Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Technology only a tool in search for solutions to poverty

Date:
November 16, 2012
Source:
Penn State
Summary:
Technology can serve as a tool to bridge the digital divide, but it is unlikely to be a complete solution in helping people find jobs and escape poverty, according to a researcher.

Technology can serve as a tool to bridge the digital divide, but it is unlikely to be a complete solution in helping people find jobs and escape poverty, according to a Penn State researcher.

Related Articles


"People really want to believe that the latest technology will help us do all these great things and liberate us," said Michelle Rodino-Colocino, assistant professor of communications and women's studies. "But it's also a way of putting off the big problems and saying, 'let's not touch these big problems because Internet access will turn it all around for us.' "

The researcher examined a plan in Walnut Hills, a diverse low-income community in Cincinnati, Ohio, to provide a wireless Internet connection -- WiFi -- service and computer training to poor, mainly female residents who do not own cars to help them become more employable and escape poverty.

The organizers of the Neighborhoodworks.net project named the ideal recipient of the program Vanessa, who was both a real person, as well as a representative of the demographic that the group wanted to serve. Vanessa was low-income mother of four, who did not have a car or access to childcare.

"It's really a digital divide argument," explained Rodino-Colocino, who presents her findings at the National Communication Association, Nov. 16 in Orlando, Fla. "But it's also a typical post-welfare argument that tries to avoid the political and larger structural problems and accepts the attacks on welfare as a given."

The project, conceived in 1999, was expected to become operational in 2007. While the computer training did receive funding and was provided by a local human services agency, the plan to provide free WiFi to the community failed.

Rodino-Colocino said that even if the free WiFi service was rolled out, she doubted the technology would solve the problems of the project's participants.

"It's a classic pick-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps -- or internet connections, in this case -- type of program," the researcher said. "But it doesn't address these big problems."

The researcher said there are few online jobs that pay a living wage. Without a car or childcare, the participants would still find it difficult to find a job.

"In fact, the participants may have found themselves even more isolated," the researcher added.

Rodino-Colocino said that political action, rather than an overreliance on technology, would help low-income people to solve problems associated with poverty, such as low wages and limited access to childcare.

To study the project, Rodino-Colocino attended community meetings on the plan and reviewed the Neighborhoodworks.net grant application, as well as monitored media coverage on the plan. She conducted a series of interviews of ten participants of the program, both during the planning phase of the project and after the failure to create the WiFi network.

Rodino-Colocino was surprised that even after the failure to implement the free WiFi system, participants still had hope that technology would create new employment opportunities for them. The project seemed to raise self-esteem and hope, she added.

"The hearts and minds of all those involved were really in the right place with this," Rodino-Colocino said. "When I returned for follow-up interviews, participants were still hopeful even though these larger issues were never addressed."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Penn State. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Penn State. "Technology only a tool in search for solutions to poverty." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 November 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121116161019.htm>.
Penn State. (2012, November 16). Technology only a tool in search for solutions to poverty. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121116161019.htm
Penn State. "Technology only a tool in search for solutions to poverty." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121116161019.htm (accessed October 31, 2014).

Share This



More Science & Society News

Friday, October 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Fauci Says Ebola Risk in US "essentially Zero"

Fauci Says Ebola Risk in US "essentially Zero"

AP (Oct. 30, 2014) NIAID Director Anthony Fauci said the risk of Ebola becoming an epidemic in the U.S. is essentially zero Thursday at the Washington Ideas Forum. He also said an Ebola vaccine will be tested in West Africa in the next few months. (Oct. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Killer History on Display at Museum of Death

Killer History on Display at Museum of Death

AP (Oct. 30, 2014) Visitors take a trip down murderer memory lane at the Museum of Death located in the heart of Hollywood. (Oct. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Nurse Defies Ebola Quarantine With Bike Ride

Nurse Defies Ebola Quarantine With Bike Ride

AP (Oct. 30, 2014) A nurse who vowed to defy Maine's voluntary quarantine for health care workers who treated Ebola patients followed through on her promise Thursday, leaving her home for an hour-long bike ride. (Oct. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ban On Wearable Cameras In Movie Theaters Surprises No One

Ban On Wearable Cameras In Movie Theaters Surprises No One

Newsy (Oct. 30, 2014) The Motion Picture Association of America and the National Association of Theatre Owners now prohibit wearable cameras such as Google Glass. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Science & Society

Business & Industry

Education & Learning

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins