The Digital Divide

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Page 1: The Digital Divide


By: Sarah A. Lindstrom

Page 2: The Digital Divide


This presentation will show detailed information regarding “the digital divide” of media access and education in Haiti versus the United States.

It explores education and media in Haiti and how media is brought there and how it is used. Throughout this presentation, I will show the importance of all individuals having access to media as it promotes learning, growth, and opportunity.

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What Do You Know About Haiti? Let’s take a few steps back so that we can visualize who the people

of Haiti are and make aware to viewers their struggles as a country.

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Haiti: An Overview

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America The Resilient

The social and political upheaval in Haiti has continued to result in the lack of resources needed to sustain the people of this country.

In the wake of tragedies, America has remained resilient throughout history and has continued to progress in not only the economic sector, but in technological and educational advances.

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What Is The Digital Divide? "Digital Divide" refers to the gap between

those who benefit from digital technology and those who do not.

It took digital-divide researchers a whole decade to figure out that the real issue is not so much about access to digital technology but about the benefits derived from access.

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America the Rich

Examining the situation more closely, it turns out that prosperous countries such as America, have high-quality access to digital technology because the “80/20 factor” (in which eighty percent of profit is made by serving the most affluent 20%) causes technology designers to work hard at creating "solutions" specifically for the affluent.

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Haiti the Poor

The poor are ignored because market forces assume that designing solutions for them will not be profitable. The result is that even where the poor are provided access to digital technology, it is low-quality and merely “localized” versions of products and services intended for the rich.

Furthermore, the digital technologies they do have access to, such as those that lure innocent villagers into vapid pop culture, could be harmful rather than beneficial.

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Why Closing the Divide Matters

Closing the Digital Divide is a precondition for reducing poverty.

Closing the Digital Divide is a precondition for emergency preparedness.

Closing the Digital Divide is a precondition for building Human Capital through education.

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Reducing Poverty

Antipoverty experts believe that closing the Digital Divide

is not a top priority, arguing instead that the poor need clean water and jobs before they need computers. However, what they do not realize is that access to digital technology greatly enhances the effectiveness and affordability of efforts to improve the water supply, improve rural health and education, generate jobs and address any of the other interrelated problems of poverty.

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Emergency Response to Natural Disasters

Having the proper access to technology in the media makes aware the incidences of natural disasters and the help needed. Emergency response is on point when access is made available as is coordinating the delivery of aid and to communicate about what's needed in terms of food, water, shelter, medical supplies and more.

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Building Human Capital Through Education

Technology offers a unique opportunity to extend learning to those globally. It has the ability to teach in various languages as well as connect students educationally through the internet, from around the world.

Projects like One Laptop per Child and 50x15 offer a partial solution to the global digital divide; these projects tend to rely heavily upon open standards and free open source software.

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Types of Media the US

Television Radio Cinema Newspapers Magazines Internet-based

websites and access

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Who Sponsors These Mediums?

Many of the media are controlled by large for-profit corporations who reap revenue from advertising, subscriptions, and sale of copyrighted material. American media conglomerates tend to be leading global players, generating large profits as well as large criticism in many parts of the world.

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Types of Media in Haiti

The “Mache Technology” district is more than 3 blocks of used electronic equipment, cameras, and other items.

People come to purchase electronic items which are usually outdated, but at affordable prices. Most items are salvaged items, repaired and resold.

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Who Sponsors Their Mediums? The Haitian government is one of the biggest

obstacles for economic growth including bridging access to technology. Donations from other countries are often the primary source for technology.

Haiti's physical infrastructure is poor -- roads are inadequate, and basic services such as power and telecommunications are frequently unavailable. The country also lacks a railroad system, making the shipment of goods around the land a tedious and dangerous endeavor.

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Radio: Haiti’s Communication Tool

Radio is Haiti's most important information medium; access to the press is limited by low literacy levels.

There are more than 250 private radio stations, with around 50 FM broadcasters in the capital alone, providing a full spectrum of political views. But self-censorship is common, with journalists trying to avoid offending commercial sponsors or politicians.

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Media Rights

The media rights body Reporters Without Borders said press freedom improved "dramatically" after the fall of Jean-Bertrand Aristide. The organization had put the former president on its list of "predators of press freedom".

But it warned in 2007 that impunity for attacks on media workers could continue in the absence of an effective justice system.

Amid the escalating violence in early 2004, radio and TV stations were targeted by gangs from both sides of the political divide. Studios and transmitters were destroyed.

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"In a global economy where the most valuable skill you can sell is your knowledge, a good education is no longer just a pathway to opportunity, it is a pre-requisite. That is why it will be the goal of this Administration to ensure that every child has access to a complete and competitive education – from the day they are born to the day they begin a career."

- President Barack Obama

Education In America

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The Land of the Free: The Role of Technology in The Education of America

Without question, both the education community and the broader public community have long held great expectations for the role of technology in teaching, learning, and instruction.

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American Schools

Although there are many educational

institutions in America that are considered “private schools” which require tuition, all other schools in America are free to the public and give children access to technology within the classroom.

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How American Schools Utilize Technology

New Skills for a Changing Economy Improved Communication Rich Tools for Learning Proven Improvements in Learning Required Reform Opportunities for the Disabled

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Higher Education

Centers of higher education in the United States are variety of institutions with a strong research base and funding that have led them to develop as among the world’s most prestigious institutions which are not only of vital importance to local students from within America but also a great attraction for students around the globe.

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What the educational system is like and how technology can contribute in the educational growth of Haitian’s.

Education in Haiti

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The Cost of Education

Free public education is something most of us take for granted in America. But in Haiti, the poorest country in the western hemisphere, private schools are the only schools and very few families can afford even the most modest tuition.

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Facts on Education in Haiti

Public education in Haiti has consistently proved problematic: 50% of children do not attend school or cannot attend school.

Without qualified teachers, adequate textbooks, or access to technology, the quality of education is generally poor.  

Poor test scores, grade repetition, and high dropout rates are the obvious result.

Lack of established human capital leads to and breeds poverty, crime, and disease.   

The Truth: The Result:

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Almost half of the child population in Haiti have never been to school. The cost of education is a major problem. Most schools in Haiti do not receive state support, and parents must pay school fees, as well as uniform and book costs. Technology in the classroom is the least of Haiti’s worries.

“In Haiti, access to education is difficult – even though it is a right enshrined in the constitution and a fundamental to tackling extreme poverty.”

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Benefits of Technology in The Classroom

Easy-to-access course materials. Instructors can post the course material or important information on a course website, which means students can study at a time and location they prefer and can obtain the study material very quickly

Wide participation. Learning material can be used for long distance learning and are accessible to a wider audience

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Motivation & Writing

Student motivation. Computer-based instruction can give instant feedback to students and explain correct answers. Moreover, a computer is patient and non-judgmental, which can give the student motivation to continue learning.

Improved student writing. According to some studies, the students are better at critiquing and editing written work that is exchanged over a computer network with students they know

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Enhanced Comprehension & Structure

Subjects made easier to learn. Many different types of educational software are designed and developed to help children or teenagers to learn specific subjects. Examples include pre-school software, computer simulators, and graphics software

A structure that is more amenable to measurement and improvement of outcomes. With proper structuring it can become easier to monitor and maintain student work while also quickly gauging modifications to the instruction necessary to enhance student learning.

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Fostering Educational Promise

Each new wave of technology—film following the Second World War, television from the 1950s onward, mainframe computers in the 1960s and 1970s, desktop computers in the 1980s, and the Internet and World Wide Web currently—has fostered great hopes of educational promise among educators and others in public life.

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Enhancing Opportunities

Technology can also enhance the opportunities for communication and community within education.

The Internet expands opportunities for students and faculty to create a community. Students can use e-mail to send direct questions to the authors of materials they read in class. Faculty can develop and maintain professional relationships with colleagues across the state, the nation, or almost anywhere in the world.

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The Future of Technology in Haiti

Haiti Rewired

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Rebuilding Communication Since the January 12th, 2010 earthquake

in Haiti, technological advances for the country of Haiti have been halted and now efforts are geared towards the rebuilding of what was already there.

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Online maps, mobile phone donations, wikis and a slew of websites are have been deployed as telecoms firms, technology giants and startups set aside their rivalries and put the latest tools to work to help earthquake-ravaged Haiti.

Donations for Haiti’s Technological Advancement

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What is Being Done

"Haiti's need for communications services is extraordinary and urgent," said Julius Genachowski, chairman of the US Federal Communications Commission.

"It is vitally important that people on the ground in Haiti have the communications capacity to conduct rescue and recovery missions, connect with loved ones... and move forward with overall recovery efforts," he said.

Telecoms Without Borders deployed two emergency teams to set up satellite facilities for use by emergency responders and planned another network to allow people to make free two-minute calls anywhere in the world to relatives.

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The Future of Haiti Is In Our Hands

Haiti needs to emerge from this natural disaster as a fully functioning democracy with an economy that can sustain its people. The commitments from the international community such as rebuilding and improving the educational system with technology, must be matched by a long-term, sustained delivery of those commitments.

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Works Cited

Arrison, Sonia. (2002, March 13). Perspective: what digital divide?. Retrieved from http://news.cnet.com/2010-1071-858537.html

Bloom B. S. (1956). Taxonomy of Educational Objectives, Handbook I: The Cognitive Domain. New York: David McKay Co Inc.

CIA-the world factbook-haiti. (2010). Retrieved from https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ha.html

Concern worldwide: Education in haiti. (2010). Retrieved from http://www.concern.net/en/donate/making-a-major-donation/harambee/harambee-education-haiti

Handbook of Human Performance Technology (Eds. Harold Stolovich, Erica Keeps, James Pershing) (3rd ed, 2006)

Kozma, R., and Johnson, J. "The Technology Revolution Comes to the Classroom." Change, Jan.–Feb. 1992, pp. 10–23.

Lenhart, A. The Ever-Shifting Internet Population: A new look at Internet access and the digital divide,Washington DC: Pew Internet and American Life Project. http://www.pewinternet.org/reports_archive.asp (18 September 2005).

Monroe, B. Crossing the Digital Divide: Race, Writing, and Technology in the Classroom, The Teachers College Press, New York, 2004.

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Works Cited Cont.

Morrison, J. L. "The Role of Technology in Education Today and Tomorrow: An Interview with Kenneth Green." On the Horizon, 1998, 6(5), 2–4.

Newtimbuk2's Channel. (2010, January 18). A Brief History of Haiti-CBS [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3D_VBTVMxYU

Richey, R.C. (2008). Reflections on the 2008 AECT Definitions of the Field. TechTrends. 52(1) 24-25

Rogers, E. The Diffusion of Innovation. (4th ed.) New York: Free Press, 1995.

Shurville, S.; Browne, T., & Whitaker, M. (2008). "Employing the new educational technologists: A call for evidenced change" (PDF). Proceedings ascilite Melbourne 2008. http://www.ascilite.org.au/conferences/melbourne08/procs/shurville.pdf. 

Skinner, B.F. The science of learning and the art of teaching. Harvard Educational Review, 1954, 24, 86-97., Teaching machines. Science, 1958, 128, 969-77. and others see http://www.bfskinner.org/f/EpsteinBibliography.pdf