Please note: this initiative is in addition to the Early-learning Kindersite Project on this website. Goto Kindersite Home Page
  Introduction
 

A large number of powerful initiatives to bridge the global digital divide are now either in place or reached an advanced stage. How these initiatives succeed only time and political will, can determine.

These initiatives almost invariably do not address the digital divide within the actual content available to diverse users. This paradigm is as significant in raising a barrier to full digital emancipation.

As Professor Howard Besser, co-Director UCLA/Pacific Bell Initiative for 21st Century says in The Next Digital Divides, “The huge gap in the appropriateness of online content to under-served populations threatens to greatly increase social disparities”.

Andrew Benson Greene, National Coordinator, iEARN Project, Sierra Leone, wrote to us, saying, “Since WSIS in Geneva, many high-tech gadgets have been assembled in Palexpo, but there has been few opportunities for the Sierra Leone community to reap the benefits”.

  Mission and Overview
 

The digital divide Kindersite project’s mission is to build an understanding of what constitutes the ‘best’ community-appropriate digital content to use for the introductory process and beyond for digitally disadvantaged groups.

The project will complete this mission by:

  • Commissioning and locating diverse, culturally specific, Internet content
  • Testing the content, through their Internet platform, on sample groups within targeted communities
  • Analyzing the resulting test data and evaluating outcomes
  • Delivering the content to new communities of computer and Internet users

This process will determine which is the most efficacious for a specific demographic or geographic community.

The resulting ‘best’ content can then be utilized to ensure that a positive response is obtained from a group’s initial, critical exposure to digital technology.

The commissioning process will be localized to include, were appropriate, the education and building of a skill-base among local communities to create local introductory content.

The understanding of what content should be used within an introduction process will be gained by utilizing the scalable platform, now being used on a global scale, within the existing Kindersite website. Many features still have to be completed.

The Kindersite will use this platform with the additional features to carry out the research and analysis of usage and thus identify what content and content types can be utilized for each community.

  What is the Need
 

Initiatives at linking digitally disadvantaged groups primarily concentrate on providing access to hardware, linking to the Internet and the teaching of how to use computers. These totally necessary and critical programs rarely address the equally critical problem of what comes next for the new users.

The next step needs to be the provision of appropriate engaging content that will clearly demonstrate to the new user the power and benefits of the new technology at a level and in a language that relates to their needs and which they can personally identify with. This lack of community appropriate content must be addressed for the current initiatives to close the digital divide, to succeed.

It is especially clear that at the introductory stage, individuals and communities must quickly and personally understand the clear and relevant advantages for themselves that this new tool offers and how technology can enrich lives by widening the boundaries of information that are available.

This introduction process will be crucial in bringing beginners not only to an acceptance and familiarity with computers but can also instill a strong incentive to further engage with the technology available and map out learning and career paths that will involve the use of technology and thus help bridge a societies digital divide.

  Building an introductory program
 

The Kindersite has already built the basic parts of the platform that will form the basis of building a knowledge base of community appropriate content. This will only form part of the planned operation.

It is necessary to build a program structure that can be repeated many times across the globe. This can only be achieved by testing and refining a system that allows for multiple iterations and implementation abilities. The introductory program will be discussed and polished by a team of qualified advisors before being initiated as a working program.

The program outlined below is intended to build a program that can test and refine a implementable program template that will allow a complete and dynamic system to be prepared for usage in the field.

The introductory program will include:
1. Building of a suitable board of governors
2. The recruitment of appropriate expert advisors
3. Registering a USA based none profit organization 501(c)(3)
4. Gaining sufficient venture funding to initiate the program within 2 to 3 test communities
5. Recruiting an experienced local team to implement the program
6. Completing the Kindersite platform
7. Identifying test communities
8. Reaching decisions on content areas to be tested
9. Building appropriate Kindersite interfaces for each test community
10. Commissioning a range of content
11. Structuring a research program
12. Building analysis tools for the research within the Kindersite
13. Analyzing results from the research program
14. Commissioning and location of additional content
15. Introducing tested content to appropriate communities and gauging response
16. Refining content based on results (ongoing)

As mentioned above, once the introductory program has been completed it will be necessary to introduce the program in multiple communities globally. This vision will be addressed at an appropriate time.

As a result of an initial introduction to the project we have received expressions of interest and support plus requests to join a partnership from (amongst others):

  • Sierra Leone, iEARN Project - Andrew Benson Greene, National Coordinator
  • Namibia, Millenium Minds Foundation - Medmillian Handura, Consultant
  • India, Calcutta, EPSSworld – Dr Ashok Banerji, Director
  • Nigeria, Fantsuam Foundation - John Dada, Director
  • Kazakhstan, i*EARN Project - Talgat Nurlybayev
  • Egypt, I*earn - Dalia Khalil
  • Trinidad & Tobago, National Coordinator TnT - Gia Gaspard Taylor
  • India, International Center for New Media - Osama Manzar, Director
  • India, Association for Computer Technology - Ashwin Gopinath, General Secretary
  • Uganda, Digital Book Mobile - Charles Batambuze, Project Manager
  • Mauritius, Halley Movement - Mahendranath Busgopaul, Director
  • Cameroun, Ocaproce International - Princesse Micheline Makou Djouma, President and International Coordinator

 

  • Professor Linda A. Jackson, USA - Michigan State University & HomeNetToo Project
  • Professor Shuichi Iwata, Japan – President, International Council for Science
  • Professor Jacques Perriault - Professor in information sciences and communication at the University of Paris X – Nanterre
  • Professor Kenneth Pigg - Project Director, Community Informatics Research Center, University of Missouri
  • Professor Richard Van Eck - Institute for Intelligent Systems, University of Memphis
 
  To gain more information or to express support or offer to aid the project as a Members of a Board, Trustee, Advisor, Funding, Implementing Partner and Coalition Partner etc Please write to: digitaldivide@kindersite.org
 
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