ICTD2010 (VIII). Meaning and ICTD

Notes from the Information and Communication Technolgies and Development — ICTD2010, held at the Royal Holloway University of London, Egham, UK, on December 13-16, 2010. More notes on this event: ictd2010.

Paper Session: Meaning and ICTD

Looking Beyond ‘Information Provision’: The Importance of Being a Kiosk Operator in the Sustainable Access in Rural India (SARI) Project, Tamil Nadu, India
Janaki Srinivasan

How has changed the life of the women that operate information kiosks in India?

Information kiosks provide information on agriculture, prices, government services, etc. especially to reduce information asymmetry in the population.

  • Do info kiosks actually end up providing information to everybody in a community? (IIITB, 2005)
  • Does provision of information naturally improved socio-economic conditions? (Gopakumar, 2004)
  • Is information provision the main role player of info kiosks in practice?

This research puts the stress on the last point.

The project focuses on information asymmetry framed as the problem and information provision as the solution. In this framework, ICTs are the tools that enable the solution.

Kiosk operators have many duties and interactions that go beyond mere service provision: interact with other operators, with elected leaders, with residents, bureaucrats, domain experts, and with the Dhan for meetings and training sessions.

At the e-Government level, the kiosk has several objectives such as information provision (schemes, procedures, records) and improving state-vilage resident interactions (transparency, efficiency).

Outcomes for kiosk operators:

  • Seeing the state (and other domains) differently: awareness (schemes, procedures, techniques, who’s who), interaction (frequency, diversity, learning by doing, coping, dealing, negotiating).
  • Being seen by the village differently: status in the community (“girl with the computer”, “girl for certificates”).
Discussion

Q: So, the research showed that there were a lot of unpredicted consequences/outcomes for kiosk operators, but… what happened with the intended outcomes? A: We found that they were not in conflict and, actually, they were mutually reinforced.

The Social Meaning of ICTs: Patterns of Technology Adoption and Usage in Context
Cynthia Putnam, Beth Kolko

3 rounds survey (2006, 2007, 2008) in four countries in Central Asia to compare Internet users in that region with US Internet users (using for those data from the Pew Internet Life survey).

Two methodology:

  • Technology acceptance model (TAM): external variables determine perceived userfulness and ease of use, that determine attitude, intentions and effective usage.
  • Diffusion of Innovations (DOI): characteristic of the technology, diffusion channels of how technology is communicated, time and social assistance. These issues define 5 characteristics of an innovation: relative advantage, complexity or ease of use, compatibility with existing values, trial-ability and observability.

Data (2008) showed that for Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan most of Internet users were innovators and early adopters, while in the US, at that time (PEW data for 2007) there already were many laggards now using the Internet.

Predictors were calculated with income and other variables and the resultant statistic proved to be a good predictor on who would be online in Kyrgyzstan or Kazakhstan at a specific time. Internet users share demographic similarities when compared to non-users. On the other hand, usage is also pretty similar between countries and within profiles.

Discussion

Jim Murphy states that there should be much more focus (work) on the context and in the framework where all this technology adoption if framed into.

Information and Communication Technologies and Development (2010)

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

Peña-López, I. (2010) “ICTD2010 (VIII). Meaning and ICTD” In ICTlogy, #87, December 2010. Barcelona: ICTlogy.
Retrieved month dd, yyyy from http://ictlogy.net/review/?p=3644

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