Research

Information Technology for Social Change (IT/Social Change)

Promoting digital inclusion and empowering people through training and access to digital information

IT/social change research is concerned with the design, use, and effects of information and communication technologies in communities facing social and economic challenges. These communities face technology barriers that may be overcome through culturally-relevant training programs, utilization of mobile technologies, and leveraging information hubs such as telecenters or libraries.

The iSchool’s Technology and Social Change (TASCHA) research center conducts research in 50 countries and has identified common themes that organizations can use when doing business globally.

Applicability

The iSchool’s expertise and research in IT/Social Change can assist organizations in the following ways:

  • Developing training systems for an international workforce
  • Using mobile technologies to disseminate information in dispersed communities
  • Creating information systems that span generations and geographical and political boundaries
  • Identifying how to best use public access resources in crisis situations
  • Incorporating culture and values into information system design
  • Helping policy makers understand the importance of IT for their constituents, and public IT providers to communicate effectively with policy makers about the value of their work
  • Understanding the social and economic impact of new technologies in developing countries

Projects and Research

Digital Inclusion Framework
TASCHA has developed a framework for community-wide planning to close the gap between those who have access to technologies and those that do not.  The iSchool is also working with library organizations and others providing critical IT resources to the public to affect policy decisions related to their work.

Crisis informatics in Chile
Evaluating how social networks and assistance from publically available resources such as libraries and telecenters  are used to prepare for, respond to, and recover from catastrophic events.

Fearless Cards
Exploring ways to help technologically challenged individuals overcome skill barriers as well as emotional barriers like fear of technology, anxiety or lack of self-confidence.

Voices from the Rwanda Tribunal
A website of video interviews featuring personnel from the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda that allows multiple generations access to and the ability to annotate historic information.

Mobile Money
Developing new mobile phone-based products that provide branchless banking services to poor and marginalized populations in low-income countries. Researchers are designing, deploying, and evaluating these technologies in several countries on four continents.

Faculty Experts

Joshua Blumenstock
Chris Coward
Mike Crandall
Karen Fisher
Batya Friedman
Maria Garrido
Ricardo Gomez
Dave Hendry
Ron Johnson
Bob Mason
Karine Nahon
Araba Sey