Access to Information: How Will the Other 70% Get It?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010 - 16:30
TH 331
Sameer Verma, Ph.D., SFSU Information Systems

Ever try to find a DIY solution online on Youtube, or Instructables? What if we didn't have Youtube or Instructables? What if we had those resources, but you didn't have access to the Internet? Don't panic. It’s only a hypothetical question. However, this is a reality for over 70% of the world. They remain unconnected. This seminar will look at the larger picture of how access to information can change the way societies solve their own problems. How we can use simple and clever ways to bring information repositories closer to people who need it. This seminar will look at this problem through the lens of One Laptop per Child (OLPC) and its thinking of propelling the dream of a laptop for every child around the world; a laptop as a learning tool, and not just a computer. Can cheap laptops educate the masses? Do we need different software paradigms for such an endeavor? We will look at these and many other aspects and how Free and Open Source Software is helping, from idea creation to software implementation and use. We will also look at how efforts such as Creative Commons are being used to create learning materials for children worldwide. On a larger scale, these issues point to a sustainable process of building a free and open digital commons for generations to come. Maybe you can help build it!


Dr. Sameer Verma is Associate Professor of Information Systems at San Francisco State University. His research focuses on the diffusion and adoption of innovative technologies. He is currently working on research projects examining free and open source software, mobile networks, and sustainable IT infrastructures. In addition to his academic work, Dr. Verma has worked with companies in consulting capacity in the areas of content analysis, management and delivery. Dr. Verma also serves on the advisory boards of some San Francisco Bay Area technology companies. He is also the chief organizer of the OLPC-San Francisco Bay Area volunteer community . He can be reached at