Saturday, January 23, 2010

Skills for public voice & participation alongside skills for social media

Just picked this up from Tim Davies blog
Note to self to return to read properly in the context of the work we're currently doing looking at technology in the learning trajectories of young people and how it impacts upon their learning choices and careers in later life.

Eszter Hargittai <> was in the Oxford Internet Institute <> earlier today sharing her research findings on the role of skills and socio-demographic factors in influencing levels of use of the Internet <> – and particularly web 2.0 spaces.

Implicit in Eszter's argument was a relationship between the diversity of Web 2.0 use and democratisation. The presentation highlighted how socio-demographic factors, and particularly gender, can have an impact on the extent to which different groups contribute to public online spaces such as YouTube and Wikipedia. It's not enough to give access to the web, and to web 2.0 for the imbalances in who is speaking and expressing their views through these online platforms to be challenged. Skills matter in addressing the imbalance.

However, as discussion at the presentation explored, if our concerns are of democratisation, social justice and equality, then the the skills that need to be promoted are far wider than technology skills, or skills to work with social media.

Skills to exercise public voice <> and to participate in community (online and offline) are arguably prior to the skills to use technology for public expression.

Both as we measure engagement online, and as we work to promote online engagement – keeping in mind a focus not only on digital skills, but also on general skills of public expression, interaction and dialogue is key.

For those working with young people and communities then that perhaps adds up to encouragement to address digital skills as part of wider civic skill-building programmes such as 'Act by Right <> (now online as a free resource BTW)' rather than to address digital skills and social media in isolation.

Amazon offers publishers better deal on E-books but with strings

Amazon goes head to head with Apple over the percentage that publishers get
from E-book sales. The 70% deal, doubling what publishers and authors
currently split on Kindle book sales, comes with strings that look good for
us the reader. E-book and printe editions published at the same time,
E-book at a lower price, and best of all to get the bigger cut authors must
agree to enable text to speech meaning the Kindle can read aloud. This
might go some way to overturning the situation that arose when authors,
concerned about protecting their audio book rights, collectively forced
Amazon to disable by default the text to speech on all titles. Thumbs up to
Amazon for including this as part of the improved offer. The improved terms
only apply in the US at present but all the same, Just maybe some good news
for E-book accessibility at long last.

Brits left cold by mobile internet

Having one of those "so what" moments in reaction to the

following story:

Brits left cold by mobile internet

"Apart from iPhone owners More than three-quarters of Britons don't use their phones to access the internet, a study has found. Worse, almost 40 per cent of smartphone owners - the very folk you'd expect would want to surf the web on the move - have never done so, or gave it a go once but won't do so again."


What's the story then? Not everyone uses everything that technology puts at their fingertips?  So all those 4-by-4 owners spend their weekends thrashing up and down mountain sides do they?Personally I find the mobile Web invaluable in the same way that having a wok and a spice rack is invaluable when I want to cook up a stir fry.  Doesn't mean that I don't use the local take-away  though. I do, and because they do it better.  As for the Iphone users angle – maybe it's because you can't do anything on the IPhone without being forced to pay for an add-on that you have to go find and install yourself.  I'll stick with the Smartphone afterall thanks.