Local Learnings: An Essay on Designing to Facilitate Effective Use of ICT s
AbstractIn this essay, we explore some of the details of what it takes to own, use and derive benefit from information and communication technologies, with a focus on regions where ICT adoption and use is especially low. We begin with a fairly meticulous description from our ethnographic work to which well refer throughout the paper. Though we consider this particular instance, we note that it represents of a wide range of instances from our ethnographic work in homes and businesses over several years in Brazil, Costa Rica, Chile, Ecuador, Bolivia, Peru, Korea & India. Our goal in this paper, however, is to change the conversation from discussions of infrastructure and capacity building to considerations of local, lived conditions in actual homes and actual businesses to suggest design alternatives that make effective use of ICTs more amenable to various locales. We offer two design directions especially for high tech corporations: Designing for Locus of Control and Designing for Local Participation. Along the way, well argue to re-frame of the current conception of digital divide, putting the burden not on those with limited access, but on limited understanding within the high tech industry.
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