Saturday, August 12, 2006

The E-society in the UK

Graham Stanley, in his August 8th blog entry, summarizes a classification of the E-society in the UK. This classification comes from a research paper called the UK geography of the E-scociety: A national classification. It is based on levels of awareness of different ICTS, levels of use of ICTs; and their perceived impact upon human national formation and the quality of life” in the United Kingdom. 

The researchers from the University College of London (UCL) identified 23 E-types that go from the less ICT oriented UK person (The E-unengaged) to the most ICT oriented one (The E-expert). I will link the sites where you can find information about these digital tribes and invite you to reflect on this classification: Does it apply to Venezuelans? How would you classify yourself?  

Graham Stanley’s summary 
Spatial Literacy  

Britain’s digital tribes 
UK geography of the E-society: A national classification 

For a pedagogical purpose, I tried to represent this classification in a Power Point slide. If you find it useful, feel free to use it.

I do believe these types sure have application in some other places around the world. Types may vary geographically depending on people’s access to digital technologies and the economic situation of this geographical area, for example. So, maybe, in developing countries The E-unengaged might be more frequent than the E-expert. At the risk of sounding arrogant, after reading this thorough, brilliant report, I would dare to add another category: the E-deprived. People who have limited or no-access to internet for:  1) political reasons as in North Korean, Eritrea, Cuba, Uzbekistan, Syria and Belarus 2) moral reasons (As it happened in Afghanistan in 2001, when Taleban outlawed Internet, it was more a political issue than a matter of obscenity and immorality) 3) educational reasons where children have no access to Internet at schools because they can be the victims of sexual predators or evil people while social networking or chatting.
In connection to this last point (number 3), I'd like to cite Gavin Dudeney (2005): " Most users won't even bother with the murkier side of the Net, but a firm warning of what is and what is not acceptable will do more good than an immediate ban." I would also like to highlight from this research paper the disadvantages of E-technology due to "lack of understanding of and access to electronic technologies" in most parts of the world (not only the UK). These are: 1) reduced or no access to human knowledge since Internet is currently the medium of choice to do so. 2) a handicap in the labour market 3) reduced or limited role as consumers (e.g. not being able to buy an electronic ticket on the net) 4) social exclusion 

I invite you to read this article again and reflect as educators on the implications of these disadvantages and how this affects us, EFL teachers, and, above all, the young generation of students we are training to become EFL teachers, the ones who are learning English for academic purposes or our kids at primary or secondary schools. Should we integrate a subject in the English teacher trainee’s curriculum on Information and Communication Technologies? Should we aggressively start integrating ICT in ELT even though there are not enough resources to do so in most schools and universities in Venezuela?; What about the non-digital native EFL teachers? How can we show them ICT skills are not that hard to acquire/learn? How can we show them Internet is not evil (but the people behind it)?

Dudeney, G. (2005). The Internet and the language classroom. Cambrideg University Press

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