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Information Technology for Everyone

Information Technology for Everyone

Apr 12, 2007
Mary Hobson
Technology Schools Columnist

Everyone should be able to partake of the emerging, technology-driven knowledge economy. To this end, the U.S. government encourages the use of information technology in education, business, health, government and our everyday lives. But for a truly global economy to flourish, connectivity is needed in poorer economies too.

Imagine being able to communicate with people all over the world--not just the rich nations, but all nations. Helping developing countries get access to computing and the Internet doesn't just benefit them. Through information technology, they develop new economic growth, leading to markets with real purchasing power. They may become self-sufficient, and they may become trading partners across borders. This is a case of growing the economic cake, so there may be more for everyone.

Universal Access to Information Technology

This aim of universal access to information technology requires an effort similar to the one that created libraries all across the United States at the beginning of the 20th century. This movement raised literacy levels to the point at which education could begin to give most people skills that may help them earn a good income, and powered the American industrial economy.

However, most poor economies cannot hope to afford information technology for any educational purposes at the moment, much less develop technology schools for education in computing. To change this situation, Nicholas Negroponte, one of the founders of MIT's Media Laboratory and a venture capitalist, has launched the $100 Laptop Project.

The aim of this project is to provide developing countries with affordable computers for education. These computers have to run in the absence of a reliable power supply, and must be cheap but durable. A number of different technology schools are already researching cost-effective ways to produce such laptops. Negroponte says that once he has sufficient orders--more than 5 million--production can begin, although the early cost is likely to be around $150.

The benefits of this kind of development may be many. Demand for technology may continue to rise all over the world, with a subsequent increase in computer related jobs in the U.S., where much of the expertise is situated. As education levels may rise, so countries may also grow economically, increasing the demand for all kinds of products, and expansion of the global economy often means expansion of all the individual participating economies.

Technology School May Get Access to a Career

The U.S. is in a strong position to take advantage of the global demand for information technology--which means you can get on board. With an information technology degree or computer science degree, you may have opportunities for careers in information technology all over the world.

So start today and find the information technology degree that is most interesting to you. You may be able to study subjects that really interest you, and after graduation, there may be job opportunities waiting. Who knows, you may become a part of the $100 Laptop design group--or come up with the next hot invention yourself!

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About the Author

Mary Hobson is the Head of IT School at a Polytechnic in New Zealand. She also works as a freelance writer.