Computers for all? Dispelling the myth of accessible hardware in Indigenous communities
Current reports and research trends suggest that up-to-date computer hardware and internet accessibility are widely available in most rural Indigenous communities. This paper presents a case study which shows that the problem of a lack of current hardware technology and related programs and internet accessibility has yet to be resolved. While adult literacy learners and community members are eager and adapt easily to technology, there remains several barriers to employment readiness and literacy learning opportunities using computers. There are many challenges faced by these community members, including accessing funds to purchase equipment, shipping issues, computer set up and operation experience, information technology expertise and computer maintenance funding shortages. In one research project, the Indigenous community involved once had a community computer lab assembled in a central location with user-friendly access hours for all community members. The recent economic down turn and community financial stress that resulted, caused a devastating effect on the technological luxuries enjoyed and utilized by the community and the learning and communication opportunities that were once available. This paper is based on current research constructed using a design-based research approach and using a qualitative practices including community focus groups, interviews and observations an Australian Indigenous community setting.
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