Filling Digital Gaps

I wonder, is the point of these mobile devices to mature in their use and pass that to others, or to scratch an it?

Here’s something that I recently posted at Forum Oxford after seeing little motion on a similar type of topic at Talk.Maemo:

Some months ago, I was introduced to a single mother who had a huge interest in IT. She attended a local community college, but had no means for doing computing at home. Usually, giving a smartphone would be a solution here but her budget wouldn’t allow for one. I gave her my Nokia N810 Internet Tablet and noticed something, it didn’t answer all of her needs, but because most of her course content was online, and she was often in places with “free” Wi-Fi, this fit the bill for her. In addition, her bent towards programming led her to develop solutions around that device (usually around filling educational needs for her kid). It has been an interesting run of events, but that situation pointed me to one of the ways that we can address some of the digital gaps around us (gift, train, let play, and guide from a distance).

So, my question for discussion: do you have similar stories about filling some of these digital gaps (access, education, enablement, etc.)?

If not, thinking first on a personal level then a larger platform one, how can we better point towards devices/services being repurposed to fill gaps such as these beyond just looking at “emerging” markets (this is a need, but looking deeper into our social strata)

I used to come across mobile devices so often that I had to get to the point of giving them away. I have not had them as often l used to, but the thought remains about this being one of many ways to address gaps in access, empowerment, and education in various segments of our society which are still underserved despite the gains around them.

My friend with that Nokia tablet is kicking butt in so many ways. But, it isn’t enough. She needs more. Others that i meet at her college need more. Whole segments of our societies need more than just devices, but it is a start. Why wouldn’t we clean out our drawers of old mobiles and put them in the hand of those that could use that connectivity? I don’t mean via a program that ships them far away either, i mean a literal handing things down and sitting with folks for a season or two.

And for all that we aren’t doing in respect to recycling mobile devices, there’re are a lot of gaps we could be filling don’t you think?