Reflection Paper Outline

28 11 2007

1.What is the digital divide?
2.What is digital citizenship?
3.What is service-learning?
II.How can service-learning help diminish the digital divide?
1.Examples of service-learning at work
2.Personal experiences in service-learning
III.Why is all this important?
1.Effect of ICT skills on the digital divide
2.The Digital Nation

Selected Bibliography

O’Hara, K., & Stevens, D. (2006). power, poverty and the digital divide. Oxford: Oneworld.

Wilhelm, A. G. (2004). Digital nation toward an inclusive information society. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press.

Boeltzig, Heike, Pilling, Doria. “Bridging the Digital Divide for Hard-to-Reach Groups.” IBM Center for Business Government, 2007.

Beisser, S., Shulman, S. & Larson, T. “Closing the Digital Divide with Service Learning,” Academic Exchange Quarterly vol. 9, No. 1(Spring 2005), 31-35.

Shulman, S., Beisser, S., Larson, T., & Shelley, M. “Digital Citizenship: Lessons Learned as Service-Learning Meets the Digital Divide,” in Proceedings of the Third National Conference on Digital Government Research, May 20-22, 2002 (Digital Government Research Center).


Digital Divide Network

National Telecommunications and Information Administration. “A Nation Online: Entering the Broadband Age.”



21 11 2007

PowerPoint is not my friend.

Usually, I’m pretty good with it, but it just did not want to cooperate this week. Since it is not my project, and since Regina is supposed to be learning how to do this, I refused to do it for her. That is, she had to do all the manipulation of the mouse and keyboard. I often told her exactly where to click, but I thought if she did it herself, it would mean more.

I don’t know if it helped her, but it certainly made me crazy! It would have been so easy just to take the mouse out of her hand and do it for her. But then she wouldn’t have learned anything. At one point, I had to sit on my hands to keep from grabbing the mouse!

Each time she wanted to add an image, I had to walk her through the entire process. Click here, navigate to your flash drive. Ok, first click on My Computer.

By the end of the session I wanted to scream! It’s so frustrating trying to watch someone who really doesn’t know what they are doing. And it’s even more frustrating to know that I’ve been working with her for weeks to that she will know what she’s doing!

I’m not sure that my service-learning experience was what was intended in this course. I tried to make Regina more digitally aware. We worked on why computers and information literacy are important. We found “fun” examples of computer use. We completed many assignments from her instructors. We did accomplish a lot in terms of webpages visited; projects completed; software programs used. But on a philosophical and intellectual level, did we get anywhere?

Does Regina appreciate the ramifications of what we’ve been doing for the past few weeks? I’m sure she appreciates the passing grades, but will she be able to apply any of her experiences in the future? Will anything I’ve done have a lasting impact?

I suppose only time will tell. What I do know is that I worked hard to get Regina to understand, and I really don’t feel much of a sense of accomplishment. Rather, I feel more aware of how far behind some people are and I realize that we, as a community and a nation, must do something about it.

Not Much to Report

14 11 2007

This week Regina and I went back to school work. It turns out that her sessions with me are what’s keeping her afloat in her classes! She fell behind last week when we did “fun” things.

This week we focused on the PowerPoint presentation she has coming up. I showed her how to use Google to find some images for the presentation and we saved them to her flash drive. We looked for webpages on time management which is one of her topics.

This session was all about finding information. Next week we are going to put it together. I hope.

A Different Focus

7 11 2007

This week, instead of focusing on the skills needed for school, I decided to encourage Regina to use some Web 2.0 technologies. I thought that if I could get her to use the computer for fun, she might take to the academic/business uses more easily.

She’s been using e-mail in her classes, so I thought I’d try something else. Since we can’t get to MySpace or Facebook from school computers, I couldn’t use those as examples either. So, we tried Flickr. Regina enjoyed looking at other people’s photos. When I asked her if she’d like to create an account so she could post her own photos, she replied that she wouldn’t ever use it because she doesn’t own a camera and won’t take pictures.

Ok. Next idea.

How about YouTube? We watched several videos. She even helped come up with keywords to search. We looked at “funny” videos. And “music” videos. She thought that was neat, but liked television better.

I got the impression she wasn’t really enjoying my examples of fun things to do online. So I asked her what she liked to do. “Watch TV.” Ok, I can work with that. We looked at the websites for the local networks. I showed her how she can watch different shows online. I showed her different fan sites. She finally seemed interested!

A Question I’m Not Sure I Answered

30 10 2007

First, I’ve realized that I need to come up with a name for my student. I want to protect her privacy by not using her real name, but I need something to make this discussion easier. Particularly when I get to writing the reflection paper. I’d like to come up with something clever, but I think I’ll just stick with Regina.

Today, Regina asked me a question that I’m not sure I answered well. She asked me why she needs to learn to use a computer at all.

There are many answers: to be a good digital citizen; to be information literate; to expand your knowledge; to expand your experience; to open your mind to more ideas; to make complex tasks simpler; to be competitive in the workforce; to share ideas, photos, videos; to pass your classes which require the use of computers.

I gave her as many as I thought she would understand, but I felt like I was talking to a two-year-old. “Why?” she kept asking. “Why, why, why?”

“Why do I need to use computers to be competitive in the workforce?”
Because other employees know how to use computers. You need to be able to compete with them.

“Can’t I just get a job that doesn’t use computers?”
Not really. Almost every job uses computers in some way. You’re studying criminal justice. In your job, you’ll have to use the computer to type up reports. You’ll need to do research on various laws and case histories.

“Can’t I just get someone else to do that for me?”
No, everyone must do her own job. You can’t get someone else to do your job for you.

“But I have an IEP. Doesn’t that count for something?”
(I really didn’t know how to answer this one!) It means you can get help, but it doesn’t mean people will do your job for you.

She finally got tired of asking questions and we called it a day.

Happy Halloween!

Our First Real Session

24 10 2007

I met with my student the other day. This is going to be harder than I thought.

We started with the basics. I showed her how to logon to the computer and we talked about why she needed to do this. I explained about security and the importance of logging off. Especially in a school that tracks computer usage. If she fails to log off and someone uses her profile to download inappropriate files, she’ll be blamed for it. I honestly don’t think she has any idea what we talked about!

My student was falling behind in one of her classes, so we spent the bulk of our time together working on getting her assignments completed. I didn’t really teach her much this time around, but I think she felt accomplished. She had been stressing about getting work done and keeping her grades up. Something I’ve noticed in working with her is that I have to keep her spirits up. She knows she has an IEP and learning disabilities. And she’s willing to let them take the blame for her problems. I find myself saying things like “everyone has trouble with this at the beginning, don’t worry about it. You’ll get it.”

It’s almost like a challenge. Can I keep her morale up?

A Light in the Forest

17 10 2007

I think I may have stumbled up a solution. That student from several posts ago is in dire need of help. It turns out that not only has she never touched a computer before she enrolled her, she has an IQ below average. This should be quite a challenge.

I’m going to work with her outside the scope of my job, although we’ll be using school computers. I hope I’ll have the patience to get this done!