Extension Technology in the City

Cities have been known as centers for innovation and progress for as long as they have existed. This is especially true in the technology sector, as cities often produce new methods of communicating and living with technology. Technology has become a very integral part of society, having something to do with virtually every aspect of our lives, in urban, suburban, and rural regions. As technology becomes more and more prevalent, the need to keep up with the technological changes grows as well. There are already many ways that Extension uses technology to disseminate information and knowledge, reach a larger audience, facilitate professional development, and communicate more efficiently with their local community (Typhinia).

Technology as a Form of Communication

Urban Extension programs have the most to gain from maximizing technology use for their various programs due to their large population base (Schneider). There are many innovative ways of using technology to better communicate with residents, and distribute knowledge on a larger scale, boosting Extension’s presence. There is also an opportunity to become more relevant with a younger generation who otherwise would not use Extension’s services (Typhinia). These connections can be made by social media use, as well as offering new programs that are more based around technology, that would facilitate greater interest among youth and young adults, as well as potentially connect Extension with other programs/partners who are interested in the tech side of youth development(Typhinia).

The Digital Divide

Digital Divide 2015-09-17Extension in the City is also in a position to address an ever increasing opportunity gap in the inner cities in America. Those who are often victims of the digital divide are disproportionately in five groups. Age, income/educational attainment levels, community type, people with disabilities, and language (Mapping the Digital Divide). In a brief released by the White House, the digital divide and how to map it were discussed. The unit of measurement consisted of internet access, educational attainment, age, and household income (Mapping the Digital Divide).

“Closing the gap—between those who experience these social and economic benefits from Internet use, and those who do not—will require further efforts to reduce barriers in affordability, relevance, and computer literacy.” (Mapping the Digital Divide 9)

This quote from the article speaks directly to what Extension can do in bridging this gap. By having adult computer literacy courses, and offering locations in which people without internet access can do things like apply for jobs, or work towards a GED or college degree are just a couple of the many potential programs that Extension can facilitate works towards a more equitable economy. (Full Article: https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/wh_digital_divide_issue_brief.pdf.)

Potential Impact

Technology innovations give Extension the opportunity to impact the people, programs, partners, and presence of Extension in urban areas. Technology increases the ability to communicate with socially and ethnically diverse populations, assists in the accessibility of our programs, expands the variety of partners that we are able to work with, and increases the presence of Extension, both by name recognition, and physical locations. Maintaining a strong connection to technological changes will assist OSU Extension in the City to continue to be locally relevant, responsive statewide, and recognized nationally. Using this to improve marketing, programming, personnel through professional development, as well as creating new partnerships is necessary to have the type of collective impact that we are aiming for, while also laying the framework for years of Extension excellence in Ohio’s urban areas

(Submitted by James Stiving, Program Assistant, Extension in the City/Central Region)

Sources:

  1. Kudryavtsev, Alexey, Marianne Krasny, Gretchen Ferenz, and Lisa Babcock. “Use of Computer Technologies by Educators in Urban Community Science Education Programs.” Journal of Extension5 (2007): n. pag. Extension Journal, Oct. 2007. Web. Sept. 2015.
  2. Mapping the Digital Divide. https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/wh_digital_divide_issue_brief.pdf
  3. Schneider, Sandra, Donna-Jean Brock, Crystal Lane, Peggy Meszaros, and Barbara Lockee. “Using Information Technology to Forge Connections in an Extension Service Project.” Journal of Extension6 (2011): n. pag. Extension Journal, Dec. 2011. Web. Sept. 2015.
  4. Typhinia, Eli, Robert Bardon, and Laurie Gharis. “Collaborating with Your Clients Using Social Media & Mobile Communications.” Journal of Extension 53.1 (2015): n. pag. Extension Journal, Feb. 2015. Web. Sept. 2015.

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