Miss Sammia Poveda Villalba

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Research interests

Sammia is interested in finding the connection between basic IT skills training courses and the student's views on ICTs. Even thought current discourses support the idea that ICTs can be used for development purposes, when refering to day to day usage, people seem to use ICTs mostly for communication and entertainment. When situated outside an specific development project, the individual's choices are the ones that will determine the type of usage she is giving to ICTs. Why is that people just use computers for Facebook, when they could use it ALSO for studying online? Why they know how to use youtube to find videos they find funny, but don't use it to find videos that may help them solve practical problems at home?

According to the Capability Approach (CA), a person improves her development when she is capable of doing or being what she values and has reasons to value. Therefore, ICTs may help to improve a person's development, if they become instrumental to achieve her values. However, what if that person does not know what she values? or, what if her values have been altered by poverty, depravation or inequalities? The CA defines this issue as adaptive preference. This situation, is also understood by Paulo Freire, brazilian pedagoguish, as oppression (Freire 1970), seems to be one of the main challenges for individuals to use ICTs for their own development. People who have limited view of their lives, have difficulty defining what their values are. How to increase an individual’s development, if on the first place, she does not know what she values? If several individuals suffer from this lack, how to provide support to improve their social inclusion?

To investigate this scenario, fieldwork was performed with two organizations in Campinas, Brazil. While both intent to promote citizenship by allowing free access to computers and internet, and to free basic IT skills courses, one is a NGO that applies Freire's methodology, trying to promote a critical view about ICTs, and the other is a governmental program which applies a more traditional approach.

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