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  • Digital divide? (Score:2, Interesting)

    The second one is to sponsor a computer and internet connection for all households under a certain revenue level that have a child in secondary school (15-18 years old) in order to reduce the digital divide and to gradually replace the Minitel.

    (Warning: this is not articulate. Just points for discussion. That's something we could discuss at some meeting, maybe?)

    Don't you think the so-called "digital divide" is just another buzzword in the general "France is lagging behind" trend? I suppose chea

    • I don't know if I made the point clear in my journal, and anyway that point was vastly clarified in an amendment made at yesterday's meeting. Here are a few (inarticulate as well ;-) clarifications:

      Digital divide was my word, not that of the program. I had a look at a few numbers yesterday and the main point on which France is lagging is in equipment of households. For the rest, France is doing either as well or better than other european countries. What I meant by digital divide is exactly what you said: kids with a computer at home have stronger chances of success than other kids, a majority of which are already poorer. This gap however is mostly clear in secondary school, and university. Earlier, other factors seem to take over (such as access to books). Honestly, I can't stand the word either and am very wary of how it is used. It is however an existing word that has its share of reality, at least for those that know what they're talking about.

      That's why the brunt of the idea is to 1) provide a computer to households that have a kid in secondary school and are under a given revenue level (probably those that are entitled to the "allocation rentrée"), and 2) provide a lease for laptops to university students. The lease will be cofinanced by the state and will make a laptop available to them (which they'll eventually own at the end of the lease) for less than €15 a month. The reason that a laptop is preferred here is that it works much better with student lifestyle.

      As for computers in schools, I 95% agree (and so does the program). The test projects to put a computer on every desk in schools are stupid and useless, and by no means should schools cease to be general and become cyberformation centers. There are a few points for which I think they are useful however, it's all a question of knowing what to use them for. Thankfully, people have learnt from the vast computers-in-all-schools Mitterand plan, which was in many parts a failure.

      One point where the computer can be useful is in collège and lycée, available for a few special tasks here and there. There don't need to be many, just a few to fill some needs. Another point where they can be useful is in primary schools. The idea here is not to teach kids how to use a computer, but to provide them with a strict minimal familiarity with them. Enough to know that a keyboard is something you type on, and to avoid people shaking a mouse in the air and calling it a mulot ;-) It's sad but there are still people like that today and it's not limited to the president. Some of them are young. Even having the faintest idea of how such a beast operates can go a long way imho. Again, this doesn't require many computers, just the small lot that kids can rotate on to get familiar with the basics.


      -- Robin Berjon []