Recent news from the Center for Civic Media

Recent news from the Center for Civic Media

The Struggle Over What Gets Taught in Texas: An Interview with Rebecca Bell-Meterau

Like many of you, I have been reading with some horror about the culture war which has been taking place down in Texas over the revision of their social science standards, especially because Texas remains a key influence on national curriculum and textbook development. A group of highly reactionary candidates have gotten elected to the school board there, in some cases in races where they ran without opposition and where voters had limited access to information about their views, with the result that they are striping aside anything from the standards that may run afoul of their narrow ideological perspective. Even readers who have expressed concerns in the past about "political correctness" in American education probably are not happy at the thought that Thomas Jefferson no longer has a place in Texas schools.

At PBS IdeaLab: "Sourcemap Makes Data Visualizations Transparent"

The latest C4FCM post from the Idea Lab blog:

While pitched as a way to create and visualize "open supply chains," Sourcemap's real virtue is that the data itself is fully sourced. Like the links at the bottom of a Wikipedia article and the accompanying edit history, you know exactly who added the data and where that data came from. You can take that data and make counter-visualizations if you feel the data isn't correctly represented. Sourcemap's very structure acknowledges that visualization is an editorial process and gives others a chance to work with the original data. For example, here's an example of a Sourcemap for an Ikea bed:

Read the rest at PBS MediaShift Idea Lab: "Sourcemap Makes Data Visualizations Transparent"

Maine Congresswoman requires earmarks to be submitted by video

One of my favorite dorky words is "affordances". As in, what are the affordances of, say, a push-bar across a fire-exit door: pushing, even when the user is panicked, and definitely does not afford for pulling.

Rep. Chellie Pingree of Maine is using affordances brilliantly by requiring people to ask for earmarks via video submission. Video's affordances are that it's easily viewed, easily shareable, easily archiveable, easily citeable--and thus doesn't afford for less ethical requests:

As your Member of Congress, I am committed to doing everything I can to support the economic and community development important to the people of the First District---that means fighting for sound federal investments in our community that can grow our economy and create jobs.

Podcast: Communications Forum: "Government Transparency and Collaborative Journalism"

Linda Fantin and Ellen Miller, with moderator Chris Csikszentmihalyi

In December, the Obama administration directed federal agencies and departments to implement "principles of transparency, participation, and collaboration," including deadlines for providing government information online. At the same time, citizens and journalists are developing new technologies to manage and analyze the exponential increase in data about our civic lives available from governmental and other sources. What new ways of gathering and presenting information are evolving from this nexus of government openness and digital connectedness?

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