Digital Inclusion and Computational Thinking: New Challenges and Opportunities for Media Professionals

Digital Inclusion and Computational Thinking: New Challenges and Opportunities for Media Professionals

Walter Teixeira Lima Jr. (Methodist University of São Paulo, Brazil) and Rafael Vergili (University of São Paulo, Brazil)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8740-0.ch008


The Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) brought new players to an environment that subverts industrial logic of communication, visibility and representation. The issue of digital inclusion is still latent, especially in developing countries, such as Brazil. However, with initiatives that facilitate access to technological innovations and ever cheaper devices, possession, remixing and distribution of information are no longer exclusive to large companies or mass media vehicles. Anyone with network access and knowledge about certain topics can generate content for various parts of the world. In this context of constant change, the media professional is faced with new challenges and, in order to gain competitive advantage in the labor market or in the academic environment needs to more adequately understand the technological environment in which he/she is inserted, topics that are discussed under the prism of computational thinking and digital literacy concepts, possible foundations for new paths of his/her activities.
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Information storage and production have changed significantly since the development of the Web, by Tim Berners-Lee. The technology to access this environment's pages, the Common Gateway Interface (CGI) and the Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) model, linked to the Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP), allow each one to own his/her desired Internet.

From the perspective of the sociologist Castells (2003), the story of the creation and development of the Internet, from building the Arpanet in the 1960's up to the explosion of the World Wide Web in the 1990's is an extraordinary human adventure through which many bureaucratic barriers were overcome.

Those who are not included in this technological context, by not owning a computer or not having information, knowledge and literacy required to interact in the digital environment, are hence marginalized from what Castells calls “network society”. Our present days, permeated by technological innovations, are built around a society with nodal gaps of knowledge in which the distance between people is no longer given only by the geographic issue, but by the degree of interaction between the individual and the computer. Thus, you may say that the economic geography of the Internet occurs through a connected portion, in contrast to disconnected places (Castells, 2006).

Key Terms in this Chapter

ICTs: The information and communication technologies enable fundamental changes in the forms of development, recombination and dissemination of information.

Media Professionals: People who have degree in formal communication programs (Journalism, Advertising, Radio and TV or Public Relations, for example) or work in the area.

Protocol: Organizes and allows the joint operation between machines.

Digital Literacy: Set of skills and abilities that enable people to have autonomy and critical thinking to use information and communication technologies.

Softwares: Composed by lines of code executed step-by-step, allows the correct operation of programs and systems.

Computational Thinking: Capability of understanding digital technology framework to solve problems and generate new opportunities as a result of human creativity combined with the reliability of the machines.

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