Update on Project Activities
This week, our group has mainly been working on finalizing and publishing the various formats of our survey. Romeo was able to translate the online survey on Stanford Qualtrics into Spanish to be used for online distribution via our various channels. Kelli also worked this week to create a one-page, double-sided paper version of our survey for later in-person distribution. She sent this to Alex and Christina and received their approval. Additionally, we set finalized our Spanish Speaking Ambassador focus group for November 7th at 6:30pm.
Our largest project deliverable thus far, however, is likely the online publication of the survey. Since its online release on October 29th, we have had 143 responses, all of which were from individuals in households with internet access. The graphs below summarize the community’s responses to some of the most notable accessibility and demographic questions.
What We Observed and Learned
The article on the Red Hook Wifi Project was particularly interesting and especially relevant this week, considering we are starting to get our survey results back. One of the most interesting components of the Red Hook plan was their focus on providing non-mobile WiFi access, based upon their conclusion that most households accessed the internet via their mobile phones, not via computers/ wireless routers. Thus far, it is unclear how much this pertains to the digital divide in Mountain View, as a lack of internet access could also be attributable to a lack of access to hardware - phones, laptops, desktops, etc.- or a lack of digital literacy. According to our current survey results, 121 respondents use a traditional WiFi router, 44 use a Mobile Provider’s LTE, 19 use public WiFi, and 10 use some other form of internet access.
There is also an interesting juxtaposition in regards to location. Red Hook, Brooklyn- a waterfront community fairly isolated by highways and waterways- was hit particularly hard by Hurricane Sandy and has been working to recover ever since. Mountain View, home to Google, LinkedIn, and Inuit is located in the heart of the booming tech scene and struggles to keep up with the pace of the growing industry. This brings forth the idea that the “digital divide” likely manifests itself in very different ways and subsequently must be addressed in different ways depending on the structure of the community. Ultimately, said issue, while national, is perhaps best addressed on a local scale.
Critical Analysis/Moving Forward
In terms of where to go from here, our major issue is probably the lack of diversity in survey respondents and, specifically, the lack of response from particular target groups of interest- the elderly, low income individuals, minorities, mono-lingual non-English speakers, and, most obviously, those without internet access. Each of these groups will require a different approach in regards to outreach. Surveying the elderly would best be done in-person at senior centers. The input of mono-lingual Spanish speakers will be included in next week’s focus group. Targeting the other groups will likely require the identification of on-site canvassing locations and in-person surveys. This is ultimately the goal for the next couple of weeks: utilizing the data from our online survey to identify areas of low-response and canvassing these areas to collect survey data.