Technology a cultural equalizer
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“Technology: A Cultural Equalizer?”. By Fe Angela M. Verzosa. PLAI National Congress on “Libraries: Preservers and Promoters of Culture and Arts” Punta Villa Resort, Arevalo, Iloilo City November 20-22, 2013. Introduction. Is Technology a cultural equalizer?

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Technology a cultural equalizer

“Technology: A Cultural Equalizer?”

By Fe Angela M. Verzosa

PLAI National Congress on “Libraries: Preservers and Promoters of Culture and Arts”

Punta Villa Resort, Arevalo, Iloilo City

November 20-22, 2013


Introduction

Introduction

Is Technology a cultural equalizer?

Can we promote technology to be a cultural equalizer?

How can we preserve our Culture in an age of virtualization?

Is there something we can do about the “digital divide”?

Fe Angela M. Verzosa


1 who have access to technology

1. Who have access to technology?

  • “Lack of access” means “Lack of opportunity.”

  • Only 35 percent of the world’s population is connected to the Internet, and people in rural and poor communities are the least likely to have online access or the skills to navigate the digital world.

  • Through the Internet, individuals search for employment, access government programs, learn new skills through online courses, research important health issues, and engage in social interactions with distant family members and friends.

Fe Angela M. Verzosa


1 who have access to technology1

1. Who have access to technology?

Today, there are 4.6 billion people who do not yet use the Internet for a variety of reasons:

cost

availability

need

Fe Angela M. Verzosa


Technology a cultural equalizer

Fe Angela M. Verzosa


Technology a cultural equalizer

Source: http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/focus/10/03/13/philippines-among-worlds-best-internet-freedom

Fe Angela M. Verzosa


Internet access

Internet Access

  • "Freedom on the Net 2013" report, a study that evaluates 60 countries, based on obstacles to access, limits on content, and violations of user rights.

  • The Philippines ranks 10th worldwide, despite monitoring and filtering activities in the workplace as reported in the country.

  • The study indicates, despite nearly unrestricted access to the internet in the country, only 36% of an estimated 96 million Filipinos were connected online in 2012.

Fe Angela M. Verzosa


Internet access1

Internet Access

  • "Usage is concentrated in urban areas, with rural areas largely underserved.”

  • "A significant number of users still rely on dial-up connections, as just two percent of the population had fixed broadband subscriptions in 2012.”

  • “Steep broadband subscription fees stand in the way of higher penetration.” (In 2013, even as legislators urged telecoms to cut rates by 50 percent in order to promote universal access, the average cost of broadband subscriptions remained between $7 and $19 a month).

  • "An industry monopoly has contributed to inflated costs."

Fe Angela Verzosa


Technology a cultural equalizer

1. Who have access to technology?

In developing countries, there are far more men than women online, and the reasons for this Internet gender gap often have more to do with culture and environmental factors than anything else.

Fe Angela M. Verzosa


1 who have access to technology2

1. Who have access to technology?

  • 25% fewer women than men have access to the Internet, and the gap soars to 35% in SEA, and nearly 45 percent in other regions like Africa.

  • Aside from lack of access, almost 40 percent cite lack of familiarity or comfort with technology.

  • Lack of awareness of the Internet’s potential benefits keeps women from tapping its potential.

  • In India and Egypt women believe the Internet is not “appropriate” for them, and their culture disapproves.

Source: http://blandinonbroadband.org/2013/01/17/in-developing-world-25-percent-fewer-women-than-men-have-access-to-the-internet/

Fe Angela M. Verzosa


Internet gender gap

Internet Gender Gap

Source: http://www.wired.com/business/2013/01/internet-gender-gap/

Fe Angela M. Verzosa


Technology a cultural equalizer

Fe Angela M. Verzosa


2 is technology really culturally neutral

2. Is Technology really culturally neutral?

Well the physics aspect of technology might be universal, but the user experience is not. People need to be comfortable using a tool. The more barriers to its use, the less likely it will used effectively:

languageageattitude

educationaccessgender

Or is this the case of the “digital divide” ?

Fe Angela M. Verzosa


Technology a cultural equalizer

Fe Angela M. Verzosa


3 is fb the great cultural equalizer

3. Is FB the great Cultural Equalizer?

Everything is posted on Facebook– from simple food choices to religious convictions, political advocacies, to witty jokes, wise sayings, photos of different people, various events, etc.

On Facebook, everyone has the ability to be a creator, editor, producer and distributor.

Fe Angela M. Verzosa


April 2013 updates on facebook stats

April 2013 Updates onFacebook Stats

  • Total number of Facebook users: 1.06 billion

  • Daily active Facebook users: 618 million

  • Total number of Facebook pages: 50 million

  • Average number of monthly posts per page: 36

  • Total number of Facebook mobile users: 680 million

  • Total number of Facebook apps: 10 million

  • Total number of Facebook friend connections: 150 billion

  • Average number of friends per Facebook user: 141.5

  • Total number of Facebook likes since launch: 1.13 trillion

  • Average daily Facebook likes: 2.7 billion

Source: http://expandedramblings.com/index.php/by-the-numbers-17-amazing-facebook-stats/


Technology a cultural equalizer

Global Facebook

Rank

1- US

2- India

3- Indonesia

4- Brazil

5- Mexico

6- Turkey

7- UK

8- Philippines

9- France

10- Germany


Technology a cultural equalizer

Of the Philippine Facebook population, 39% of users are 18-24 years old and 24% are 25-34 years old. Combined, this accounts for 63% of the total Facebook population.


Technology a cultural equalizer

14.43 million Filipinos are active social networkers

60% are messagers

73% are content sharers

46% are joiners and creators of groups


Technology a cultural equalizer

Philippines has been tagged as "The Social Networking Capital of the World”


Technology a cultural equalizer

http://ecrimeexpertblog.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/image2.png


Ii can we promote technology to be a cultural equalizer

II. Can we promote technology to be a cultural equalizer?

Starting Assumption:

The role of libraries as cultural equalizers


The role of libraries as equalizers

The Role of Libraries as Equalizers

  • With their existing infrastructure, dedicated staff, and mission to connect individuals to information, libraries are uniquely suited to offering public access and technology training to people who would otherwise be left behind in the digital world.

Fe Angela M. Verzosa


The role of libraries as equalizers1

The Role of Libraries as Equalizers

Libraries are essential to an educated and enlightened community because, next to schools, they are the most effective equalizer between all socio-economic and demographic groups.

Fe Angela M. Verzosa


The challenge

The Challenge

  • Although the Internet is often hailed as “The Great Equalizer,” allowing everyone with a connection access to libraries and their wealth of information in an instant, the unfortunate and perhaps surprising truth is that access is not distributed equally to all segments of the population.

Fe Angela M. Verzosa


The opportunity

The Opportunity

  • Everyone deserves the best possible education we can provide, regardless of:

    • Socioeconomic status

    • Gender

    • Religion

    • Citizenship status

    • (Dis)ability

    • Race or ethnicity

    • Sexual Orientation

    • Etc.

Fe Angela M. Verzosa


The challenge1

The Challenge

  • Libraries are NOT culturally neutral

    • they decide which materials to acquire, what resources to use…

    • they decide how users are to be served, what they should access…

    • they decide how to engage (or not engage) their users in the learning process…

    • And so on...

Fe Angela M. Verzosa


The opportunity1

The Opportunity

Libraries uniquely provide programs for literacy and reading, opportunities for research, cultural events and information to all.

Fe Angela M. Verzosa


Libraries using web 2 0 tools

Libraries using Web 2.0 tools

  • Promoting general library services - 88%

  • Marketing specific programs/services 72%

  • Providing quick updates to users - 75%

  • Reaching a new audience of potential users

    54%

    Source: Social Media, Libraries, and Web 2.0: How American Libraries Are Using New Tools for Public Relations and to Attract New Users — Fourth Annual Survey, November 2011.


The challenge2

The Challenge

  • Technology is “moving so fast.”

    It is a critical instrument of innovation transforming the ways we live our personal and professional lives. But only a narrow and exclusive sector of our population is learning the skills and techniques imparted by technology.

Fe Angela M. Verzosa


The opportunity2

The Opportunity

  • Libraries can reinvent themselves and embrace an expanded role as online information and learning centers

  • A recent study shows that library users tend to access more information about health, government, education, and culture than those who use the Internet at other public locations.

http://www.gatesfoundation.org/What-We-Do/Global-Development/Global-Libraries

Fe Angela M. Verzosa


The problem of cultural inequity

The Problem of cultural inequity

  • The problem of cultural inequity is one of consciousness, not only one of practice

    • Impossibility of implementing a multicultural environment if one doesn’t think and see multiculturally

    • “I cannot teach against racism if I am a racist”

    • Shaking free from traditional models of teaching and learning…

Fe Angela M. Verzosa


Iii how can we preserve our culture in an age of virtualization

III. How can we preserve our Culture in an age of virtualization?

Libraries as “The Equitable Learning Environment”


Libraries as cultural promoters

Libraries as cultural promoters

  • The multicultural nature of society has changed libraries world-wide resulting in the need for significant changes in the types of services, programs, and collections provided to culturally diverse communities of users.

  • Transforming libraries into multicultural institutions will require culturally competent professionals who understand and respect the diverse backgrounds of individuals, and who have developed a high level of expertise and knowledge about culture and its significance in all aspects of librarianship.

Fe Angela M. Verzosa


Developing cultural competencies

Developing Cultural Competencies

  • “Cultural competence is a highly developed ability to recognize the significance of culture in one’s own life and in the lives of others;

  • “and to come to know and appreciate diverse cultural backgrounds and characteristics through interaction with individuals from diverse linguistic, cultural, and socioeconomic groups;

  • “and to fully integrate the culture of diverse groups into services, work, and institutions in order to enhance the lives of both those being served by the library profession and those engaged in service.”

    Source: http://www.ala.org/irrt/sites/ala.org.irrt/files/content/irrtcommittees/irrtintlpapers/Patricia_Montiel-Ove.pdf

Fe Angela M. Verzosa


Developing cultural competencies1

Developing Cultural Competencies

Cultural competence is simply defined as” the capacity to understand and respect differences of culture”, and “to address issues of disparity among diverse populations competently”.  

Note: ACRL has recently released the “Cultural Competency Standards for Academic Libraries.”  These standards represent an excellent step towards inclusivity and cultural pluralism -- a necessary part of the continuing conversations about social justice and the importance of diverse perspectives in civic life.

Fe Angela M. Verzosa


Developing cultural competencies2

Developing Cultural Competencies

  • it means having the ability to create and maintain a more equitable environment for library users, including the ability to establish and maintain relationships among diverse cultural and ethnic groups.

  • “Cultural competence does not end with knowledge about diverse cultures. It begins a lifelong process of learning about cultural differences to effectively reach those who would benefit the most from library services.”

http://knowledgeriver.sites.arizona.edu/sites/knowledgeriver.sites.arizona.edu/files/Montiel-Overall2009Cultural%20competence%20a%20conceptual%20framework%20for%20LIS%20professionals.pdf

Fe Angela M. Verzosa


Developing cultural competencies3

Developing Cultural Competencies

  • Identify and work to eliminate biases, prejudices, and assumptions

    Example: Race/ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation, religion, socioeconomic status, (dis)ability, first language, etc.

  • Identify and work to broaden your teaching learning, and research style to suit patron needs (and not your preferences)

Fe Angela M. Verzosa


Developing cultural competencies4

Developing Cultural Competencies

  • Provide services in the dialect of the community.

  • Provide access to popular literature of interest to diverse cultural interests of library users.

  • Plan for instructional methods in the “language of the users” and vary instructional materials with various learning styles.

  • Work to bridge the gap between the haves and the have-nots.

Fe Angela M. Verzosa


Closing reflection

Closing Reflection

Libraries are the great equalizer. Libraries serve people of every age, education level, income level, ethnicity and physical ability. For many people, libraries provide resources that they could not otherwise afford---resources they need to live, learn, work and govern.

- ALA Declaration for the Right to Libraries

Fe Angela M. Verzosa


Technology a cultural equalizer

Questions?

[email protected]


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