When I started thinking about the use of the Internet, I remembered all of the people who could not read who asked me to teach them to read when they found out I was a teacher. That was many years ago and reading literacy is still a problem.
Now I have a new way of thinking, there needs to be more than just reading literacy, I believe digital literacy is a civil rights issue. The headline here talks about the urban poor but it is more than just the urban poor who are worried.
Without Internet, Urban Poor Fear Being Left Behind In
You must read this article and then think urban, rural, distant, tribal and isolated .http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/01/internet-access-digital-age_n_1285423.html
Originally published: March 1, 2012
[Commentary] An estimated 100 million Americans have no way of accessing the Internet at home. They are on the wrong side of the so-called “digital divide” — the chasm between those who are connected to technology and those who are not.
Some live in remote areas where broadband service doesn’t exist. Many live in blighted urban neighborhoods, unable to afford a computer, let alone Internet service. But being disconnected isn’t just a function of being poor. These days, it is also a reason some people stay poor. As the Internet has become an essential platform for job-hunting and furthering education, those without access are finding the basic tools for escaping poverty increasingly out of reach. “The cost of being offline is greater now than it was 10 years ago,” said John Horrigan, vice president of policy research at TechNet, a trade association representing high-tech companies. “So many important transactions take place online. If you don’t have access to high-speed Internet, you’re missing out on a lot.
FCC workshops , taught me these descriptors.
Barriers to Use
Affordability: 36 percent of non-adopters, or 28 million adults, said
they do not have home broadband because the monthly fee is too
expensive (15 percent), they cannot afford a computer, the installation
fee is too high (10 percent), or they do not want to enter into a
long-term service contract (9 percent). According to survey
respondents, their average monthly broadband bill is $41.
We know that there are initiatives for that change. We also know that community organizations can create learning spaces such as libraries, civic centers and chapter houses, or other venues to allow people to have community access.
Digital Literacy: 22 percent of non-adopters, or 17 million adults,
indicated that they do not have home broadband because they lack the digital skills (12 percent) or they are concerned about potential
hazards of online life, such as exposure to inappropriate content or
security of personal information (10 percent)
This is a gating reason for many, not just homes but schools. We hope to create awareness , information and resources that will create a pathway to great use of the Internet in our project.
Relevance: 19 percent of non-adopters, or 15 million adults, said they do not have broadband because they say that the Internet is a waste of time, there is no online content of interest to them or, for dial-up users, they are content with their current service.
Having been a teacher Internet pioneer, and having many professionals in our SITE.org to help disseminate best practices, we in the educational field can help to bridge the gap. There are long-standing projects like Project Zero that provide a model of dissemination. There is the Digital Generation Project. Many of today’s kids are born digital — born into a media-rich, networked world of infinite possibilities. But their digital lifestyle is about more than just cool gadgets; it’s about engagement, self-directed learning, creativity, and empowerment if they have the right learning landscape. The Digital Generation Project tells their stories so that educators and parents can understand how kids can learn, communicate, and socialize in very different ways than any previous generation was able to do.
Digital Hopefuls, who make up 22 percent of non-adopters, like the idea of being online but lack the resources for access.
Few have a computer and, among those who use one, few feel comfortable with the technology. Some 44 percent cite affordability as a barrier to adoption and they are also more likely than average to say digital literacy are a barrier. This group is heavily Hispanic and has a high share of African-Americans.
There are still some community center initiatives and funding that are created that need replication. Tutor Mentor in Chicago is a great example.
Years ago Andy Carvin wrote this.
Giving people access doesn’t instantly solve the manifold woes of our communities and schools. If it did, every kid with Internet access would be getting straight A’s and every adult with access would be gainfully employed and prosperous. It’s just not that simple. Technology access is only one small piece of a much larger puzzle, a puzzle that if solved might help raise the quality of life for millions of people. None of us can rightfully say we’ve found all the individual pieces yet, but some of the pieces are obvious enough that we can begin to put the digital divide puzzle together:
The digital divide is about content. The value of the Internet can be directly correlated to the value of its content. If all you can find online is shopping, Pokémon trading clubs, and porn, you could make a pretty good argument that it’s not very important to give people access to the Internet. As anyone who’s used it knows, the Internet can offer a wealth of opportunities for learning and personal enhancement, but we’ve only scratched the surface in terms of its potential. As more underprivileged and disenfranchised communities gain access, the Internet itself must provide the right tools so people are able to take advantage of and use it for more varied purposes, more learning styles, more languages and cultures. The Internet may feel like a diverse place, but when compared with the wealth of diversity and knowledge amongst humanity in the real world, it’s still pretty weak. Until the Net contains content that has true value to all of its potential users it will remain a place for the elite.
There is a bifurcation in use as well. Many only play with 2.O applications, they are good users of simple tools, but building the Internet and creating ideas takes computational thinking. But that’s another subject. Thinking about data mining, visualization, use of languages to build, and other skills needed to do Supercomputing are not in the thinking of educators. Here is the problem, ten years later, there are still people who are not on the Internet.The Pew Charitable Trust gives an update to Andy’s ideas. The slides are here In short they say,.Pew – The emerging information landscape – 8 realities of the “new normal”
“Pew Director Lee Rainie gave a keynote at the NFAIS annual conference about the way the internet and mobile connectivity have transformed the worlds of networked individuals. He discussed how normal life has changed in the past decade because of three revolutions in technology: 1) the spread of broadband; 2) the rise of mobile connectivity; and 3) the emergence of technological social networks. He discussed trends and likely future developments in technology that will shape the way people learn, share, and create information. The slides are here.”
The digital divide is about literacy. As much as we hate to admit it, functional illiteracy amongst adults is one of America’s dirty little secrets. Millions of adults struggle to fill out forms, follow written instructions, or even read a newspaper. The 1993 National Adult Literacy Survey suggest as many as 44 million American adults—one out of four—are functionally illiterate, while another 50 million adults are plagued by limited literacy. We often talk about the importance of information literacy when it comes to using the Internet. Information literacy is an obviously vital part of the equation, but how can we expect to conquer the digital divide when nearly half of all American adults can’t even process written information competently? Literacy must be tackled at the most basic level in order to afford more people the opportunity to use technology effectively.
The digital divide is about pedagogy. As I wrote recently in the e-journal the Digital Beat Internet access in schools isn’t worth a hill of beans if teachers aren’t prepared to take full advantage of technology. Research has shown that educators who are resistant to constructivist teaching practices are less likely to utilize the Internet in their lessons, while educators who are more comfortable with constructivist practices are more likely to do so. Teachers who employ more real-world interaction are thus more inclined to employ online interaction. How can professional development be reformed to take these differences into account?
The digital divide is about community. One of the greatest strengths of the Internet is in its facility for fostering communities. Communities often appear in the most low-tech of places: You can surf the Web until your knuckles implode and yet not feel like you’ve actually bonded with anyone, but you can subscribe to a simple e-mail listserv and join a gathering of people who have been enjoying each others’ wisdom for years. It’s paramount for people coming to the Internet for the first time to have opportunities to join communities and forge new communities of their own. Public spaces must be preserved online so that people can gather without feeling like direct marketing or more popular and powerful voices are crowding them out. If people can’t build meaningful relationships online, how can they be expected to gravitate to it?
We must continue fighting the scourge of illiteracy—among students, their parents, and among the community—by expanding formal and informal opportunities that improve reading and critical-thinking skills. We must demand engaging content from online producers and refuse to buy into mediocre content when it doesn’t suit our teaching needs. We must encourage all learners to be creators as well, sharing their wise voices both online and offline. And we must open our schools and libraries to more connections with our communities—no computer lab or training room should sit idly during evening and weekend hours. These are but a few examples of what the education community can do.These five puzzle pieces—access, content, literacy, pedagogy and community—may not be enough to complete the entire digital divide puzzle, but they go a long way in providing us a picture of what’s at stake. Giving people access to technology is important, but it’s just one of many issues that need to be considered. Schools, libraries, and community centers have taking that first step in getting wired, but they must also consider the needs of the learners, the teachers, and the communities that support them. Broadband accessibility and speed are a problem.
Digital Citizenship is a concept which helps teachers, technology leaders and parents to understand what students/children/technology users should know to use technology appropriately. Digital Citizenship is more than just a teaching tool; it is a way to prepare students/technology users for a society full of technology. Too often we are seeing students as well as adults misusing and abusing technology but not sure what to do. The issue is more than what the users do not know but what is considered appropriate technology usage.
Cyberbullying and Adults
Cyberbullying isn’t just for kids. It never was. But when adults are involved, it’s called “cyberharassment” not “cyberbullying.” WiredSafety’s award-winning website dedicated to the issue of cyberbullying and young people is StopCyberbullying.org . It’s the most popular cyberbullying website in the world. Adult cyberharssment is handled here at WiredSafety.org’s cyberbullying section
Pew – The emerging information landscape – 8 realities of the “new normal”
“Pew Director Lee Rainie gave a keynote at the NFAIS annual conference about the way the internet and mobile connectivity have transformed the worlds of networked individuals. He discussed how normal life has changed in the past decade because of three revolutions in technology: 1) the spread of broadband; 2) the rise of mobile connectivity; and 3) the emergence of technological social networks. He discussed trends and likely future developments in technology that will shape the way people learn, share, and create information. The slides in PDF are here.”
Facebook’s Digital Citizenship Research Grants
Facebook’s Digital Citizenship Research Grants support world-class research to improve our understanding of how social media can impact the next generation. In August 2011, we invited academic and non-profit institutions to apply for the $200,000 in grants funding research that highlights trends associated with digital citizenship. Nearly 100 researchers from more than 10 countries submitted outstanding applications. Based on in-depth evaluation from a team of Facebook employees and our Safety Advisory Board, we are awarding the inaugural Digital Citizenship Research Grants to FOUR researchers who will advance our global understanding of digital citizenship.
Dr. Michael Searson, SITE
Dr. Searson is President of the Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education (SITE) and heads the School for Global Education and Innovation program at Kean University. SITE represents approximately 1500 educators, from about 500 institutions of higher education throughout the world. In these roles, Dr. Searson works with educators across the globe to explore issues related to information technologies, informal learning, mobile devices and social media.The SITE project will bring together a coalition of international scholars, researchers and practitioners who will develop an open source course and course modules for the preparation of future teachers to teach digital citizenship.