Although we live in an age where computers dominate the market and allow more and more connectivity among people from all over the world, there are still millions of students and families without computers.
How might this problem be solved? To make the problem space smaller, please focus on people in the State of Indiana.
Because the problem is so large, we have developed 3 proposals that should help to solve the problem. The first proposal is to increase library computer infrastructure, especially in rural communities. The second proposal is to put an emphasis on cheaper computing, such as chromebooks, perhaps create government subsidies and to increase Indiana internet infrastructure. The third proposal is to create a trade-in-program to allow people to have cheaper access to computers and accessories.
While we are mainly focused on the poor and people in rural communities; we hope that our plans can help everyone get better access to computers. For our proposals we made a few assumptions. These assumptions are that the state of Indiana is able to afford the tools that we require, the state will get involved with our proposals and that funds are readily available.
We propose to expand public library infrastructures to contain at least 8 computers per 5000 people so that people could have more access to a computer. This was the amount of computers per 5000 people in Indiana in 2013 but we need to make sure that in rural areas people, even in populations less than 5000, have access to at least 8 computers (“Internet Access at Public Libraries). There should be a library within a 25 mile radius to every home in the state of Indiana. If there isn’t one, public computer library should be installed with up to 25 computers.
One cheap way to add more computers to libraries is by using Google Chromebooks. The cheapest Chromebook laptop sells for $140 and runs Chrome OS. We know that 12.2 % people have computers but no access to internet, so, we propose that libraries should ensure that free internet is available to the public (Smith). Libraries should also have programs to educate people on how to properly use computers.
In addition there should be a simple database that lets you see where the closest library is to you. It should also have information about how many computers, what kind of computers and information about how many computers are being used. You can see a static mockup of this design here. The real version would be dynamic and user a database along with some kind of server side language to allow the front end to connect with the back end. You can download an example Access database here.
We propose to have the State of Indiana help provide computers to the poorest families, especially those with children. The Indiana Youth Institute found that 7.5 percent of children under the age of 18 don’t have a home computer. Research shows that children that don’t have quality to access and training with computers suffer in higher level education and in the work force (Smith). For this reasons we feel that a cheap computing option must be created.
One such option is to use Google Chromebooks. These are fully fledged computers (running Chrome OS) that would allow people of all ages to learn how to properly use computers. The cheapest chromebook is a $140 laptop. We believe that the government should also provide subsidies of some amount to the poorest people and the people in rural communities. There should also be some programs in place at local libraries to train people on how to use Chromebooks.
However, the State of Indiana would have to increase the internet infrastructure. We know that 12.2% of the population have computers but no access to the internet (Smith). The internet is a critical resource that people with computers, especially those in rural areas need.
We propose to create a trade-in system, where obsolete computers used in education and other industries are sold to the public at a more affordable rate. This would not only help people have access to a computer, but also find a meaningful way for colleges to give something towards the community as well as having a value for computers that they no longer use.
We believe that these three proposals will allow Hoosiers, especially below the age of 18 and in rural communities, to have superior access to computers, internet and the information to use them. While it is hard to guess how the public would react without doing a large survey and study, we believe that the public would react positively to our plan.