Project

Technology: Inequalities and Opportunities

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Project log

Veronica Ahumada Newhart
added 3 research items
Digital technologies have recently shaped the way in which individuals and communities interact. This paper examines the unique social contexts of Latino youth and their use of digital technologies to support access to health information and extend social support. The design and use of digital health tools are complex and should not take a one-size-fits-all approach. In order to better understand community assets and systemic issues of power, this paper explores interactions between developmental, contextual, and technological factors that may empower Latino youth to use digital tools to support their wellbeing, especially in the era of COVID-19 (C-19). Therefore, we first review the nuances of culture and behaviors Latino youth to highlight opportunities for strength identification support. Next, we review traditional co-design processes and how they might be refined to support an assets-based approach. Finally, we present an assets-based approach and framework to be used as a lens through which designers can gain better understanding of Latino youth and their use of digital technologies to navigate unique challenges. Through this approach, designers may avoid amplifying structural inequities and discriminatory processes in marginalized communities.
Veronica Ahumada Newhart
added a research item
Each year, 2.5 million children in the United States are homebound due to illness. This paper explores the possible implications of being homebound for child development and well-being, drawing on Bronfenbrenner's bioecological systems theory of human development and Ryan and Deci's self-determination theory. This paper also explores the potential role of robotic avatars and robot-mediated presence to provide homebound children with more appropriate developmental experiences. To better understand their robot-mediated developmental experiences, what is known about human development and human psychology in organic environments (i.e., bioecological systems theory and self-determination theory) is synthesized with concepts of presence theory from virtual environments. These theoretical supports form the foundation of a framework to evaluate the robot-mediated presence of homebound children. Findings from the first systematic, multicase study on the robot-mediated presence of homebound children in schools provide empirical data to inform three identified levels of presence: copresent, cooperating, and collaborating. This framework provides a first step to consistent evaluation of robot-mediated presence and engagement for this population. Understanding the social contexts and developmental needs of homebound children and how they can be achieved via robotic avatars will aid in developing more effective interventions for improved social supports and technological systems.
Veronica Ahumada Newhart
added a research item
The universal accessibility movement has focused on solutions for people with physical limitations. While this work has helped bring about positive initiatives for this population, physical disabilities are just one of the many life situations that can complicate people’s ability to fully participate in an information economy and society. Other factors affecting accessibility include poverty, illiteracy, and social isolation. This paper explores how the universal accessibility movement can expand its efforts to reach other diverse populations. Four sets of resources are discussed—physical, digital, human, and social—that are critical for enabling people to use information and communication technology. Examples of how these resources can help people access, adapt, and create knowledge are provided.