Does Information Technology Create More Jobs?

Vending Machine Services in Japan.

Vending Machine Services in Japan.

Information technology revolution crated more jobs in developing countries during 1975-1999, for instance there were 42 million new jobs in the U.S., 11 million jobs in Japan, and 8 million jobs in EU (Castells, 1999). The network economy generates a diverse employing models: part-time, temporary work, self-employment, subcontracting which are representing majority of work force in Italy, U.K., and Netherlands. This evidence supports a promising future that labor forces were not replaced by the machines. In contrast, the new economic system during ICT revolution generated more jobs.

Really?

This was partially true, there was evidence from United States Department of Labour to support that during 1975 to 2000. The unemployment rate had been decreased drastically. In 2000, the unemployment rate was only 4%.

Nevertheless, this might not be the case in 2010 where the unemployment rate was increased to 9.6%. after the economy crisis in 2008. This economy crisis in the U.S. indicates the start of a systemic crisis of neoliberal capitalism and major economic restructuring is likely to follow (Kotz, 2009).

And here is what could be observed today.

Occupy Wall Street demonstrators move through the streets of lower Manhattan near the New York Stock Exchange during a "day of action" in New York, November 17, 2011

Occupy Wall Street demonstrators move through the streets of lower Manhattan near the New York Stock Exchange during a "day of action" in New York, November 17, 2011

The good news is the unemployment rate was decreased to 8.6% in November 2011  which was the lowest it has been in two and a half years.

While I am not sure where are the missing jobs or does information technology really create more jobs? We are living in uncertain world of information revolution.

In those developing countries, I believe machine is replacing workforce. Educators are in urgent to prepare the students to be able to adopt ICTs into their lives and be ready to take opportunities of this new economic platform.

For those developing countries, the new form of economic is approaching. And it is a good time to start reforming the educational system.

Reference:

Castells, M. (1999). The social implications of information and communication technologies. The World Social Science Report. Paris: UNESCO, 236-245.

Kotz, D. M. (2009). The financial and economic crisis of 2008: A systemic crisis of neoliberal capitalism. Review of Radical Political Economics September 2009, 41(3), 305-317.

 


Expose The Real World With Social Software

Readings this week gives me a lot of thoughts and leads me think about my students in Thailand.

Summer 2010: My Students in Boarding Areas Between Thailand and Burma.

Summer 2010: My Students in Boarding Areas Between Thailand and Burma.

In summer 2010, before I started my program at Teachers College, I had spent three months as a volunteer, teaching economically disadvantage students at a public school in the north of Thailand – boarding area between Thailand and Burma. Due to the fact that those students’ families were distant from school, it was impossible for most of them to commute to school every day. As a result those students need to stay in the school. Teachers are responsible for raising the children full-time from grade 1 to grade 12. Geographically, students here do not really have a chance to be exposed to the real world outside. Teachers were the most influencers for their development.

As discussed with the principal, students did have low exposure to the real world. The school was not successful in academic achievement. No one was admitted into colleges. In addition, the students did not feel that they are ready to workers after the graduation. In a nutshell, they did not feel confident about their lives in the future.

While everything seems to be insufficient, the school had two computer labs with over 100 PCs for students and WIFI Internet.

The Students in The Computer Lab, A Promising Educational Resource in The School.

The Students in The Computer Lab, A Promising Educational Resource in The School.

The readings this week pointed out many promising opportunities for my students. According to Schroeder, Minocha, and Schneidert (2010) “Social software can build social relationship, improve learning, enhance communication between students and educators, create and maintain communities, and exploit opportunities.”

I believe that the use of social software in the school would be able to help those children to be able to expose to the real world that they are missing. In addition, it can prepare the students to be ready for their future after graduation. For example, they would be able to express their thoughts (with anonymous or identified conditions), work as a team (collaborative learning and working), and practice authorship (writing their literatures and reflecting others’ works).

One concern, we need to take into account is the risk of computer use in school. Due to a high student-teacher ratio, there might not be sufficient number of teachers to monitors computer use outside the classes. This might become a big challenge for the principal to make a consideration to allow students to use computers. Software to help teachers to monitor must be deployed before implementation.


Shall We Meet?

You've Got Mail is a 1998 American romantic comedy film directed by Nora Ephron, starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan.

You've Got Mail is a 1998 American romantic comedy film directed by Nora Ephron, starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan.

In 1998, Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks appear in a romantic comedy movie: You’ve Got Mail. He’s the owner of a bookstore chain. She’s the woman he falls for online. Both are reluctant to meet in person in the beginning. They are are unaware that she runs the little shop his company is trying to shut down.  Nevertheless, the story turns to be a romantic story at the end. They finally meet in person – Happy Ending!

In 2006, one of my friends (from Thailand) came to the U.S. She studied at NYU and also worked as a manager at a bakery chain. Because of her work and study, she did not have free time for herself. She had been single and felt lonely in this hectic city. One of her friends suggested http://www.match.com to her. She met a nice American gentleman from the site. After establishing online relationship for a while, they finally met face-to-face. Two years later, they got married. They have been together for 4 years. – Happy Ending!

According to Hancock, Toma and Ellison (2007), “Online daters appear to intentionally take advantage of the profile features that afford the enhancement of their self-presentation (e.g. editability, asynchronicity), while bearing in mind the socio-technical constraints of online dating profiles (e.g. recordability and anticipated face-to-face interaction)” (p.452).

Certain deceptions are about to be spotted when they ask each other “Shall We Meet?”

1998 – In You’ve Got Mail, they spent months to make decision that they will meet in person.

2006 – My friend spent weeks to decide that they would in face-to-face first encounters.

How about 2011? When will daters first meet?

Based on Nielsen Report , 40% of adult US mobile phone owners have a smartphone as of July 2011, and expect smartphones to become the majority by the end of 2011. With smartphone, we can know where the 0bjects or persons are by using “Geolocation”. Geolocation also has great potential for online dating. One famous mobile dating application for gay men, is Grindr. It lets we know details of nearby men, whose pictures and personal information are displayed in order of proximity, based on their phone’s GPS location (Euromonitor, 2011).

Grindr launched in 2009. Now, there are 2 million users in over 190 countries. Grindr plans to launch a straight version in August 2011

Grindr launched in 2009. Now, there are 2 million users in over 190 countries. Grindr plans to launch a straight version in August 2011

People intentionally create inaccurate profiles in order to attract their potential daters. On the other hand, mobile technology strengthens socio-technical constraints. – Geolocation makes people quickly build online relationship and make them easy to meet face-to-face.

Is it a good idea to spend time creating inaccurate profiles in 2011?

Reference:

Hancock, J., Toma, C., & Ellison, N. (2007). The truth about lying in online dating profiles. In B. Begole, S. Payne, E. Churchill, R. St. Amant, D. Gilmore, & M.B. Rosson (Eds.), Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on Human factors in computing sy

Euromonitor (2011, August 29). I Can See You! Smartphone Use Drives Boom in the Use of Geolocation Software. Euromonitor Global Market Research Blog. Retrieved from http://blog.euromonitor.com/2011/08/i-can-see-you-smartphone-use-drives-boom-in-the-use-of-geolocation-software.html

 


Will You Impose Sanction?

Facebook, a leading social networking service (SNS) encourages users to use real identities on their profiles in order to create trust relationship, connect with more people and expand networking. On the other hand, online users also see connections as a tool to verify personal identity. But it does not mean that it will be totally reliable.

Verifying personal identity consists of that person shows real identity, know the subject and would impose sanction (Donath & boyd, 2004). This is a strong social mechanic to protect personal identities on SNSs. And it possibly makes us believe that identity thief seems to be impossible, because our friends would detect those questionable/wrong identities and they will impose sanction.  At the end, we would know who are trying to steal our identities.

It might be true, but from the class discussion on Nov 3, 2011, we seem to ignore about questionable/wrong identities and we tend not to impose sanction.

Will you Impose sanction?

Will you Impose sanction?

In the class discussion on Thursday November 3, 2011, I asked the class about “Fame, your colleague claims that she was a cheerleader in a college. You were her classmate. You know that she was not a cheerleader. Will you impose sanction?”. As you may remember, most of us say, “No, I will not impose sanction.” Even, I dramatized the situation, “Fame is a new girlfriend of your ex.”. Most of our classmates insisted that we do not want to impose sanctions.

The result of class discussion pointed out that wrong identities are possibly presented without sanctions (from friends) in SNSs.  This leads us to rethink about social mechanic to protect identity thief. I believe hackers would love to hear this piece of information, since it will be easy for them to say anything on SNSs (after they can hack your identity). For example, they can ask for the money/help on SNSs and no one will impose sanction on what they are saying.

There is an interesting case: Hackers changed status on victim’s Facebook profile. Then hackers sent email to victim’s friends, asking for help and money.  Enjoy the clip and be careful on your identity.

Reference:

Donath, J., & boyd, d. (2004). Public displays of connection. BT Technology Journal, 22(4), 71-82.


Why Japanese Online Users Do Not Click “Like” Facebook?

Mixi, No.1 Social Networking Website in Japan With More Than 20 Million Users.

Mixi, No.1 Social Networking Website in Japan With More Than 20 Million Users.

A study from Stanford University suggests that persuasive styles of Facebook (from the U.S.) and Mixi (from Japan) reflect culture differences of the two nations. This critique paper argues that persuasive design elements of both websites are similar (or mostly the same). The key difference between the two sites is the view of users’ identities in American and Japanese cultures.

In a survey of 2,130 Japanese mobile Web users, 89 percent of respondents said they are reluctant to disclose their real names on the Web. Mixi’s users are not encouraged to reveal their identities or even their profile pictures. A large number of Japanese users in Mixi use animals, toys, or celebrities as their profile pictures.

In addition, a 2010 survey by Microsoft points out that more than half of Japanese respondents said that no one in the friend list of their SNSs was a close friend.

This is an evidence to support why Japanese online users prefer Mixi, a SNS website that does not encourage its users to reveal their real identities.


Cloud Computing Crisis in South Park

“No one in South Park has Internet and there’s no telling when, or even if, it will come back. Desperation sets in as the fear of the unknown spreads rapidly across the country. When Randy hears there still may be some Internet out in California, he packs up his family and heads west in search of a signal.”

South Park: Randy’s family needs to migrate to Silicon Valley in order to seek for Internet usage.

South Park: Randy’s family needs to migrate to Silicon Valley in order to seek for Internet usage.

Silicon Valley seems to be the last resource of Internet in the story. Silicon Valley turns to be a refugee camp and people need to cue for the use of Internet.

Unquestionably, our lives do rely on Internet. When I was watching this South Park episode in Spring 2011, I was realized how serious the problem could in in real world.

What would happen if people could not access cloud computing? Jaeger, Lin, Grimes and Simmons pointed on in their article that services providers and government need to be very careful about the placement of data center. Energy-saving natural features and safety are two key considerations (2009).

As a graduate student in the U.S., I feel impressed by policies of cloud computing in this nation. Considering about energy and safety, “The Google Navy”, the idea to locate data centers on ships in international waters seems to be a thoughtful way out.

Nevertheless, as being an international student, I do have some concern on cloud computing for users outside the U.S. who need to rely on it but they might not have their voices and powers to control it.

What would happen if there was a global crisis about cloud computing as same as it happens in South Park. People in the U.S. might be survived since the U.S. is the location of data centers. How about the rest of the world?

While I could not imagine how terrible it is in those developing countries, the story of South Park makes me think of one country who might not be effected by the crisis, China. While most of world population rely on global cloud computing services like Facebook, Google, Twitter. In 2009, China blocked those international services. This seems to be questionable at the beginning.

Social Medias in China

Social Medias in China

Nevertheless, there must be many reasons behind the ban in in China. Security and privacy issue shall be one of those important reasons. If there is a global crisis about cloud computing, for example, people could not access Facebook, Google or Twitter, China citizens might has effects in minimum. Why? As long as they can access the Internet. Their lives will be the same, they can enjoy their own social medias which are not international cloud computing services providers. China has their own versions of cloud computing services which offer similar services as Google, Youtube, and Facebook. The equivalent of Twitter in China is Sina Weibo (www.sina.com.cn), and the two equivalents of YouTube are Tudou and Youku (www.tudou.com and http://www.youku.com, respectively). The most similar services of Facebook is http://www.renren.com. … Sounds good?

Reference:

Jaeger, P. T., Grimes, J. M., & Simmons, S. N (2009, May).  Where is the cloud? Geography, economics, environment, and jurisdiction in cloud computing. First Monday, 14,(5 – 4).


How to Help Asian Students Feel Free to Share Their Thoughts?

Teacher-Centered: Learning Environment in China

Teacher-Centered: Learning Environment in China

Spring 2011: My first semester in Teachers College Columbia University. I was stunned by the U.S. educational system, especially group dynamic in classroom discussion. My classmates did enjoy participating in classroom activities. Especially, American students they felt free to express their thoughts in front of professors and colleagues. Nevertheless, it was clear that those international students (especially from those Asian students) were not confident to share their ideas in the classes.

Asian students generally tend to display reserved characteristics when voluntarily sharing thoughts in classroom, comparing to non-Asian students. Differences may exist in the preferences of students from diverse cultural backgrounds (Ramburuth & McCormick, 2001). In terms of Asian students, possible factors for such phenomenon include that 1) high parental expectation levels lead the Asian students to be more afraid of making errors than non-Asian students, and 2) Asian students are more adapted to teacher-centered classroom environment, in which they do not feel comfortable of liberally expressing and presenting their own opinions to other classmates. Such unbalanced participation level has been a critical problem in school setting, particularly among multi-cultural classrooms. In a nutshell, identify is the key reason leads Asian students not to feel comfortable to express their thoughts in front of others.

How can we help those students to be able to express themselves in front of others? Is there any alternative communication channel for them to express themselves without showing their identities?

This week readings about MUDs and digital literacies pointed out the opportunity to help those Asians students. Nevertheless, it needs more researches and experiments to put theory to practice.

Multi-User Domains, MUDs put people into virtual space in which they can navigate, converse and build. User’s identity on the computer is distributed presence of user. MUDs turn real life into another window of user’s identity. MUDs are powerful reflection of thinking about identity, and a set of ideas about postmodernism (Turkle, 1999).

In the article “Digital Literacies of the Cybergirl”, Thomas pointed out that girls could create their own cyberbodies, which allow them to explore, experience a senses of empowerment, and find new ways of reinventing themselves. They could have the command of the words, empower themselves in cyberspace (2004).

Imagine, if we can let those students feel free to express themselves without showing their identities in front of others in MUDs through digital literacy. It possibly changes their behaviors, makes them feel confident, and feels free to express their own thoughts. I see the potential of idea sharing in MUDs. If we can grow the concept of idea sharing in virtual world, then those students  would be able to express themselves freely in their real world as one of many windows of their lives.

Refereence:

Thomas, A. (2004). Digital Literacies of The Cybergirl. E-learning, 1(3), 358-382.

Turkle, S. (1999). Life on The Screen. New York: Touchstone. (Introduction: Identity in the Age of the Internet.

Ramburuth, P., & McCormick, J. (2001). Learning diversity in higher education: A comparative study of Asian international and Australian students. Higher Education, 42(3), 333-350.


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