The distribution of digital media is uneven at best. As new technologies enter the technological landscape, it is important to account for the ways in which they reshape communication at home as well as abroad. This project explores the proliferation of computers, mobile devices, and Internet connectivity around the world through the comparative framework of the Universal Standard Time zone. In other words, media proliferation is examined within three sites in a given time zone. The research findings are in turn presented in two major formats: as a traditional research paper as well as a mobile phone app/website.
This two-pronged research approach raises questions about the influence of technology itself on scholarly work. It asks students to both create and reflect on electronic literacy: students wrote for and about mobile devices, the Internet, and computer screens. They were asked to consider the differences and similarities in completing a traditional research paper, which is often seen as analytical, and a mobile website/application, which poses a challenge with its 320×400 pixel framework. In many ways, these two technologies represent two opposite modes of literacy: a narrative mode illustrated by the paper, and a database mode presented by the compact mobile website/app.
It further explored issues of digital media access and accessibility in a global context. Students were asked to compare and contrast the distribution of new media technologies across different locales and these comparisons often led to reflections about their own use of technology.
This assignment was conceived as a praxis opportunity for students to integrate interactive development skills with analytical research. It was an individual assignment to be developed during class. This predicament limited the amount of data we could integrate, thus not all time zones around the world were covered.
Students were provides with bare bones Dreamweaver-ready templates that they could customize and populate with data. They were asked to create a color schema, find images, as well as statistical data on their time zone. Usability was a key consideration in the arrangement and distillation of research data.