e-STAS 2008 (V). Workshop: web programmes and content

e-STAS is a Symposium about the Technologies for the Social Action, with an international and multi-stakeholder nature, where all the agents implicated in the development and implementation of the ICT (NGO’s, Local authorities, Universities, Companies and Media) are appointed in an aim to promote, foster and adapt the use of the ICT for the social action.

Here come my notes for session V.

Subjects

  • Free software
  • Accessibility and usability
  • Linguistic diversity
  • Educational programmes
  • New content programmes

Debate

(random ideas, slightly sorted/grouped)

Muhammad Yunus proposes a new kind of enterprise where the focus is on stakeholders and not on shareholders, where no profit is seek, but only social benefit.

Low cost computers/devices are converging with mainstream infrastructures. Now the issue is content. There is no content for education, and this should be urgently addressed. And this content should be localized, as long as it’s happening with software (sometimes).

Nonprofits and firms could provide this content.

But can this content can be created in the same ways as free software?

People should bet on free software (not open source software), with a focus on the philosophy of free software: new ethics of work, money and network.

Knowledge should be free and is the Humanity’s patrimony. No one should own knowledge (and this includes software). Content is just the support (and can hence be owned), and each society will generate its own. Technology (= applied knowledge) should be free so it can be appropriated by individuals and communities.

If software is free, usability and accessibility come naturally, as long as linguistic diversity. Let aside costs.

Hardware, software, content, etc. should be measured by their social value, not their price, thus leading to a new ethics of value. The Digital Divide is created by the market, so the market should be taken into the spotlight when trying to bridge the Digital Divide.

The citizenry should be literate enough to be able to distinguish between different software and different content. To be aware of the implications, needs, threats, benefits of the Information Society.

Accessibility is not only being able to access ICTs/the Internet, but willing to and be aware of the costs and benefits of doing it.

Education is a very important issue, but who trains the trainers? Shouldn’t be the digital literacy trainers be more literate in e.g. technology neutrality and teach skills/competences and not specific applications?

Training should be appealing to the end user (e.g. stress in their short run needs), but also a door to further skills achieving. And these skills should include higher levels of thought where the individual can not only use some technologies, but be able to choose among several ones, reflect on their process of choice, etc.

e-Stas 2008, Symposium on Technologies for Social Action (2008)

If you need to cite this article in a formal way (i.e. for bibliographical purposes) I dare suggest:

Peña-López, I. (2008) “e-STAS 2008 (V). Workshop: web programmes and content” In ICTlogy, #55, April 2008. Barcelona: ICTlogy.
Retrieved month dd, yyyy from http://ictlogy.net/review/?p=710

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1 Comment to “e-STAS 2008 (V). Workshop: web programmes and content” »

  1. I guess I’m a natural born pessimistic, but I couldn’t agree less. For me, best starting point for ‘social action’ is a sustainable business model.

    In some cases that business model is based on state money, some other times on foundations… and sometimes (TV is a VERY sucessful example, Google an even better one) it is funded on, not your perceived clients (TV viewers, web visitors), but on “selling eyeballs”. Yes, even for an extremely low income public: one of the advantages of digitalization is that replication and distribution costs are so low that even very low income on advertising can help turn a profit. I’m not a great fan of Chris Anderson’s ‘free’ idea, but I’d make it compulsory studying for anyone working in this field.

    You can trust human good will or human greed. I know where I am laying my bets…

    I’m more than willing to be flamed because of my lack of trust in mankind, and really sorry to rain on the parade but, at the very least, I think some counterpoint was needed.

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