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Apprentissage et maîtrise des TIC

Demystifying the Digital Divide

The Simple Binary Notion of Technology Haves and Have-nots doesn’t quite Compute

Author of this article : Mark Warschauer

Article published in : Scientific American, n°42

Date : August 2003

Summary : this articles discusses the theory from which the digital divide could be easily tackled by a combination of computers and Internet connections. It’s the idea that the mere presence of technology leads to familiar and standard applications of that technology, which in turn bring about social change (it’s called the “fire model” : a computer, by its mere presence, will generate learning or development as a fire generates warmth). The author has travelled around the world to study community technology programs in both developed and developing countries. He has observed those programs and their applications and has interviews many participants and organizers. For instance, he has observed experiences based on the idea of providing an access to internet without teachers and instructors. The aim was to allow people to learn at their own pace rather than through the directives of instructors. But the results of those experiments were not very concluding (people spending time playing games on the internet instead of learning or making researches). His conclusions are that technology must be considered within a specific context that includes hardware, software, support resources, infrastructure, as well as people in various roles and relationships with one another and with other elements of the system. It is what he calls “social informatics” : technology and social system continuously shape each other, like a biological community and its environment. According to the author, the combination of well-planned and low-cost infusions of technology with content development and educational campaigns targeted to social development is surely a healthy alternative to projects that rely on planting computers and waiting for something to grow. He thinks there is no binary digital divide between haves and have-nots. Technology does not exist as an external variable to be injected from the outside to bring about certain results. It is woven into social systems and process. The goal of bringing ICT to marginalized groups is not merely to overcome a technological divide but instead to further a process of social inclusion

Posté le 26 avril 2006 par EComtat