Posts Tagged technology
The Association for Progressive Communication Women’s Networking Support Programme (APC-WNSP) and Violence is Not Our Culture(VNC) have collaborated to design a toolkit to develop certain skills in online activism. Strategising Online Activism: A Toolkit was inspired by the workshops held in Asia and Africa for the partners and members of the Violence is not our Culture (VNC) campaign.
While this toolkit has been designed primarily for the local partners and activists of the VNC campaign, this can be a resource, too, for human rights activists who are keen to develop their online activism and want to know where and how to to start. Through this toolkit we hope that campaigners will acquire the following skills:
– An understanding of why and how information and communication technologies (ICTs) can be appropriated by women’s rights and human rights groups in their advocacy skills through their use of online tools, including networking and mobile tools for advocacy and campaigning
– The ability to develop an advocacy / communication strategy
– Knowing what social neworking is and the various spaces and tools they could use in their online activism
– An understanding of online privacy and security issues relevant to building their online activism…
The Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies is hosting a symposium in California this August. All friends, colleagues, students, and admirers of Mihajlo Mihajlov (1934-2010) are cordially invited to participate in a re-assessment of his life, work, and legacy whose significance reaches well beyond Tito’s Yugoslavia, the Balkans, and Eastern Europe. Mihajlov’s quest for democracy and human rights is an inspiration for all who strive for an open society, pluralism, and tolerance. An indefatigable human rights champion, Mihajlov’s example contributed to the rise of dissent, civic culture, and civil society which ushered in momentous changes culminating in the peaceful revolution in Eastern Europe and the demise of Soviet rule. Mihajlov’s first freedoms–speech, thought, press, assembly, association, philosophical, political and religious persuasion–remain a continuing challenge, East and West, North and South. Indeed, Mihajlov’s was a universal message of individual freedom and social justice. The question arises: Can the quest for global democracy and basic human rights and freedoms be realized in a world of competing socio-economic, political, and ethno-national interests and ideologies? Can equality be reconciled with liberty? And, can science and technology be harnessed to serve, rather than enslave, humanity?
Last December Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web, wrote a piece in the Scientific American advocating to make access to the Internet and Web content a human and legal right. With the growth of the Web, Berners-Lee feels that the egalitarian principles of democracy and universality, under which he envisioned the Web, are under threat by the very entities whom have successfully propelled the Internet’s use. He attempts to make a compelling argument to reconstitute the meaning of these principles by providing real world examples of how the Web, as initially envisioned, has taken some directions which do not align with the values and principles to which he refers. He lays out his argument by exploring the values inherent, and violated, in the debates around free speech, freedom from government/third-party monitoring, freedom from information filtering/censoring, and freedom from ISP interference and disconnection without due process. All of which are valid points, despite the faulty utilitarian logic he uses. Also against this backdrop of growing threats to our internet freedom, Berners-Lee urges for transparency in standards to enable more intra-website information sharing. (He offers the idea of “linked data” as one solution).
This piece captures the increasingly common issues of net neutrality and the digital divide, which are being bandied about a lot these days. In Canada last week, the government’s attempt to reverse an internet usage cap and billing decision by the Canadian Radio & Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) was largely in response to citizens’ reactions. Generally, the decision was not made for consumers’ best interests and would create an anti-competitive ICT market that could potentially widen the gap between those with and those without internet access. Meanwhile, in the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has been busy tackling problems with US telecoms. Berners-Lee mentions a federal court ruling last year which denied the FCC from stopping major telecoms from interfering with customers’ connections to certain sites by blocking or slowing traffic to competing sites. The FCC has been hard at work to overturn this by drafting new policy. And this week, the FCC, in a public-private partnership, announced its plans to resolve the issue of rural wireless broadband access. The involvement of the telecoms funding the proposed project is predicted to have billing implications on their customers. Yet, amidst the flurry of business activity, Berners-Lee should be pleased to hear that this week the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has appointed Columbia University law professor, Tim Wu, as a new senior advisor on the agency’s Office of Policy Planning. Wu founded the principle of “net neutrality” and it is expected that his work will cover policy in consumer protection, competition, law and communications technology.
Another potential boon for efforts in bridging the divide, ahumanright.org (a charity founded by Kostas Grommatis) is embarking on a rather ambitious but noble initiative to bridge the information disparity gap by providing global access to information by the use of satellites. Like Berners-Lee, Grammatis believes that internet access should be a human right. Like Bill Gates views on creative capitalism, Grammatis’ idea is premised along similarly technologically deterministic lines and ignores concurrent systemic social problems. Yet, not to diminish from the sincerity of the idea, this project is unique in that it aims to build a free communication network available anywhere in the world. This endeavour contrasts One-Laptop-Per-Child (OLPC) programs. OLPC programs may be unsustainable ventures insomuch as they make the presupposition that governments will follow suit by subsidizing infrastructure development to make internet access available in the very regions these programs target, regions where there are presently no networks available.
This new publication released yesterday compiles international statistical data on the effects of changing factors on education (read the OECD’s description of the publication). The discussion of the evidence presents changes in education systems around the globe over the last few decades. But of particular interest is the section on ICT. The rapid rise of the internet, its use and access (which the publication makes distinct from one another), poses some old questions on capacity, participatory/collaborative models and how it is affecting established disciplines of knowledge organization.
I don’t know that this publication directly addresses how students, instituitions, and household users can engage with digital materials “in an informed way” for learning purposes. But as always, OECD resources are excellent sources for statistical information. The publication makes several forecasts based on the trends, such as the obvious move to universal internet use which will inevitably change the standards of learning and teaching.
This rough guide is published by UNESCO’s Asia and Pacific Regional Bureau for Education. The publication specifically targets education practices in the Asia-Pacific region. As the preface states, as advances have been made in e-learning and Web 2.0 technologies, educators are capitalizing on these readily available technology applications to redesign learning in the classroom.
Read press release