What better way to celebrate the day of the book than seeing my website — that personal book one writes every day — being reborn again.
It had been long since the site had gathered a remarkable amount of different kinds content. Broadly speaking, there were like three web pages living under the same roof:
- My personal/professional page, with information on who I am, what I do and, above all, what is my scientific production.
- Resources I use in my work (teaching, research and outreach).
- And the two blogs — academic, personal — with up-to-date content.
- …and all the activity on several social networking sites and that, somehow, was also reflected here.
On the other hand, those very same social networking sites as well as the widespread use of search engines caused that the main point of entrance to the site ceased to be its homepage, and to literally become any page.
It thus became an urgent need to undergo some reforms, while bearing three main goals in mind:
- To rethink how content was sorted and the overall site architecture.
- To make possible that any page could operate as a homepage (as a good landing page).
- To provide the user with access to related content from any page they were on, and to facilitate the identification of the author (i.e. me) where this was particularly important (e.g. from the scientific production page).
Unlike what had been the norm in the past eight years, this time I asked out for the help of professionals. In particular the help of Anna Fuster and Daniel Julià, from the Pimpampum studio. They were able to rethink the site without luggages from the past or sentimentality.
The result is in plain sight.
At the visual level, I would like to highlight the immense work of updating and managing the graphic look and feel, focusing on how different kinds of content use different colours, or how content was repositioned when it was repetitive or ‘interfered’ with other content, to name but a few amongst a long list of details.
At the technical level, the most notable is the idea of ”widgetizing” the site so that one can put any piece of information (a blog, the literature, the “about me”, etc.) elsewhere when deemed necessary. Furthermore, the management of the whole thing or the creation of new pieces has been made really easy and robust, so the site can now grow without the bounds to which was constrained. P>
I can only thank the good times — as creative as challenging — that I spent with @tartanna and @daniel_julia, from whom I learned a lot in a short time.
And to the reader, both the regular and the occasional, thanks for being there, at the other end of the wire. As always, any comments are welcome.
Nous Horitzons — the review of the Fundació Nous Horitzons — has released issue #204 with the quite explicit title of Democratizing communication, communicating democracy (original title: Democratitzar la comunicació, comunicar la democràcia).
I was asked to write a piece where to reflect about
what can be done and what cannot be done on the Internet, in the sense of what is allowed, what is not, where are the boundaries of our civic rights, where do different rights collide (e.g. freedom of expression vs. intellectual property rights), etc.
My article, The conquest of Internet: new maps for new territories, is originally written in Catalan (La conquesta d’Internet: nous mapes per als nous territoris — Spanish translation also available) and takes its title from William Gibson’s documentary No Maps for These Territories!.
I ended writing what it looks like a slightly different thing: that there is not an actual collision of rights, but the dawn of a totally new model of society. And what looks like a collision of rights is, indeed, the fight to set up new institutions, appoint new leaders and shape up this new model according to each one’s own views. Thus, the apparent collision of rights is but the symptom of a higher level matter: what is the “global order” going to look like in the next decades after the actual order, based on the industrial paradigm, has become obsolete by Information and Communication Technologies.
I want to heartily thank Marc Rius for the invitation to write this piece, for his patience on my repeated delays and, most especially, for not changing a single comma on what I acknowledge is a dense text that goes way beyond the simple answer to what can and cannot be done on the Internet.
In early 2010, the US National Telecommunications and Information Administration issued Digital Nation: 21st Century America’s Progress Towards Universal Broadband Internet Access which, amongst other things, provided data on why people did not use the Internet. Two years later, the Pew Internet & American Life Project provides similar data in Digital Differences. It is very interesting comparing how the reasons for not using the Internet have evolved.
Before entering the analysis, please note that the NTIA actually provided the reasons for not using broadband at home, while PIP measures the reasons for not using the Internet in general. As the difference between broadband and dial-up at that time (October 2009) was circa 5%, and now (August 2011) being 3%, we believe that comparisons, though inaccurate, do indeed provide good enough insights for a quick analysis.
The first chart shows the reasons that non-users state for not using the Internet, measured in percent of non-users. Thus, the chart pictures the share or weight that each reason has in relationship with other reasons for not using the Internet:
Bearing in mind the caveat on the slightly different variables measured by the indicators, we can easily see that the barriers to access (usually lack of infrastructure, affordability and personal disabilities or lack of appropriate/adapted infrastructure) have decreased drastically in less than two years (Oct 2009 to Aug 2011). Yes, there still is an important 30% of non-users that state that the reason for not using the Internet is infrastructures, but the reason has decreased. More competitive markets, the deployment of infrastructures in remote areas and public access points sure are the main causes for this decrease.
On the contrary, lack of skills has sky-rocketed and multiplied its weight by 13%. It is possible that this figure is not actually true, and that the 3% in 2009 is not gathering non-users because of capability reasons (this is most likely — more on that later).
The interesting thing to notice, though, are the steady “Lack of interest” and “Other” reasons, which almost add up to 50% of the people that do not use the Internet. Besides their high share, it is worth stressing their steadiness or even slight increase. There is a constant share of refuseniks that will not use the Internet whatever the government, the market or their peers do to convince them to do otherwise.
The second chart shows again the reasons that non-users state for not using the Internet, but this time measured in percent of the total of the population. Thus, the chart pictures the share or weight that each reason has in relationship with the whole, then giving us an idea of the aggregate number of people that state a specific reason for not using the Internet:
The good thing to note here is that most reasons are decreasing. This is just natural as the overall adoption of the Internet is increasing. So, by construction, one would expect just that.
The not so good thing to note is that the amount of people stating they are not skilled enough to use the Internet does increase. Even if this figure can be (or is) distorted by the different things that data are depicting, it is consistent with other data and observations around, namely (1) the increase of a second-level digital divide caused by different levels of digital skills and (2) the increase of the amount of people that access public access points (telecentres, libraries, cybercafes) not because of the infrastructures — which most have at home — but in seek of advice or help.
Before this scenario, which is not new, a change or shift of public policies to foster the Information Society should take place. Not that policies aimed at more, better and cheaper infrastructures should be abandoned (or yes, that is another debate), but the provision of digital competences to the citizens should be having an increased if not a major role in public policies.
And, of course, it is about much more than putting computers in the classroom.
Zickuhr, K. & Smith, A. (2012). Digital differences
. Washington, D.C.: Pew Internet & American Life Project.
(crossposted from Debates sobre tendencias de la Sociedad de la Información y el Conocimiento).
With the goal to
analyse and propose a debate on the nature and depth of this new framework of social relationships, the challenges it entails, for example, from the point of view of social inclusion, or opportunities from the perspective of health systems, social participation and education a series of conferences has been planned in Seville (Spain): [sic]*: Conference series on trends in the Information and Knowledge Society
The conferences are made up by six debates, and I am taking part in two of them:
1. Introductory session. 18 april 2012.
- Topics: information society, network society and technological revolution, how ICTs have penetrated into European, Spanish and Andalousian societies, and what are or what should be the public policies in this area.
- Participants: Eva Piñar, General Director of Technological and Information Society services at the Andalousian government; Ramón Compañó, programme coordinator at IPTS-JCR; Josep Lladós, director of the PhD on Information and Knowledge Society at UOC.
2. Progressing towards the Information Society. 2 may 2012.
- Topics: present of the implementation of ICT at different levels: infrastructure, knowledge economy, legal framework, content and services. And delving into the economic dimension of the information society: business, resources, innovation, etc..
- Participants: Ismael Peña-López, professor a the School of Law and Political Science at UOC; Marc Bogdanowic, leader of the Information Society Unit at IPTS-JCR.
3. Technological prospective. 16 may 2012.
- Topics: what will be the future technologies, usage standards, protocols, etc..
- Participants: César Córcoles, professor at the School of Computer Science, Multimedia and Telecommunication at UOC; a TBC representative from IPTS.
4. ICT and Education. 6 june 2012.
- Topics: aspects of the relationship between training and ICT, how educational technology is already helping to change the way it delivers training, how can ICT help in shaping tomorrow’s education.
- Participants: Magí Almirall, director of the Office of Learning Technologies at UOC; Yves Punie, senior scientist at the Information Society Unit at IPTS-JCR.
5. ICT for Health. 20 june 2012.
6. ICT and citizen participation. 4 july 2012.
- Topics: how ICT have changed the relationship between citizens and the government, what are the new forms of participation based on the use of ICT, Transparency, e-government, etc.
- Participants: Ismael Peña-López, professor a the School of Law and Political Science at UOC; Gianluca Misuraca, researcher at the IPTS-JCR.
The [sic]*: Conference series on trends in the Information and Knowledge Society is organized by the General directorate of Technological and Information Society services of the Andalousian Government, the Institute for Prospective Technological Studies of the European Commission, and the office in Seville of the Open University of Catalonia (UOC).
I want to thank Eva Piñar and Alfredo Charques both for the initiative to organize the conference — when reflecting on what kind of Information Society we want is so necessary — and, of course, for inviting me to take part in it.
Plan Ceibal is the one-to-one laptop programme that Uruguay is running nation-wide since 2008. It is, in my opinion, a good example of what I would like to see in this kind of programmes. I spoke a little bit more on that programme on From laptops to competences: bridging the digital divide in higher education, but for a brief approach, these are the three main aspects that I like most:
- It is not a one-to-one laptop programme, but an inclusion through education programme. Laptops really come into the programme as a tool.
- The core of the programme is the community, the neighbourhood, the classroom, and not technology. It is social capital — and not technological capital ‐ what is built as a priority.
- They run a honest, thorough, yearly evaluation which highlights the best achievements, identifies the weaknesses and feeds the programme back with rich and useful information.
One of the main commitments of the programme is to create resources for the educators involved in it, including the yearly publication of a book. The latest edition of the “Ceibal book” has already been published as El modelo CEIBAL: Nuevas tendencias para el aprendizaje and I have contributed to the book with a chapter.
My chapter, Educación y Desarrollo en un mundo de redes (Education and development in a world of networks) is a reflection on how ICTs are radically changing what we understand by teachers, educational resources, and infrastructure. It actually is a slight adaptation of the homonymous materials that I had recently prepared for UNDP’s Virtual School.
The resulting chapter is the result of the contributions of some other people with which I am in much debt. Giovanni Guatibonza and Amagoia Salazar more than supervised the first edition for the UNDP, providing very good guidance and suggestions, which I all add to the text. Marion Ikwat is an astonishing editor and proofreader that did not rest until the final text was utterly spotless. Last, I want to thank Graciela Rabajoli not only for inviting me to be part of the book, but for all the information on the programme that she has always fed me with.
Bibliography used in Educación y Desarrollo en un mundo de redes
Adell, J. & Castañeda, L. (2010). “Los Entornos Personales de Aprendizaje (PLEs): una nueva manera de entender el aprendizaje
”. In Roig Vila, R. & Fiorucci, M. (Eds.),
Claves para la investigación en innovación y calidad educativas. La integración de las Tecnologías de la Información y la Comunicación y la Interculturalidad en las aulas. Stumenti di ricerca per l’innovaziones e la qualità in ámbito educativo.
. Alcoy: Marfil – Roma TRE Universita degli studi.
Cabero, J. (2006). “Bases pedagógicas del e-learning
”. In Revista de Universidad y Sociedad del Conocimiento (RUSC), 3
(1). Barcelona: Universitat Oberta de Catalunya.
de Haro, J. J. (2010). Redes sociales en educación
. Ponencia para la Jornada Educar para la Comunicación y la Cooperación Social, Universidad de Navarra, 28 de mayo de 2010. [online]: EDUCATIVA.
Sen, A. (1980). “Equality of What?
”. In The Tanner Lecture on Human Values, I
, 197-220. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Serrano, J. & Prats, J. (2005). “Repertorios abiertos: el libre acceso a contenidos
”. In Revista de Universidad y Sociedad del Conocimiento (RUSC), Monográfico: “Uso de contenidos digitales: tecnologías de la información, sociedad del conocimiento y universidad”, 2
(2). Barcelona: Universitat Oberta de Catalunya.
CEIBAL evaluation reports
Pérez Burger, M., Ferro, H., Baraibar, A., Pérez, L., Salamano, I. & Pagés, P. (2009). Evaluación educativa del Plan Ceibal 2009
. Montevideo: Administración Nacional de Educación Pública.
Pérez Burger, M., Ferro, H., Pérez, L., Salamano, I. & Pagés, P. (2010). Evaluación del Plan Ceibal 2010
. Montevideo: Administración Nacional de Educación Pública.