Digital Inclusion in Education in Peripheral Regions
Until today, we are able to see remnants of the industrial production model, mainly at work and in our schools. The linear model, which is predictable and segmented and favors discipline, discrimination and repression towards whatever is judged to be "below standards". The surveillance, ranks and, in general, the control and organization of the owners in one uniform and functional mass are the basis for this model to work.
It's objective has and will be sustained as structures of power and to ensure a mechanical efficiency to the capital's machine, "the money". A digital transition lived by us is sufficiently capable of imploding that which is an oppressing and exploiting system to the peripheric population, turning it into necessary and utilitarian parts, taking away critical and analytical thought on the world around it.
However, one question we must ask ourselves is: in schools and classrooms, has this population access to it? Have you been granted your citizen rights to citizenship itself as well as social and economic inclusion? Or is this population still chained in a linear model, predictable and segmented that turns them into useful and necessary parts for this system to work?
New information technologies are, no doubt, new forms of communication. It's important to stress out that communication is not only about to convey a message or even represent things, but also to produce and organize such things. The digital media not only alter the way we convey messages but also bring us a "space" for new ways of transforming and organizing the world around us.
It's about an embracing and agile media, capable of connecting everything and everyone, of breaking linearity of things around us and making it completely unpredictable. Such particulars of digital media as a whole affects not only communication, but the full organization of a whole society. Exclusion opens "digital space" for other new forms of imbalance, since these people become trapped to a closed and completely predictable model.
Illiteracy in Brazil is not a problem only when we speak of digital exclusion. And it is noted that those who cannot organize the world around them their own way, will, no doubt, be controlled and organized by others, such as large machines and system prevailing in society and commonly accepted by common sense. What we have then is a marginalized population, differentiated and imprisoned by theses "frames" such as State, Religion and Capital itself.
Education, as of today, does little besides preparing people to be parts of that system, despising citizenship and critical thinking, amongst other relevant factors for social inclusion of the peripheric population against discrimination also not preparing them for a relevant role in the world. After all, this is the purpose of any educational model.
According to the sociologist Manuel Castells, internet is a new model for information, power and knowledge distribution, and, therefore, presents four topics of "digital" to the development of the society. Those topics being: the rupture with mass media, the construction of new ideas and "futures" by ordinary people, the opening to a world without borders or hierarchical ranks and the evolution of equal growth.
Therefore, it means much more than to just convey messages, but it's about how society starts to organize itself and distribute the power plays. Such exclusion of peripheral communities is linked to a poor distribution of education, to the constant technological innovations that create more and more market need and to the connection of the internet with the economic sectors of society.
A research by "The Economist", taking in consideration literacy, the safety of usage an incentive policies showed Brazil comes 31º out of a 100 countries in which internet contributes with socioeconomic factors. The mainstream uses in Brazil are banking services, healthcare and entertainment.
There are cultural structures as well as cognitive models that inflict that inequality and transform internet in a power device, that directs efforts to consolidate economical globalization, not at all taking into account the development of new educational models structured in a digital environment. After all, the absence of digital literacy for the peripheral classes only favors a new social apartheid and the alienation of that part of the population.
One example that can be taken into account as pertaining to the vanguard of digital inclusion in peripherical education, is that of content producer and history majoring, "Audino Vilão". The student produces videos explaining philosophical content and their authors using language and the outskirts of São Paulo.
Recently, he brought content about the actual situation in Afghanistan, mythologies and marginalized religions (such as African derived ones), about problems such as anxiety and depression and about recent manifestations and political events in Brazil (like the burning of "Borba Gato" statue and the political opinions of Brazil's president, Jair Bolsonaro). It's a content that stimulates critical thinking and the connection of this more peripheral public to the actual social phenomena and simultaneously, to the digital environment.
Another example, pertaining education institutes and companies (Even though it's abroad, it's still useful as base for understanding peripheral education) is DES project (Detroit Experience Studio). The project tries to insert black and brown children in the world of marketing, technology and of creative methodologies. In this sense, we have an example of the inclusion of students coming from peripheral regions in the U.S. in the digital universe.
So, it's not enough to provide access. It is the first thing to be achieved, but not the only one. We also have to understand how the power plays are exercised in this media and use the existing system against itself. Education is the second place we have to act upon to revert the transformation of internet in a new kind of power that favors the big global powers.
According to the French philosopher Gilles Deleuze, contemporary capitalism aims the production of technologies of information revolutions powered by the force of great international financial investments. It is the consolidation of the new contemporary transnational empires that concentrate wealth, research and scientific innovation and technology, adaptation to the market, control and power over societies in the world.
With that in mind, digital accessibility of peripheral communities is the first step to start stimulating education and knowledge, citizenship, and active role in critics and analytics about social problems, amongst other opportunities for peripheral communities, giving them power to scape a system of exploitation and oppression.
However, it's not just about that: Being integrated to the digital world, we are still hostages of a new social market-oriented system, we are under a similar vigilance and discipline (same industrial model): prices, capital, news and fake news, consumption, preferences, choices. We are not parts anymore, we are consumers and internet users caught up in the banalization of consumption: We live in a society of control.
The next step, after having achieved accessibility, is to confront world-integrated capitalism, hegemonic control over data, over consumption and the production of goods and products and, finally, over the financial market. It has to do with a way of domination and subjection that no longer profits from discrimination but of inclusion. Access without conscience just results in these people being captured by the global capitalist system-machine.