In my household, we have five computers – one for each person. Each person also owns a mobile device for themselves, and my mom, being extra special, gets an iPad as well. My personal relationship with technology can be basically summarized in one word – dependent. I also think that technology is beginning to govern our learning, being that there are online courses and the increasing use of advanced technology in the classroom, such as SmartBoards. There is no denying that we are in an Internet era. So clearly, our experiences today with computers and technology dramatically differ than those in Patricia Ordóñez’s time from the podcast. An issue posed in the podcast was what I believe should be considered a marketing problem with unforeseen effects – home computers were advertised as toys and targeted at boys. This almost directly led to the decrease in women computer science majors in 1984. Computers became an advantage and without women consumers and exposure, computers and technology became male-dominated. Today, we can clearly see that as an issue. Coding can be considered a universal language, so both men and women should participate equally.
On the other hand, Williams addresses the use of universal design in the field of Digital Humanities. The first error that many people make is describing universal design as a focus on those with special needs but it is directed toward all people. In pursuing universal design, digital humanities scholars will not being creating “barriers of access” and will ensure that those with disabilities will have the opportunity to participate in the digital humanities. In the long run, there are reciprocal benefits: the digital humanities community will benefit by working with disabled people and expand on how digital devices could and should work for the vast majority.
It is important that we recognize that although we are breaking ground with technology, there are still divisions, specifically the reduction of women pursuing computer science and the barriers of technology for the disabled. Ultimately, these issues are important in order to establish a fair and open virtual environment as our lives advance electronically.