I have found the process of splurting my ideas on here, and pondering people’s comments, and also pondering other people’s ideas, quite enjoyable and useful so far. I think I’ve been thinking too much as a teacher, as a ‘practitioner-researcher’, with the mindset I’ve had when designing and engaging in small action research projects over the last few years. I need move away from that. So, here’s another stab at something:
The mobile web: just shifting the digital divide
There have been a lot of claims that mobile ‘closes the gap’ or ‘bridges the digital divide’, and to a certain extent it does – it brings the Web to people and places it couldn’t reach before. But you can’t do everything on mobile, so mobile-only Web users are perhaps disadvantaged compared to people who use a variety of devices to access the Web (eg a laptop for certain tasks and a smartphone for others). And who are mobile-only Web users? Generally people who are already disadvantaged (can’t afford or don’t have the skills to use computers). So, arguably, mobile hasn’t removed the so-called ‘digital divide’ just shifted it a bit.
I might look at this from the perspective of human-computer interaction as this would clarify some of the issues that make certain Web activities easier, more difficult, or even impossible, on mobile, and also from a sociological perspective, which would bring insights into the implications for people’s lives or for particular groups in society.
Does that sound reasonable?