Complicating Access: Digital Inequality and Adult Learning in a Public Access Computing Space
Keywords:Keywords, adult learning, digital equity, policy ethnography, public computing, Canada
Access is often defined in digital inclusion policy as the potential, if not the means, to access an Internet connection. This simple or ‘laissez-faire’ approach to digital access excludes many of the adults who are also the constituents of adult literacy education programs, suggesting the need for adult educators to attend closely to the entanglements of digital equity and adult learning. Combining methods of critical policy analysis with participant observation of adults’ experiences of digital access and learning in a public setting, the study identifies tensions between public sites for computing learning and the privatization of access, between ‘basic skills’ and critical pedagogies of production, and between the ‘model users’ for whom digital policies and the Internet are designed and the actual experiences of those who are on the margins of access. These trouble spots provoke new challenges and possibilities for a reinvigoration of public computing as new sites for adult learning.
Attar, D. (2005). Dismay and disappointment: Perspectives of inexperienced adult learners on becoming webpage readers. International Journal of Educational Research, 43(7-8), 495-508. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijer.2006.07.007
Ball, S. J. (2012). Global education, inc: New policy networks and the neoliberal imaginary. London: Routledge.
Bynner, J., Reder, S., Parsons, S., & Strawn, C. (2010). The three divides: The digital divide and its relation to basic skills and employment in Portland, USA and London, England. London, UK: National Research and Development Centre for Adult Literacy and Numeracy. Retrieved from http://www.nrdc.org.uk/publications_details.asp?ID=164# database.
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. (2012, April 6). Ottawa cuts CAP public web access funding. CBC News Online.
City of Vancouver. (2013). City of Vancouver Digital Strategy. Vancouver, BC: Author.
Flyvbjerg, B. (1998). Rationality and power: Democracy in practice. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Flyvbjerg, B. (2006). Five misunderstandings about case-study research. Qualitative Inquiry, 12(2), 219-245. doi:10.1177/1077800405284363
Gatt, C., & Infold, T. (2013). From description to correspondence: Anthropology in real time. In W. Gunn, T. Otto, Smith & Rachel Charlotte (Eds.), Design anthropology: Theory and practice (pp. 139). London: Bloomsbury.
Geist, M. (2014, It's almost here: Why the Canadian Digital Strategy Takes Shape with Budget 2014.
Gilbert, M. (2010). Theorizing digital and urban inequalities. Information, Communication & Society, 13(7), 1000-1018. doi:10.1080/1369118X.2010.499954
Government of Canada. (2007). Canada's new government ensures support for the community access program. Retrieved January 23, 2016, from http://news.gc.ca/web/article-en.do?mthd=advSrch&crtr.page=1&nid=314019&crtr.kw=Community%2BAccess%2BProgram
Haight, M., Quan-Haase, A., & Corbett, B. A. (2014). Revisiting the digital divide in Canada: The impact of demographic factors on access to the internet, level of online activity, and social networking site usage. Information, Communication & Society, 17(4), 503-519. doi:10.1080/1369118X.2014.891633
Hamilton, M. (2012). Literacy and the politics of representation. London: Routledge.
Industry Canada. (2010). Final evaluation of the community access program. Ottawa, Canada: Industry Canada.
Industry Canada. (2015). Digital Canada 150. Ottawa, ON: Industry Canada Web Services.
Kirkeby, I. M. (2011). Transferable knowledge: An interview with Bent Flyvbjerg. Architectural Research Quarterly, 15, 9 - 14.
Larsen, M., & Beech, J. (2014). Spatial theorizing in comparative and international education research. Comparative Education Review, 58(2), 191-214. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=95709418&site=ehost-live
Law, J., & Singleton, V. (2013). ANT and politics: Working in and on the world Springer Science & Business Media B.V. doi:10.1007/s11133-013-9263-7
Leander, K. (November 5 - 6, 2009). Studying and designing for adult literacy learners on the move: What's missing from the 'network' metaphor? Summit on the Future of Adult Education in the New Digital World, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond VA.
Matzat, U., & Sadowski, B. (2012). Does the “Do-it-yourself approach” reduce digital inequality? evidence of self-learning of digital skills. Information Society, 28(1), 1-12. doi:10.1080/01972243.2011.629023
Ministry of Employment and Skill Development Canada. (2014). Canada job grant. Retrieved from: http://www.esdc.gc.ca/eng/jobs/training_agreements/cjg/index.shtml?utm_source=VanityURL&utm_medium=onlineCoffline&utm_term=eng&utm_content=September08&utm_campaign=jobgrant
Mirchandani, K., Ng, R., Sangha, J., Rawlings, T., & Coloma-Moya, N. (2005). Ambivalent learning: Gendered and racialized barriers to computer acces for women garment workers. Canadian Journal for the Study of Adult Education, 19(2), 14 - 24.
Moll, M. (2012). A brief history of the community access program: From community economic development to social cohesion to digital divide. In A. Clement, M. Gurstein, G. Longford, M. Moll & L. R. Shade (Eds.), Connecting Canadians: Investigations in community informatics (pp. 485 - 490) University of Athabasca Press.
Mossberger, K., Tolbert, C., & Franko, W. (2013).
Digital cities: The internet and the geography of opportunity.
New York: Oxford University Press.
Public Information Advocacy Centre. (2015). No consumer left behind: A Canadian affordability framework for communications services in a digital age. Ottawa. ON: Public Interest Advocacy Centre.
Reder, S. (2012). The longitudinal study of adult learning: Challenging assumptions. Research Brief: Quebec Centre for Literacy Summer Institute, Montreal, Quebec.
Robinson, L., Cotten, S. R., Ono, H., Quan-Haase, A., Mesch, G., Chen, W., et al. (2015). Digital inequalities and why they matter. Information, Communication & Society, 18(5), 569-582.
Selwyn, N. (2004). Reconsidering political and popular understandings of the digital divide. New Media & Society, 6(3), 341-362. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=13576581&site=ehost-live
Selwyn, N. (2010). The 'new' connectivities of digital education. In M. Apple, S. J. Ball & L. A. Gandin (Eds.), The Routledge International Handbook of the Sociology of Education (pp. 90 - 102). London: Routledge.
Selwyn, N. (2012). Ten suggestions for improving academic research in education and technology. Learning, Media & Technology, 37(3), 213-219. doi:10.1080/17439884.2012.680213
Statistics Canada. (2013). The Daily: Individual internet use and e-commerce 2012: Author.
Stevenson, S. (2009). Digital divide: A discursive move away from the real inequities. Information Society, 25(1), 1-22. doi:10.1080/01972240802587539
van Deursen, A.J.M. & van Dijk, J.A.G.M. (2014). The digital divide shifts to differences in usage. New Media & Society, 16(3), 507-526. doi:10.1177/1461444813487959
van Dijk, J. A. G. M. (2006). Digital divide research, achievements and shortcomings. Poetics, 34(4), 221-235. doi:10.1016/j.poetic.2006.05.004
Wali, A. (2010). Ethnography for the digital age: American Anthropologist, 112(1), 147-148. doi:10.1111/j.1548-1433.2009.01204.x
Warschauer, M., Knobel, M., & Stone, L. (2004). Technology and equity in schooling: Deconstructing the digital divide. Educational Policy, 18(4), 562-588. doi:10.1177/0895904804266469
Weaver-Hightower, M. (2008). An ecology metaphor for educational policy analysis: A call to complexity. Educational Researcher, 37(3), 153 - 157. Retrieved from: http://www.jstor.org.proxy.lib.sfu.ca/stable/30137956
Wedel, J. R., & Feldman, G. (2005). Why an anthropology of public policy? Anthropology Today, 21(1), 1-2. doi:10.1111/j.0268-540X.2005.00321.x
Zuckerberg, M. (2015). Freebasics protects net neutrality. The Times of India. Retrieved from: http://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/toi-edit-page/free-basics-protects-net-neutrality/
How to Cite
Authors of manuscripts accepted for publication will be required to assign copyright to the Canadian Journal for the Study of Adult Education/L’Association canadienne pour l’étude de l’éducation des adultes (CJSAE). CJSAE requests that, as the creator(s)/author(s) of the manuscript your are submitting assign certain rights to the manuscript to the CJSAE in exchange for undertaking to publish the article in print and electronic form and, in general, to pursue its dissemination throughout the world. The rights the CJSAE requests are:
- The right to publish the article in print and electronic form or in any other form it may choose that is in keeping with its role as a scholarly journal with the goal of disseminating the work as widely as possible;
- The right to be the sole publisher of the article for a period of 12 months;
- The right to make the article available to the public within a period of not more than 24 months, as determined by relevant journal staff of the CJSAE;
- The right to grant republication rights to itself or others in print, electronic, or any other form, with any revenues accrued to be shared equally between the author(s) and the journal;
- The right to administer permission to use portions of the article as requested by others, seeking recompense when the CJSAE sees it as warrented;
- The right to seek or take advantage of opportunities to have the article included in a database aimed at increasing awareness of it;
- As the author(s), the CJSAE wishes you to retain the right to republish the article, with acknowledgement of the CJSAE as the original publisher, in whole or in part, in any other pbulication of your own, including any anthology that you might edit with up to three others;
- As the author(s), the CJSAE withes you to retain the right to place the article on your personal Web page or that of your university or institution. The CJSAE askes that you include this notice: A fully edited, peer-reviewed version of this article was first published by the Canadian Journal for the Study of Adult Education, <Year>, <Volume>, <Issue>, <Page Numbers>.
BY AGREEING TO THE FOREGOING, YOU CONFIRM THAT THE MANUSCRIPT YOU ARE SUBMITTING HAS NOT BEEN PUBLISHED ELSEWHERE IN WHOLE OR IN PART, AND THAT NO AGREEMENT TO PUBLISH IS OUTSTANDING.
SHOULD THE ARTICLE CONTAIN MATERIAL WHICH REQUIRES WRITTEN PERMISSION FOR INCLUSION, YOU AGREE THAT IT IS YOUR OBLIGATION IN LAW TO IDENTIFY SUCH MATERIAL TO THE EDITOR OF THE CJSAE AND TO OBTAIN SUCH PERMISSION. THE CJSAE WILL NOT PAY ANY PERMISSION FEES. SHOULD THE CJSAE BE OF THE OPINION THAT SUCH PERMISSION IS NECESSARY, IT WILL REQUIRE YOU TO PURSUE SHUCH PERMISSSION PRIOR TO PUBLICATION.
AS AUTHOR(S), YOU WARRANT THAT THE ARTICLE BEING SUBMITTED IS ORIGINAL TO YOU.
Provided the foregoing terms are satisfactory, and that you are in agreement with them, please indicate your acceptance by checking the appropriate box and proceed with your submission.
This copyright agreement was extracted with permission from the "Best practices guide to scholarly journal publishing" (2007), produced by the Canadian Association of Learned Journals (CALJ).