Thursday, April 30, 2009

Video Project - Group 4

Here's Group 4's project from Andre, Hattie, Laura, Casey, Luke, and Lindsey. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Group Video Response

In the making of our video, I was in charge of video taping all of the interviews and editing/posting the video online. Along with the rest of the group, I also had input as to the series of questions we posed to the interviewees. 

I thought that this project was interesting in that it was wide open as to what direction you could go with it. With all of the topics we have covered so far, it was difficult narrowing the focus down to one area. It will be interesting to see what all of the other groups came up with and what areas they chose hit on. Overall I thought this project was fun and allowed us to thy to apply what we have been learning about our personal lives. 

Video Project- Group 1

Here is the link to our video on YouTube:

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Horizontal Networks Vs. Vertical

One of the majority of our discussions was focused on The Three Industrial Revolutions and I wanted to expand on a previous post, with an emphasis on the organization of the three revolutions.

First Industrial Revolution:
Beginning: In the late 18th century.
Key technologies: Printing press, steam engine (transportation), machinery
Archetpyical workplace: workshop
Organization: Master-apprentice-serf
Expansion: This period defined individuals by their social status. Either you were lucky to have been taken in as an apprentice and work your way up to a master, or you fell into the later category of a se.rf. Much of your income was dependent on your families, or with intelligence with a bit of luck.

For the later two I would like to quote another blog that I found had a useful definition of vertical and horizontal networks.
That blog:
The poster defines them as: "Vertical networks are confining, imposed and physical. Horizontal networks are expansive, self controlled and non-physical."

The second revolution was characterized by these vertical networks in the late 19th century with the creation of: electricity, internal combustion, telegraph, telephone. Jobs were mostly taken place in factories, where there was a since of a boss, and a boss' boss. Big individual, like Rockefeller, rose out of this era.

The third revolution was characterized by horizontal networks. The advent of the Internet allowed for a bit of equality between individuals. Albeit those left behind (our topic in this class). The author describes this through a quote by Jarobe written in 2001 as "what we have is not a an Internet economy but an information economy in which computers and the Internet play an essential enabling role."

I think the distinction of these two terms is important and may be important for our exam.

One Laptop Per Child: Relating to Access

The program One Laptop Per Child seeks to achieve the access of Device, according to Warschauer, providing the computer as the physical ability to make a connection to the internet but does not necessarily include the skills & understanding of using the computer in the socially valued ways.

One Laptop Per Child also achieves similarly Van Dijk's material access where the computer again provides the physical item for connectedness; however, One Laptop Per Child does not guarantee fulfillment of the skills access, mental access nor usage access mentioned by Van Dijk. There seems to be relatively minimal intent to provide the children with the education to use the computer.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Week 8: Types of Digital Skills

In the article: The Digital Divide As A Complex and Dynamic Phenomenon

-Instrumental skills: the ability to operate hardware and software. (Can you turn it on?)

-Informational skills: searching information using digital hardware and software. ( Can you use techology for basic means of communication and information exchange?)

-Strategic skills: using information for one's own purpose and position. (Are you comfortable enough with ICT to use it efficiently to aid in your communications and enhance your acquisition, analysis, and proliferation of information?)-Upon reaching this level, you are among the most skilled and most advantaged in the realm of ICT.

Instrumental and informational skills are united under the idea of informacy, the basic ability to apply technical know how and literacy to ICT operation. Informacy is not primarily determined by education, but rather, by age and gender.

If not born digital, having young children, particular hobbies, or access in the workplace can lead to a greater resevoir of technical skills.

Week Nine- Questioning the Digital Divide

How does James' critique differ from Compaine's? 

James' main argument is that people have to have access, understanding, and competence in order for our divide to diminish.  He is certain that there is a digital divide.  James' believes that we cannot rely on past inventions to predict what the internet can do in the future.  For early technologies, people generally need few skills and literacy to work radios, tvs, etc.  But once people start using internet and email, they need to be able to understand and have a need for this type of technology. Nations that are more engaged in research are more likely to use technologies and attempt to understand them so that they can uplift or improve their country.  

Compaine's main argument is that with time, the divide is going to fix itself with technologies.  It's more of a digital crevice, than a divide, so eventually it's just going to disappear. His focus is on normalization, and that we'll all get to the same spot because digital technologies influence us.  He states that more and more people are using the internet and that prices are decreasing at the same time, making the divide close up. 

Exam 2 Question

Week Eight – Defining the Digital Divide:

What are the characteristics of people who are more likely to go online?
· High Income people
· Younger generations who were born in digital era
· Professional and Managerial occuapations
· Those with higher education such as a college degree
· Male
· Although the article didn’t go into great detail on race, being of white origin is a characteristic

Exam 2 Question

Week Seven, Question 4: What are the new categories of workers? What do workers in the new categories do?

The answer to this question comes from Warschauer, M.'s article, on page 22. In the new informational economy, Warschauer writes, the main division between workers is not whether they are blue collar or white collar workers, but whether they are routine production workers, in-person service workers, or symbolic analysts. Each of these three new categories has a specific relationship to the internet and computers.

Routine production workers, which could be payroll clerks or factory workers, engage in the internet on the job in a routine way. This also goes for in-person analysts, or janitors or taxi drivers, who also use the internet on the job in a routine way. Symbolic analysts, on the other hand, use the computer and internet for the interpretation and analysis of data, to create new knowledge, to use it for international communication and collaboration, or for the development of multimedia.

Warchauer also writes that well-paying blue collar jobs have disappeared in the new information economy, being replaced by the three new categories mentioned above.

Exam 2

What are the characteristics of people who are more likely to be online?

Wealthy households income
Certain occupations- access through job (for example provided with personal computers)
The higher the education the more likely to be online
Gender- many different findings but nothing has been inclusive
Generation- youngest age groups more likely to be online- brought up with technology 

Exam 2 Review

What are some solutions/implications suggested by the authors in Chapter 6?
  • Research from this book “strongly suggest that neighborhoods in urban America, especially in large metropolitan areas like Chicago, are likely to remain divided, racially and culturally.” (161)
  • Racial and ethnic tensions in our nation will continue to exist, especially when they begin at a community level
  • The more individuals within groups perceive and highlight these differences, the less likely they are to welcome others or to feel comfortable sharing the same physical and social spaces, leading to increased ethnic/racial stratification
  • Hirshman’s theory of exit, voice, and loyalty will continue, specifically with “white flight” to the suburbs as Latinos and blacks migrate to the inner city

What are the major themes: Afro@Digital

This films' message to the audience was about the long awaited technological revolution finally reaching people in Africa. The use of mobile phones and the internet has become a lot more widespread in the 21st century in under-developed African nations, especially through the availability of internet cafes and pay as you go mobile phones. This film gave the sense that although Africans are disadvantaged in many ways technologically and in education, many are very willing to learn how to use the technology to benefit themselves, even if not able to use it to it's maximum potential. Hopefully by connecting Africa to the rest of the world at fast speeds that the internet and phones allow, this might bring about more changes in the way Africans view themselves and the world and allow them to strive for more positive changes in their countries. The question of what would Africans need the internet for is ludicrous; what does anyone need the internet for? I do not think of the internet as being a luxury that only people with stable economies and governments should be allowed. 

That being said, I spent 5 months living in Cape Town, South Africa last year, and personally I thought cell phones were used in the city as much as in American cities for all races, although very few homes nonwhite had access to the internet. Cape Town is a first world city in a third world country, and not very representative of the country as a whole or Africa in general. Even just outside the city in the townships (shanty towns) there was barely electricity and no running water. 

There Goes the Neighborhood (exam 2 review question)

What is meant by the tipping point?

The tipping point = Rapid ethnic turnover.

"In many neighborhoods, an infusion of minorities prompted whites to leave and discouraged other whites from replacing them. Thus the proportion of minority-group members grew quickly, particularly after the minority group became the major force in the community. Real estate agents have historically abetted this process by "steering" purchasers to "live with their own kind." - page 7

Exam 2 - There goes the Neighborhood

Understand and be able to explain Albert Hirschman’s theory of exit, voice, and loyalty.

Albert Hirschman's theory of exit refers to when people become dissatisfied with their surroundings they choose to exit (move or withdrawal from participation in neighborhood). If residents don't choose to exit they can exercise voice. By exercising voice residents attempt to change their environment rather than trying to escape from it. A factor in peoples decision to exit or voice is how loyal they are to their neighborhood. How loyal a person is to their neighborhood refers to how attached they are to it.

Exam 2: Warschauer Article

What are the new categories of workers (as opposed to the old categories of blue-collar and white-collar workers)? What do workers in the new categories do?

Three new categories:

Routine production worker - e.g., data processors, payroll clerks, and factory workers

In-person service worker -e.g., janitors, hospital attendants, taxi drivers

Symbolic Analysts - e.g., software engineers, management consultants, and strategic planners

Employees in all three categories may use computers and the internet for their jobs, but the first to make use in routine ways such as inventory checks and ordering products, while the last group uses ICT to conduct analysis and interpretation of data, creation of new knowledge, international communication and collaboration, and the development of complex media products.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Compaine Article Questions

What factors does Compaine suggest increase the adoption of computer and internet use?

  • 5 trends: Rapidly declining costs and increasing power of the hardware; improving ease of use; increasing availability of points of presense (POPs) for local Internet Service Provideraccess; decreasing cost of Internet access; and network externalitites associated with email and chat.
  • Compaine presents some statistics about how fast computer and internet technology has evolved in such a short period of time
  • Suggests the improving ease of use is directly related to Microsoft and Apple introducing the "Point-and-Click" operating system. This system greatly reduced technical barriers to access for many people. One no longer needed advanced "command prompt" knowledge to use a computer and the internet.

How does Compaine describe access in this article?

  • Compaine seems to describe access in a light that reflects his opinion that there really isn't much of a divide. He presents many statistics and facts in a way that indicate access is nearly everywhere and considerably easy to obtain.

Exam Review, Warschauer Article

·      What set of features and technologies describe the various industrial revolutions?

1st - Happened in the late 18th century - printing press, steam engine, machinery - production still organized in workshops with a master/apprentice/serf relationship

2nd - Happened late 19th century - electricity, internal combustion, telegraph, telephone - production organized in factories with vertical hierarchies (boss, manager, workers, similar to master, apprentice, serf really)

3rd - mid-to-late 20th century (now?) - transistor, PCs, telecommunications, the internet - horizontal networks

3rd revolution is the one that is associated with Informationalism - the spread of information (telephones, TVs, the internet) more than just tools and more efficient production methods.

Exam 2 Review

What are the different types of digital skills? (Week 8, reading 2, question 2)

Instrumental skills: the ability to operate hardware and software

Informational skills: the ability of searching information using digital hardware and software

Strategic skills: using information for one's own purpose and position (this skill was added last)

These are found on page 319 under the "Digital Skills" section in the van Dijk, J. and Hacker, K. reading.

Exam #2 Review

Define and understand the concept of informationalism.

Four features distinguish informationalism from the prior industrial stage: the driving role of science and technology for economic growth; a shift from material production to information processing, the emergence and expansion of new forms of networked industrial organization; and the rise of socioeconomic globalization.

Exam 2 Review - Jan van Dijk

How does van Dijk define access?

van Dijk defines access in terms of four kinds of barriers and the type of access they restrict.

1. Mental Access - the lack of elementary digital experience
2. Material Access - not having computers or network connections
3. Skills Access - inadequate education, social support or user unfriendliness
4. Usage Access - not having the opportunity to use technologies
What are the different types of digital skills?

There are three types of digital skills that van Dijk identifies in this article. The first skill is instrumental skill, meaning the ability to actually operate the hardware and software, and the second skill is informational skill, meaning the ability to search for information using the hardware/software. Together these two skills, instrumental and informational, are referred to as "informacy". The third digital skill is strategic skill, meaning the ability to use information for one's own purpose in a meaningful way. van Dijk goes on to say that "informacy" is not primarily related to educational level, but more to age and gender.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Stratification vs normalization

-Understand the difference between stratification and normalization as it relates to technological diffusion.

-“In the normalization figure illustrated in figure 2.2, those who adopt the innovations at an early stage will be ahead of the curve, with the resources, skills, and knowledge to take advantage of digital technologies, but in the long term cyber optimists believe that penetration will become saturated in these societies.” (30). “In contrast, cyber pessimists emphasize that the stratification model provides a more realistic scenario where groups already well networked via traditional forms of information and communication technologies will maintain their edge in the digital economy.” (31).

Exam 2 Review - #1

Warschauer defines access in terms of physical access to a computer or any other ICT device. Full access requires connection to the Internet as well as the skills and understanding to use the computer and the Internet in socially valued ways.