Technology

Diversity Makes Design Sense

Monday, April 10, 2017 Comment women engineers

The 2017 NCES report “Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering” notes that the participation of women, minorities, and persons with disabilities (WMPD) in science and engineering fields does not match their proportion of the population. For more than two decades, women have earned about half the bachelor’s degrees in science and engineering, although they overrepresented in some fields (70% of psychology degrees) and underrepresented in others (women are only 18% of computer science degree-holders). While the report provides many reasons to be optimistic, it also shows that we have some ways to


Watchworthy Wednesday: New Book Questions Tech Assumptions

Wednesday, January 25, 2017 Comment ipad

“Giving voice to the voiceless” is a familiar phrase, says Meryl Alper, author of “Giving Voice: Mobile Communication, Disability, and Inequality” (MIT Press, 2017). “It has Biblical origins, is foundational to journalism, and often describes technologies like civic media and open data,” she notes. “But, I’m looking at voice not just metaphorically (as self-expression and agency), but also alongside the more literal sense (oral vocalization). The popular press, as well as tech companies like Apple and Microsoft, have historically used the phrase to characterize non-speaking and minimally speaking individuals with disabilities (and youth in particular) as


Watchworthy Wednesday: Virtual Field Trip Delves into Museum Science

Wednesday, November 30, 2016 Comment Infrared xray of artwork

With a camera that sees infrared light pointed at a centuries-old painting by artist Jan Provost, the original sketch underneath appears. The x-rayed image shows how different the original drawing was from what was ultimately painted. To analyze the minerals in the paint used, scientists use XRF (X-ray fluorescence), a non-destructive analytical technique that determines the elemental composition of materials. Such science and technology can be used to answer all sorts of art history and scientific questions. That was the point of a virtual field trip today behind the scenes at the Detroit Institute of Arts


Creating Culturally Sensitive Solutions to Digital Violence

Thursday, September 29, 2016 Comment Jacque Wernimont

As web materials for the Center for Solutions to Online Violence go live this month, at DML Central we are continuing to run profiles of those who participated in the DML Competition 5 Trust Challenge. By focusing specifically on trust issues, this series of grant opportunities was designed to address the continuing presence of serious obstacles to digital participation that go beyond access to technology and consider the role of systemic bias or suspicion. Rather than adopt a one-size-fits all approach to bullying and stalking, the CSOV offers those seeking information about combatting internet misogyny and


Watchworthy Wednesday: The 5 Most Needed 21st Century Skills

Wednesday, September 07, 2016 Comment CharacterDay

As the third annual Character Day approaches Sept. 22, the nonprofit Let it Ripple Film Studio will be featuring “The Adaptable Mind,” an 11-minute exploration of the five skills we need most to flourish in the 21st century. Webby Awards creator Tiffany Shlain, who founded Character Day, co-founded the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences and leads Let it Ripple, uses Twitter to pose a question at the beginning of the film: “What’s a great example of a 21st century mind in action?” She receives hundreds of responses and focuses on the one from Los


Amino One Makes Bioengineering Useful, Easy to Learn

Thursday, July 21, 2016 Comment bioengineering lab workshop

A chemistry set was a big part of what first interested me in science, back in the 20th century. Today’s scientist of tomorrow has the opportunity to play and learn with a bioengineering set! Yes, you can safely experiment with genetically altering bacteria to create your own pigments and more. It’s called Amino One from AminoLabs — a “laptop size Personal Bioreactor and Transformation Station” that enables learners to experience safe hands-on bioengineering — and make personally useful products. Personally, as a painter, I can’t wait to engineer bacteria to create my own pigments. Julie Legault, CEO


Air-B-N-Me: Self Representation in the Digital Age

Monday, April 18, 2016 Comment Computer-generated image of two women dancing in ballroom dresses

Is your real life anything like your online version of it? How have open networks and social media shaped our perceptions of both ourselves and others? The politics of representation in the digital age continue to shed provocative light on the divide between what is real and what is represented. In my current New Media Studies class, my students and I have found it useful to consider this question by investigating the idea of “filtering” — a concept that Jill Walker Rettberg writes about extensively in Seeing Ourselves Through Technology. Filters may refer to both the


From Changing Education Systems to Changing Society

Monday, February 29, 2016 Comment Group of young people working at individual computer stations

Whether stated explicitly or not, a core proposition of DML is that there are deep consequences to the ways that young people are learning both in and out of school and using digital technology with peers, in affinity groups, as they develop interests and expertise. In the context of the U.S., digital media and learning (DML) offers challenges to the school curriculum and significantly to the organization of the out-of-school, community-based non-formal learning sector. But, what could it mean in other places around the world? I recently visited TUMO Centre for Creative Technologies, in Yerevan, the capital


Lessons Learned During Summer Minecraft Camp

Thursday, February 18, 2016 Comment Kids sitting at table and playing on a computer

We partnered with Connected Camps and Building Blocks for Kids Collaborative (BBK) last summer to run a four-week affiliate camp for underprivileged kids in the city of Richmond, California. Richmond’s residents are predominantly low-income Black or Latino families, and a recent study by the Richmond Public Library and BBK found that computer and Internet access in this community was far below the national average. With the generous assistance of the City of Richmond’s IT staff, we hosted the camp in Richmond’s City Hall IT Training Room, a basement room with 28 workstations. These computers were connected


Making Learning Matter in the Digital Classroom

Thursday, February 04, 2016 Comment Online Course description screenshot

In a recent blog post, I discussed the noteworthy success of a web-based course launched by a research university in a high-profile initiative that emphasized online access as much as digital education. As I pointed out, student evaluations are almost never universally positive about large courses, particularly required courses with many drafts due for projects that can feel like “busy work” to skeptical undergraduates. I interviewed the course instructor, Alexandra Sartor, in this blog post and wanted to follow up with the instructional designer, Ava Arndt, as well. A disclaimer is probably in order here, since