Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Finding Ways to Help Close the Information Gap

In a world full of technology and resources, it seems that one would always be equipped to access any information they needed.  With the help of internet, newspapers, television, and radio, people should be able to gain and grow from these sources.  Unfortunately, this is not the case.

In a country like the United States there are both educated and uneducated groups of people.  Those with academic backgrounds are much more likely to find their information resources, read and comprehend the information, and therefore grow from the sources.  Groups with higher education also have a more varied use of media with more advanced information such as newspapers, journals, and books.  While the other less educated, less interested group of people are not as interested in searching for these informational texts, let a lone reading them. Instead, this group is more attracted to the poor and entertaining media like television and magazines. These differences in knowledge and access to information are called the Information Gap.

The Information Gap can between attributed to many factors in our world.  Some individuals are not particularly interested in society around them, while others are impaired by reading and writing disabilities.  Age, environment, and economic status are also factors one must consider.

So, how does Media help in fixing this growing gap?  Specifically, how has Internet helped in closing this gap? With access to Internet as well as be able to manuever around websites, people are able to find more information.  Also known as the "Digital Divide", countries across the globe are trying to end the divide by providing their citizens with opportunities to better understand media use.  Projects like "One Laptop Per Child" and "50 X 15" provide groups with the equipment needed to access the world wide web.  Inexpensive laptops such as the OLPC XO-1  are being distributed to children in developing countries across the world to provide them with the access to knowledge.  In one particular project called the Boston Digital Bridge Foundation, the audience targeted is for both the young and old.

"Some cities in the world have started programs to bridge the divide for their residents, school children, students, parents and the elderly. One such program, founded in 1996, was sponsored by the city of Boston and called the Boston Digital Bridge Foundation.[71] It especially concentrates on school children and their parents, helping to make both equally and similarly knowledgeable about computers, using application programs, and navigating the Internet. In 2010, the City of Boston received a major grant from the government to provide internet access and training to underserved populations including parents, children, youth, and the elderly.[72]"
In order to help lessen this growing gap between the educated and uneducated groups of society, internet is absolutely key.  The Internet has revolutionized the way one can access information and provides instant access to every topic imaginable.  It seems that the only way to keep progressing with this ambition is to find the money and resources so that every person has an equal opportunity to learn and grow from Media.