Kim Andreasson, Jason Sumner (2012) Smart policies to close the digital divide – Best practices from around the world, A report from the Economist Intelligence Unit
This report, based on extensive desk research and wide-ranging interviews with experts from more than ten developed and emerging-market countries, presents best practices that have been adopted by governments and the private sector globally to bridge digital divides. To seize the full economic and social potential of the information society, this report identifies six areas in which smart policies can improve online take-up. Case studies from the developed world and emerging markets highlighting smart policies are provided in separate sidebars throughout the report.
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YIHUA YANG, LINXIU ZHANG, XIAO HU, QINGHE QU, FANG LAI, YAOJIANG SHI, MATTHEW BOSWELL, SCOTT ROZELLE (2012) The Roots of Tomorrow’s Digital Divide: Documenting Computer Use and Internet Access in China’s Elementary Schools Today
The goal of this paper is to explore the nature of China’s digital divide with a focus on differences in access to computers, learning software, and internet at school and home among different groups of elementary school-aged children in China. Using data from a set of large scale surveys in schools in different parts of the country, we find the gap between computer and internet access of students in rural areas and urban public school students is extremely wide. The gap widens further when comparing urban students to students from minority areas. The gap is less wide when comparing computer access and access to teaching of the most basic computer skills across urban and rural public schools. However, the divide is still large between urban and rural schools when examining the quality of computer instruction and access to learning software. Migration itself does not appear to eliminate the digital divide. Only when migrant families are able to enroll their children into urban schools does the divide substantially narrow. If the digital divide in elementary schools today is a harbinger of employment, education, and income inequality tomorrow, China needs to seriously address this issue in the near future.
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Jo Tondeur, Ilse Sinnaeve, Mieke van Houtte, & Johan van Braak (2011) ICT as cultural capital: The relationship between socioeconomic status and the computer-use profile of young people; Published in ‘New Media & Society’
This study explores the relationship between socioeconomic status (SES) and the computer-use profile of 1241 school students in Flanders, the northern region of Belgium. More specifically, the article examines whether varying patterns of computer access, attitudes, competencies and uses can be seen as constituting differences in cultural capital. Additionally, gender was included in the survey as an important background characteristic in digital divide research. Path analysis was used to model the complex relationships between the influencing factors upon the ICT-related variables. What emerged from the analyses was that SES affects the computer-use profile only moderately. No relationship between SES and computer ownership was found. Moreover, the acquisition of ICT competencies can no longer be attributed to computer ownership. Apart from a small effect on ICT use (a higher SES tends to be associated with more ICT use), SES does not seem to affect the computer-use profile of young people in Flanders. The results of this study indicate that the existing differences in SES on computer-use profile are not sufficiently marked to deduce that ICT can be seen as an indicator of differing cultural capital.
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