[AAACE-NLA] What should we do about the digital divide?
john.benseman at criticalinsight.co.nz
Tue Aug 12 16:27:56 EDT 2008
Can I put in a piece of information here from our study of workplace
literacy participants (over 500 interviewed pre-course and counting): these
are 'unconventional' literacy students in that very few of them have ever
been in community-based programmes previously. They are in low-income
households and doing un- or semi-skilled jobs and predominantly men. But
about two thirds of them have computers at home - they are mainly for their
kids and rarely used by our interviewee (although the great majority say
that they would be interested in doing 'a computer course'). The other
finding is that only about 5% belong to a library and that's usually to get
DVDs or books for their kids.
What this says to me is that as they operate at present, libraries are a
long way removed from the worlds of literacy students and secondly, a large
proportion of these people have a potential asset in their homes that could
be integrated into what we offer them in classes and their learning once
they leave those classes.
I know these findings are New Zealand-specific, but I would be interested in
hearing US (and other countries) responses.
* john.benseman at criticalinsight.co.nz
* 641 9 627 1882 Cell 027 454 0683
* 52a Bolton St, Blockhouse Bay, Auckland 0600, NZ
From: aaace-nla-bounces at lists.literacytent.org
[mailto:aaace-nla-bounces at lists.literacytent.org] On Behalf Of Merle Ayres
Sent: Tuesday, 12 August 2008 1:33 p.m.
To: National Literacy Advocacy List sponsored by AAACE
Subject: Re: [AAACE-NLA] What should we do about the digital divide?
Good points on joining forces with libraries and adult ed advocates. The
Iowa Library Association has been working on this with computers to rural
libraries. I just talked to a rural librarian last Saturday. Most of her
patrons use the internet more and more. My daughter works for a telephone
company and they put in fiber optics in my town but most of the rural areas
are copper or wireless. Its like the cell phone in rural Iowa . With so many
companies and their layers of buracracy and boundries that there are so many
dead zones. The darn thing doesn't work in some cities our between cities so
what good is it. They charge rates for computer use and some do not so I
think these corporates need to be in the mix to give breaks to users.
Libraries are big on joining groups so its a good place to start.
Friend to Fossils
412 8th St. North
Humboldt, Iowa 50548
To: aaace-nla at lists.literacytent.org
From: DJRosen at theworld.com
Date: Sun, 10 Aug 2008 17:48:55 -0400
Subject: [AAACE-NLA] What should we do about the digital divide?
Has the digital divide -- the gap that leaves low-income, low-literate and
older adults without access -- disappeared? Not according to a July 23rd
article in the Washington Post.
Since we will have a new national administration next year, and possibly a
different Congress, among other things we should be looking at is new
collaborations and public policy initiatives to end or significantly narrow
the digital divide for low-income, low-literate adults and their families.
Community Technology Centers Network [ http://www.ctcnet.org ], the American
Library Association, national adult literacy organizations such as
ProLiteracy, COABE, the National Council of State Directors of Adult
Education (NCSDAE) and others, perhaps under the umbrella of the National
Coalition for Literacy together could develop and support legislation to end
or significantly reduce the digital divide. Such a collaboration could
achieve this through advocacy for support for libraries, community
technology centers and adult literacy education programs specifically to
provide adult learners with access on site, and to provide loan or low-cost
purchasing options and free Internet access to all low-income adults.
If you are a member of any of these organizations and you think it's time
for renewed attention to low-income, low-literate adults who do not have
Internet access, then let the leadership of that organization know that you
think this kind of collaboration to end or narrow the digital divide should
be an advocacy priority.
David J. Rosen
Adult Literacy Advocate
DJRosen at theworld.com
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