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In today’s world business are faced with the ever-changing complexities of coping with technology and reaching their customers. Google being the leading search engine website which opens doors to businesses is no stranger to these challenges. Companies rely on data-based information to guide them in making economic decisions.

The advancing challenge for business is to be able to maintain a balance between the revenues and costs. Leading companies today are applying social technologies like joint effort, communication and content management to social networks. Businesses are being radically changed as leaders re-evaluate the operating process and capabilities with a social attitude to find new ways to create more value, faster.

Organizations set out domestic blogs that allow employees to broadcast and push interests, ideas and knowledge on the entity. Social networks have shifted organizations in a dynamic way by providing a vehicle for discovering, growing and transmit greater ideas.

Above social control and listening posts, leading organizations are establishing blogs to interact with consumers and the marketplace via the social networking. Due to this trend, communities can fro and engage around topics based on individual common interests.

People are the core of business. The balance of power has shifted from enterprise to the individual. Companies that adjust their dedication of employees to the interest of their customers via social networking hold the potential to capture the marketplace.

However, technology has made it easier to discover and participate in social networks, but it has not changed customer’s reputation and commitment. Today, each of the technology trends can be evaluated individually.

Author: Thuso Magau

Editor: John Ramabele

Reference:

http://www.deloitte.com/assets/Dcom-UnitedStates/Local%20Assets/Documents/Federal/us_fed_Federal_Tech_Trends_2012_062112.pdf

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In Information technology we look at people in IT and where they actually draw the line between their work, values and challenges encountered in the IT profession as far as ethics are concerned.

Are ethics in conflict with IT because of the availability and exposure to technology or individuals themselves? According to the online Dissertation written by Sutirtha Chatterjee, “Attitude is strongly influenced by ethical beliefs of the individual and moral intensity of the act meaning that the unethical use of IT is determined by individual factors such as ethical beliefs”.

An Episode on Third Degree (17th April 2013), talked about workers who had access to the Banks database and used it to steal people’s money from their bank accounts. How often does management monitor employees hat have access to significant information to prevent such misconduct?

Applications that we use are also unsafe, for example. Facebook started a programme called Beacon in 2007 that allowed users personal information to become advertisements. Hence we see products being advertised to us on social networks.

As far as email spams and security are concerned we are not protected on the internet as there are hackers. Social networks try to avoid such actions by allowing users to have passwords and privacy policies before adopting an application. With such measures put in place, people are still reluctant to read such policies.

However, besides all the unethical practices there are still a few people who practice ethics in IT. Laws such as banning people from copying and downloading on the internet as well as censoring the content online such as pornography and others.

As these laws are implemented, the question still poses people’s minds. Are we really safe with our personal information online?

Author: Kim Vova

Edited by: Thulani Motha

REFERENCES

Unethical behaviour using information technology

Author of the online Dissertation: Sutirtha Chatterjee

Abstract.

http://udini.proquest.com(view)unethical-behaviour-using-gold:3044413671

Date accessed: 26 April 2013

Read more about Ethics in information technology

http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/304308/Ethics_in_IT_Dark_secrets_ugly_truths_and_little_guidance

Date accessed: 30 April 2013

Third Degree, ETV screened on the 17th April 2013

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The present gap of the divide in businesses goes further than companies just having technological access. It is one of the main reasons in this day-and-age of slow productivity. This issue is one of the most important social equity issues facing the information society. Complexity and knowledge barriers towards the Internet adoption, comfort and satisfaction issues faced by new users may be constructed as self-efficient deficits.

The digital divide conceptualizes or is rather faced with attributes such as demographic and socio-economic variables, like income, education, age, geographic location, skills, awareness, political and cultural and psychological attitudes, etc.

The research done across countries has shown that income levels and the access to education are identified as providing the most powerful explanatory variables for access and usage to technology. It is still present that Whites are much more likely than Africans to own computers as well as have access to the Internet in their homes, but this is slowly evolving. In terms of geographic location, people who live in urban areas have more access and show more usage of computer services than those in rural areas. Gender was and is still one of the variables that is basically a common explanation for the cause of the digital divide to this day. Many people think ICT is basically male gendered, but statistics have shown that income, education and employment act as common variables and that women with the same level of income, education and employment actually embrace ICT more than men. Now how about that?

Author: Julitha Mekgoe

Edited by: Thokozani K.Phakathi

References:

Martin Hilbert “When is Cheap, Cheap Enough to Bridge the Digital Divide? Modeling Income Related Structural Challenges of Technology Diffusion in Latin America”. World Development, Volume 38, issue 5, p. 756-770; free access to the study here: martinhilbert.net/CheapEnoughWD_Hilbert_pre-print.pdf

Date accessed: 11 March 2013

Zickuher, Kathryn. 2011. Generations and their gadgets. Pew Internet & American Life Project. Retrieved from: http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2011/Generations-and-gadgets/Report/Desktop-and-Laptop-Computers.aspx.

Date accessed: 24 April 2013

E-learning

Posted: April 30, 2013 in IT In Education

IT in education

In the same way that tablets and smartphones have taken over from personal computers, IT in education or e-learning is starting to take over old paper methods and in-class chalkboard learning. In my opinion e-learning is the breakthrough South Africa needs to redress the imbalances of the past.

The courseware in e-learning is designed with a specific audience in mind and in doing this, language (course specific jargon), literacy and numeracy gaps are avoided thus more efficient learning. Work can be covered in a shorter space of time due to the options of doing assessments online after allocated “class time” and marks can be recorded timeously and accurately and reduce administrative work by 40%. The e-learning systems can also function as a management tool where information can be easily accessible and be used to make decisions in the institution.

E-learning can be seen as widening the divide because the ones who can’t afford these technologies are left to use older, less progressive technologies. Greater knowledge and expertise is therefore attained by those with access who will manage to grasp concepts taught much faster and clarify what they already know. As shown by a study; 22 out of 66 repeaters of a course are more likely to have passed had they had access to a computer outside the university where they could have reaped the full benefits of e-learning.

If e-learning were to be extended to all learning institutions the outcome would be positively tremendous and in the long run improve our economy and growth as a nation. This would accelerate workplace learning and skills development and thus induce greater ability to learn and productivity which in turn can grow our economy.

Ultimately if enough effort and consideration is put in implementing e-learning our country can grow economically and our people can grow in knowledge, skill and experience. So all in all IT in education is a great investment in our future as a nation and can aid in finally closing the digital divide in South Africa and hopefully equalize the standard of living of our people.

Author: Nomfundo Gambushe
Edited by: Siyabulela Klaas
References:
http://www.humancapitalreview.org/content/default.articleID
http://www.news24.com/technology/news/e-learning-grows-in-sa-2013010
http://www.idc-online.com/elearning/country/southafrica
http://www.sas.com/offices/africa/southafrica/servicetraining
http://www.slideshare.net

ethics

One often wonders whether ethics are relevant in IT and whether or not individuals in the profession practice ethics. According to the 2011 Roy Image of Professions Survey IT professionals and business executives were ranked amongst the least honest professions.

Since professionals are capable of making judgements and applying skills to reach informed decisions, they have to practice professional ethics, also known as Ethical Business Practices.

Ethical Business Practices aim to improve the internal standard of individual and group conduct. They also aim to improve external factors such as sustainable economic strategies. These practices help create creditability because a business that is driven by moral values and ethics is respected in the society. Professional ethics play a major role in uniting people and leadership because it brings the decision makers and employees on a common platform. Ethics improve decision making. The decisions made are driven by values so the organisation becomes fierce in its operations and gains a competitive advantage.

Ethical Hackers are computer and network experts who find and fix computer security vulnerabilities. These people are hired to attempt to break in into computer systems by employing the same tools and techniques used by intruders to investigate the security gaps and vulnerabilities without damaging the systems. Ethical hackers should be completely trustworthy because they might come across information while they are testing which should remain secrets.

Ethical principles and theories enhance the experiences of people in IT and highlight the relevance of ethics to people in IT.

Author: Thulani Motha
Edited by: Kim Vova
References:
“General Ethical Foundation” Online. Accessed February 17, 2002.http://stedwards.edu/urswery/norm.htm
“Ethical Principles.” Online. Accessed February 17, 2002. http://peds.ufl.edu/ethics_course/Ethics,%20Ethical%20Principles.htm
Ruth Chadwick (1998). Professional Ethics. In E. Craig (Ed), Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy. London: Routledge.Retrieved October 20, 2006, from http://www.rep.routledge.com/article/L077

bridging_digital_divide

The digital divide is dangerous, however it can be made safe if people work together and “build a bridge” to close the gap. It stays true that the factor that leads to digital divide is the lack of access to computers and Internet. Countries which lack a firm information and communication technology   infrastructure become limited and cannot be part of the electronic commerce as it grows. The divide can be bridged by providing incentives for community organizations to offer free computer training, or opening up training centres, and teaching people how to write letters, use the web and how to participate in social networking through the use of a computer. Organizations need to implement socio-educational programmes linked to schools, hospitals and other projects that focus on improving educational and information facilities.

The digital divide can be bridged efficiently by removing the financial barriers; by doing this, low-income individuals can get access to the internet. The organizations need to promote the joy of computing, networking ideas with resources and people to accomplish the mission of safe, effective computerization for all who are willing to use. The community can encourage business growth by using computers to effectively do what they like to promote the growth of the community. Regarding the question “Can anyone learn computers?” bring to mind the image of an illiterate person who has already learned how to read the screens and push the buttons on their ATM. We are only limited by our imagination when it comes to ways of bridging the digital divide.

Author: Thokozani K. Phakathi

Edited by: Koketso Seloana

References:

  1. Bridging the Digital Divide: How Enterprise Ownership and Foreign Competition Affect Internet Access in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

Online Abstract.

Author: George Clarke

Publication Date: July 1999

Date Accessed: 26 April 2013

  1. Bridging the digital divide – an Australian story.

Online Abstract

Authors: Broadbent, Robyn; Papadopoulos, Theo

Publication Date: 01-01-2013

Date Accessed: 22 April 2013

Links:

http://www2.binghamton.edu/cce/digitaldivide/

http://173.254.28.27/~computg3/issues-2/the-real-digital-divide/

http://www.thenjournal.org/feature/335/

http://eztechsite.blogspot.com/2012/02/locus-2012-theme-bridging-digital.html

Aside  —  Posted: April 30, 2013 in The Digital Divide

A passionate young man from Kasambya, brings hope to the community by using Circuit boards and old wires.

Video  —  Posted: April 30, 2013 in The Digital Divide