The Digital Divide
The “digital divide” refers to the gap between
those that have (or lack) access to computers
and the Internet.
2005, 70% of Americans use the Internet at work,
school or home
Home broadband penetration =59% of adults
Digital Divide data collected by land-line phone
“Digital Divisions”,
Report of the Pew Internet & American Life Project, October 2005
The Digital Access Project
Digital Inclusion
focuses on how information and
communication technology (ICT)
affects individuals,
communities and countries
The Digital Access Project
Digital Inclusion
The Objective: Social Inclusion
The Strategy: Individual and
Community Empowerment
The Tools: Enabling Technologies
> computers, networks, software,
the Internet
The Digital Access Project
This Approach Asks:
What social and political barriers to technology
access and literacy exist?
How does technology affect human rights,
civic participation, and social inclusion?
How does technology affect economic
The Digital Access Project
Digital Inclusion Assumptions
Technology should combat social exclusion,
not reinforce it
“Access” is not about computers and the
Internet--it’s about social inclusion and equity
Technology can have a profound economic and
social impact on communities-“one cell phone”
The Digital Access Project
Why is Digital Inclusion Critical?
Economic & Social Realities:
 Participation in the global, knowledge-based
economy requires the ability to access and
manage information
Underserved, marginalized communities have
the most to gain, the most to lose
Technology literacy, like literacy itself, is an
essential prerequisite to social inclusion
The Digital Access Project
Critical Drivers of ICT Use
ICT = information & communication technology
E-mail, Search, Maps
Access to online job listings, applications
Educational use, online learning
Online transactions (travel,e-bay, banking, etc.)
e-government services (taxes, licenses)
Health information (Medicaid part D)
Civic engagement & e-democracy
User generated content-blogs, websites, music sharing
The Digital Access Project
A Nation Online?
•70% of Whites
•57% of African-Americans
•38% of Americans with disabilities
•37% of Hispanics
•29% who have not graduated from High
•26% age 60 or older
“Digital Divisions”,
Pew Internet & American Life Project, October 2005
The Digital Access Project
What About the Other 30%?
Persistent barriers include:
• Limited technology literacy skills
• Anxiety, fear of technology tools-16% are “hard core resistors”
• Limited education, low literacy levels
• Language & accessibility barriers
• Irrelevant content
• Affordable broadband service
• Cost of entry (hardware)
The Digital Access Project
Digital Inclusion Strategies
Improve Access/ Connectivity
Provide broader access to the Internet,
lower cost of entry (municipal wireless??)
Develop content that is accessible, relevant
and contextual
Increase Technology Literacy
Help groups and individuals use technology
to do what THEY want to do, address
underlying social factors
The Digital Access Project
Off-line in America
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE, A Nation Online, 2004
The Digital Access Project
“Don’t Need it. Not Interested in it.”
18% of those not online answered:
“I am not interested in anything on the
This exceeds the 12 percent who said they
either weren't sure how to use the Internet or
couldn't afford a computer.
* Pew Internet & American Life Study, 2005
The Digital Access Project
Too Much (useless) Information?
A Children’s Partnership report on
online content reveals “not
interested” usually means
“content/information is not
designed for ME, or my family,
or my community”
Wendy Lazarus and Francisco Mora
“Online Content for Low-Income and Underserved Americans:
The Digital Divide's New Frontier”
The Digital Access Project
Content Barriers Cited by Low Income Adults
Lack of local information
Literacy Barriers
Develop information at a basic literacy level
Language Barriers
Provide practical information focusing on local
Online translation tools
Information in native languages
Lack of Cultural Diversity
Provide Relevant health, social and cultural
The Digital Access Project
e-Lingua Franca?
70% of website pages are in English
--70% of the worlds population doesn’t speak
English as their primary language
2000 U.S. census:
18% of residents report English is not the
primary language spoken at home
The Digital Access Project
Literacy and Accessibility
48% of Americans have low literacy skills,
most online content is written at a 10th grade
level, should be 6th grade level
8-10% of Americans have some kind of
disability ( +30% of seniors), few sites meet
Section 508, ADA accessibility guidelines
Limited vision is the most common disability
The Digital Access Project
Technology Literacy Is…
The ability to responsibly, creatively, and
effectively use appropriate technology to:
access, collect, manage, integrate, and
evaluate information;
solve problems and create solutions;
build and share knowledge; and
 improve and enhance learning in all
subject areas and experiences.
The Digital Access Project
Improving Technology Literacy
Human mitigation is critical to
improving technology literacy skills.
Best practices include:
Demystify technology
Provide time and space to experiment
Build knowledge through incremental
Create relevant, project-based workshops
Encourage peer learning, mentoring
Involve learners in program design
The Digital Access Project
Social Networks & Technology Literacy
Weak social networks=low tech literacy within
CTCs (telecenters) address both ACCESS and
TECH LITERACY gaps --and create social
networking opportunities
Neighborhood-based community technology
centers, not labs or computer rooms
The Digital Access Project
Digital Inclusion <is linked to> Social Inclusion
Both require
Civic & Social Participation
Access to Education, Literacy
Economic Self-Sufficiency
Economic Development
The Digital Access Project
21st Century Civic Engagement
Small groups look BIG on the ‘net-new opportunities for citizen groups
Easier access to elected representatives, more
opportunity for public discourse (e-democracy)
Greater access to government information and
legislation, increased transparency
The Digital Access Project
Social Inclusion & Democracy
“To communicate in the post-modern
society is the power to interact with
networks of information. It is not
sufficient to have a free mind, if our
words cannot circulate like the words of
--Sergio Amadeu de Silva
E-government director, San Paulo Brazil
The Digital Access Project
Information + Access + Literacy
= Knowledge?
Educators are faced with
hypermedia-conditioned learners
Youth have better technology literacy
skills than adult teachers and parents
The Digital Access Project
Coming Soon!
Better Brains?
Human brains like stimulation, more synapses
firing!~!! We seem to enjoy multi-tasking-are we evolving??
We have a generation of multimedia readers
and writers who prefer a combination of
– Audio
– Visual
– Text
The Digital Access Project
Left Brain, Right Brain, New Brain
The Internet is nothing less than the
equivalent of a phonetic alphabet
The human brain is once again evolving to a
new level
Students are acquiring new, desirable skills
Associative Logic
Graphic Literacy
Information Space
Rodney Riegle, P.h.D
The Digital Access Project
Good news, or?
This could be good news in terms of global or
cross-cultural collaboration --reducing
language barriers
Multimedia can accommodate diverse learning
styles, how our individual brains receive and
process information (“I’m a visual learner”)
Students learn best from projects they
“present”, multimedia enhances project based
The Digital Access Project
“Producers Not Consumers”
“Media” should not compete
with literacy, it adds layers
Media projects reinforce
critical thinking
& media literacy skills
Youth and adults can learn how to use
complex technology--but only if it’s relevant
The Digital Access Project
Collaborative, Contextual Learning
Students collaborate and present work
internationally-- via PODCASTS and Blogs
Radio Willow Web:
Room 208:
Educational Podcast Network:
The Digital Access Project
Too Much Media, Not Enough Literacy?
We respond to computer screens more like TV
than a book or newspaper
We SCAN web pages--looking for a link!
On-screen text is hard to read -- too much
overwhelms even the most determined
Have we, and are we teaching children to
become scanners instead of readers?
The Digital Access Project
How does hypermedia, coupled with ICT,
influence writers?
As VIEWERS, we seem to want complexity
(and can process a lot of information)
--Popular screenplays and TV now contain
multiple/ simultaneous plot lines.
(e.g. CRASH, Amazing race, Lost, Alias, etc.)
Do READERS want this same experience?
The Digital Access Project
Does Hypermedia Threaten Literacy?
Q. If ICT provides new
opportunities for knowledge
creation, should we expand
our (centuries old) definition-and revisit our assumptions
about literacy?
The Digital Access Project
From Hypermedia to Hip-Hop
“A hip-hop duo called Gnarls Barkley has
risen to the top of United Kingdom music
charts without selling a single disc.
"Crazy" went to number one with 31,000
download sales, before the song became
available on a physical medium.”
(And why do we care?)
The Digital Access Project
How to Become a Rock Star (circa 2006)
To score their #1 hit, the Gnarls didn’t
need a record deal to pay for production,
recording, duplication, promotion and
To reach a world-wide audience, they didn’t
need to tour
They didn’t need to make and get a video
on MTV
The Digital Access Project
All Gnarls Barkley Needs is
a MySpace Blog.
They maintain creative control over
their work
They can make as
many “albums” as
they want
The Digital Access Project
The Internet Changes Everything
The speed of change, and the scale of
change is intimidating
“Many-to-many” online publishing
replaces few-to-many (print) model?
•Email is one-to-one
•Web is one-to-many
•Blogs are many-to-many
The Digital Access Project
Network Theory & Behavior
If artists/creators understand how
networks function, both socially +
technically,we can create new
audiences for our work, and maybe
even new kinds of work.
Do not be afraid.
The Digital Access Project
4 Tools for Writer/Publishers
Blogging software
RSS Syndication
Creative Commons Licensing
Content Aggregators
The Digital Access Project
Don’t Fear the Blog
By the time you finish reading this sentence,
3 new people will start blogs
70,000 will begin writing blogs for the first
time today
Since you started this paragraph, 83 new blog
entries were added to the Internet
Is this article junk? (or: finding the good stuff in the blogosphere)
by Tom Gerace November 13, 2005
The Digital Access Project
Beyond the Rant (e.g. “PowerLine”)
User-driven media is exploding around the
globe--this is not a western fad
Blogs are being created in places like China
and Singapore, where traditional media is
Human rights and indigenous (democracy)
movements benefit from instant, international
The Digital Access Project
Blogs: An Enabling Technology?
Technology is neutral, not good or bad
Content management technologies
reduce friction between creators and markets
Blogs promise diversity, yet the 100 most
popular blogs are by white male authors
(blog popularity is accorded by links
to and from site--the online world is pretty
*March 21, Newsweek
“ Blogging Beyond the Men's Club”
The Digital Access Project
Shameless Promotion
The Digital Access Project
User Driven, Content-On-Demand
MySpace has passed the NY Times, AOL
and CNN in reach and page views
Community evaluation creates credibility
User-driven content is redefining how we
use the Internet
Syndication has a new name, RSS
The Digital Access Project
Real Simple Syndication (RSS)
RSS provides content creators with a
new means of online distribution
Simple programming code is added to
your webpage or blog
Users subscribe to your “feed”, using an
RSS “reader” to grab and display content
RSS readers are being integrated into
browsers, My Yahoo!, etc
The Digital Access Project
You Can Take It With You
Let me have my < music/books/poems/radio
shows/videos/weather reports/pictures/news
clips/short stories/CONTENT> when it’s
convenient for ME.
I will pay for this convenience.
The Digital Access Project
Protecting & Sharing Creative Works
Q uickTim e™ and a
TIFF (LZW) decompressor
are needed to see this pic ture.
Creative Commons defines the spectrum
of possibilities between full copyright
— all rights reserved — and the public
domain — no rights reserved.
CC licenses help you keep your copyright
while inviting certain uses of your work —
a "some rights reserved" copyright.
QuickTime™ and a
TIFF (LZW) decompressor
are needed to see this picture.
The Digital Access Project
Creative Commons
Attribution. You let others copy, distribute, display, and
perform your copyrighted work — and derivative works
based upon it — but only if they give credit the way you
Noncommercial. You let others copy, distribute, display, and
perform your work — and derivative works based upon it —
but for noncommercial purposes only
No Derivative Works. You let others copy, distribute, display,
and perform only verbatim copies of your work, not
derivative works based upon it.
Share Alike. You allow others to distribute derivative works
only under a license identical to the license that governs
your work.
The Digital Access Project
Creative Commons
The Digital Access Project
Emerging Business Models
Writers sharing in profits? What a concept!
Content is rated by readers
Developed by APMG/MPR
Revenue is shared via Gather Points™
Popularity/page reads drives author revenues
The Digital Access Project
Cultivating Networks
ICT provides new opportunities for broader
The Digital Access Project
Digital Inclusion
-ensures greater social, civic, educational and
economic participation
-expands (improves)& diversifies networks
The Digital Access Project
The Digital Access Project