I am going to investigate how the availability of electronic information has impacted on individuals and how this has changed society and the way in which it functions. Figures show that in 2006, 52 per cent of households in the EU-25 had Internet access at home. The UK was above the EU average, at 63 per cent (1). To research this topic I used the internet and the college library. Google was my main search engine and I used the information I found to write this report.
Access to Electronic Information
In the modern world society tends to use ITC to communicate, we use e-mails, the internet and instant messaging. E-mail have become increasingly common, many companies use email more than written letters as it allows the sender to sent attachments and mass mail people without having to repack and resend it. Email is also free as apposed to ordinary mail which costs more and takes longer. However one downside of e-mail is that the sender has to get the e-mail address completely correct, whereas you only need the post code to be correct for ordinary mail to reach its destination.
The internet is now such a large part of society, and there are major downsides to this. We have access to censored and unsavoury material, there are also databases with all our private details on available to whomever chooses to look.
Internet use is more common among the young, and declines with age. In 2006, 84 per cent of people aged 16 to 24 had used the Internet within the last three months, compared with 52 per cent of people aged 55 to 64 and 15 per cent of those aged 65 and over (2).
Effects of Availability of Electronic Information in the Household
Having the internet at home is now common place; nearly 40 per cent of UK households now have access to the Internet from home (2). Instead of reading textbooks and reference books, or asking their parents, children now look things up on the internet to help them with their homework. This isn’t necessarily such a good thing, it opens up the possibility of plagiarism and some people argue that by manually looking in a textbook you learn more.
However the internet at home is not always bad, when used in the correct way. I find it very useful when doing research. It is also cheaper than buying textbooks and a lot faster than flicking through them. Many adults also find the internet very useful as there are now facilities that allow you to sort out your finances online, book holidays, track people and do most of your day to day shopping.
Effects of Availability of Electronic Information on Society
Electronic information has had a huge impact on society over the past 50 years. Whereas we used to have to get up early on a Saturday morning in order to do all our shopping and beat the crowds, we can now do it all online; shopping for food, clothes, and presents, stationary, holidays, pretty much anything.
Access to electronic information via computers, mobile phones, and other technology means that we can sort out our day to day life wherever we are and whenever we want. For most of us this has improved our lifestyle and helped to keep us organised.
Access to electronic information has also greatly helped the disabled community, enabling them to do their shopping independently and at their leisure. However this has a knock on effect, carers are needed less and less, and for shorter periods of time. As kids are now self teaching themselves by way of the internet, teachers too are needed less and less, there are no longer after school workshops to help kids with their homework as all the information they need can be found on the internet. Long distance learning is also making teachers redundant and there are many that believe in 50 years teachers will no longer have a place in society.
Effects on those who do not have or want access to ICT
Many people now rely on the internet and regard it as vital to their everyday life. They find it hard to believe that some may not have access to the internet and may not want it. 72 percent of people that do not currently have access to the internet said that will not want it within the next year (2). But are these people at a disadvantage? With an increase of internet based information such as product recall, there is a risk that those without the internet will miss out on important information. For example important information about benefits and different schemes in place to help people in financial difficulty is stored on the internet, when those that need this information are the same people that cannot afford computers. Many utility companies and shops have discounted internet prices that those without the internet miss out on.
Currently there is a great push to enable more people to access the internet whether it be at home, school, work, the library, or an internet cafï¿½. Within the next few decades more and more sources of information and communication will be internet based. For example channel four has recently launched an internet TV service, MSN and Apple are just two providers of internet radio, and several sites like Bebo support Skype (an online telephone service).
There are however two sides to the coin, many people seem to forget that even though the internet and other electronic information helps us enormously with day to day life, there was and still is and entire generation that do not and never will use the internet but seem to get along just fine.
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Task C – Information from large websites
One of the most useful and informative sites I found when using search engines was www.statistics.gov.uk .
There are a number of ways of navigating your way around within the site itself:
Results for internal search:
Results for advanced search:
Following the links leads me to different material on the subject that I searched; datasets, articles, surveys, etc.
I found I was also able to download the full press release for many of the surveys and articles.
Task D – Use of databases to find information
Many large companies will use databases within their websites, they will not appear the same as a normal database that you would create yourself, however they still search the data from the criteria you enter into a search.
For example if I wanted to buy a sound system from Currys I would access their website and type “sound systems” into the search box.
The results are then displayed below the search but in no particular order.
Use of spreadsheets to analyse and report
To input the data I found, whilst searching online, into a spreadsheet document I used a macro:
I then when to the results sheet:
I then decided to find the sum, mean, maximum and minimum values for my set of data:
This then brought up the screen below:
Here I had to enter the cells which I wanted it to include. Instead of typing it in manually I found it easier to select the cells which the automatically appeared in the formulae. Once this was complete I dragged the formula along the row so that the maximum value was found for each one. I then repeated this for the minimum, average and sum values. My spreadsheet ended up looking like this:
From the results of these calculations a have produced a set of graphs and charts which I can use in my presentation later:
I also used IF testing to see how the attendances for each year compare to the average attendance. To do this I thought it would be easier to la it out in a separate table below my original data.
I then dragged the formulae across and down to complete the new table. Once I had done this I used the COUNTIF function to create a total for the number of years above average and the number of years below average:
Task F – Power Point Presentation
Task G – Evaluation
I found this assignment very difficult, especially at the beginning. This was mainly due to the fact that I wasn’t such which topic I wanted to research and how to go about it. The first task was to find information that was relevant to our chosen topic using search engines. I found this quite difficult because although there was a lot of information on sports available, it wasn’t all necessarily relevant.
The hardest part of this task was finding numeric data to input into a spreadsheet. The national statistics website was very useful but the data wasn’t raw data, it had already been formatted and the results presented, so it was therefore very hard to use it in any way apart from showing that I could search databases.
For most of my data I found an obscure website that contained a lot of attendance statistics for most European football Leagues and Cups. Once I had found the numeric data I needed I found the rest quite easy. Doing the different formulae wasn’t too hard but I found testing it was.
I spent a lot of my time looking for numeric data which left me short of time for the rest of the tasks. If I was to do it again I would try to balance my time out more and probably spend a bit more time on my report.
Overall I fell that this has been very useful and I think I have learnt a lot about the different source of information and how to manipulate raw data.