Saturday, March 29, 2008

The Assumption of Computer Use

“Everyone uses computers these days.”

“Everyone has access to the Internet.”

Not true! Not true!

Among our students - who represent a pretty diverse cross-section of ages, backgrounds and abilities - the use of computers and the Internet is definitely increasing, but it’s not universal yet. Part of this is related to level of literacy - literacy, mind you, not knowledge of English.
Another factor is the financial one. Not all people can afford a computer at home - and they may not have available transportation to go to a local library.
This is particularly concerning when one thinks about the number of resources that are available only online. Many organizations are moving away from printed information in order to save money and to disseminate information more widely. However, this well-intentioned attempt may, ironically, leave out those who don’t have computer access.
This includes online-only job applications. How many great potential employees miss out on great opportunities because they can’t see the job posting or fill out the application?