Recent news from the Center for Civic Media | MIT Center for Civic Media

Recent news from the Center for Civic Media

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.

Media Lab Crit Day

Here's the video from my "crit day" talk. I was pretty nervous, but I think this is the best version of the talk I've given to date. Lot's of revisions from the comm forum talk. Enjoy!

"There's no edit button!"

Center fellow Mako Hill makes a great argument today for increased focus on making Wikipedia more easily editable.

Seems counter-intuitive. Sure, Wikipedia is obviously editable. But, as Mako says in his post and in the video below, many tools being developed to support reading Wikipedia seem to forget that the essential functionality of Wikipedia is editing. That includes the new WikiReader by OpenMoko, a mobile device containing the whole of Wikipedia.

From Mako's blog:

I hope the device becomes successful but I'm worried about what success will mean for the already indefensibly large gap between the number of readers and editors on Wikipedia. After all, the ability to change and contribute is the thing that makes Wikipedia interesting, empowering, and successful; cutting this functionality out kind of misses much of the point.


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