Key to the research we are doing is how technology can be used within Communities in Tension (CiT). The first question that should be asked is "What is a community?". We describe a community as a social existence that shares a common thread.
Many communities virtual or physical experience tension. Tension is caused in communities where the wellbeing of its citizens is being threatened. Factors for the grounds of tension could include: • Lack of economical development (e.g. unemployment, inflation) • Social inequality (e.g. lack of social services, social issues such as drug abuse) • Lack of education • Lack of appropriateness and use of technology (e.g. technology not being utilised fully within communities for its intended use)
The tension caused by these factors can be described as a common thread within a community (See Figure). A Community in Tension (CiT) therefore emerges and tension would be the underlying aspect holding a community together. For example a community plagued with drug and gang activities would appear to have tension amongst its citizens. This could be due to these activities having a negative impact on the community and leaving a sense of helplessness in combating drug and gang activities amongst youth. In this instance the social inequality causes tension and leads to the wellbeing of citizens being at risk.
Today was definitely a day of breakthroughs as we started e-literacy classes at Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Cape Town South Africa. For many of the guys who is staring this journey many fears are evident. In today's class they made comments such as:
"I am excited but have never worked on a computer" "I want to be able to work the Internet" "I don't have a good education, but will try my best" "We want to use our experiences to help others"
So many uncertainties but we are going to ride this wave of technology and see how we can empower others using technology that is available to us.