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Tag Archives: digital divide

Building communities or creating a divide?: The Digital Divide and Postnationalism

OLPC's "green machine"

OLPC's "green machine"

I tried to keep this short, as I’m sure everyone’s crazy busy with finals.  Have fun debating Dvorak in the comments!

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This is it


This is it – this will be the last brief in the semester.

Wiki Marathon

For week I would like you to work on the wiki and make sure the structure and content of the wiki together with your contribution pages reflects the hard personal and collective work you’ve been doing. I want you guys to do more work earlier and not wait for the last moment on this as collaboration is hard and the process should be given some time to take shape and materialize. Please make sure you make most of your contributions by Saturday and devote Sunday-Tuesday to edit, structure and further substantiate the collective work of the class.

Next week’s reading will focus on the potential (?) of Postnationalism presented by the networked public sphere and on the digital divide through the case study of the OLPC.

Required Reading:

  • Nicolas Negroponte, “Interview with Riz Khan” Al-Jazeera October 2007
    YouTube Preview Image (by the way, Riz’s show is recommended in general)
  • One Laptop per Child Doesn’t Change the World / John C. Dvorak
  • Give me rice, but give me a laptop too / Bill Thompson
  • Frost, Catherine “Internet Galaxy Meets Postnational Constellation: Prospects for Political Solidarity After the Internet” (a pdf will be emailed to you, please do not share, sorry)
  • Sara’s summary + your comment

Recommended Reading:


  • Read the essay & articles and view the presentation
  • Optionally Highlight and annotate the reading to help its accessibility for the rest of you.
  • Summarize it for us in a nicely accessible post to be published by Sunday 4pm, ideally running some threads between them.
  • Be prepared to present the article and lead the discussion in class.
  • Think of questions to lead off the discussion
  • Post to del.icio.us some links that expand the discussion either about the text or about key themes in it.

Accessing the Mashup

Count how many times I say access….


Access is only the beginning

“There is no such thing as a poor community. Even neighborhoods without much money have substantial human resources. Often, however, the human resources are not appreciated or utilized, partly because people do not have information about each other and about what their neighborhood has to offer. For example, a family whose heater is broken may go cold for lack of knowledge that someone just down the block knows how to fix it. [Technologies] of all kinds have great potential for building and maintaining communities.” (Resnick & King, 1997, pp. 229-230)

MIT Media Lab student Randal Pinkett used this quote in his dissertation on a community network site he built in Boston for the Camfield Estates, a public housing community in Boston. This quote is central to emphasizing the importance of what role community network sites can play in helping its members turn to each other in times of need rather than appealing to service institutions. In a time when many are struggling to make ends meet, the need for establishing micro bartering economies has become more pressing, and the ability for a social networking site to make community resource more visible is an important step in this direction.

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