digital divide

Children with home computers likely to have lower test scores, study finds

Title: Children with home computers likely to have lower test scores, study finds
Source: ScienceDaily
Date (published): 18/06/2010
Date (accessed): 19/06/2010
Type of information: article
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
Around the country and throughout the world, politicians and education activists have sought to eliminate the "digital divide" by guaranteeing universal access to home computers, and in some cases to high-speed Internet service.

However, according to a new study by scholars at Duke University's Sanford School of Public Policy, these efforts would actually widen the achievement gap in math and reading scores. Students in grades five through eight, particularly those from disadvantaged families, tend to post lower scores once these technologies arrive in their home.

...The sample size was large -- numbering more than 150,000 individual students. The data allowed researchers to compare the same children's reading and math scores before and after they acquired a home computer, and to compare those scores to those of peers who had a home computer by fifth grade and to test scores of students who never acquire a home computer. The negative effects on reading and math scores were "modest but significant," they found.

Download the report: Scaling the Digital Divide: Home Computer Technology and Student Achievement
Jacob L. Vigdor, Helen F. Ladd
NBER Working Paper No. 16078
Issued in June 2010
pdf file

Who's got the phone? Gender and the use of the telephone at the bottom of the pyramid

Title: Who's got the phone? Gender and the use of the telephone at the bottom of the pyramid
Authors: Ayesha Zainudeen, Tahani Iqbal, and Rohan Samarajiva
Pages: 37 pp.
Source: LIRNEasia
Date (published): 15/06/2010
Date (accessed): 17/06/2010
Type of information: research paper, pre-publication draft
Language: English
On-line access: yes (pdf)
Abstract:
Much has been said about women’s access to and use of the telephone. Many studies conclude that a significant gender divide in access exists particularly in developing countries. Women are also said to use telephones in a different manner from men – making and receiving more calls, spending more time on calls, and using telephones primarily for ‘relationship maintenance’ purposes, in contrast to men. However, much of this research on usage patterns is based on small-sample studies in affluent developed countries. The article provides evidence that a significant gender divide in access to telephones exists in Pakistan and India, to a lesser extent in Sri Lanka, but is generally absent in the Philippines and Thailand. This article also challenges some of the findings of studies which claim that women’s and men’s use is fundamentally different, shedding light on women’s access to and use of telecom services at the bottom of the pyramid (BOP) in five Emerging Asian markets.

Some Comments on ICT4Development and Internet Governance

Title: Some Comments on ICT4Development and Internet Governance
Author: Michael Gurstein
Source: Gurstein's Community Informatics
Date (published): 15/06/2010
Date (accessed): 16/06/2010
Type of information: blog post
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
My comments on the panel came at the end of a series of very interesting and stimulating presentations by colleagues from primarily Hong Kong and Singapore on their State level responses to the Digial Divide in their jurisdictions which in fact were attempting to find strategies for engaging the final 20% or so of their populations who were not currently making effective use of the Internet.

In my comments I attempted to link the issues presented earlier in the panel discussion with the broader issues of going beyond the matter of “simple access” to achieve effective use of ICTs as a support for broader economic and social development in countries where the level of current Internet access/use is a small fraction of that achieved in HK and Singapore–this was following a quite moving presentation earlier in the day by a senior Bangladeshi politician on his country where current Internet access/use is in the low single digits.

Mobile Telephony in Rural Areas: The Latin American perspective

Title: Mobile Telephony in Rural Areas: The Latin American perspective
Authors: Lisa M Cespedes and Franz J Martin
Source: i4d (Information For Development), January - March 2010
Publisher: Centre for Science, Development and Media Studies
Date (accessed): 02/06/2010
Type of information: article
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
Mobile phones offer individuals in rural populations the ability to access and interact with information services and databases.
Consider the numerous ways in which mobile telephony facilitates every day endeavours in addition to offering phone calls and text messaging. The technologies and applications vary from the developed areas to the developing regions, however, people in the most remote and marginalised places of the world are also benefiting greatly from the opportunities that the technology offers to improve their social and economic conditions.
There are 179 million people using mobile phones in Latin America; 82% of those users browse the Internet, 73% send text messages, and 55% are transferring data in different ways1. As a result of the expansion of mobile infrastructure and relatively affordable prices, the use of mobile telephony increasingly takes part of the everyday life of many rural families. As an example, in countries such as Peru, only 0.01% of rural households have access to the Internet while 36.5% have a mobile phone. In Chile, the penetration of mobile telephony is 94.7%.

Mobile Internet in South Africa 2010: Study and Framework

Title: Mobile Internet in South Africa 2010: Study and Framework
Source: Afrinnovator
Date (published): 27/05/2010
Date (accessed): 28/05/2010
Type of information:
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
...
The study has some revealing highlights:
Mobile Internet in SA appears to be driven more by specific apps (MXit, Facebook) rather than browsing from the mobile
A majority of mobile phone users have internet capable devices and apps (such as email clients) but are not using them either due to cost concerns or ignorance...

via http://twitter.com/ictlogist

Measuring the Information Society 2010

Title: Measuring the Information Society 2010
Pages: 124 pp.
ISBN: 92-61-13111-5
Publisher: International Telecommunication Union (ITU)
Date (published): 26/03/2010
Date (accessed): 17/05/2010
Type of information: research report
Language: English
On-line access: yes (pdf)
Abstract:
The latest edition of Measuring the Information Society features the new ITU ICT Development Index (IDI) and the ICT Price Basket - two benchmarking tools to measure the Information Society. The IDI captures the level of advancement of ICTs in 159 countries worldwide and compares progress made between 2002 and 2008. It also measures the global digital divide and examines how it has developed in recent years. The report also features the latest ICT Price Basket, which combines 2009 fixed telephone, mobile cellular and fixed broadband tariffs for 161 economies into one measure and compares these across countries, and over time. The analytical report is complemented by a series of statistical tables providing country-level data for all indicators included in the Index.

(The freely downloadable pdf-version excludes the Annex 4, which features the statistical tables of tariffs used to compute the ICT Price Basket.)

Implementing Healthcare Information in Rural Communities in Sri Lanka: A Novel Approach with Mobile Communication

Title: Implementing Healthcare Information in Rural Communities in Sri Lanka: A Novel Approach with Mobile Communication
Author: Indika Perera
Pages: 6 pp.
Source: Health Informatics in Developing Countries, Vol.3 (No.2), 2009
Publisher: University of Otago and COMSATS Institute of Information Technology
Date (published): 30/08/2009
Date (accessed): 28/04/2010
Type of information: peer-reviewed article
Language: English
On-line access: yes (pdf)
Abstract:
Access to effective and efficient healthcare services without any difficulty is one of the essential parameters to consider for a country’s sustainable development. Though developing countries put much emphasis on improving their healthcare services, the disparity between service consumption of rural communities compared to their urban counterpart is still very visible. The effect is merely due to the disparity in service penetration levels between the urban and rural regions. Sri Lanka is also struggling to improve this scenario with various policy and tactical level approaches, yet there is lot to achieve. Improving healthcare and utility services through Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) is a prime research area among the scholars today. Like many other developing countries, Sri Lanka also initiated some projects to improve the healthcare sector infrastructure through ICT. This paper describes the need of a novel approach to provide better healthcare service to rural communities in Sri Lanka and details about such project which is at its final stages of development.

Let’s Talk About a Digital Transition Rather than a Digital Divide

Title: Let’s Talk About a Digital Transition Rather than a Digital Divide
Author: Michael Gurstein
Source: Gurstein's Community Informatics
Date (published): 02/04/2010
Date (accessed): 14/04/2010
Type of information: blog post
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
What I mean by a “Digital Transition” in this context is when a country (and this seems to be more or less a national rather than a local matter) shifts over from a pre-digital—largely manual framework of communications, information and logistics management and transaction management—to one that is digitally (generally but not exclusively Internet) based.

Broadband Adoption in Low-Income Communities

Title: Broadband Adoption in Low-Income Communities
Authors: Dharma Dailey, Amelia Bryne, Alison Powell, Joe Karaganis and Jaewon Chung
Pages: 103 pp.
Publisher: Social Science Research Council
Date (published): 01/03/2010
Date (accessed): 23/03/2010
Type of information: research report
Language: English
On-line access: yes (pdf)
Abstract:
The social function of the Internet has changed dramatically in recent years. What was, until recently, a supplement to other channels of information and communication has become increasingly a basic requirement of social and economic inclusion. Educational systems, employers, and government agencies at all levels have shifted services online—and are pushing rapidly to do more. Price remains only one factor shaping the fragile equilibrium of home broadband adoption, and library and community organizations fill the gap by providing critical training and support services while under severe economic pressures. Commissioned by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to analyze the factors shaping low rates of adoption of home broadband services in low-income and other marginalized communities, this SSRC study is one of the only large-scale qualitative investigations of barriers to adoption in the US and complements FCC survey research on adoption designed to inform the 2010 National Broadband Plan. The study draws on some 170 interviews of non-adopters, community access providers, and other intermediaries conducted across the US in late 2009 and early 2010 and identifies a range of factors that make broadband services hard to acquire and even harder to maintain in such communities.

Developing a Methodology for Costing the Impact of Digital Exclusion

Title: Developing a Methodology for Costing the Impact of Digital Exclusion
Publisher: University of Oxford for the Oxford Internet Institute
Date (published): March 2010
Date (accessed): 23/03/2010
Type of information:
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
This site presents a Methodology for Costing the Impact of Digital Exclusion, developed for the National Audit Office (NAO) by the LSE Public Policy Group and the Oxford Internet Institute (OII) and opens it up for expert deliberation. Please go to the How you can help tab to participate in the deliberation and improve the methodology!

This online consultation was commissioned by the NAO to inform its understanding of the evidence base on the costs and benefits of digitial inclusion activities. Please do not quote or reference the research without the express permission of the NAO. The NAO has yet to decide when and how it will publish the results of this exercise.

BACKGROUND

Recent work by OII has shown that technological forms of exclusion are a reality for significant segments of the population, that different groups experience different types of exclusion, and that for some people they reinforce and deepen existing disadvantages, such as social and economic exclusion.

We were asked by the National Audit Office to develop a methodology for working out the benefits foregone to citizens, government and the economy through digital exclusion - and the costs of overcoming them. This methodology is presented here.

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