Recent news from the Center for Civic Media

Recent news from the Center for Civic Media

#GoogleCN News Roundup

Editor’s note: I’ve cross posted this entry on the Difficult Problems in Cyberlaw blog.

Today Google announced that they will slowly withdraw their search functionality from a censored China, or in their words:

We have decided we are no longer willing to continue censoring our results on, and so over the next few weeks we will be discussing with the Chinese government the basis on which we could operate an unfiltered search engine within the law, if at all. We recognize that this may well mean having to shut down, and potentially our offices in China.

I’ve decided to amass together a collection of the most relevant and interesting points of view and facts coming out of today’s news.

Public Media, Public Education, and the Public Good: An Interview with Heather Chaplin (Part Two)

Editor's note: This is my last post of 2009. See you in the new year. I am going to take some time off with my family.

Much of your discussion centers around the impact of public media on public education. How would you describe the ideal learning environment for the 21st century and what blocks us from achieving that ideal?

One could write a book on that topic! Well, one of the intriguing things about creating a more intimate relationship between public media and public education is that public media is in possession of a national treasure of historical materials. Part of NPL would be assisting public media in digitizing that material and retooling it for teachers to use while teaching.

Public Media, Public Education, and the Public Good: An Interview with Heather Chaplin (Part One)

Heather Chaplin is one of the good guys -- she wrote one of the best books about the place of video games in contemporary culture; she's doing journalism which challenges some of the preconceptions about youth and new technology that run through most mainstream coverage; and she's been doing consulting work with some leading foundations -- MacArthur, Ford, among them -- as they think through what needs to be done to reallign public institutions with the risks and opportunities of the digital age.

Heather interviewed me recently for the Digital Media and Learning project website, talking about participatory culture and public engagement. She was nice enough to allow me to turn the microphone (or in this case, the keyboard) the other way to talk with her about her recently published white paper, National Public Lightpath: Documentation and Recommendations, which seeks to map some future directions for how the internet might serve the public good.

Palfrey and Zuckerman now officially "conspirators" against Iran, as if their work needed more praise

Yesterday's Boston Globe featured an article by Farah Stockman explaining how "under siege at home, Iran’s dissidents draw comfort and ideas from some visionary thinkers based here."

In the wake of widespread protests in Iran after a disputed presidential election, a mass indictment accused more than 100 Iranian politicians and activists of following the instructions of Sharp, as well as spying for several other US academics, among other charges. So far, about 80 of the accused have received prison sentences, while at least one has been sentenced to death.

How Fictional Story Worlds Influence Real World Politics

Last time, I shared with you the first of a series of occassional field reports and thought pieces from a team I have been putting together at MIT and USC to reflect on what we perceive as a potential continuum from engagement with participatory culture (especially fan communities and practices) and public participation in civic and political activities. As we described last time, this work is currently at a conceptual level as we gather examples of groups which are using elements from popular culture to provide a bridge into real world social and political concerns. Eventually we hope to do more indepth case studies working with organizations and their members to identify best practices that may be increasing young people's civic engagement and from there, develop materials which may foster even greater public participation. This reserarch has been funded in part by the Center for Future Civic Media at MIT (funded by the Knight Foundation) and reflects my involvement in a new John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation initiative focused on youth, new media, and public participation.


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