Broadband- A tool for civic engagement and sustainability?

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Information about Broadband- A tool for civic engagement and sustainability?

Published on March 25, 2009

Author: pt36



High speed internet access can be a powerful tool for communities. During this webinar we will explore some of the practical and potential uses of broadband in addressing issues of civic engagement,sustainability and economic growth. Any discussion of this topic must, however, look at ways to bridge the “digital divide”. In light of that fact, we’ll also look at Issues of access and digital literacy How creative can we be in creating inclusive engaging opportunities that make use of the potential of broadband technology?

Broadband- A tool for civic engagement and sustainability? March 24, 2009 Webinar Paul Treadwell Cornell Cooperative Extension Distance Learning Consultant

What is Broadband • High speed data transmission • Always on connection • Encompasses a variety of technologies: ▫ DSL ▫ Cable modem ▫ WiFi ▫ Broadband satellite

Why Broadband Matters • High speed internet access can: ▫ Improve government efficiency and communication ▫ Provide access to educational opportunities ▫ Engage citizens ▫ Facilitate better medical care ▫ Narrow the digital divide ▫ Expand employment opportunities ▫ Foster Innovation

Broadband and rural communities • 38% rural homes have broadband • 57% urban • 60% suburban • Other factors affecting access: ▫ Income ▫ Ease/prevalence of public access ▫ Digital literacy

The Digital Divide • the gap between people with effective access to digital and information technology and those with very limited or no access at all. • Is a kind of capability deprivation ▫ As the “world” moves online, those who aren’t are excluded.  Access to the benefits of an online world are removed /denied

Why now • Renewed interest and funding: ▫ National  Presidents broadband stimulus funding  $7+ Billion for broadband development ▫ New York State

The internet

The Civic Net

More than bandwidth or access • The fuss about broadband, then, extends beyond access to information to active participation in the online commons ▫ Broadband: What’s All the Fuss About? Pew Internet and American Life Project

Marketplace and/or Commons • 2 ways of viewing the internet ▫ Marketplace  Access to goods  Buying and selling ▫ Commons  Access to ideas  Interaction and exchange

How do you see broadband? • What role can it play?

Broadband Enabled Services • E-government ▫ Providing access to government information ▫ Providing space for engagement • E-commerce ▫ Access to the global marketplace • Technology training / digital literacy/ civic literacy

Case study – Ontario county • Ontario County e-government ▫ ▫ Access to governmental information ▫ Online survey for community input

Case study – Blue Smoke • E-Commerce ▫ Blue Smoke Salsa   Case Study (pdf)

Case Study – Engaged Youth • Civic learning ▫ Engaged Youth 

Case Study – Squeaky Wheel • Digital/Media Literacy ▫ Squeaky Wheel 

Barriers to adoption • Availability • Cost • Exclusion ▫ Literacy • Security

Sustainable communities • Broadband should be a component of a platform for sustainability ▫ Connecting rural communities to the world  Tele-work  E-Commerce  Flow of ideas ▫ Sustaining locality  Online interactions focused on local issues  Local government access

Civic participation • Bringing it back home ▫ Tools for online engagement  National Coalition for Dialog and Deliberation    ▫ National project connecting local participants

Education • Broadband opens up a channel to media rich educational opportunities ▫ MIT OpenCourseware  ▫ ScienceVideos  ▫ Youtube  Teachertube 

Opportunities • Resurgence of funding opportunities creates a space for innovative programming • Current Extension programming ▫ National e-Commerce Extension Initiative  ▫ Connecting rural communities ▫ Others?

Innovating • Digital literacy  For community  For educators  Skills for an online world • Community brainstorming ▫ Games to spark planning around technology  Useful Games 

Appropriate Technology • Defining “appropriate” relative to ICT ▫ Impacts on community  The introduction of new technology and tools is a debatable topic.  How do we deliberate about technology?  Mostly, we don’t  Technology “happens”  Is this the best approach?

The value of open networks • “Strangely enough, digital technologies are forcing us to recognize the power of the collective and social” - David Bollier ▫ The Commons as a New Sector of Value-Creation  13 • Open standards-Open source-Open networks

Resources • Documents, sites and case studies referenced in this presentation are available online at: ▫ nar

Contact • Paul Treadwell ▫ Distance Learning Consultant ▫ Cornell Cooperative Extension ▫ 356 Roberts Hall ▫ Cornell University ▫ Ithaca, NY 14853 ▫ ▫

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