Media and the Digital Divide

MDIA 4011, Scripps College of Communication, Ohio University

Week 5 – Mobile Devices and Inclusion

This week we will be discussing the dynamics of mobile phones and how they impact the digital divide.

The Mobile Divide Revisited: Mobile Phone Use by Smallholder Farmers in Malawi – Charles Steinfield

The readings for this week are:

  • Steinfield, C., Wyche, S., Cai, T., & Chiwasa, H. (2015, May). The mobile divide revisited: mobile phone use by smallholder farmers in Malawi. In Proceedings of the Seventh International Conference on Information and Communication Technologies and Development (p. 8). ACM.
  • Wijetunga, D. (2014). The digital divide objectified in the design: Use of the mobile telephone by underprivileged youth in Sri Lanka. Journal of Computer‐Mediated Communication, 19(3), 712-726.

Responses to these questions are due by 9:00 pm, Thursday.

Study 1 (Steinfielf et al) Questions:

a) Do men and women differ in their use of mobile phones in this region, and if so, in what ways?

b) Do mobile phone owners differ from non-owners in terms of their access to various sources of information related to farming practices?

Study 2 (Wijetunga) Question:

a) What do you understand by the statement, “the digital divide is objectified in the design”?

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33 comments on “Week 5 – Mobile Devices and Inclusion

  1. Bailey Castillo says:

    Study 1 (Steinfielf et al) Questions:

    a) Do men and women differ in their use of mobile phones in this region, and if so, in what ways?

    There is a significant difference in the genders’ use of mobile phones in the region. The text states that “women were less likely to have phones” (p. 5). In addition, women were less likely to own a mobile phone if they were the heads of the household. The study showed that men were “three times more likely to report having a phone in the household then female respondents” (p. 5). In short, the study clearly showed that men were more likely to own mobile phones than women.

    b) Do mobile phone owners differ from non-owners in terms of their access to various sources of information related to farming practices?

    The text states that “phone owning households had significantly more farm land” (p. 5) than non-owners. The study found that those who owned mobile phones were much better off socio-economically than non-owners. If a person had completed more education, they were far more likely to own a phone. Overall, those with a higher socio-economic status, thus more farm land, were more likely to possess phones.

    Study 2 (Wijetunga) Question:

    a) What do you understand by the statement, “the digital divide is objectified in the design”?

    This statement refers to the concept that “most of the computer based communication facilities available in mobile phones are ‘inaccessible’ to such users due to the objectification of broader social inequalities in the design of phones” (p. 1). The text is stating that the digital divide is often defined by who has and doesn’t have access to technology- like a mobile phone. Although many have access to mobile phones, many only use the most basic functions that are offered on the device. As a result, the digital divide is “objectified in the design” because many don’t have the knowledge regarding how to use the more sophisticated functions of the phone. This creates an entirely different aspect of the digital divide.

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    1. Michael Mack says:

      I’m curious with the whole women being less likely to use phones because I feel like today that number has changed drastically. In a way women head of households tend to use their phones more today than a man in my opinion.

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      1. Prof says:

        Michael, Are you referring to women using more phones in the US or Malawi?

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        1. Michael Mack says:

          Women in the US Study 1 a) There is a difference because women as head of households were less likely to have mobile phones. It is said that ben were , “three times more likely”(pg.5) to have a phone in the house. I also find it interesting that women were less likely to have a zero balance of credit as opposed to men. Does this assume that women have better credit than men? b) People with phones were more likely to have information on farming practices, disease etc.Both owners/nonowners had relied on traders for pricing . People with phones had an advantage because they were using radio, and using radio is “consistent with the socio economic status difference”(pg.6). Study 2 1.) For me it’s trying to say that the underprivileged has to go through many social inequalities and it even occurs in the functions of a phone. Even though they have access to the phone it still is “inaccessible” being that they aren’t as up to date with all of the changes and updates etc.

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  2. jarad says:

    Study 1 (Steinfielf et al) Questions:

    a) Do men and women differ in their use of mobile phones in this region, and if so, in what ways?

    According the the study conducted by Steinfelf, Wyche, and Cai men are significantly more likely to own mobile devices then females. Also though it proved difficult to measure due to the small number of women respondents they are more likely to have a zero balance of credit on their phones than their male counterparts.

    b) Do mobile phone owners differ from non-owners in terms of their access to various sources of information related to farming practices?

    The findings would suggest that a phone owner does have an increased access to resources as opposed to someone who does not in regards to farming. The non-phone owners are more reliant on conventional methods of information and rely heavily on personal knowledge and resources.

    Study 2 (Wijetunga) Question:

    a) What do you understand by the statement, “the digital divide is objectified in the design”?

    My understanding of the statement mentioned above in the question means that there is a skill gap between having a phone and having access to the features the phone offers. While there are may factors that limit ones ability to utilize the functions of a phone, limiting the phones potential also widens the digital divide. An example that Wijetunga uses are computer skills that are transferable to a mobile device. Without proper training or internet access the user is at a disadvantage and is behind the ball in terms of utilizing the resources that are available to them.

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  3. Kaitlyn Shive says:

    Study 1 (Steinfielf et al) Questions:
    a)Do men and women differ in their use of mobile phones in this region, and if so, in what ways?

    -Men and women do differ in their use of mobile phones in this region. Men were reported as three times more likely to have a phone in their household as women had a low probability of having one in the household. Only four women reported having a phone in the household if they were head of the house while men who were head of the house 50 reported having a phone inside. Attributes of the phones differed as well when it came to gender like cost and condition as well as reasons for calling and more.

    b) Do mobile phone owners differ from non-owners in terms of their access to various sources of information related to farming practices?

    -Mobile phone owners do differ from non-owners in terms of access to various sources of information related to farming practices. The article stated, “Phone owners were more likely to receive information on farming practices, pests and disease, and livestock from their agricultural extension officers and from radio than non-phone owners.” A large share of non-phone owners reported that they were receiving no information or sources to go to for information so they were definitely in a digital gap for farming.

    Study 2 (Wijetunga) Question:
    a)What do you understand by the statement, “the digital divide is objectified in the design”?

    -When seeing this statement, I understand that technological designs are contributing to the underdeveloped knowledge of those who are in the digital divide. Those that are underprivileged especially with technology, are being prevented from using the features on the phones because of the way it is designed and their lack of understanding on how to use it.

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  4. Kara Dierkes says:

    Study 1
    a) Do men and women differ in their use of mobile phones in this region, and if so, in what ways?

    The reading states that there are only subtle differences in the uses of mobile phones between men and women: “Men reported more calls with friends and business contacts more than women, while women reported more calls with family members. Women also were more likely to be recipients of calls than initiators, with the reverse being true of men, and were more likely to receive gifts of airtime than men.” Other findings say that men are more likely to use SMS than women. This is supported by the fact that it is said that more men actually own mobile phones than women do.

    b) Do mobile phone owners differ from non-owners in terms of their access to various sources of information related to farming practices?

    According to the reading, the three most important pieces of information related to farming are: farming techniques, contextual information, and market information. IN compassion to those that have mobile phone, it was found that both men and women used their mobile phones to get access to these types of information. So, the non-users are mostly likely at a disadvantage.

    Study 2
    a) What do you understand by the statement, “the digital divide is objectified in the design”?

    My understanding of the statement is that even our attempt to bridge the digital gap still does not completely solve the problem at hand. The design of mobile devices are still restricting the underprivileged because they are not taught how to access what can be available to them.

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  5. Sylvia Beckner says:

    Study 1 (Steinfielf et al) Questions:

    a) Do men and women differ in their use of mobile phones in this region, and if so, in what ways?

    I’ve noticed that men and women definitely differ in their use of mobile phones in this region. Women seem to use their phones a lot less, but they do use it more than men for the internet and music. Men use text messaging more than women in this study as well. It is also interesting that women only call friends and family and have 0% contact with business/farms.

    b) Do mobile phone owners differ from non-owners in terms of their access to various sources of information related to farming practices?

    As far as the information related to farming practices, there was not a significant difference. Phone households were able to utilize their radios more for each circumstance making it easier for information to circulate.

    Study 2 (Wijetunga) Question:

    a) What do you understand by the statement, “the digital divide is objectified in the design”?

    It is stated in the article that many of the physical properties of the mobile phone are not “actionable” for underprivileged users. This means that they do not have the skills or the understanding to operate a mobile phone, therefore the digital divide is objectified in the design.

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  6. Kaitlyn Henry says:

    Study 1 (Steinfielf et al) Questions:
    a) Do men and women differ in their use of mobile phones in this region, and if so, in what ways?
    Men and women do differ in their use of mobile phones in the region. For starters, the text says that “men account for 67% of the phone owning population, but only 47% of the total population.” (2) This already puts men at a high rate of phone usage considering that more men own them. However, the difference of amount of usage between the genders is subtle according to the text. The way the use their phones is where there is a noticeable difference. The text states “Men reported more calls with friends and business contacts more than women, while women reported more calls with family members.” (2)
    b) Do mobile phone owners differ from non-owners in terms of their access to various sources of information related to farming practices?
    There is a noticeable difference between phone owners and non phone owners. The text states that “Phone owning households also had significantly more farm land, were more likely to sell their crops at the market, raised more livestock, and were more likely to own a bicycle or radio.”(5) The text also provided plenty of data to display the difference between phone owners and non-owners.
    Study 2 (Wijetunga) Question:
    a) What do you understand by the statement, “the digital divide is objectified in the design”?
    What I gather from the statement above is that the digital divide comes from the gap between people who are able to acquire skills to use mobile phones and their features. The text mentions those who do and don’t have access to mobile phones and then separates those who have access to phones and understand how to use them and those who use it for basic tasks and don’t use the technology to it’s full potential.

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  7. Emily Bohatch says:

    Study 1 (Steinfielf et al) Questions:

    a) Do men and women differ in their use of mobile phones in this region, and if so, in what ways?
    Women were less likely to be out of credit on their phones, whereas men would add credit when necessary. As far as usage itself, men made less emergency calls, focusing more on business and agriculture.

    b) Do mobile phone owners differ from non-owners in terms of their access to various sources of information related to farming practices?
    While phone owners have more access to agricultural information and tips for farming, some studies showed they are still more likely to consult a friend or acquaintance than spend time researching data. This study, though, said phone users in this area were more likely to receive information on plants and livestock, though oftentimes this was via the radio.

    Study 2 (Wijetunga) Question:

    a) What do you understand by the statement, “the digital divide is objectified in the design”?
    The author looks away from economic factors that influence the digital divide in favor of social factors. There is a certain social capital given to ownership and usage of phones, which makes mobile literacy look impossible for those without said capital to reach. Phones are made to give some groups privilege.

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  8. Jenna Berry says:

    Study 1 (Steinfielf et al) Questions:
    a) Do men and women differ in their use of mobile phones in this region, and if so, in what ways? Men and women do differ in their use of mobile phones. Overall, men are more likely to own a mobile phone than women. A specific statistic from this study shows, “Of the 64 reported phones, two thirds (43) were owned by men, and one third (21) were owned by women” (p. 5). Although, they differ in use, men and women who are not mobile phone users have something in common. Both men and women who are not mobile phone users, agree that the main reason is because of the expense. Of the men and woman who do own mobile phones, there are differences among how they use them. Women are less likely to have a zero balance of credit, men are more likely to make business calls than emergency calls, as opposed to women, and men tend to send text messages more often than women. Men and women vary in the ownership and use of mobile phones.
    b) Do mobile phone owners differ from non-owners in terms of their access to various sources of information related to farming practices? Yes, mobile phone owners differ from non-owners in terms of their access to information regarding farming practices. Mobile phone owners are more likely to have access to various forms of farming related information. They’re able to access resources providing information on pests, practices, disease, and livestock. However, mobile phone owners and non-mobile phone owners both must rely on farm traders for the prices. Mobile phone owners receive access to radios and extension agents, as opposed to non-mobile phone owners, who have little to no access.

    Study 2 (Wijetunga) Question:
    a) What do you understand by the statement, “the digital divide is objectified in the design”? My understanding of the statement is, the underprivileged have access to mobile phones, but not always the capabilities to use them. Thus, they are provided with mobile phones that are essentially useless to them. They are not designed for the use they need them to be. They are provided with access to the physical mobile phones, but lack the necessities needed to use them. The use of a mobile phone for a college student in Columbus, Ohio, is very different than the use of a mobile phone for a young adult in a developing country. Therefore, the design should replicate those differences.

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    1. Ryan Struckel says:

      Jenna,

      Your post is very well written and the citation in Study 1a really helped prove your answer. You are correct in saying that the phone-owning farmers have more access to farming information and your examples for why are great. In regard to Study 2, I agree with your understanding of the statement. The comparison between the Columbus college student, and the young adult in a developing country is spot on. New technology is often based on improving the older versions. If the young adult never had access to the old model they will be even less likely to understand the new model.

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  9. Emma Schoonmaker says:

    Study 1:

    a) Do men and women differ in their use of mobile phones in this region and, if so, in what ways?

    This particular study found that men were “three times more likely to report have a phone in the household” as opposed to their female counterparts (p. 5). There are many reasons for this idea, especially given that the study focused on a rural area. Primarily, families in low-income areas often focus their spending on necessary costs rather than amenities like a cell phone In areas like this where it is difficult to find employment, it is even more difficult for women to find employment. Hence, males in this area are generally likely to have a bit more money than females, which is in part the root of this gender difference in mobile usage. Lastly, as we discussed in last week’s readings, this study also reports that “men showed significantly greater competence than women on a few other indicators,” (p. 6). This finding supports the idea that men are more technological skilled than women, leading to an enhanced want or need to be a mobile phone owner and user.

    b) Do mobile phone owners differ from non-owners in terms of their access to various sources of information related to farming practices?

    Yes. In virtually every factor of farming practice, phone-owning households are far more connected and informed than non-phone-owning households. And again, this fact is directly related to the socioeconomic status of the phone users. For example, the study found that “phone owners used the radio more than non-phone owners for information on seeds as well as weather. The greater use of radio among phone households is consistent with the socio-economic status differences, as phone owners were more likely to own a radio,” (p. 6). The lives of mobile phone owners are enriched in many ways, but the most important way perhaps is that it provides an invaluable tool for running any business, such as a farm.

    Study 2:

    a) What do you understand by the statement, “the digital divide is objectified in the design”?

    To me, this statement is saying that physical (tangible) access to technology is not exactly access to technology at all. The first thing that came to my mind when I read this statement was this: You enter an impoverished village in a third world country with an iPhone in your hand. You hand it to the first deserving person that you meet. They may be able to make a phone call or send an SMS text message to a nearby friend, but what else can they really do with the phone? Their village doesn’t have a Wi-Fi network. Their friends don’t have smart phones, so they have no one to interact with on social media. My point is, physically handing a disadvantaged individual a mobile phone will not fill their bit of the gap in the digital divide. There are few tasks that can be performed with a mobile phone when there aren’t several other aspects of technology to work with it. Our technologies nowadays are designed like a puzzle – incomplete without all of the right pieces.

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  10. Michelle Zende says:

    Study 1 (Steinfielf et al) Questions:

    a) Do men and women differ in their use of mobile phones in this region, and if so, in what ways?

    Men and women do differ in their use of mobile phones in this region. The article states, “Male respondents (48%) were three times more likely to report having a phone in the household then female respondents (17%).” The main reason for some not having a mobile phone is due to the expense. The study also found that men were most likely to use their phones to contact people for business purposes while women used phones for emergencies and talking to family.

    b) Do mobile phone owners differ from non-owners in terms of their access to various sources of information related to farming practices?

    There is some difference from mobile phone owners and non-owners in terms of access to various sources of information related to farming practices. The article mentions “farmers require three broad categories of information: 1) fundamental information on farming techniques, 2) contextual information such as the weather, and 3) market information such as prices of inputs and commodities.” Mobile phone owners have better accessibility to these sorts of information but the radio was viewed as the most reliable for information.

    Study 2 (Wijetunga) Question:

    a) What do you understand by the statement, “the digital divide is objectified in the design”?

    My understanding of this statement is that the design of certain technologies is one contributing factor to the digital divide. The article discusses many reasons for this including education, capital, and accessibility to technologies. For example, if a person is not educated properly they may not be able to afford a mobile device or even if they do, they may not understand the technology and design of it so they do not have the proper skills to use the device.

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  11. Austin Wolfe says:

    Responses to these questions are due by 9:00 pm, Thursday.

    Study 1 (Steinfielf et al) Questions:
    a) Do men and women differ in their use of mobile phones in this region, and if so, in what ways?

    “Women were less likely to have phones” and men are “three times more likely to report having a phone in the household then female respondents” (PG 5). In the study we were shown men are more likely to have a phone however the survey had a limited amount of women answering so it could be a little more well rounded.

    b) Do mobile phone owners differ from non-owners in terms of their access to various sources of information related to farming practices?

    The higher social status the more likely they were to have a phone. Phone owners “had significantly more farm land” (PG 5) than non owners.

    Study 2 (Wijetunga) Question:

    a) What do you understand by the statement, “the digital divide is objectified in the design”?

    My understanding would be that the divide could be altered if technology became geared towards those who are using them. Having access to something that they have no clue how to use is pointless. We use iPhones for anything and everything but someone who lives in a country not as advanced as we are will not have the same needs for a mobile phone.

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    1. Krysti Finney says:

      Austin,

      I agree with your response towards having access to technology doesn’t mean we know how to really utilize it. Yes, we use our iPhones for everything these days! However, people in other countries may just use them for the simplistic means of calling when need be. I still look at my iPhone daily and see new apps that I never did before, etc. Technology evolves even without us knowing.

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  12. Michael Mack says:

    Study 1 a) There is a difference because women as head of households were less likely to have mobile phones. It is said that ben were , “three times more likely”(pg.5) to have a phone in the house. I also find it interesting that women were less likely to have a zero balance of credit as opposed to men. Does this assume that women have better credit than men? b) People with phones were more likely to have information on farming practices, disease etc.Both owners/nonowners had relied on traders for pricing . People with phones had an advantage because they were using radio, and using radio is “consistent with the socio economic status difference”(pg.6). Study 2 1.) For me it’s trying to say that the underprivileged has to go through many social inequalities and it even occurs in the functions of a phone. Even though they have access to the phone it still is “inaccessible” being that they aren’t as up to date with all of the changes and updates etc.

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  13. Krysti Finney says:

    Study 1 (Steinfielf et al) Questions:
    a) Do men and women differ in their use of mobile phones in this region, and if so, in what ways?
    In the survey by Steinfielf et al, there were several differences in the way men differ from women in relation to mobile phone use. Men reported to have more contacts than women and used their phones for things like farming and business. Women reported to use their phones for emergency and health purposes almost two times more than men. However, both genders were equal in calling family, playing games, and using alarms. It’s amazing how different urban life is from rural however, we seem to use our phones for almost the same things, family and business.

    b) Do mobile phone owners differ from non-owners in terms of their access to various sources of information related to farming practices?
    According to Steinfielf’s survey, those who own phones receive more information than non-phone owners. Between twenty to forty percent of non-phone owners reported to not have available informational resources to livestock, pest, and weather; which can be vital to their lively hood. It was interesting to learn that phone owners learned pricing from traders and not other resources. This goes to show that you could have everything at your finger tips but if you don’t know how to utilize it you could miss out on vital information.
    Study 2 (Wijetunga) Question:
    a) What do you understand by the statement, “the digital divide is objectified in the design”?
    Throughout this semester I have learned different reasons for a digital divide and how deep the digital divide actually goes. Wijetunga refers to objectification as, “The argument that prevailing social relations, including inequalities, are incorporated in, and are reproduced with the help of objects, (pg. 714).” To me the statement, “digital divide is objectified in the design” means that there are inequalities to having access to digital resources and those who are not able to have these resources could be looked down upon as inferior compared to those who have the means to these devices. It’s sad to live in such a materialistic world, where we care more about what we have instead of what we could do to help one another.

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  14. Evan Rose says:

    Study 1 (Steinfielf et al) Questions:

    a) Do men and women differ in their use of mobile phones in this region, and if so, in what ways?

    In the region specified in the study, Malawi, men and women differ in phone ownership and phone usage among gender. The study showed that households were less likely to have phones if women are the heads of the household as compared if men were the heads of the household (5). The same study showed that the respondents phone’s states were traditionally uniform among the sample and women’s phone were cheaper. In usage men texted more in the population and were shown to have higher levels of competence in application usage (6). It is important to note that the demographics pulled for the study were primarily from individuals and households involved in the country’s agricultural workers.

    b) Do mobile phone owners differ from non-owners in terms of their access to various sources of information related to farming practices?

    The answer to if mobile phone owners differ from non-owners in terms of their access to various sources of information related to farming practices is yes. In phone households, the use of extension agents for information were higher in farming practices than in non-phone households (6). This is standard for other farming information with the exception of weather where non-phone households use extension agent more than phone households who report 0% in that sources of information (6). The report states that, “phones may be supporting increased interaction with extension agents–slightly more than a quarter of phone owners (26.4%) report calling their extension agents” (6). Also, in each information category non-phone households report having no source for the information category. This study heavily implies that phone households an informational advantage over non-phone households.

    Study 2 (Wijetunga) Question:

    a) What do you understand by the statement, “the digital divide is objectified in the design”?

    In the opening of the report, Wijetunga states, “there is evidence that the monumental growth in mobile penetration of the poor populace is not paralleled by a growth in the quality of its use. The majority of the poor generally uses only the most basic functions offered by the mobile phone” (712-713). The findings of Wijetunga’s study showed that youth culture holds phone usage to the same pedigree across status groups but that there is a gap in privileged and underprivileged competencies in phone usage (717). These limits to competency include physical access, and different affordances of the phone. Problems that impair underprivileged groups include English instructions not being able to be understood, and a lack of experience. From what I understand about the readings the statement, “the digital divide is objectified in the design” pertains to the concept that the digital divide is fundamentally an issue of available resources and advantages of groups over other groups. The digital divide is at its core an issue of object usage and availability.

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  15. Ryan Struckel says:

    Study 1 (Steinfielf et al) Questions:

    a)Do men and women differ in their use of mobile phones in this region, and if so, in what ways?

    The study found that men were much more likely to own a mobile phone than women. They found that men used phone more for business connections and women used them more for contacting friends and family members. In this particular study, men used more text messaging than woman as well.

    b)Do mobile phone owners differ from non-owners in terms of their access to various sources of information related to farming practices

    According to the study, farm owners with mobile devices have more access to different agricultural methods. This can lead to increased productivity, less disease, and overall a larger sales amount than farmers who do not own mobile devices. This can create a gap between these two different farming practices.
    Study 2 (Wijetunga) Question

    a)What do you understand by the statement, “the digital divide is objectified in the design”?
    My understanding of the statement is that, in underprivileged areas they have the technology, but cannot use it. The skill level to understand the technology is not present in underprivileged areas. Newer technology is designed to build off of the previous model, and if they never had access to the previous, they do not have the knowledge to use the new model to its full potential.

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    1. Sunshine Codeluppi says:

      I also got the information that men owned more cell phones than women. It was interesting to me because men and women, nowadays, use phones for business just about the same amount! Women have worked their way up, and should not feel un-included in this concept. Either way, the study found men were using more mobile devices than women. I agree with your inputs.

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  16. Cree Daniels says:

    Study 1 (Steinfielf et al) Questions:

    a) The article acknowledges that there is a difference in the use of mobile devices between men and women. Calling behaviors, geographic networks, women’s access and ability to use mobile devises once access is available. Along with that, men were reported at three times more likely to have a mobile device in their household than women.

    b) The findings presented in this study show ownership of a phone provides increased access of resources to the owner in regards to farming. The non-phone owning farmers rely more heavily on personal knowledge and resources. Being that it’s a socioeconomic issue, farmers with more farmland are more likely to have access or the resources for a phone versus farmers with less land.

    Study 2 (Wijetunga) Question:

    a) This statement, to me, means that there remains a divide within the divide based on features and the access/knowledge people have to those features. Although people may have increased access their ability to operate the features is affected by a lack of understanding on how to use them.

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  17. Austin Lumpkin says:

    Study 1:

    a) Do men and women differ in their use of mobile phones in this region, and if so, in what ways?
    The article states, “Moreover, a gender imbalance was evident, with men accounting for 67% of the phone owning population, but 47% of the total population” (2). This means that more men are using mobile phones in general. Also men were less likely to make emergency calls and focused more on business related phone usage. Overall, the article found that there is similar mobile phone usage among the genders.

    b) Do mobile phone owners differ from non-owners in terms of their access to various sources of information related to farming practices?
    Yes, mobile phone owners differ from non-owners because mobile phone owners simply have more resources at their disposal. Mobile phone owners have access to better, quicker, and easier information through the use of social media and other sites. Non-phone owners have to rely on different devices such as radios and word of mouth to obtain information.

    Study 2:

    a) What do you understand by the statement, “the digital divide is objectified in the design”?
    I understand this comment in the sense that having a mobile phone doesn’t necessarily mean that the owner of the phone is using the technology to its full potential. Some people have mobile phones but some of the features on their phone isn’t ‘actionable’ for them due to lack of knowledge about the technology. This leaves them in a digital divide in terms of available information and general technological knowledge.

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  18. Prof says:

    Interesting and thoughtful insights everyone. Great job!

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  19. Robert Dotson says:

    Study # 1 First off we have to understand that men us mobile phones more than women. Like the article says, ” gender imbalance is evident”(pg. 2) . It was rare for women to use mobile devices in the households but why? You would think a woman would be more in tune with this popular form of communication. B.) I kind of feel like this was more of a common sense , someone having a phone bs someone without a phone will have quicker access to information. In this case yes there was a difference with those people getting information about farming via phone vs the ones who were left out. The folks with the phones were up to date with things like disease, pests, and all sorts of fun things. Study 2 A) This quote was another way to marginalized those who are apart of the digital divide. It’s like you giving someone who lacks education and technology a new computer. They are starting to get on board with technology but struggle with the basic functions of the computer.

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  20. Adam Little says:

    Study 1:

    a) Do men and women differ in their use of mobile phones in this region, and if so, in what ways?

    First it’s important to note that women in the region of Malawi were less likely to own a mobile phone when compared to the amount of men that own mobile phones. “Male respondents (48%) were three times more likely to report having a phone in the household then female respondents (17%) (pg 5). One interesting statistic worth noting is that women are far less likely to use text messaging than compared to men. The study also shows that on average man has 20%+ more contacts on his phone than a woman. Why is that? Well it could be to cultural reasons…or it could be do to more basic reasons such as not knowing how to use some of the features on the phone. According to the author, 93% of men that participated in the study had the ability to add a contact to their phone. Only 61% of women knew how to add a new contact. So it seems to me that men in the farming community rely on their phones more so than women in terms of business. One last statistic I will mention (because it’s funny) is that 80% of men knew how to delete their text messages, but only 45% of women knew how…hmmmmmm….sounds pretty fishy to me (cheating bastards).

    b) Do mobile phone owners differ from non-owners in terms of their access to various sources of information related to farming practices?

    Of course. The farmers who don’t have phones are at a huge disadvantage as far as gathering information goes. The study shows that those who don’t get an education are far more likely to not have a mobile phone, which directly relates to having a less successful farming business. The author points out that those who own a phone in fact own more land than those who don’t have phones. It all comes down to access of information, and the mobile phone owners will win in that department all day long. Conventional farming is changing everyday, the farmers with no phones will surely fall behind.

    Study 2:

    a) What do you understand by the statement, “the digital divide is objectified in the design”?

    It’s clear that this statement is referring to disadvantages that come with region and the use of technology. In America we have iPhones, and so do kids in Sri Lanka, but they aren’t used the same way. If you don’t have good internet access then your only able to call and text people. In America this is seen as a crisis. The ability to call and text in Sri Lanka is a blessing, so not having internet access isn’t the end of the world for children or business men/women. The same (new) physical technology is present, but the quality of use is subject to factors like WIFI and how a countries internet is set up. So the statement “the digital divide is objectified in the design” means that some groups will have advantages and some will not when it comes to the experiences they have with their mobile devices. This is do to outside factors as I’ve mentioned above, internet structure, poverty, political intervention, social status, etc.

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  21. Stefano Minale says:

    a) Do men and women differ in their use of mobile phones in this region, and if so, in what ways?

    Yes men and women differ in their use of mobile devices according to the steinfield article. “There is ample evidence that, in developing regions, women are less likely to own phones, are more likely to share their phone with others, and make fewer calls to business-related contacts” (Stienfield, 2). It is said that men use phones to connect with friends and use SMS more often than women. It is also said that men were more likely to be the initiators of phone calls and women are more than likely those recipatants. It is interesting to see that women could make up half the population but mobile devices are used up by more than half of the population by men.

    b) Do mobile phone owners differ from non-owners in terms of their access to various sources of information related to farming practice?
    Yes, “Finally, phone owners do demonstrate some differences from non- owners in terms of their access to various sources of information related to farming practices” (Stienfield, 5). Mobile phone owners have access to more resources and to farmers they find new innovative ways to produce crops and find useful other techniques that non-owners of mobile devices don’t have access to, thus farmers that possess mobile phones have more of an advantage farming and non-mobile phone owners rely on their original and personal techniques.

    a) What do you understand by the statement, “the digital divide is objectified in the design”?

    My understanding of the statement “the digital divide is objectified in the design” is that people may have access to particular mobile devices or technological devices but don’t posses the skills to apprehend one of these objects, whether it that they only have access for little amounts of time or aren’t taught how to use them properly to where it shows them personal use.

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  22. Benjamin Epling says:

    Study 1 (Steinfielf et al) Questions:

    a) Do men and women differ in their use of mobile phones in this region, and if so, in what ways?

    There is a large difference in how men and women use their phones in the region. In the region it is more common for a man to have a phone rather than a women. Men seemed to be more technologically literate about how to use phones and how to use them to their full potential. Men are able to add and delete contacts and know how to communicate effectively through texting. Another, difference between men and women is how they use phone calls to handle personal and professional matters. Men use their mobile phones for business and farm contacts regularly while women tend to use mobile phones for personal reasons to contact friends and family

    b) Do mobile phone owners differ from non-owners in terms of their access to various sources of information related to farming practices?

    When individuals with mobile phones are compared to people that don’t own phones you see there is a difference to access to information. There’s a number of framing practices that people that don’t have mobile phones have a less chance of learning. Owners of phones were able to have a better access to information and resources that dealt with farming practices. Communication between sources was better when an individual had a phone to gather information on farming.

    Study 2 (Wijetunga) Question:

    a) What do you understand by the statement, “the digital divide is objectified in the design”?

    The digital divide is objectified in the design because of how phones and technology is marketed and distributed. There’s a large range of inequality’s that create the digital divide. Those who aren’t as privileged to have access to technologies. Certain capital has to be achieved to be able to use and afford ICT. Those who aren’t in the best situations to have money or cultural capital will always to left out because that is how the digital divide is objectified in design.

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  23. Wendy Weyers says:

    Study 1 (Steinfielf et al) Questions:
    a) Do men and women differ in their use of mobile phones in this region, and if so, in what ways?

    In this region men and women do differ in their use of mobile phones. According to Steinfield et al. “Although women were less likely to have phones, contrary to findings reported in other studies, we did not find much evidence that women’s phones were of lower quality, older, in worse condition, or acquired in a different way then men’s phones”. There were fewer women who use mobile phones but there were also differences in the way women and men use mobile phones. Women were more likely to keep their credit up, more likely to use phones for emergency and health related reasons, sent less texts, and were less competent in phone usage than men.

    b) Do mobile phone owners differ from non-owners in terms of their access to various sources of information related to farming practices?

    Mobile phone owners have more access to information related to farming practices, except for prices, which both owners and non-owners have to get from traders. Mobile phone owners were more likely to receive information from their agricultural extension officers and radios compared to non-phone owners. There is also a socio-economic difference between mobile phone owners and non-owners so mobile phone owners are more likely to be able to afford a radio to get the information. Mobile phone owners are slightly more likely to call their extension agents because they have a mobile phone and there were a larger amount of non-owners who reported having no sources at all.

    Study 2 (Wijetunga) Question:
    a)What do you understand by the statement, “the digital divide is objectified in the design”?

    After reading the text I understand this statement to mean that even if someone has access and owns to new technology and new phones there are other inequalities that prevent them from being able to use the technology correctly or efficiently. If someone has a cheap phone that they can afford it may not be able to text and might only be able to make phone calls or the opposite may happen where the phone has too many uses that the person might not understand how to use because they’re underprivileged and wouldn’t be able to understand without being taught how to use it. They also might have disabilities that would make it difficult to read small text on a screen and have issues with texting or using apps. Someone could also not have access to the Internet and wouldn’t be able to do anything with their phone besides texting and calling using their data.

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  24. Joseph Weldon says:

    Study 1 (Steinfielf et al) Questions:

    a) Do men and women differ in their use of mobile phones in this region, and if so, in what ways?
    From the reading, “Male respondents (48%) were three times more likely to report having a phone in the household then female respondents (17%)” (Steinfielf). So given this data, men use mobile phones more as they reportedly have 3 times the amount of phones than women do in this region.

    b) Do mobile phone owners differ from non-owners in terms of their access to various sources of information related to farming practices?
    Yes, mobile phone owners differ from non-owners in terms of their access to various sources of information related to farming practices. From the reading, “Phone owners are more likely to have external information sources, mainly from their access to radio and their greater reliance on extension workers” (Steinfielf).

    Study 2 (Wijetunga) Question:

    a) What do you understand by the statement, “the digital divide is objectified in the design”?
    To me, this statement means that the digital divide has many different meanings. And these meanings are determined by how the digital divide is measured or viewed.

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  25. Sunshine Codeluppi says:

    Study 1 Questions:

    a) Do men and women differ in their use of mobile phones in this region, and if so, in what ways?

    According to the reading, women are less likely to have cellphones, especially if they were the heads of the household. Men are significantly more likely to own cell phones. Overall, it seemed that the study found that men were completely more likely to have mobile phones than any women.

    b) Do mobile phone owners differ from non-owners in terms of their access to various sources of information related to farming practices?

    According to the reading, families that did not own mobile phones had a significant more amount of farm land. Families with a higher socio-economic status owned more phones, and were overall better off than those who were in a lower position. Those who did not have phones were much more reliable on conventional methods of relaying information. Higher education also had something to do with those who had access to mobile phones.

    Study2 Question:

    a) What do you understand by the statement, “the digital divide is objectified in the design”?

    The reading explained that the digital divide can be explained by people who do not, and do have access to technology or cell phones. Of course, many people have access to mobile devices, but still choose the cheapest and most simple form of technology to use.

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  26. Chad Gerzeny says:

    Study 1 (Steinfielf et al) Questions:
    a) Do men and women differ in their use of mobile phones in this region, and if so, in what ways?

    This is a very interesting question. The text touches on a couple data statistics regarding gender differences in mobile phone use, particularly as it relates to the underdeveloped country of Malawi. About 85% of the population lives in rural areas. Those demographic stats are a common element of the technological gap. I found it most interesting that men in this particular study overwhelmingly reported more phone use in the household compared to women. Men accounted for 67% of the phone owning population, yet 47% of the total population. The article mentions women are more likely to share their phones in Malawi in comparison to men. This could help give some explanation as to why men appear more privileged. I don’t think men and women drastically differ in the amount of time one or the other uses their mobile phone, however, I do believe the application of their phone or how they’re using the content on the phone is a difference.

    b) Do mobile phone owners differ from non-owners in terms of their access to various sources of information related to farming practices?

    The text does not necessarily agree with this notion, but I can understand where how this would be a huge disadvantage for non mobile phone owners in Malawi. As we know, technology is always developing and the Internet has become a common source for everyone to learn and communicate Communication is how globalization came about, and so missing out on the opportunity to learn and communicate with other people around the world regarding newly developed farming techniques, would almost certainly pose a disadvantage. The text simply mentions that an increase in exposure to mobile technology shows no correlation to a higher income for small farmers in Malawi.

    Study 2 (Wijetunga) Question:
    a) What do you understand by the statement, “the digital divide is objectified in the design”?

    The text defines an objectified digital divide as the argument that prevailing social relations, including inequalities, are incorporated in, and are reproduced with the help of objects (technology) and broad social structures. This is an interesting concept. When you see pictures on the news of people in third world countries using technology, it’s almost like they are stuck back ten years ago to where the first world countries are technologically. They have older phones, older looking computers, slower software, and technology with fewer capabilities. These facts truly define the inequalities themselves, in that, because they are poorer we must assume they deserve less. We objectify the design of technology to fit what us developed nations deem suitable for these third world countries. We do not even give them a chance to learn.

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  27. Vincent Romeo says:

    Study 1 (Steinfielf et al) Questions:

    a) Do men and women differ in their use of mobile phones in this region, and if so, in what ways?

    Yes, men and women do indeed differ in their use fo mobile phones in Malawi. If a woman was the head of the house, the study showed that the family in question would then be less likely to own mobile phones. The study also found that men were 3 times as likely to own a mobile phone than women as well.

    b) Do mobile phone owners differ from non-owners in terms of their access to various sources of information related to farming practices?

    Yes, mobile phone owners do indeed differ from non-owners in terms of the access they have to information. It was found that mobile phone owners had far more access to information, simply put having an internet connection will obviously lead you to a greater wealth of information at your disposal.

    Study 2 (Wijetunga) Question:

    a) What do you understand by the statement, “the digital divide is objectified in the design”?

    I think this essentially means, that in creating and pushing the boundaries of a technology a divide is inherently created due to lack of access to the new technology in question. Also the digital divide is in essence very physical as well, at its core it is just a theory/concept that’s useful when trying to understand the discrepancies/usage differences between individuals and their relationships with digital technology. However because having access to the device in general is very integral in explaining these differences, the divide is very physical in the sense that if you do not have a physical device than you are already on the rough side of the gap.

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