Beyond Access: A Comparison of Community Technology Initiatives

Feb. 1, 2002


Robbin Chapman, Leo Burd


In response to increasing concerns about the “digital divide” – the gap between those who benefit from digital technologies and those who do not – a growing number of community technology initiatives (CTIs) have emerged over the past decade, realizing the potential of digital technologies to underserved community members. Although CTIs share many common goals and procedures, there are also important differences. This paper presents a discussion of the relationship between technology and learning within the Computer Clubhouse Network and CDISP, raising important issues regarding construction or improvement of effective community technology initiatives. How will people from underserved communities become involved in developing themselves and growing a CTI culture that best serves their interests? What digital tools and policies need to be developed? Our discussion of two CTIs will provide a context for a deeper examination of these and other issues critical to the development of a more meaningful CTI learning model. We also believe detailed studies of similar initiatives would contribute to enhancement of the CTI model, as a whole.

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