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The Digital Doorway (DD) project provides computing infrastructure in impoverished communities in South Africa. DD terminals offer opportunities for unassisted- and peerassisted learning of basic computer skills, and varying computing activities ranging from entertainment, to independent research. This study addresses software application usage, and how it relates to user demographics (age and gender) and location, in order to better understand both the user base, and the nature and extent of DD interactions. A mixed-methods approach is employed, involving log-files, interviews, questionnaires, and naturalistic observation; to build up a holistic picture of application usage and user behaviour at selected sites. Important issues with respect to ICT for Education and Development in the DD context, are addressed. Analysis of the data ind...
The Digital Doorway (DD) project provides computing infrastructure in impoverished communities in South Africa. DD terminals offer opportunities for unassisted- and peerassisted learning of basic computer skills, and varying computing activities ranging from entertainment, to independent research. This study addresses software application usage, and how it relates to user demographics (age and gender) and location, in order to better understand both the user base, and the nature and extent of DD interactions. A mixed-methods approach is employed, involving log-files, interviews, questionnaires, and naturalistic observation; to build up a holistic picture of application usage and user behaviour at selected sites. Important issues with respect to ICT for Education and Development in the DD context, are addressed. Analysis of t...
Digital Doorways are rugged computer terminals that offer unassisted learning and peer-assisted learning of basic computer skills, as well as a range of computing activities from entertainment, through education, to independent research. Sites are located in impoverished areas of South Africa at schools, colleges and public community facilities. Usage is free of charge and available to the entire community. This paper poses research questions relating to application usage data and how it relates to user demographics, in order to better understand both the user base and the nature and extent of interaction with a selected set of terminals. This study thus addresses significant issues with respect to ICT for Education and Development in the Digital Doorway context. Analysis of the data indicates notable trends and patterns, and raises ce...
Digital Doorways provide computing infrastructure in low-income communities in South Africa. The unsupervised DD terminals offer various software applications, from entertainment through educational resources to research material, encouraging unsupervised and peer-assisted learning of basic computer skills and information access, particularly for youth and children. This study aims for better understanding of user behaviour and the nature and extent of DD interactions. Mixed-methods research is used to investigate usage of the embedded software applications at selected sites, and its relationship to user demographics – age, gender and location. We focus on the quantitative component of the study, while touching briefl y on qualitative aspects. Data analysis indicates trends and signifi cant relationships between age, gender, location,...
Digital Doorways provide computing infrastructure in low-income communities in South Africa. The unsupervised DD terminals offer various software applications, from entertainment through educational resources to research material, encouraging unsupervised and peer-assisted learning of basic computer skills and information access, particularly for youth and children. This study aims for better understanding of user behaviour and the nature and extent of DD interactions. Mixed-methods research is used to investigate usage of the embedded software applications at selected sites, and its relationship to user demographics – age, gender and location. We focus on the quantitative component of the study, while touching briefl y on qualitative aspects. Data analysis indicates trends and signifi cant relationships between age, gender, location, ...
Digital Doorways are rugged multi-terminal computer systems for promoting self-directed, unassisted or peer-assisted leaning in low-income communities where computer infrastructure is limited. Users develop the necessary skills through exploration and discovery, with limited or no intervention from a facilitator. Application usage data is of interest to content providers, developers, funders, community members and other stakeholders and, while quantitative analysis of usage has certain strengths, a mixed-methods research approach provides a more comprehensive picture. Qualitative studies hold utility in complementing quantitative research, by providing data on the site environment, user interactions and perceptions, and stated requirements. This paper presents the qualitative side of a recent mixed-methods study. This aspect of the st...
The Digital Doorway is a joint initiative between the Meraka Institute of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and South Africa’s Department of Science and Technology (DST), with a vision of making a fundamental difference to computer literacy and associated skills in the South African population. Underpinning the project is the idea of people’s inherent cognitive ability to teach themselves computer skills with minimal external intervention. For this to happen, computers must be easily accessible to potential learners in an environment conducive to experimentation. Given the low percentage of communities in disadvantaged areas in South Africa with access to computer infrastructure, Digital Doorways are installed in communities where the need is greatest. The systems are extremely robust and employ open source con...
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