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Why Community Technology Matters Community Informatics and The Effective Use of ICTs 08/12/03 Michael Gurstein, Ph.D. Visiting Professor: School of Management.

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Presentation on theme: "Why Community Technology Matters Community Informatics and The Effective Use of ICTs 08/12/03 Michael Gurstein, Ph.D. Visiting Professor: School of Management."— Presentation transcript:

1 Why Community Technology Matters Community Informatics and The Effective Use of ICTs 08/12/03 Michael Gurstein, Ph.D. Visiting Professor: School of Management New Jersey Institute of Technology Newark, NJ

2 Michael Gurstein Michael Gurstein, Ph.D. Visiting Professor: School of Management New Jersey Institute of Technology Canadian, Sociologist (U. of Cambridge) Consultant in private sector, UN Secretariat ECBC/NSERC/SSHRC Associate Chair Management of Technological Change U. College of Cape Breton –Director: Centre for Community and Enterprise Networking –Author/Editor—Community Informatics: Enabling Communities with Information and Communications Technologies Interim Chair—Community Informatics Research Network (US) NSF Grant—(Virtual) Community Informatics Ford Foundation Grant—Community Informatics in the US CRACIN project—Canadian Social Science and Humanities Research Council Honorary Professor: Faculty of Informatics, Central Queensland U.

3 Community Informatics Enabling Communities with Information and Communications Technologies Delivery: Community based technologies, telecentres, community networking Problem: Digital Divide, enabling, empowering communities, regional and rural networking Local economic development, local e-health, local ICT enabled resource management, local e-participation/e-democracy Sustainability of initiatives, local innovation, capacity building Concerned with practice, research and policy Communities of place and communities of interest

4 Why Community Based Technology? Technology is technology—why worry who “owns” it –Innovation as a social process –Social Learning and Human Capital Development –Social Equity, Inclusion and the Digital Divide –Social Efficiency/Social Effectiveness Effective Use

5 Community Innovation Why innovation matters Increasing belief that innovation is less an individual process than a social and community one National, regional and community innovation Community innovation—process and product innovation at the community level—”well it’s new for around here” Innovation built on a technology platform

6 Social Learning and Human Capital Development Communities as the focal points for learning, for skill development for network building, for life long knowledge resilience Community learning as Human Capital Development Community learning and Community Technology— building the learning platform Community Informatics as enabling the use of the platform Learning and especially learning for life as a “Social Process”

7 MIS and the dramatic restructuring of Corporations and Governments on a Digital Platform—enormous gains in efficiency, new products and in the “effectiveness” of existing products, new “business” (government) models That process is only starting for communities and for civil society in general –But there are dramatic gains/benefits to be found in both efficiencies and in effectiveness for communities and for society as a whole in Effective Use/Community Informatics applications – e.g. Community based e-health, community based resource management, community governance and locally based community watch/security programs –E.g. program for an aging population providing technology supports for community participation, community response to emergency and routine health/monitoring activities for seniors, information programs to support care givers and semi-independent seniors and so on… Social Efficiency/Social Effectiveness

8 ICTs are the production tools of the Information Society –Those without effective access to those tools i.e. the means and the opportunity to use those tools in productive and useful ways are relegated to being unable to participate in the fastest growing, best paid sectors of the economy ICTs are the learning tools of the Information Society –Those without effective access to those tools i.e. the means and the opportunity to use those tools in support of learning are relegated to being unable to participate in the most intensive social learning processes and networks ICTs are increasingly the decision-making tools of the Information Society –Those without effective access to those tools i.e. the means and the opportunity to use those tools in support of participation in decision making processes are relegated to being unable to be active citizens in contemporary democratic processes Social Equity

9 Community Informatics and Effective Use The Digital Divide and “access” Access saturation and the “access” strategy The limits of “access” –Not just access for whom, but access for what Effective use as the capacity and opportunity to apply ICTs in pursuit of self- or collaboratively identified and meaningful goals The elements of effective use: –Infrastructure –Input/output devices –Software and control –Content –Social context –Organization of social context/animation/leadership –Policy/funding context Community Informatics as the Methodology for “Effective Use”

10 Issues—Practice, Policy, Research –ICTs and human capital development –ICTs and innovation/community innovation –Evaluation/sustainability –Linking research (outcomes) back to practice and into policy –ICTs and Community/Civil Society development –ICTs and increasing social efficiency/effectiveness— health care, caring for the elderly, social exclusion, local economic development, poverty reduction Community Informatics Research

11 World Summit on the Information Society WSIS Outcomes Reports –Cities Summit –World Summit –Civil Society Report of Civil Society The future (and Community Informatics)

12 CIRN—formed at Monash Centre in Prato—2003 –Representation from 20 countries –Regional networks in Canada, Latin America & the Caribbean, Former Soviet Union –Networks being planned or formed in AU, US, UK and EU –Links to national and multilateral policy/programming agencies –Links to private sector –Links to Foundations –Current research CRACIN (Can.), PACCIT (UK) CI Journal on-line open source CI “text”-- on-line open source Community Informatics Research Network CIRN

13 900K (CDN) funding Cdn Social Science and Humanities Research Council 7 case studies of successful Community Technology/Networking initiatives cross-cutting thematic research in areas such as models, evaluation frameworks, sustainability, ethnicity, children Partners— –3 major Fed. Govt. Depts. (major funders of Community Tech projects) –7 community organization partners –Additional growing—Telecommunities Canada, Prov. Of British Columbia Objectives –Community Informatics research questions—role of technology in achieving community objectives, utilization issues, technology issues, cultural issues –Lessons learned to support on-going community tech practice –Providing systematic results as element in policy discussions, outcome assessments of significance of public investment Canadian Research Alliance for Community Innovation/Informatics and Networking CRACIN

14 Research—graduate students, community partners defining issues On-going strategic support to CN organizations Thematic workshops sponsored by policy partners addressing policy oriented questions—sustainability, evaluation. Technology supports, CNs and content creation and others Open network—on-going additional affilliation/partnerships International collaborators—assist in setting research questions, establishing cross-national research strategies –Discussions in Australia for parallel and inter-linked project –Additional discussions in UK, EU, and US in creation of parallel projects and related Community Informatics Research Networks CRACIN

15 Michael Gurstein Visiting Professor: School of Management New Jersey Institute of Technology Newark, NJ Community Informatics Community Informatics Research To subscribe: (message to: Message: Subscribe Communityinformatics Subscribe Ciresearchers


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