Saturday, May 30, 2009

Where's my laptop?

As the digital divide is concerned with levels of access, the Rudd government made it an election promise to increase this ‘access’ to school students by promising laptops for each pupil.

However, a non for profit organisation, One Laptop per Child has already stepped in to provide computers for local communities in the Northern Territory.

I have doubts to whether firstly this can be economically feasible for the government and second of all, whether there are enough teachers to develop the skills of students using these tools. The digital divide is not merely restricted to physical access to a computer, but rather the skills needed to use the computer to serve the students educational requirements.

There is doubts published recently regarding laptops, but should the government be focusing upon laptops for every student when farmers in rural Australia are still using dial up Internet? It is a balance between the fa├žade of meeting election promises and the reality of the needs faced by some of Australians rural communities.

So school are going to have to wait for their laptops, as the audit continues..

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Leapfrogging the digital divide

I was reading information about developing nations and how some nations, specifically African nations are ignoring the need for established broadband infrastructure and leapfrogging to mobile technologies. These nations have skipped establishing infrastructure such as telephone lines and getting private investors to establish mobile networks.

Why is this a problem? From a business perspective, this seems logical, as the problem for access is resolved and the new technology can be readily adopted.

However, after reading last weeks readings on the Digital Divide, getting another more powerful “core” nation to establish mobile technology infrastructure in a developing nation creates reliance, both through financing and education. In fact, it often disadvantages countries because although they may have mobile access, they still may not have access to basic necessities such as safe drinking water and shelter. Why would a country opt in for mobile technology infrastructure when basic infrastructure is needed? Clearly this appears to be a concern for national interests.

The UN run African Information Society Initiative outlines their involvement in actioning framework for communication and research, with technology being apart of this.

I thought this video provided a good insight into these mobile technologies: