Some data sources on democracy and freedom:
In a note, Joan Dyer suggests that What I'd like is to focus it a bit better. I'd recast the initial part slightly, stressing that "it's a proposed model of speciific obstacles that must be overcome, together with a preliminary analysis, using easily available data, in support of the model." This would leave an opening for follow-on work without requiring additional stuff for the current paper. This is interesting. I need to think about it.
In a later note, Joan asks: Is there anything to be said or done re using computers as levers:
The obvious answer, of course, is yes, you can provide canned training that way. A low speed connection via satellite might provide limited interactivity (for questions) in conjunction with some level of broadcast content). If you can find a way to create a gradually growing local internet by tieing locations together, two at a time, you can over time build up a connective infrastructure. Of course such an infrastructure is likely to be fragile, much as the pre-backbone usenet and vnet could be, but it will probably have higher bandwidth than the satellite, at least locally.
Joan adds: I finally think I know what point I was trying for: that all 7 steps may well be important but there is another worthwhile goal, that of making computer resources available, which can be achieved without as much infrastructure.
In response to a paragraph in "A history of media divides", Joan writes: This is a section I have a bit of trouble with. Is there some validity to indicating that even limited computer access (not assuming Internet access) can be used to bootstrap education? or can be used for job training? Actually the more I push on this topic the less convinced I am...maybe one more try: although the Internet may be the domain of the literate, computers can be used to help increase literacy. At least I think so.
I would say that it can work both ways. Literacy enables one to learn to use computers even when one doesn't have them. Computers can almost certainly be used to promote literacy. The fall and recent rise in SAT scores may be instructive here. The fall in SAT scores started as televisions became pervasive in America. Scores seemed to stabilize as computers became common in homes and schools, and appear to be rising in parallel with the widespread use of text-based Internet Media. This observation is impression only, but I would warrant that statistical evaluation would probably bear out the result. My point, a computer can assist with literacy; a computer plus the internet drives the desire for literacy.
Later, in response to the early description of the computer resource bridge, Joan notes: Which suggests that there are available resources that are not state-of-the-art but which do quite well as learning platforms. Hence the corporate and other donations of older equipment to charitable organizations that have arisen to harvest this crop. Availability should be amongst the easier of the problems to solve.
It is true, of course, that lots of computers get recycled, but I would challenge the notion that the utility level is necessarily high. It is frequently difficult to obtain software and operating systems with which to set up and run five year old PC equipment. Newer network browsers frequently won't work, on older platforms, which limits the network resources that can be accessed. There are other problems with Computer donation programs as a solution to the global digital divide. The most obvious is that if we took every five year old computer in the world and shipped it to the other side of the divide with all other problems resolved, 80% of the world would still be without. In truth, solve the other problems and the computer resource problem will start to solve itself, but the issue remains.
Seems true enough, but dismal. Thus, continue: it would be desirable to try and identify
| -- Last edited August 27, 2008 |
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