Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Hsieh, Rai, Keil Article

Disadvantages groups often used the computer for entertainment purposes such as computer games and videos. Advantaged groups on the other hand used the computer in a more practical manner and in an instrumental way. This proves that self-efficiency and availability have an influence of the computer use of the disadvantaged. SES has a larger effect on the way people use the internet.

Final Exam review

Servon suggested several solutions for closing the digital divide. Be familiar with each of them.

These are some of the programs in Seattle focused on narrowing the digital divide: 
Seatlle Public Access Network (PAN) - electronic city hall, allowing Settle citizens to obtain city information and services electronically and to communicate with city officials
CTTAB - a planning body that serves as a tool of communication between mayor and citizens
CLAB - citizen's literacy and access fund - created a map for fiber infrastructure (for attracting new businesses) also a map for showing sites of technology initiatives.
The Archdiocesan Housing Authority (AHA) is another example of how the city is leveraging a federal program to extend its own resources. AHA has several different housing communities for diverse sectors of the community: elderly, adults, children, etc. It holds a variety of classes, seminars and workshops tailored to meet the specific needs of residents.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Final Review

Jaeger article

The high-speed connectivity is not evenly distributed across libraries or necessarily sufficient for increasingly bandwidth-intensive applications. Filters on public access workstations limit access to the internet. In general, patrons served by rural libraries have less access to workstations, non-filtered workstations, high-speed connectivity, and wireless internet services for patron-owned computer use. Firstly, there are considerable differences between the internet access in rural libraries and the access in other libraries. Second, access and bandwidth vary considerably on a state by state basis. Some states have much better access and bandwidth than others. Third, and perhaps most significantly, 85% of public libraries responded that there are times of the day when there are an inadequate number of workstations available for those who want to use them.
1. The degree to which it should be, or should not be, national policy to reduce these disparities and work toward providing equal access to internet information and services
2. The "rights" of citizens to adequate access of the internet and the range of information and services the internet allows
3. The societal or financial costs associated with digitally inclusive versus digitally exclusive

Final Exam Review

Just to start some conversation about the third exam, here is what I have for the readings from Week 12:

How did Elfreda Chatman's theories about Information Poverty and Life in the Round match the experiences of the Collins family in the documentary Legacy?
Information Poverty is defined as information needs and information-seeking behavior of marginalized populations use secrecy, deception, risk taking, and situational relevance.

>> "information poor perceive themselves to be devoid of any source that might help them": This is similar to the mother in Legacy because with every attempt to find a job, she ended up blaming it on lack of education, resources, or babysitters. Eventually, she went to get help from the welfare people but even after she found a good job interview- she ended up missing it because she had no one to watch her children.
>> "a decision to risk exposure about our true feelings is often not taken due to a perception that negative consequences outweigh benefits": This idea relates to Legacy as we see the various stages of each of the Collin's reactions to Tyrell's shootings. During the third part of legacy, we see many of them finally accepting and confronting feelings they have held back for many years since his shooting.

Life in the round is described as a public form of life in which things are implicitly understood. Encompasses the idea of insiders and outsiders.
>>"life in the round works most of the time with enough predictability that, unless a critical problem arises, there is no point in seeking information": This connects to themes from the film Legacy. In the third segment of the documentary, the Collin's family expresses that if Tyrell had never been shot none of them would have ever moved out of the dangerous neighborhood or gone back to finish their educations, get off drugs, and make more out of their lives.
>> "individuals will cross boundaries if the information is perceived as critical, there is a collective expectation that the information is relevant and a perception exists that the life lived in the round is no longer functioning": Following my last point, after Tyrell's shootings the Collin's family realized they had to implement change into their lives in order to overcome the tragedy they were faced with. Perhaps the mother would never have found the motivation to persistently seek to continue her education and get a job, maybe Nicole would have never completed high school and gone on to college, etc.

What were the issues Jaegar found that still continued the digital divide?
Nature of sufficient bandwidth and broadband: Jaegar states that having connectivity is not the same as having sufficient connectivity. In order to use many sites you need a minimal amount of bandwidth. Libraries continue to increase their bandwidth - but demand for increasing bandwidth due to more complex websites etc. goes up as well.

Internet access in libraries: In this article, it is mentioned that the federal government documented a range of disparities regarding access to the internet in terms of geographic location, race, income, and other factors. Studies show that there are still significant disparities across public libraries' access to internet in terms of geography and connectivity levels. Specifically, rural public libraries are much more likely to have lower levels of broadband connectivity than urban and suburban libraries. Rural areas also have access to lower connection speeds. Additionally, 85% of libraries have inadequate number of workstations to meet their demand

Role of libraries as e-government access points: "e-government" refers to an increasingly important connection between citizens and the government using online websites to transmit government information and services. This is important because as more and more information from the government is available exclusively online, there needs to be sufficient ways for every citizen to access them (and thus, the internet)

The complexities of funding internet access:The internet is not a one time purchase - it is an investment that requires ongoing expenses for service fees, updates, etc. yet many libraries have no financial plans for upgrades and so it is difficult to continue providing sufficient internet resources

The impacts and contradictions of filtering: Filters on public access workstations limit access to the internet which inhibits the way users rely on the library. Many general health sites cannot be accessed through filters, as well as other relevant information library users may want to research. The purpose of these filters is for children, so they can be taken off upon request but many librarians do not know how to take them off or it requires a written request by the person who wants to view blocked information. This causes problems because people may be embarrassed about the information they need to view, or are simply turned off by the presence of filters and just leave instead of getting the information they need. Futhermore, libraries that chose not to have filters can be denied discounts on internet services and federal funding.

The chilling effect of homeland security: Patriot Act that was enforced post-September 11 allows for all information on what library users check out, search on the internet, etc to be saved and viewed by the government. This can also make library users wary of using the internet etc for fear of being questioned about such material.

Other issues mentioned: need for training (for seniors, patrons without internet access at home, and adults seeking continuing education), sources of funding for technology, and questions of public policy

Bishop: What were the information needs of the members of this community? What were some of the barriers they faced?
The information needs related to health, parenting, leisure activities, and employment opportunities. Computer use appeared to be driven by the external demands of particular work, school or other task requirements. The barriers faced by this community involve not having a computer in their homes, or having one that was broken or outdated. Computers could be accessed at some schools but only for specific assignments or during allotted times. Of the small portion of homes that owned computers, many were not networked. As a result, the majority of this community had very limited computer experience. Since many residents did not have their own computers, if they wanted to use the internet they had limited options - one of which includes using public libraries. This means their use is limited by rules, the resources available at the library, filters, etc.

Central theme

A central theme I've gathered from the readings (specifically from Bishop and Servon) is that partnerships and collaboration are needed if we ever want to close the digital divide.

Servon mentions that increasing CTC availability is one of the most important things we can do. He recognizes that size and sustainability problems will arise when doing this. Partnerships is the way we can overcome these problems. Also, collaboration with schools and organizations is a necessesity.

Good luck on the final exam everyone

Thursday, April 30, 2009

By: Cassy, Ally, Olivia, Megan, Kris, and Dave

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

LIS Video Project by Sec. 305 - Group 1

This video's focus is on where UW-Madison students prefer to study, what their favorite third place is, and if any of these habits have changed since they first started school here.

Video by Jeremy, Jessica, Emily, Bill, Kyle, and Rebecca


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Group 3: Video Project on Digital Access

By Mayumi, Sammy, Joe, Pati, Zach, and Igor

Video Group #4

Our video focuses on what we found on our trip to the Madison Public Library,

By: Laura, Aaron, Mike, Drew, and Yufei

Monday, April 6, 2009

Exam 2: Main Points From Crossing the Divide

  • In order to thrive in the new workplace, it's important to understand the digital divide because technology is the "gateway to the new economy"
  • Showed that access to a computer at a young age was critical to success later on (in suburbs access was usually higher than intercity neighborhoods)
  • Communicated that blue-collar jobs no longer support a family and that the manufacturing age is over; information jobs are taking over and there are new skills needed in order to be successful in those fields
  • New Tech High School: created by educators and business people who wanted to prepare students technologically to succeed in the business world and provide them with connections and opportunities with jobs right out of high school. It was a project based curriculum where kids worked mainly in groups. They didn't, however, support extra curriculars and the library had no books. This brought up some criticism because some believe that a well-rounded education is important and that "schools shouldn't be about making a living but about making a life."
  • Barriers to main characters: economic status, language/cultural barriers, race, and lack of access to technology/information (mainly at a young age)

Midterm review

• What set of features and technologies describe the various industrial revolutions?
• Revolutions:
• 1) Steam engine (18th century) – replacement of hands by tools (machines). Workplace: workshop. Organization structure: serve forever
• 2) Development of large-scale factory (late 19th century) – electricity, telephone, engine (car). Workplace: factories (massive productions), more people involved in labor. Organization structure: large vertical hierarchy, factory, and assembly line.
• 3) Informationalism (late 20th century). Key tech: personal computers, Internet. Workplace: offices. Org structure: horizontal networks
• Define and understand the concept of informationalism – emergence of a new stage of global capitalism. It takes place during the 1970’s with the surging of personal computers and telecommunications. There are four features that distinguish Informationalism:
A) The driving of science and technology of economic growth
B) A shift from material production to information processing
C) The emergence and expansion of new forms of networked industrial organizations
D) A rise of socioeconomic globalization
• What are the new categories of workers (as opposed to the old categories of blue-collar and white-collar workers)? The new categories of workers are A) Routing production workers: labor work just like blue-collar workers
• B) In-person service workers: customer service that requires some knowledge but it is very basic
• C) Symbolic analysts: require knowledge and expertise

Exam Review #2

Understand the difference between stratification and normalization as it relates to technological diffusion

Both are theories of how the internet will diffuse into the rest of society
  • Normalization
Optimistic view
Those who adapt to innovations early will be ahead of the curve and at the beginning social inequalities will widen the digital divide.
However, gap only temporary as eventually penetration will become saturated and prices will drop making the technology more readily available to everyone
The gap then closes and everyone is equal and on the same level technology wise.
  • Stratification
Pessimistic view
Those already well networked with technology will maintain their edge and those lagging behind will always be at a disadvantage.
The digital divide will never close

What are the characteristics of people who are most likely to be online?
The most general characteristics include...
  • White
  • Educated
  • Young
Other characteristics like gender do not play as big of a part. However, social class can greatly affect individual's access and capability to use the internet as well.

Exam 2 Review

Van Dijk defines access as four compnents:
  • Mental Access - lack of interest, computer anxiety, and unattractiveness of new technologies
  • Material Access - not having the possession of hardware, computers, and network connections that are required
  • Skills Access - lacking digital skills because of inadequate literacy, education, or social support
  • Usage Access - not having the opportunities in which to use ICTs

Exam 2 review

(My little disclaimer here. I'm answering these questions based on my memory. I think the answers are accurate but would feel better if someone could leave a comment either commending me for giving a right answer or cussing me out because I gave false information, don't be shy, you can use four letter words.)

What factors does Compaine suggest increase the adoption of computer and internet use?

One of Compaine's main examples was how he bought a PC in 1980 and how it was prohibitively expensive and offered very little in the way of services and programs. He then bought another computer later, it was slightly cheaper and offered a heck of a lot more power. He then compared his computer to those that were available at the time his article was written, those computers were even more powerful and cheaper than the one he had bought a few years earlier. The conclusion he drew from this was that as technology progresses it becomes cheaper and more affordable which allows those who are poorer to acquire the technology.

How does Compaine describe access in this article

Compaine describes access in this article as having the object. This is very convenient because this allows you to give a laptop to people in third world countries and say, "He is now enlightened!" and then leave. Being able to actually utilize the technology is not part of Compaine's definition. Granted, you will become more efficient at using the technology the more you mess around with it...

How does James's critique differ from Compaine's?

James does not believe that the problems associated with the digital divide have been solved. He also defines access differently (I think). He believes that access is having the technology and the know-how to utilize it. He does not believe the digital divide is something that will work itself out without external assistance.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Information Society

van Dijk, J. and Hacker, K. (2003). The digital divide as a complex and dynamic phenomenon. Information Society, 19:315-326.

How does van Dijk define access?

From pg 315—316
1.“Lack of elementary digital experience caused by lack of interest, computer anxiety, and unattractiveness of the new technology (“mental access”)”
2.“No possession of computers and network connections (“material access”)”
3.“Lack of digital skills caused by insufficient user friendliness and inadequate education or social support (“skills access”)”
4.“Lack of significant usage opportunities (“usage access”)”

What are the different types of digital skills?

From pg 319
Instrumental skills: “the ability to operate hardware and software”
Informational skills: “operating digital equipment and…searching information using digital hardware and software”
Strategic skills: “using information for one’s own purpose and position”

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Exam 2 review

How does Warschauer define access?
  • Ownership of a computing device is only a part of ICT access. ICT access also requires connection to the Internet as well as the skills and understanding to use the computer and the Internet socially valued ways
What set of features and technologies describe the various industrial revolutions?
  • The first industrial revolution followed the invention of the steam engine in the eighteenth century and was characterized by the replacement of hand tools by machines, mostly in small terized by the replacement of hand tools by machines, mostly in small workshops.
  • The second followed the harnessing of electricity in the nineteenth century and was characterized by the development of large-scale factory production.
  • The third revolution came to fruition in the 1970s with the diffusionof the transistor, the personal computer, and the telecommunications.
Define and understand the concept of informationalism.
  • Informationalism represents a third industrial revolution. It has four features: the driving role of science and technology for economic growth; a shift from material production to information processing; the emergence and expansion of new forms of networked industrial organization; and the rise of socioeconomic globalization.

What are the new categories of workers? What do they do?

  • In person service workers( janitors, hospital attendants, taxi drivers) routine production workters ( data processors, payroll clerks, and factory workers) symbolic analysts ( software engineers, management consultants, strategic planners)
  • They may use computers or the Internet in their jobs, but the first two do so in routine ways, whereas the last make use of ICT for analysis and interpretation of data; creation of new knowledge; international communication and collaboration; and development of complex mutimedia products.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Today, I was doing some work for my dad's construction company. I had to call companies he works with and make sure we had their current email address. As I was making the calls, I came across a company where the owner informed me that he didnt have an email address. He explained to me that due to the location of the company, the didnt have access to the Internet and it was too expanesive for them to drive to a location that did and check the email everyday. Instead, they just ask people to contact them by phone. He said that they were hoping to somehow get email in the near future and they would inform my dad's company as soon as they did. I found it interesting that the company was able to survive without email. I know that my dad's company sends out all their information via email and that is how they receive information as well. I wonder if this company isnt receiving this important information or if other companies are all taking the time to call them each time there is an update.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

AWESOME little segment

Above is a link to an 8 minutes video of "Shift Happens." The theme of the video completely parallels what we have discussed in class and discussion about the Third Revolution of technological change. The statistics are amazing, and a little daunting, but please take 8 minutes out of your day to watch this clip!!

Olivia Halls
Section 305

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Movie Response - Wildcard

At the beginning of the movie, I thought that the concept of the “New Tech” school was great. It was giving these students an edge on technology that the majority of the nation’s schools can’t provide, but as the movie continued, I was drawn farther and farther from the idea. I think the major problem with this system was shown through comparing the two teens that graduated. The one teen graduated with exemplary recognition and went on to a well-known technology institution. It’s obvious that the “New Tech” concept worked to his advantage. On the other hand, the other teen barely managed to graduate, and it seemed that he had many struggles while attending this high school. Although he was given a background in a specific type of technology, it may not benefit him in the future, which would make a complete waste out of the time, money, and other resources needed to give a “high-tech” education. I think it is absurd to think that all students learn in the same way, or even share the same interests for that matter. To me, life is about balance – the more balanced everything is, the better it works out for the majority of the population. This high school was far from being balanced. Our society is on the verge of a technology wave, but that doesn’t mean the ways of the past should be forgotten. For example, when I am doing a research paper, the first place I look for resources is the internet. As an engineer, much of my research calls for scholarly journals, most of which are not available online. I physically have to walk to the library where much of these resources are available. These students will have no such background. What if they can’t find what they’re looking for in their digital library, would they ever know where to look? It’s probable they don’t even know what the Dewey Decimal System is or how resources are archived. Having a library that contains both written material and digital material would allow all students to have a well-rounded background. On the same note, why can’t a school with high regards to technology also have athletics and other extracurricular activities? I feel that in the scheme of trying to expose students to one item, the school has completely forgotten about everything else student should be learning, and even more importantly experiencing, in high school. It just seems that this type of concept would produce a student body lacking individualism and whose educational background is way too focused for the majority of jobs available. We still need car mechanics, builders, and many other occupations that are not technology based, and classes which offer a hands-on approach are best suited for these types of positions. I would recommend to this high school that these types of disciplines not be forgotten, but rather offered in equally with regards to the other technology disciplines. A balanced and diverse student body with a background in technology will benefit society the greatest in the future.

Movie Response One

The four high school students, Luisa, Sidra, Travis, and Kep were all shown to be students with motivation and went beyond a normal teenager at the time to discover what technology had to offer. The ability to use technology, especially computers, benefited each student. However it was still hard to bridge the digital divide for some of the students no matter how much technology was incorporated into their lives. 
Luisa came from an area of low family income and was brought up on gangs. She was motivated enough to take multiple media and technology classes available to her, which helped her stray from the dangers of her neighborhood. But, because she grew up poor she didn't have the resources to purchase her own computer. This forced her to work as much as possible and as a results her grades suffered. She also missed the job at a technology firm. Luisa tried to bridge the digital divide it was too hard, despite being exposed to technology and was one of the few teenagers to pursue this, she was still unable to succeed how she wanted to because of her environment. 
Travis also grew up without money and in a single parent household. Even though he attended CalTech he barely graduated and could not afford to go to college, despite him being a bright student. Being financially deprived is the reason he was not able to go to college. His motivation to pursue a career in technology couldn't be taken to the next level because of this. 
There are multiple factors besides technology that influenced the future of the four high schoolers. It is very unfortunate that hard work and motivation during this time could not take Travis and Luis to the next level. To me it was a given that Sidra would go to a good school because of her family background and upbringing. Also, Kep was the American Dream story so it was favored that he would go to a good school with scholarships. I do believe technology influenced each of the four students, but it is unfortunate that income played a role in their happiness and future, despite being motivated, helpful, and bright students.

Prompt 5 Response

In the movie "Crossing the Divide," it was clear how financially disadvantaged neighborhoods and families often have harder time finding access to the internet in addition to many other tools to further their education. 
This was probably what came to my attention and what I identified the most with in my high school. Kids who come from lower income families who did not grow up in this environment or whose parents' jobs do not necessarily require it - have a harder time adjusting this technology to their daily activities and lives. So from that perspective, what the movie showed was very similar to my high school. 
The movie also touched on the fact that there are other issues influencing their trajectory to a better future in which technology cannot solve. In my opinion, at least from what I experienced when I went to my high school as a sophomore coming from Brazil, there's just not enough motivation to go to college afterwards or even to get a diploma. There are very low academic expectations for minorities such as latinos from parents, counselors - that blended with the peer pressure to avoid school - makes it very challenging for a latino to pursue a good academic path.  
Technology of course does not provide an ultimate solution for it, attitude amongst other things plays a huge role on it - however, what I felt that helped me a lot through high school to not fall away on my path to college was information. I felt that I was informed of my opportunities and chances for the future while some of other classmates seemed not aware of the different possible futures they could pursue. I learned a lot of the information through the internet. 
So just as information helped a lot of these kids from the film become successful in the workforce, it does not guarantee it - it is just a tool. As a proof of that are the other kids who had other factors (such as financial problems or peer pressure) weigh heavier in their decisions. I saw the same things in my high school with peers, and in my opinion, attitude is the most important factor although internet and other information tools are absolutely essential in influencing attitude - and maximizing an individual's productivity on a workforce.

The Challenges of Life: Turning Lemons into Lemonade

Prompt #1:

The influences in the lives of these students outside of their technology education all affect them, however the education can still play an important role in finding a solution to their problems. For Luisa, her technology education has not helped her get the specific job she wanted or to graduate yet, but eventually this will help. Her time tutoring students has developed her interpersonal and leadership skills and she can still tap into her computer education to graduate and find a different job, although it will take longer than she had hoped. In the long run these extra struggles will make her stronger and teach her how to balance time and to organize and her intrinsic skills as a worker will allow her to excel once her specific knowledge does develop well enough to graduate and get a job. This is similar to things I have seen in the military.

Individuals who had multiple experiences and challenges before joining the Navy were able to develop and advance faster than there peers. For me, having attended a good high school in Wisconsin helped me to develop academic skills that I used to develop my job skills. This was also true for people who went to college before they joined or had a background in their career field before they joined. Having participated in several extraciriculars and holding part-time jobs helped develop my organizational skills which helped me take on more responsibilities. I saw a similar effect in people who had to take on extra responsibilities at home such as child rearing or contributing to the household income. This is the sort of application that I believe helped Kep to excel the way he did.

Having a stressful transition to the United States, working in the family business, and learning English were all additional stresses that taught him to apply himself beyond the normal responsibilities of someone his age. Whereas Kep's extra-education was thrust upon him by circumstance (and he answered the challange remarkably) Sidra has been able to do the same voluntarily. By working as an editor for her school newspaper and apparently being part of other student activities she was able to develop in similar ways. This skills will help both of them in college. Travis's home life has had some of this but, in the short term it appears to have slowed him down. However, when he does go to school he will enter more experienced and more mature. In his case, I would reccomend the service and to enlist in a computer field. His eduacation and computer training will propel him into greater responsibilities and they will in turn, develop his overall abilities to be used in his future career.

On the whole, the variety of circumstance for four students that were provided training in technology will only be temporary impediments. The key in all four was access to the training.

Movie prompt 5 ;)

Things in this film looked dramatically different from my school experience. Perhaps it was the gap in years from this film to my high school graduation, but there was definitely a change. The one girl mentioned she had her first multimedia class her sophomore year of high school. To me, that was completely different than what I experienced. Even in elementary school we had computer time once a week with old clunky computers that printed on the paper with the ends you needed to tear off. It was basic things like arithmetic and a possible one page paper, but to us, it was great. We certainly didn't have to wait until high school for multimedia either, we had various coursed throughout school, and in sixth grade we had to develop our own web page.
This reminds me of another line from the film about how each generation receives more of an information benefit than its predecessor. I think that will always be the case. My brother was the first person in our family to buy a computer, and due to him buying it, I now had access to his. Every parent wants to provide the best for their children, so they get them the most modern things available, so the child has the most advantages, even over the parents. In Tracie Hall's paper the grandmother comments that she "never had nothin like this", and that was just a public library, look how far we've come since.
While things in the movie did seem outdated (the hairstyles), it just shows how quickly things change in the digital age. I often hear people talk about their younger siblings getting a cell phone or something at a much younger age than they did. As the movie stated access to the web is access to the world, and the time of a strong back and hardworking person being the epitome of a good employee are over. The American world is a competitive world in which every advantage is necessary.


PS: Did anyone else notice the high school guys were all going directly into business and the girls were teaching others and tutoring younger kids?

Movie Review

Prompt #2

At first, access seemed to be difficult for Luisa, Kep, and Travis, with only Sidra having simple access to a computer at home. Throughout class, we have learned that individuals and families with a lower income and poorer English language skills are less likely to have connectivity and are less likely to take advantage of their capability. Luisa's and Travis' lack of access could be based on their family's lower income and the fact that hardly any regular public high schools had full internet access. Kep's lack of access to the internet or a computer could be traced to his status as an immigrant, and the fact that some of his family did not speak English well or at all. 

On the other hand, Sidra comes from upper-middle class parents, and also lives in Silicon Valley where her high school was one of the first in the country to offer internet access to all of its students. Her connectivity and capability were both high as she readily used the internet at home and at school.

As the movie progressed, so did the availability for internet access for Luisa, Travis, and Kep. Luisa's connectivity was based on her hard work and determination to save up for a computer of her own to have in her home. Travis and Kep both decided to attend High Tech School where there is more than one computer available to each student.

In my opinion, High Tech School did not offer a full education. Almost everything was based around computers, with no English, Music, or Art departments. In today's technology crazy world, computer experience is very important to finding a job, but decent English skills, like reading and writing, are also vital in everyday life. Advanced computer skills can help you get a job, but in my opinion, English skills will help you keep one.

Movie Response #4

4. Think about the students' school environments and other environments (e.g. family, work, friends) surrounding them. What did you think of the approaches to technology in the three different school environments (Austin, Texas, Cupertino, California and Tech High in California)? Do you think any of the models are more successful than others at their mission? Is Tech High, without a football team and a library, the way of the future or an experiment likely to fail? Could a school like Luisa's in Austin ever catch up with others showcased? Give your opinion.

I think it is very surprising that the different high schools shown in the video can have such vast differences in the way they try to prepare their students for the world. In Tech High, there were more computers than actual students, and all of the students were very well versed in most computer tasks. I think it is a great skill to be able to use a computer and to know a lot about technology in today's hi-tech world, but computer skills are not the only thing needed to get a job or to succeed in life, and it seems like they are one of the only things being taught at Tech High. It is also important to be a well-rounded person, who has taken art classes, or who has learned leadership through being the football team captain. Tech High does not have art classes, sports teams, or even social events like dances. I think even though the Tech High students might graduate with more knowledge of computers, they are not necessarily more prepared for jobs that require more social skill, leadership, or well-roundedness.
On the other hand, Luisa's school in Austin, Texas has almost no technological focus. For some students there the computer lab is the first time they have ever used a computer. Clearly that is a disadvantage to them growing up, but Luisa did realize what she was missing out on and saved up and bought a computer which her younger siblings were able to use. Hopefully the trend of increasing technological interest continues to increase in Austin so the gap between the type of childhood in Austin and the Silicon Valley can be lessened.
Overall I do not think that Austin will ever catch up to the kind of technology used at Tech High. I think that the technology used there will eventually increase to an amount that provides the students with opportunities to go into a wide range of jobs, but not specifically computer jobs. I think at Tech High, the lack of sports teams and a library amoung other things will eventually force it to close. If the students do not learn the more personal skills required for the working world, even though they have a lot of computer knowledge, I do not think they will end up being the best candidate for jobs.

Movie Response

#5 Wildcard: For this prompt, come up with a response addressing moments that resonated strongly with you in the film (refer to your notes). Consider relating what you saw to your own high school experience. Did things look familiar? Radically different? Naively outdated?

What resonated the most with me was the tech school in Silicon Valley. I had no idea a school like that existed. I have always thought my school was technologically advanced for a school. I am now realizing that we did not even have enough computers for every student. Whereas the tech school had more computers than they did students. I was amazed with how much they learn in computers and how they are set up with business people to learn more and to get a foot in the door when it comes to careers.
I started to feel a little cheated by my high school as I watched the video on the digital divide. My high school focused on a rounded education, but other than sports they were not known for one particular achievement. Not being a sports person, I feel like I would have had a lot more opportunities if I had attended a school like the tech school in the Silicon Valley. Many high schools focus on a rounded education, so I don't feel that by having one it makes me any more different than any other high school graduate.
I will admit that there are differences that worked out in my favor. Since it was not a school focused purely on technology, I did get a well rounded education and I got to experience many different things. The tech school only seemed to have technology related classes. That does not give the students very many opportunities to try new things to get a feel for what they may be interested in. Having the opportunity to try different classes I was able to jump around from career option to career option in high school before deciding what I wanted to do. There are also a lot of social activities I feel the tech school is missing out on as well. So, they do have more technological advances and do have more opportunities when it comes to being placed in jobs, but my high school had a rounded curriculum and had what I feel should be the high school experience.

Movie Response #5

I found it very difficult to relate to the students that didn't attend Tech High and didn't have much experience using computers growing up. I could not imagine my life without my laptop. I spend most of my time on it, whether I'm typing a paper, checking my e-mail, roaming around aimlessly on Facebook, or just surfing the web in general. I do however realize that the film was made in the 90s and our nation has seen incredible advances in technology, and in turn, computer education at a young age over the past decade or so.
I cannot remember a time when I didn't have a computer in my school environment. Even in elementary school we had computers which would assist us in learning math through games or help us learn to type through tutorials. And the computers were never seen as an extra curricular activity. Instead, there were specific time slots utilized where we would sit down and educate ourselves through their persistent use. In retrospect, I can look back and realize how fortunate I was to grow up in the environment I did and can see now how bad it would have been (especially in this world we live in where it's necessary to be technologically informed) to not be exposed to a computer until high school like some of the students in the video.

I think it is a top priority to familiarize children with computers at a very young age because of how necessary they are becoming. I do not however think this is as much a problem today because of how prevalent they seem to be. But speaking strictly through the framework of the video, I think it's very likely that many of the students that went to say Luisa's high school would pursue a career with computers unless they already knew what they were all about. By not exposing them to computers at a young age, the students are intimidated and don't really have any drive to want to learn how to use them later on.

I also want to note that I disagree with the Tech High way of doing things. I think by being so narrow-minded (not having sports, libraries, or extracurriculars of any kind), they are in turn narrowing the minds of their students. They don't know what the students want to do with their lives, and neither do the students most likely. By not having these other options open, they are not allowing the students to make the decisions for themselves regarding what career path to take, and I think that is wrong.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Prompt 5

The part of the film that resonated the most with me was the fact that most people from Luisa's school had not touched a computer until they entered high school.  Obviously the fact that this film was made in the 90s was part of the reason for this.  But even so, hearing Luisa talk about how scarce computers were in her neighborhood really drove home the thought that the digital divide is just getting greater and greater.  My high school experience was quite unlike hers because I went to a high school in the new millennium, which by design would have more access to technology.  But also, my high school was in a middle-class to upper middle-class neighborhood.  We had many more resources and a lot more access to technology than Luisa's school did.  

My high school had numerous computer labs and a full time technician and computer consultant.  Our computer consultant would give us lessons on how to use computer programs to give us skills for later in life.  All written assignments that we did had to be turned in typed or the teacher would not accept it.  We took typing classes in elementary school and had to be proficient in typing by the end of the year.  From the video, I felt like Luisa's school did not have nearly as many opportunities as I was able to enjoy.  The fact that most people in her school had not even touched computers until high school, if then, is a striking contrast.  

However, even though she didn't have the kind of resources I had, she still was able to succeed in her field.  She knew more about computers than I did.  And the fact that she had to work harder for her computer and her computer skills, taking herself away from gang life and from the social life that surrounded her school, made her appreciate the technology more than I ever did.  Growing up around constant technology made me take it for granted.  Computers were not a rare and special thing for me.  For Luisa, however, computers posed a very interesting  and new challenge she equated with entry into the "real world."  The fact that she had to work for her computer made her appreciate technology more.  

Even though Luisa grew up in a more or less technologically devoid environment, she still managed to add computers to her life and build a career out of it (even though she failed her Photoshop exam).

Movie Response - Prompt 4

The thing I found most blaring to me from the video is that they started a school, New Tech High, that incorporated no athletics, extracurriculars, or even a library. I can see where the good intentions are coming from, but eliminating sports also eliminates lots and lots of skills that these children need in the future. Competition is a huge experience that children need to encounter to be successful in the career fields these days. Finding jobs isn't as easy as it used to be, nowadays, you have to win the job to get the job. And losing is just as important of a lesson as winning, you have to experience these events in a lifetime to be completely successful. But I could go on an on about how athletics can make you more viable for a job in the future. The simple fact is that the implications of losing athletics can be simply robust. New Tech High just doesn't seem like a complete high school to me, instead, it seems like it would suffice as a very very nice branch to a high school. These days, it seems like that is what is being done. Nice high schools seem to come equipped with a very souped up computer lab for the students. Ones that these days, rival that of New Tech High.

Movie Response-Prompt 5

While watching the movie, I was shocked by how much time the students at New Tech High spend on the computer. It seemed like every classroom in the school contained computers or another technological device. My high school had computer labs available to us as well as computers available to us in our school;s library, but very few of our classes were dependent on computers like many of theirs seemed to be.

My high school offered only five or six classes that worked with computers and I wish we had more. I would have loved to have been able to enhance my computer skills while in high school and left feeling confident in my technological skills like the students at New Tech High were. Also, I thought it was great to see all the internships that New Tech High offered there students. It allowed them to put the skills they gained in school to use and made their learning come alive. It would be awesome to have that type of opportunity to get a feel for what the work force is like and to explore what careers you may be interested in pursuing in the future.

I was surprised to hear that New Tech High doesn't contain any books in their library--it is all online. I feel like I would struggle not being able to just flip open a book when doing research, but I'm sure that once you adjust to this system it would be really useful and convenient. I wish the video would have showed the thoughts of the students on this system and whether or not they preferred this or having books.

I found it interesting how Travis seemed to blame his old friends lack of plans after high school on the fact that they attended the public school and not New Tech High. I attended the public school near my house and most of the students attending my school had very promising post graduation plans. Travis expressed that since he changed schools, he feels him and his friends have different attitudes about life. I don't think what school you attend, but more so how motivated you are to plan your life and how much support you have from your friends and family.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Prompt #1

Prompt #1

I can't say that I'm necessarily surprised at Luisa's fate. Let's see what she had on her plate now... Getting through high school, working insane hours every week, and studying for a rather difficult exam; I think this is way too easy, she should learn a new language while she is at it so people do not think she is slacking off. Kidding aside, when people have too much on their plate, they start drowning, and from the looks of it, everything collapsed around her because she was so busy doing stuff that she forgot to breathe. I understand her situation. The family isn't all that well off and she doesn't want to end up in some dead end job and stay down in the economic status she's in, but she needed to make some time for herself. We are not machines, we cannot always be going at 100% because we're going to have a mental/physical breakdown if we do. I hope that the lesson Luisa learned is not that she's a failure, but that she needs to find her limitations and then work within them.

Travis shows us a shining example of Murphy's law. If something is going to go wrong, it is going to be when you need it to work the most. Just look at the poor sap. He's got the camera rolling for what will be a national audience and he has this big ominous review board sitting in stiff chairs with even stiffer expressions on their faces. And come on, the suit? You can just tell that the last time he put something that fancy on was for someone's wedding or funeral. "Uh hello... T-t-this is my project that I have worked on for a long time, I'm very proud of it." And of course it fails to work, that should be an automatic job at Microsoft in my opinion, they are on exactly the same wavelength. Preparation reduces the likelihood of Murphy's law happening exponentially. But I give this to his credit: he can think on his feet. He did a good job of explaining what they should have seen, but as he said: "You can talk all you want, if you don't have anything to back it up, you're in trouble."

Moving on. Sidra and Kep are going to be combined in this paragraph because they were both such standout students and I also don't feel like making a fourth paragraph. In short, they got their stuff straight. What does Sidra have to boast about? She is obviously active in her school as she was holding a microphone at a school assembly. She also understands computers AND she helps out little kids. Seriously, karmic justice should see to it that a big suitcase full of money ends up in her general direction. Finding the time to help out those who are less well off gives you a boost of confidence and self-esteem, which in turn leads to increased performance which leads to more confidence etc. etc. etc. Sidra really benefitted from that self-confidence and it took her places. Kep can speak two languages, right? He was the only one who did surprise me a little. Immigration into a new country is a major life event and stressor, even if he was only two (he was two when they immigrated, right? Just going off memory here as I did not write that down). He could not have had it easy constantly going from one set of values to another (one set at home from a family that lived in a different country and then another set of values that America holds near and dear to its heart). He managed it well and got a good reward in the end, good for him.

All in all, it was an interesting video. It is always interesting to see how different people succeed and fail in different situations...

"Crossing the Divide" prompt #4

The students displayed in the documentary were very much influenced by their environment in determining their interests in the technology field. For example, Sidra was exposed to advance technology her entire life because of her father's occupation. Although, the largest factor that plays into the lives of the students is their education. I am excited that schools are moving into the technology generation, but am also torn at the degree some school are moving away from traditional schooling.

I believe Jane Healy, an educational psychologist, put it best when saying, “We want kids to be well rounded, reflective students.” Technology cannot replace teachers and online activity cannot and should not replace physical and social connection with others. I was repulsed that schools are removing sports and libraries and only focusing on computers and online activities. This reflects the opposite side of the digital divide, a division from normal, everyday activities in order to only focus on new technology. I do not want to be misunderstood, I am a firm believer that technology is improving our lives and education in ways that were not even thought of 10 years ago, but it cannot be the only source of education.

On the other hand, it was heartbreaking to hear Luisa’s story about her struggles to purchase a computer and do well in school because of all the pressures placed upon her due to where she lived and her economic status. In an ideal world, everyone would have the same opportunity to educational materials, but this difference in resources available places more opportunity in the hands of those to whom it is available. I do not think Luisa’s school can produce the same number or quality of students who are ready for the advanced, new world of technology and in turn will generate less students who have jobs in this field. Students, and even adults, are either favored or turned down due to their technology skills which is something most students have no control over.

"Crossing the Divide" Response

Wildcard: For this prompt, come up with a response addressing moments that resonated strongly with you in the film (refer to your notes). Consider relating what you saw to your own high school experience. Did things look familiar? Radically different? Naively outdated?

I think that our generation grew up during the time when the “gateway to new economy” occurred. I remember when I was in elementary school, the big wide Mac computers were popular and everyone wanted them. However, technology is constantly advancing in which our tastes from elementary school are different than those from high school and now. Now Mac books are the ideal laptops. To clarify my point, as the video demonstrated, in 1996, they launched a convention type event in which computer technology was introduced. Possibly for these reasons, my school held a computer class in which we learned the basics and understood how the computer can be used to complete various tasks efficiently.

In comparing my own high school experience to the video, I found some similarities and differences. I attended an all girl catholic high school. With that being said, we were all constantly encouraged to be strong competitive role models, where mass-media influences were countered, giving girls the freedom to decide for themselves who they are. Usually when people think of technology and science, minds automatically think that males play those roles. Therefore, in my school women were the dominating models. We had three computer centers that were available daily with supervisors around to answer any questions or help students that were having difficulties. However, the ratio of computers to students were not the same as Travis’ school. The New Tech high school had 250 computers for 220 students, but in talking solely about my class which consisted of a little less than 500 students, we had like 100 computers.

Another difference was that we were not nearly as encouraged as the students in the movie to use technology. Most of our classes occurred in classrooms where we took notes and did oral projects. We had some presentations that required us to use the computer programs, like PowerPoint. However, a technology based school did not guarantee success right after high school. Travis barely graduated and had to find a job. Luisa was preoccupied with her job that she graduated late. But Kep graduated and received scholarships to CalTech in continuing electrical engineering.

Overall, the distinctions outweighed the similarities. We live in a society that surrounds life around technology, which is advancing in every way. We depend on technology for everything, from work to leisure time.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Movie Response (Prompt 5)

While watching the film "Crossing the Divide", I was most struck with the atmosphere the students who attended New Technology High were surrounded by on a daily basis. The students were literally surrounded by computers, so many that they had more computers on campus than actual people. Because the curriculum was so focused on computer technology and training the students to become future business leaders and "top of the class" in math, science, and techonology when they graduate and go to college that the school doesn't seem to offer any classes in english or the arts. The school also does not have a football team or any other team sports, a library, or any of the traditional "highschool experiences" that every teen should experience before going off to college and later, the real world.
A second portion of the movie that I found to be interesting was the story of Luisa. She came from a school that was very involved in gang activity, however, she was able to realize that the gang life was not for her and instead channeled her life towards working to learn about the technological world. While working to learn about technology (and falling in love with it!), Luisa must keep a job at a local fast food restaurant and begins falling dangerously behind in her studies. Though I feel it is wonderful that she is so fascinated with computers, I feel that falling behind in her studies and having to graduate late because of this was not a smart decision on her part. Doing well in school should be a priority.

The school images shown in "Crossing the Divide" are extremely different from my high school experience with technology. Though we had adequate access to technology and the internet, the focus of education at Austin High School was not based on technology. A few classes are offered that are solely technology based but most classes were completed without much use of computers. If we did have to use the internet for research most of it was done at home; the schools in the movie seemed to do most of their research and assignments on the computers available at the school. Overall, I feel that a school that was a mix between my highschool and tech high school would be the best place to complete a highschool education.


Wildcard: For this prompt, come up with a response addressing
moments that resonated strongly with you in the film (refer to your
notes). Consider relating what you saw to your own high school
experience. Did things look familiar? Radically different? Naively
I am going to discuss the wildcard and talk a little bit about prompt 4. The moments which resonated strongly with me were mostly about interviews on Kep. Kep, who is an immigrant, through going to Tech high, really achieve the goal of crossing the divide. I think being an immigrant means you need to adjust yourself to the new environment and at the same time learn a lot from it. So I am very happy to see that Tech high provides a place for immigrants like Kep have the same opportunity to catch up with not only the new technology which is very useful in the workplace but also develop the other useful skills like leadership, teamwork.
This film was made probably at least 7 or 8 years ago(I forgot the exact date), but compared with my high school experience, their extremely high accessible to the new technology still surprised me a lot. Maybe because I went to high school in China which does not have as same as the facility or capability in America. It seems that they almost spend everyday in computer room, while in my high school, most of times the class is taught in classroom. The good side of Tech high is after graduating, everybody has a great confidence in using computer, I mean applying the new technology in workplace. However, when I graduated from high school, I seem to lack this kind of confidence. Actually, I began to learn most technology in college. Then when I was doing an internship in my freshmen year, I felt really frustrate at using new technology. So I think it is very important to teach the students new technology in high school because if students can not go to college they may not have chance and time to learn it. However, I do not support that all high schools should be operated like Tech high which do not have foot team or library. Tech high, in my mind is more like a training center not a really high school. I also remember some comments from the film talking about that the goal of education is not about teaching students how to find a job but how to be a person, I totally agree with it. I think students in Tech high are very lucky to learn more about new technology but at the same time their high school education is not completed. Maybe they learned a lot about using computer but he do not have a chance in high school to develop other skills or interests like music or chemistry. Although watching a football game in high school will help you find a job, the enjoyment brought to you is a wonderful and necessary experience.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Prompt 4

Though conceptually schools should be equal across the country, in reality this isn’t possible. Too many other factors come into play, such as how much funding the school receives or how much support from the surrounding community. The three schools from the video, “Crossing the Divide,” were all extremely different as far their capabilities went. The high school in Austin, Texas, had barely any access to technology, the high school in Cupertino, California had very good access, and Tech High in California was all about access to technology. Both the high schools in California far surpassed the one in Texas as far as technology goes, and so they seemed like superior schools.

But while schools have a large impact on a student’s direction in life, they are not the only deciding factor. Though Travis attended Tech High and was highly involved with computers throughout high school, he still only just managed to graduate. After high school, he did not attend college, opting to first find a job and save money. Kep, on the other hand, received an award for student of the year and got a full scholarship for college. Though they graduated from the same high school, both took very different paths after graduation.

Now, I don’t know if a school like Luisa’s could ever catch up to ones like Sidra’s or Travis’s and Kep’s, simply because of those outside factors such as funding and surrounding community. But that doesn’t mean the students themselves can’t catch up. For example, though Luisa had little access to technology and had to save for three years to buy her own computer, she worked with what she could. Though she didn’t manage to pass the Photoshop exam, she still tried to. While a factor such as a less technologically advantaged school can initially impede a student, if he or she has enough motivation, I believe he or she can overcome a boundary such as that. Look at Kep. Even though he did have the opportunity to attend the highly advanced Tech High, that wasn’t necessarily the reason he did so well there. If he had gone to a school like Luisa’s, he might not have learned quite as much about technology, but he still probably would have done well. Technology is just a means to the end, not the end itself.

Movie Response (Prompt 5)

One of the things that really stuck out to me in the video we watched in discussion was when the narrator was talking about a supposed debate on whether or not high schools across the nation should be equipped with computers.

I think it's kind of funny (or ironic?), because this video must be slightly outdated. In my experience growing up in my school district (Kimberly, Wisconsin) and in in every district I've ever been to, computers and internet are used heavily in class. Even in elementary school, I remember going to the computer lab, equipped with Macs, to learn how to do research projects. In High School, we'd often go to the lab for an entire class (often 3-4 days in a row), just to "research" our topics for projects or papers.

What I'm trying to say is that in my own experience, it's not a debate as to whether or not schools across the nation have decided to adapt computers/internet as part of the learning and teaching method.

My school was also a leader in this state with incorporating technology into the classroom. My senior year, I took a class that was strictly for video and movie making. We learned to film movies, edit them, and mix audio. There were no tests or quizzes, just 90 minutes of movie making every day. We used Adobe Premiere (the same program that the children used in the video to animate their clay animals)

Also, we were offered a large selection of computer science courses. These differed courses differed greatly. A student could take a class devoted to animation and Flash, web page creation with Dreamweaver, or program scripting.

I noticed that the things I saw at New Tech High in Napa were things that I think my high school was definitely capable of teaching. I'm guessing that the video we saw was created in the late 90's (1998 maybe), so that just goes to show you how quickly technology changes. In the video there was a quote that said something like "the tools that these kids learn to use will be outdated in 6-7 months, so they have to keep learning".

I'm sure now, New Tech High has much greater technology and teaching capabilities with its students.

Movie Response: Prompt #4

This film highlighted the importance of computers and technology as tools in education. The film focused on three high schools, each varying in terms of emphasis and access to technology. First, Travis High School in Austin, Texas was shown. Upon introduction to this high school, the audience quickly learns of the significant presence of gangs and graffiti. Only 1/4 of the student population graduates from high school. With this high school, the digital divide was discussed in the sense that by not offering students access to technology/computers, it will negatively affect their ability to look and obtain jobs. Access to computers/technology is what would allow them to be competitive in the job market and without it, they have an unfair disadvantage against those who could afford computers and have been exposed to them all of their lives. It was mentioned that only 1 in 12 students attending Travis High School would have a chance to access computers sometime in the first twelve grades. I think that this environment is right to be worried about a digital divide, when some students are working forty hours a week just to save up for a computer. If the school system was able to offer more computers and access to technology, students could be spending less time working and more time studying to enhance their chances of graduating high school, or for those who are working, they could be saving money for college or their life after high school. Additionally, if programs using computers and technology were offered, it may increase the chance for students to stay in school. When we talked about libraries in the beginning of the semester, it was mentioned that when cities put more money into libraries to provide them with access to resources, it makes people living there feel more valuable. In this case, if the school system put more money into tools like computers, perhaps students would feel that their time in high school is being well spent and would have less of a desire to drop out. Also, if high school was offering them something that they would probably not have access to in any other place (computers) that would also be an incentive to continue going.


In Technology High School, the circumstances were much different. They were able to provide a computer for each student and emphasized that their school work should work towards a plan for the future (something, they mention, that is not stressed in regular high school). Here, technology was expressed in terms of being important to the students' futures because jobs constantly require new skills. They talk about how skills become obsolete so quickly in technological fields and the only way to keep up would be to have constant access to computers and updated software. What was especially interesting about Technology High School was that they believed you needed more than just technological know how, they said you must have problem solving skills, critical thinking, and teamwork/group skills. They applied this by providing students with assignments that would have to use all of these skills and tested students, not using multiple choice exams, but by having them apply their knowledge to problem sets etc. Technology High School also only had an online library, they did not provide their students books. I do not think this is a direct disadvantage to the students there because it forces them to enhance their online research skills which is necessary in the work force and in college.


Lastly, in Monta Vista High School, so much of the focus was on technology that some students exclaimed that other concentrations, such as English, were very weak as a result. Personally, having attended a magnet high school that concentrated very much on technology, math, and science, I have first hand experience of receiving an education that lacks in English, History, and Foreign Language. Although I took four years of English, three of History, and four of Spanish during my high school years, these classes were never taken as seriously as my math and sciences. I believe that this is a downfall of high schools like the one I attended and like Monta Vista because they are not offering students a well-rounded education. In the workforce, it will of course be an advantage if students are well-versed at using computers, yet it will be a noticeable disadvantage for them to have weaker English Skills. For example, in order to obtain a job, many employers ask for a cover letter and resume. Without strong writing skills, a student's cover letter or resume may not stand out amongst a pile of other individuals, and they will never get a chance to use their valuable computer skills. In almost any industry, strong writing skills are called on for reports, correspondences, work summaries, and more. So to have an education that does not emphasize the importance of writing and English, is definitely something that may have negative implications in the future. Furthermore, it was mentioned that Monta Vista High School had such high costs for the technology they offer students, that they had less money for other spending such as staff. This can also be a disadvantage if this means they will have less funding for extra curricular activities and other programs to offer students. Although these are not necessary aspects of an education, it helps students be well-rounded and grow both socially and mentally.  Skills gained from organization and clubs may be the ones that end up helping students the most in college or the workforce and thus should not be easily cast aside for excessive technology.


Another unique element of Monta Vista High School was that they conducted a high school education in terms of a 'training force for corporate business'. This definitely serves as an asset for students in terms of necessary skills (like Technology High School mentioned) such as critical thinking, teamwork, and applying their knowledge in various ways. Although, if many students graduate and go onto to college, they may not be prepared for a University atmosphere where they have to be incredibly independent, have strong time management skills, and study for tests made up of multiple choice questions.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Movie Response: Prompt 1

What were some of the other issues influencing the trajectory of these young people?

Travis: He was coming from a town in Texas where only about a fourth of the kids go to college so he was surrounded by people who weren't really on a set career path. Also, he was forced to move schools which distanced him from his friends and he felt that he had to play a variety of different roles in his house (with his sister, mom, and sister's kids). Most kids his age only feel they need to fulfill one role, so that probably resulted in extra outside pressures for him. At the end too, he got really unlucky and his computer didn't work for his final senior presentation. That is one thing I hate about the new wave of technology, technology can be so unreliable! I'm glad he was able to graduate but the fact that he couldn't go to college because of money is really unfortunate. I think that is one of the hugest problems in our country. There are so many smart kids that are willing to go to college and really want to but are disadvantaged financially and that is really discouraging for them. Finding a job straight out of high school that is going to support you enough and allow you to earn money to eventually go to college is asking a lot, and in today's world seems almost impossible.

Kep: I think the biggest issue in Kep's life was his feeling of separation from this country. He experienced life on the outside as an immigrant and was forced to balance three different languages, come from family where half of the people had at some point been in refugee camps, and probably didn't have very much money (because he hadn't been exposed to computers until he attended New Tech). The fact that he had never really experienced technology at a younger age also set him back and made him work harder than everyone else just to get a basic handle on how computers and technology works. 

Sidra: Although I don't feel like the movie really focused on the issues in Sidra's experience I think one of her biggest issues was the fact that in Silicon Valley, California and particularly at Multivista High, there was a very biased way of learning and a very direct path for all students to be involved in careers with technology. Even though the movie was basically arguing that technology is the gateway to the new economy, I feel like there are other parts to high school and life in general than just technology and that it is more important to experience many different approaches to learning depending on how your brain works and what you want to do when you get older. I don't like the idea that all of the kids there are basically following the career paths of their families because I know from firsthand experience (both my parents are in the Minnesota Orchestra) that it's not always ideal or convenient to be doing what your parents do.

Luisa: Similar to Kep, Luisa grew up in a low income family where it wasn't possible to have computers at a young age. She had always been interested in computers, yet had limited access because they were never available to her in her environment. She was forced to work many hours for a few years before being able to buy her own computer. Although her setbacks made her a stronger individual and made her feel more independent from her family, when she got a job working with young kids she talked about how she wished she had been subjected to that type of training in her childhood as well. She definitely encountered the digital divide often throughout her life.

Do you feel that technology provided a solution to those issues? Why or why not?

I don't necessarily believe that the technology itself provided solutions to these issues because I think it was imperative that each of the students had an interest in computers and technology in order for it to help them. The kids were special cases in which they knew they had a passion for technology. For Travis and Kep, I think it was good that they went to a school where they knew that they would be working in a group environment and on a straight path to internships and businesses that would financially support them. However, I think in Kep's case, it was his hard work and dedication that really made him successful and he truly took advantage of New Tech's program (it's important to note that he was clearly an exceptional student which was shown when he won all of those awards at the end). On the other hand, Travis, who was very intelligent (according to this mother) and who was known to be very talented with computers ended up in a completely different situation than Kep, which I think is due to other external factors besides just the digital divide. In the end, having money in the video seemed to be more essential than exposure to technology, although obviously having resources (in general) helps.

Would you have predicted the outcomes or were you surprised to see them?

I definitely figured that Sidra would be successful because it seemed that her school, the community she was surrounded by, and her family all had every opportunity going for them to get successful. I was happily surprised by Kep's case, because I can only imagine how difficult it would be to come to this country, feel uncomfortable, be exposed to technology for the first time in high school (I'm terrible with technology and I've been surrounded by it all my life), and grow up in a low-income family who is also making adjustments to a new environment. I was glad to see that he was able to overcome those barriers. I was really disappointed to see Luisa and Travis' situations because I could sort of see how them not having money would result in not being able to continue on their "technological path to success." As I've said above, I think money is the factor the plays the greatest role in modern society. Technology tends to come with money (not in the movie's specific cases, but in general), yet it doesn't necessarily create a "gateway" to economic success.