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Archive for the Ch 04: Digital Divide Category

New UN data access site

Posted on Sat, Apr 05, 2008 at 12:32 PM by Andrew Chadwick

The UN has unveiled its new data access system and it is pretty slick and powerful. It allows for intuitive keywords searches followed by refinement of the results. Downloads in various formats are available.

This is a quick and easy way to access data on communications and information technology indicators. If you're so inclined, you can play with some figures and update some of the data I used in chapter 3.

ITU data.

Worldmapper - global internet user maps

Posted on Mon, Mar 26, 2007 at 3:13 PM by Andrew Chadwick

Worldmapper is "a collection of world maps, where territories are re-sized on each map according to the subject of interest." This produces some remarkably intuitive depictions of global internet diffusion. Thanks to Yenn Lee for alerting me to this.

Sugata Mitra and 'outdoctrination'

Posted on Wed, Dec 06, 2006 at 5:59 PM by Andrew Chadwick

A couple of weeks ago I was fortunate enough to be able to attend a talk by Sugata Mitra at an event organised by the ICT for Development Collective at Royal Holloway (where I work). The ICT4D Collective is a body of researchers, doctoral students and people working in NGOs and development agencies that are all interested in trying to understand the role played by information and communication technologies in the developing world. I am a member of the Collective but have what can really only be described as an 'amateur' interest in ICT4D issues. The chapter of my book on the digital divide deals with these issues but in nothing like the depth that Tim Unwin and his colleagues at Royal Holloway can do.

Mitra is well-known for so-called 'hole in the wall' computers - Internet-wired kiosks that were established in poor urban and rural areas of India in a series of experiments during the early 2000s. He spoke about the history and results of the project in incredibly positive and optimistic terms, but, overall, I was left wondering about the real long-term benefits of establishing hole in the wall style computers without plugging them into real world educational institutions and behaviour.

A webcast of the talk, including the Powerpoint slides, is available at the Cisco website (Thanks to Cisco's corporate responsbility section for sponsoring the event and doing such an excellent job of the webcast).

Update: The 100 dollar laptop project, now gathering pace, is in the same vein, though there are some significant developments in terms of the hardware and software.

Edited on: Wed, Jan 03, 2007 12:19 PM

Municipal WiFi

Posted on Tue, Oct 31, 2006 at 9:25 AM by Andrew Chadwick

Nice little article on municipal wifi in Foster City, CA. But how long before the telcos move in like they did in Pennsylvania?

ICT4D in Rwanda

Posted on Tue, Aug 01, 2006 at 1:48 PM by Andrew Chadwick

A rather strange article in The Guardian (whose coverage of all things Internet politics has mushroomed in recent weeks) about Rwanda's new ICT-for-development strategy. I say 'strange' because it almost completely ignores the decades of civil strife that have bedevilled the country. One of the things that stood out is the context of high levels of population density, when compared with other African nations, as a precursor for success.

Race and the digital divide

Posted on Sun, Feb 05, 2006 at 1:13 PM by Andrew Chadwick

Karen Mossberger et al's book on the digital divide in the United States is an excellent starting point. In a discussion the other day one of my students raised the issue of the racial divide, pointing out that, after controlling for other variables, there were few good hypotheses for why the divide might exist. One of Mossberger et al's findings was that even after controlling for educational attainment and income there was still a small but significant digital divide based on race. They found that African-Americans and Latinos were less likely overall to have technology skills, even though they had a much more optimistic outlook on the difference the Internet could make to their social and political influence.

The authors revisited this conundrum in a useful paper (pdf) published by the Center for Digital Government (formerly at Harvard, now at the University of Massachussetts, Amherst). The paper argues that environmental and neighborhood constraints go some way toward explaining the divide.

Not everyone uses Google - and this has implications

Posted on Tue, Dec 13, 2005 at 6:17 PM by Andrew Chadwick

A useful post by Eszter Hargittai about some research conducted by an independent company on search engine use. The research concludes that wealthier, more experienced Internet users were more likely to use Google than those with lower incomes and less experience.

There are also some interesting reflections about whether experience of Internet use (measured in simple time chunks) is a good predictor of online skill acquisition. In other words, there are other variables apart from simply using the Internet for several years that condition what you are able to do with the technology. This reminds me a bit about the debate over 'surface' vs 'deep' learning among students in higher education.

Internet traffic visualization

Posted on Mon, Oct 17, 2005 at 2:46 PM by Andrew Chadwick

A nice Internet traffic visualisation from the Science Photo Library.

Internet traffic visualization  

Broadband take-up in the United States

Posted on Thu, Sep 29, 2005 at 6:03 PM by Andrew Chadwick

A new Pew report has been published, which claims that growth in the adoption of broadband in the United States has recently slowed.

It also contains an interesting explanation of why this has occurred.

Email, Text, Phone

Posted on Wed, Sep 07, 2005 at 6:31 PM by Andrew Chadwick

I came across a few of these while visiting Cornwall (in SW England) recently.


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