The Millennium Bug in the WIPO Model

Find a good example of the “science business” described above and analyze it as a potential factor in the Digital Divide discussed earlier. Is the proposed connection likely or not? Blog your opinion.

I consider a good example of ¨science business¨ the use of personal computers by students. More and more often universities require to have a personal computer and almost unlimited access to the internet. Maybe nowadays it doesn´t seem like a problem, but certainly there are people that do not have enough money and cannot afford to have a laptop or the internet connection at home. I think even Estonia is a pretty good example – since I have come here the only tasks that I have are based on computers and the internet: the tasks are published in the net, if I want to complete them I have to use the net, if I want the professor to check my homework I publish it on the net. What´s more – the internet is the only way by which I can speak to some of my professors or attend the online lecture. Also, I haven´t seen some of my classmates  in real life but I speak quite often with them.

From one point of view the use of computers help us getting along with the new technologies and accustom us to every day changing world. Obviously, it´s a huge help while learning – we may find anything we want. Although students use laptops as well at home as in the university, there are more and more negative opinions. We may read in Daniel de Vise’s article Wide Web of diversions gets laptops evicted from lecture halls:

A generation ago, academia embraced the laptop as the most welcome classroom innovation since the ballpoint pen. But during the past decade, it has evolved into a powerful distraction. Wireless Internet connections tempt students away from note-typing to e-mail, blogs, YouTube videos, sports scores, even online gaming — all the diversions of a home computer beamed into the classroom to compete with the professor for the student’s attention.

[…]

The laptop computer, introduced in 1981, has become nearly obligatory on campus; some colleges require them. They are as essential to today’s student as a working stereo system was to their parents.

It becomes a problem because there are more and more students that are technological natives and their professors often have problems in understanding them.

According to the Duke University’s scientists research called Scaling the Digital Divide: Home Computer Technology and Student Achievement children that have computers at home and access to the internet do worse on the test than their poorer classmates that do not have such an equipment. This study suggests that simply handing out computers is going to make the digital divide worse, rather than better. According to this graphic we may notice that there quite big divide in the computer ownership rates:

To sum up I want to quote Bill’s opinion posted in his blog (older man’s introduction to the internet):

Google

When I was young and I wanted to know something, I was beaten for being too inquisitive. That’s the problem with the young people today, they have a google answer for everything. If they had to walk to their local library every time they had something stupid to ask they would ask a lot less stupid questions.

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