Encapsulations of E-mail

Date: Mon, 03 Mar 1997 11:13:46 -0800 From: Sarah Manyika <smanyika@uclink4.berkeley.edu> To: infosys296@uclink4.berkeley.edu

Subject: Did any of our group meet on Saturday?


I wanted to find out if any of our group met on Saturday?

We must try and finalize our approach so that we can have focus. So far I think we have two approaches. Teena's suggestion (I think)is to virtually chart the problematics in doing such a project and the disconnects between those who for example have content and those who have technological expertise etc. Sarah's suggestion is that we all pick a topic that is pertinent to our base issue "Technology is not neutral" and each person takes responsibility for their particular subject in terms of providing content for others. The group's discussion/reaction to these various topics will then form the basis of our web site, narrowcasting or whatever technoloical approach we take ...

Any other suggestions? Can we come to some sort of decision?

Date: Wed, 05 Mar 1997 01:04:32 -0800 From: Sarah Manyika <smanyika@uclink4.berkeley.edu> To: infosys296@uclink4.berkeley.edu

Subject: Re:Group Focus

Thanks for responding Young.

If we do go with the plan that I have suggested then perhaps Teena, your "topic" could be to look at the issues that you proposed. If we are agreed on approach, the one element that we need to settle is how we "distribute" our groups' knowledge. Suggestions?

If we go ahead with this particular approach, here is my topic:

Educational Technology. Who is controlling/writing software and what sorts of "intelligences" is educational technology promoting/disregarding.

A suggested reading for this topic is Monty Neill's article in "Resisting the Virtual Life" The chapter is entitled: Computers, Thinking, and Schools in the "New World Economic Order".

Teena, Clarence, Selina ... what do you think? Can we agree on this approach?

Date: Mon, 10 Mar 1997 19:31:11 -0800 From: Sarah Manyika <smanyika@uclink4.berkeley.edu> To: Young Paik <ypaik@info.sims.berkeley.edu> Subject: 296

Hi Young,

Hope you had a good weekend ... and I hope that your interview went well

I received an email from Teena saying that she is dropping the course ... were you aware of this?

Now there are only 4 in our group. I will write up a creative summary (as we discussed) of the problems we have had etc. for us to paste on the web and I will email it to you by Wednesday. Are you still able to meet at 9:00 on Thursday at the SIMS computer lab?

I am including a description of an event (yet another!) that might be of interest to the group. I will give the Selina and Clarence a call to tell them about it.

"The Electronic Age: A Look at the Impacts and Implications for Communities of Color" will take place on March 13 from 2:30-4:00pm in the Alumni House. It will feature speakers Eugene Garcia, Dean of the Graduate School of Education at Berkeley, Ceasar McDowell, Assistant Professor, Graduate School of Education at Harvard University and Armando Valdez, Ph. D., of Valdez and Associates. The speakers will focus on the lack of accessibility to new computer technology and its effect on education and social development in the Latino and African American communities.

Date: Mon, 17 Mar 1997 20:38:48 -0800 From: Sarah Manyika <smanyika@uclink4.berkeley.edu> To: infosys296@uclink4.berkeley.edu

Subject: Hegemony Group

Hi Selina and Young

I just finished reading the Wired article entitled "Birth of a Digital Nation" (Jon Katz)and I found it quite interesting in the light of our topic that is looking at "the voiceless and those with voice on the information superhighway". Good choice Young!

This new "digital nation's" discourse is revolutionary and exciting in one sense. There is an emphasis on tolerance and on the desire for information to be free. There is also a sense of discovery and true freedom of expression.

However, as the author himself points out, "the members of the Digital Nation are not representative of the population as a whole" - they are predominantly male, white, educated and economically well off. In the author's own words, "The digital world is often disconnected from many of the world's problems by virtue of its members' affluence and social standing. Founded in the bedrooms of suburban hackers and the classrooms of prestigious institutions, it has often been derided as self-absorbed. It has yet to respond to any political or social crisis that doesn't directly concern it". This being the case, the term "revolutionary" does not seem an appropriate label for this group. Nonconformist perhaps but not revolutionary.

I also have some reservations about the primacy that American culture and this group in particular place on "individualism". The author does talk about the building of a "community" but he doesn't really elaborate on this.

I realize as I write that the society in which I live has conditioned me to be cynical and yet I want to be positive and excited about the prospects of this new Digital Nation.

Date: Tue, 18 Mar 1997 20:58:19 -0800 (PST) From: Son-Ieng Selina Sou <bearbear@uclink2.berkeley.edu> To: infosys296@uclink4.berkeley.edu

Subject: Selina's response to the readings

Hi Sarah and Young, I have finished reading your articles and I think that they are very interesting and add to my better understanding of the topic that we are working on. Thanx!

I'd like to give some of my views concerning these two articles: one on education, and the other on political discourses. I am going to lay out their common theme(s), and also some of their differences.

First, I think that both articles try to address one theme --- Is Digital Nation (or Cyberspace) really liberating people in terms of retrieving information, as well as expressing opinion. I got a sense from the article by Monty Neill that the Internet is not as liberatory as it seems (at least in the realm of education) due to the issues of control and access. Since telecommunication corporations can "aid" poor schools by offering wires, they can hook the schools to "corporate coffers" (p.184). As a result, students are forced to watch ads which they might not want. Besides, informations and learning materials that students could get from the Internet is also limited. (We could all get a sense of it when we could not obtain images that have in mind from the MESL sites.) Nevertheless, learning from the Website alone is too limited. We should "use" the computer to assist in our learning, instead of relying on it to determine what we should learn.

Contrary to the "nonliberatory" (p.181) view of education posed by Neill, Jon Katz in the "Birth of a Digital Nation" gives more credits to the use of the Net. He sees that "talking" on the Internet is far more liberating that in real life. It is because the views on the Internet bears no boundaries or discrimination in terms of race and ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, etc (p.184). It is open to all kinds of criticisms and carries views different from mainstream political parties like the Democrats, Republicans and so on. Besides, it serves as a "battle ground" for conflicting ideas which he calls "alienation online" (p.190), those which may be left unheard in real life politics. So, instead of being shaped by "the owners", the users (Digital Young) get a better sense of being an individual. but, it does have its setbacks.

I agree with Sarah (and of course, the author himself) that the Digital Nation is hardly representative. It is still a privilege of the "richer, highly educated, disproportionately white" group (p.52). Even though it is not a social good of the politicians, nor the corporations, nor the journalists, it is still a fairly white dominated forum.

Based on the above response, I come up with a tentative notion that computers or Internet may be a better tool in terms of providing a space for wild ideas to flow (provided of course, that not only the richer guys have the chance to speak). It is still a very inadequate means of replacing education in schools which focus on interaction and active learning.

I may be adding some thoughts regarding the special event that Sarah and I attended this afternoon. The comments would be related to Young's topic. I guess I have talked too much :) Thanx for your patience!!!


Date: Fri, 21 Mar 1997 09:52:46 -0800 (PST) From: Son-Ieng Selina Sou <bearbear@uclink2.berkeley.edu> To: infosys296@uclink4.berkeley.edu Subject: some thoughts about the talk on HRNETAfrica

Hi Sarah and Young, Here are some thoughts about the talk that Sarah and I attended on Tuesday: (You would understand it better after reading Sarah's recap of this event.

As I have already mentioned in the previous mail, Jon Katz's view of the Digital Nation is that it is still not representative of the general mass. It is still a "privilege" of the white, the well-off, and highly educated people. If we look at the issue on another level, that is, from the group who "now" has the voice on the Net, not ALL of them get their voices heard either. Like Professor (sorry, I forgot the name of the speaker!!!) said, many issues get filtered through the Euro-American networks, thus the reporting of the actual condition or situation becomes merely events (that fits in the Euro-American discourse.) Hence, it is possible that not all voices from the white elite has the chance to speak either.

In my opinion, if the Digital Nation is really a "free" channel which people could express their ideas without being humiliated or arrested (p.52), it should still allow or encourage the mainstream politics like the Democrats, Republicans,etc to participate in the discourse. The Digital Young should have the voice, and so should the old folks. The flow of challenging ideas is really essential to the "liberatory notion" (the liberation of the individual) of the Net.

Besides, if it is really "blind to the color and ethnic heritage of the people who enter their culture,"(p.184) then it should be opened to minorities (for instance, the African community), let them speak for themselves, not throught the lens of other people.

Moreover,the Digital Nation should also be "classless" in terms of its accessibility, to make it affordable to everybody regardless of their social status and income level. For these reasons, the Digital Nation still has a lot to improve.

I am really glad to know that the Human Rights Network for Africa (HRNETAfrica) has come into being. It offers the minority the chance to express their views, to look at issues through their own lens, and to interpret them more vividly by using their own social and historical experience.

I will be writing the summary for Monty Neill's article later. Keep track on your mail!


Date: Sun, 30 Mar 1997 15:34:57 -0800 (PST) From: Son-Ieng Selina Sou <bearbear@uclink2.berkeley.edu> To: infosys296@uclink4.berkeley.edu

Subject: summary of the article by Monty Neill

Hi, Sarah and Young, I am very sorry that I was not able to meet with you guys on Thursday morning. Actually, I have been out of town since last Saturday, and I just came back tonight. I checked mail just now and realized that we were supposed to meet today. Please keep me informed if any new ideas came up this morning.

The following is the summary of the article by Neill:

Neill focused on the issue of education in relations to future jobs. Can computer replace the current education system and create a new generation of work force capable of filling high-tech jobs? Neill posits that it was unlikely due to several reasons: 1. The job market is not going to be high-tech intensive; 2. Replacing computer into the school system would create a wider gap between the rich and the poor. Only the well-off could afford an education which concentrate on computer. 3. The poor would risk being controlled by big corporations who support their expense to run computers in school; 4. The area which enables students to think would be limited; 5. High-tech jobs are not needed in poor communities; 6. The idea of developing computers to aid students to "think" is obscure. It is because people who developed "thinking machine" did not need any machines to help them think in the first place; 7. The purpose of developing such a scheme is for the capitalists to get rid of the working class.

In sum, it would be the people with money who have the power of access as well as the control of the thinking for other people. Many people who be excluded or manipulated as a result, and inequalities in society would be perpuated and worsened.

Sarah and Young, Is the length of this summary good enough? Or do I need to give some more detail? Any suggestions would be welcomed. Also, I would like to know what kind of movie we are going to watch. Please tell me ASAP. Thanks!


Date: Wed, 26 Mar 1997 18:09:27 -0800 From: Sarah Manyika <smanyika@uclink4.berkeley.edu> To: Young Paik <ypaik@info.sims.berkeley.edu> Cc: infosys296@uclink4.berkeley.edu

Subject: Re: Sci fi film and tomorrow's meeting

Hi Young,

Thanks for giving me the location of our web site. I think we should let Howard and the class know where it is now or are we going to move it back? I'm just a little confused. When I went to the web site I couldn't find the statatement of our group. I clicked onto Technical Hegomony and only found a link to our group email and some pages "under construction". It was also very hard to read the text on this page. Perhaps we can change the colour and enlarge the font size.

The earliest I can get to campus tomorrow will be at 11:30am. Will this work for you? There is also a very slight chance that I won't be able to make it at all as our guest from Zimbabwe is on standby for a flight that will arrive at midday tomorrow. However, I will let the group know by 10:00am tomorrow if I am unable to come. Let me know if 11:30am works for you.

I think we can agree that the video we watch is "Brazil". Is this okay with you Selina?

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