“Bridging the Digital Divide and Promoting Digital Inclusion: An Update on Public Access Venues and Projects”

A Panel Session at the North East Conference on Public Administration

November 2, 2013

Peter Miller

  1. Self-introduction
  2. Summary of “Digital Divide to Digital Inclusion and Beyond: Update on Telecentres and Community Technology Centers (CTCs)”
  3. In light of David Nemer’s critical literature overview about the Digital Divide, Digital Inclusion, and “third wave” frameworks (that bear on my summary)
  4. The significance and lessons of Ricardo Gomez (ed.) Libraries, Telecentres, Cybercafes and Public Access to ICT: International Comparisons (2012) with passing attention to Panayiota Tsatsou’s Digital Divides in Europe — Culture, Politics and the Western-Southern Divide (2011).
  5. Exemplary case studies (with freely-available versions) involving three Community Technology Centerss illustrating some of the heroic features of the “third” wave in stories of democratic education, development, and transformation:
    1. The Native American Palas Learning Center in San Diego County in southern California, as found in Christian Sandvig’s “Connection at Ewiiaapaayp Mountain: Indigenous Internet Infrastructure” (2012).
    2. The Homeless Women’s Technology Education Project at the Troy-Cohoes YWCA in upstate New York, in Virginia Eubanks’ “Digital Dead End: Fighting for Social Justice in the Information Age” (2011).
    3. The CTC at Harrison Plaza Public Housing in North Philadelphia, in Melissa Gilbert and Michele Masucci’s ICT Geographies: Strategies for Bridging the Digital Divide (2011).

David Nemer

  1. Self-introduction
  2. From Digital Divide to Digital Inclusion
  3. Is access enough? How policymakers and scholars have been trying to tackle the issue.
  4. Evolving digital divide: “usage gap,” “second-level digital divide,” “emerging digital differentiation,” and “digital inclusion.”
  5. Why the term Digital Divide can be problematic sometimes? Digital Divide vs. Digital Inequalities.
  6. Practices and Approaches to Digital Inclusion
    1. Appropriation
    2. Policies in CTC’s
    3. Education
    4. Poverty
    5. Citizenship
  7. An overview of Digital Inclusion from the field: my experiences in the slums of Brazil.

Angela Siefer

  1. Self-introduction
  2. Defining Digital Inclusion
    1. Access and use of information technology
    2. Often divided into:
      1. Access (home and public)
      2. Digital Literacy
  • Applications (work, health, family, social, etc)
  1. Populations Least Likely to Use the Internet
    1. Elderly
    2. Low-Income
    3. Under-Educated
    4. Disabled
  2. Barriers
    1. Cost of devices and Internet
    2. Digital Literacy
    3. Relevance
  3. The Need for a Community-Wide Cohesive Digital Inclusion Strategy
  4. Trail Blazing Communities
  5. Learning from Dodge City, Kansas

Stuart Freiman

  1. Self-introduction
  2. Background on Broadband RI (BBRI) project with emphasis on digital inclusion elements (BBRI Digital Literacy Project & Stakeholder Development Process)
    1. RI has high coverage and lower adoption
    2. Inclusion includes broadband adoption and literacy
  3. The need for public policy in the area of digital inclusion
  4. How is digital inclusion being addressed in Rhode Island in the public sector?
    1. Alignment with RI Office of Digital Excellence
    2. Digital Literacy program
      1. Libraries, Community Development Organizations, Adult Education
    3. RI Adult Education Technology Initiative
  5. What lessons have we learned to date?
    1. Labor intensive – requires handholding
    2. Relevance is evolving
    3. Resources Required
    4. Just scratching the surface
  6. What’s next?

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