Integrating Mobile Technologies to Achieve Community Development Goals: The Case of Telecenters in Brazil
ACM Press, New York
Telecenters and mobile technologies are two of the main interventions for reducing the digital divide and are primary tools for information access. The rapid and pervasive adoption of mobile technologies had called into question the necessity of continued investment in telecenters; however, telecenters have been credited for serving different needs than private mobile technologies. Users and stakeholders are shaping new ways of access, and telecenters and mobile technologies can benefit from each other to address the issue of underserved communities' access to information. The literature has not yet extensively addressed this topic. The study presented in this paper has the twofold goal to understand (i) how mobile technologies are used by telecenters to enhance their services to the public, and (ii) whether telecenter operators perceive mobile technologies as viable instruments to innovate telecenters and pursue community development goals. Informed by the Theory of Social Representations (SR), the study presents responses to a questionnaire to Brazilian telecenter operators. Results show that telecenter operators have a positive attitude towards adopting mobile technologies to extend their telecenters' services and meet their development goals, especially in the areas of education, knowledge, information and communication.