NEWTON, MA | November 25, 2003
EDC’s Joyce Malyn Smith has been invited to present during the World Summit on the Information Society, a meeting sponsored by the United Nations which takes place December 10-12 in Geneva Switzerland. Malyn-Smith will participate in a panel called, “Power Users Roundtable,” that will discuss EDC’s work with young people who have become self-directed learners of technology, mastering the technology tools and software as needed to achieve their needs and wants. EDC’s Center for Education, Employment, and Community (CEEC) leads an international initiative to learn more about these “power users” and what they will become as they move through our social systems.
Six thousand delegates from government, intergovernmental organizations, the private sector, and the media, and more than 50 Heads of State or Government are expected at the Geneva conference. Attendees will endorse a Declaration of Principles for the Information Society and a plan of action to bring the benefits of information and communications technologies for social and economic development to people in all parts of the world. The World Summit on the Information Society is being held under the patronage of Kofi Annan, Secretary General of the United Nations (UN), and is being organized by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the UN special agency for telecommunications.
“There have been many benefits in the explosive development of information and communication technologies, especially in terms of creating jobs and wealth creation, but it is also creating legitimate concerns, such as ensuring access to information and communication technology, while preserving fundamental freedoms and human rights, security and privacy,” stated Yoshio Utsumi, ITU Secretary-General. The World Summit will address some of these concerns by establishing a common understanding about how to capitalize on opportunities, while addressing the challenges of the Information Society.
“Our power users group of young people has been working with an international advisory group to frame our long term research and develop research centers in all the continents” said Malyn-Smith, CEEC’s Strategic Director of Human Development and Workforce. “With two research centers on board already—one in Europe and one in Latin America—we are working with an interdisciplinary team of brain researchers, sociologists, psychologists, educators, and workforce developers. Most importantly, we’re learning alongside our young power users, so we’re not just learning about them, but with them,” said Malyn-Smith.
“The Power Users research project is important for scientists, policy makers, technology developers and professionals in education, since it will provide insights of the behavior, practices and expectancies that children of today have for future ICT development and use,” said Dr. Olman Segura Bonilla, Director of the partner research center CINPE at the University of Costa Rica, which is working with EDC on research activities in Latin America. “The Power Users research is also important for developing countries, since it is necessary to investigate the potential incentives that may be used to facilitate and improve the learning process for future generations,” he said.
The draft action plan of the World Summit proposes a commitment to connect all of the world’s villages with information and communication technologies (ICTs) by 2015, and to connect at least half the world’s inhabitants by that date.
The ICT Literacy Portal is produced by Kempster Group, which is a partner in the Power Users Initiative. Kempster Group is a consulting firm specializing in building strategic alliances for clients focused on technology, telecommunications, education, and international marketing.