Recent news from the Center for Civic Media

Recent news from the Center for Civic Media

Inside the Computer Clubhouse (Part Two of Three)

What do you see as the biggest impact the Computer Clubhouse movement has made on our current pedagogies around new media?

ROBBIN: When I think of pedagogies and new media one thought is that new media can serve as a powerful amplifier of human sociality, in this case around learning. Such new media pedagogies should catalyze, facilitate, and propagate individual and collective learning and teaching experiences. The Clubhouse has been a test bed for exploring how learners and mentors can engage learning from each other through digital media. One outcome has been how members and mentors come to view digital media as a material for expressing their ideas about learning and their community.

The MacArthur Foundation will be hosting an upcoming conference on Diversifying Participation. What lessons might we take from the Computer Clubhouses about how to support diversity in access and engagement with digital media?

Seeking Feedback from Stakeholders for Between the Bars

You may have seen Charlie DeTar speak recently about a project we are working on: Between the Bars. The current plan for the system is to allow inmates who do not have Internet access to blog by sending letters to a network of volunteers who can scan, upload, and transcribe them. The goal is to provide inmates with a public outlet for expression, and to allow the public to better understand what a real inmate's life is like.

We're looking for help and feedback, perhaps from you, in helping further design the project.

Inside the Computer Clubhouse (Part One of Three)

The Computer Clubhouse is a worldwide network of digital literacy programs in after-school settings. The first clubhouse program started in 1993 at the Boston Computer Museum, an outgrowth of the work being done at the MIT Media Lab by Mitchel Resnick and Natalie Rusk. By 2007, there were more than one hundred clubhouses world wide. I I have long admired the extraordinary impact of the Computer Clubhouse movement, having had the privilege to get to know Resnick and others associated with the project during my many years at MIT. Few other programs have had this kind of impact on learning all over this planet, getting countless young people more engaged with the worlds of programming and digital design through an open-ended, constructionist practice, which respects each learner's goals and interests.

Center launches project development blog

Chugging away quietly in the background since late summer has been a new development blog for Center projects, available at The blog features a more technical discussion of project plans, hopes, benchmarks, and solicitations for advice---in contrast to the outward facing posts at and the primetime posts at the PBS MediaShift blog.

We're making the dev blog more public now so that you can contribute your comments on our work at an earlier stage---and also because at MIT we can't help but show what's under the hood.

So it's where the geekiest of us can explore the backend of work at the Center...because who wouldn't want to see Josh and Jeff proving for their mapping research that you can create your own geolocated imagery for less than $100?

Five Ways To Use Green Data

In both of my talks, I mention that "data is powerful", but did not delve deeply into the epistemology of that idea or its practical applications. It is certainly a weak point in our discussion.

Luckily, there are people out there smarter than I doing the dirty work to make the case. "Five ways to use (green) data and make money", a recent article from the Harvard Business Review, presents several illustrative scenarios of using reality mining data to affect behavioral change.


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