advertising on the web (who the audience on the web is) and for designing advertising geared for that particular population which is NOT online. So one recent study looked at the fact that Hispanics are using the phone alot more than the web especially older Hispanics are adopting that technology alot more readily than they are online/internet technologies.

So one result of this is that advertisers will continue to assume that the web means a “white” audience, which means that if others go online and find that they are not being wooed then they may not feel welcomed. They will turn to other places (as consumers). If they don’t see themselves represented, then….then what? what will they do?

This particular question…I’m not really interested in answering especially because that only gives those in power more information about how to exploit this population. If they don’t see themselves represented, they will go someplace else. There is plenty of market data to prove that already. i don’t think the web is any different.

The question of NOT seeing themselves REPRESENTED is what interests me. What “excuses” the majority from representing everyone POC (my interest is primarily CHicanos), what representation ARE they creating and who do those representations benefit (according to Nakamura those representations only benefit the majority, they construct reprsentations that they can use as entertainment, voyuerism).

Partly, what helps the majority to “excuse” themselves is the discourse of the digital divide. The digital divide discourse basically looks at POC as deficient. The discourse uses an assumption of cultural capital as defined by the majority. That is, cultural capital as meaning education, economics, connections.

That boils down to

  1. having the money to get the goods (technology)
  2. having the education to make use of the goods (tech skills)
  3. having the connections to get the technology and the tech skills

So we know from digital divide research that not everyone has access to the equipment, software, physical connections to the internet. There are alot of different reasons for this. Partly, though, this discourse accomplishes one thing and sets one goal for policy

  • get people the equipment, put them near a computer and it will help
    • the problem with this is that getting someone near the computer does not mean he will learn how to use it or how to use it well (what well means, of course, is being defined)
  • from the research follows the logic that not many POC are using the technology so our effort should be in getting the technology to them
    • the danger here (and we see it now) is that this focus creates a dearth of research about POC who are using this technology;
      • who are they?;
      • how are they using it?;
      • why are they using it?;
      • how did they come to use it?;
      • how are they representing themselves through the use?
      • all of these are questions which are unanswered.

Now the research about digital literacy tells us that people need to have particular skills regarding the technology. They need to know

  • how to use specific tools (they need to have the instrumental skills)
    • instrumental skills, though, do not mean that they can use the technology critically
  • specific ways of  using the tools to produce specific results (they need critical thinking and problem solving skills)
    • using the tools to produce growth in critical thinking and problem solving skills requires different access to technology; having blocks, having one computer per classroom, having teachers who only use technology as presentation tools, having assignments which require uncritical use of the tool, do not lead to this type of growth
    • this, though, seems to be leading me to policy and pedagogy and NOT towards representation
    • but I think that students need to be able to use the tools critically and for problem solving so that they can get to the level of thinking about self-representation
    • if they only learn instrumental skills (like Word to make a specific product rather than BASIC which is to produce a specific process) then they will not get to the level of self-awareness; they know how to use the tool to produce a specific product but can they retool the tool to solve a specific problem
      • the focus on the tool, then, does NOT help us to ask questions about how the tool is used with the focus on a problem rather than producing a specific product

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


this can affect policy decisions

this can affect pedagogical decisions

this can affect funding decisions

this can affect research agendas


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 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



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%.

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

What Digital Divide?

By js, 4 July, 2008, No Comment

Here is an article which discusses the lesseinging of the digital divide in the Midwest.

Is the divide different for different areas of the country?

How does the funding agency affect the results of the study?

How does the political climate (and endemic racism of the area) affect the way the study is conducted and the way the results are reported?

The article itself is hinting at the possible bias in the reporting of the results.

“For some interesting (and somewhat disturbing) results measuring outcomes among underprivileged students with access to technology, see our report on a separate study from University of Chicago and Columbia University: Are Underprivileged Students Better Off Without Computers?”

more information here…

Digital Divide? What Digital Divide?

Bookmark and Share

Students in low-income families may have more access to technology than previously thought. What’s more, according to preliminary research coming out of the University of Minnesota, these students are using technology consistently to boost their 21st century skills–even if many of them aren’t aware that they’re of the educational value of their activities online.

Internet Access and Usage
The new study, led by U Minnesota’s Christine Greenhow, learning technologies researcher in the College of Education and Human Development, focused on 600 lower-income students, their access to the Internet, the frequency of their Internet usage, and their online social networking activities. What it found was that a full 94 percent of them used the Internet, with 82 percent of them using the Internet from home. Seventy-six percent reported having a desktop computer, and 30 percent reported having a laptop computer at home.”

Study Latino Online Use June 2008 California

By js, 4 July, 2008, No Comment

Just found this one particular study which contradicts many other studies which are saying that Latino use is increasing and the digital divide is lessening.

March 9 Migrant Digital Stories

By js, 9 March, 2008, No Comment

Migrant students can use media
–to empower themselves
–to demonstrate how their new identities are a hybrid of old and new
–reflect their cultural (new and old culture) gender norms