GeoStoryteller and the Goethe-Institut

traces_s.jpgMy colleague Debbie Rabina and I received funding from the Goethe-Institut—the Federal Republic of Germany’s cultural institution operated worldwide—to complete research and development on the GeoStoryteller project. GeoStoryteller is a mobile, augmented reality application that brings library and archival collections to the streets to enhance student learning and promote historical understanding. The first application of this platform will be German Traces NYC, a learning experience that focuses on German cultural heritage in New York City, particularly with respect to immigration through the eyes of German immigrants (1840-1945). The application will be used with high school students, particularly German language students, in effort to use the city as classroom and connect everyday places with historical and cultural contexts.

Review: Access to Knowledge in the Age of Intellectual Property

I reviewed the book, Access to Knowledge in the Age of Intellectual Property from Zone Books/MIT Press (2010). It appears here in the Teachers College Record. The review is below:

Access to Knowledge in the Age on Intellectual Property is a collection of over 30 essays by an international body of scholars, lawyers, and activists, detailing the “access to knowledge” movement, or “A2K” for short. A2K is an emerging movement most succinctly described as a reaction to the global expansion of intellectual property law. Adherents to the movement detail the deleterious effects such expansion has had individual ability to access information and build knowledge, especially in the developing world. Such expansion is not only a problem for education, but also for human health. Because many medications are protected by intellectual property law, such as those for treating HIV/AIDS, access to those medicines has become prohibitively expensive for much of the developing world. It is not the cost of manufacturing the drug, but rather the idea of the drug (owned largely by western pharmaceutical companies, such as Pfizer, Bristol-Meyer Squibb, among others) where most of the cost lies.

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Digital Libraries, with a touch of Sci-Fi and Architecture

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I am looking forward to this Spring’s course, Digital Libraries. It is considerably changed from the last time I taught it. One of the new aspects of digital libraries that we will be considering are the spatial dimensions, which has been prompted in large part by the growth of mobile technology that brings digital collections to physical space (e.g., using historical photograph collections in real space). Not unsurprisingly, the integration of informational and physical spaces is of interest to architects. vinge.jpg To further explore this area, we will be collaborating with Prof. Carla Leitao course Architecture and Information Spaces, which she teaches in Pratt’s Graduate Architecture program. Together, we will be reading Vernor Vinge’s Rainbows End, a work of science fiction that depicts the world is 2025. I am looking forward to this exploration.

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Oral History Digital Archives

video.jpgI am pleased to announce that my class this semester, Projects in Digital Archives, is working with the Lesbian Herstory Archive to create a digital archive. In this class, we will consider all aspects of digital archive creation, from digitization, to content management systems, to user experience, to digital preservation. In pursuing this project, we are making use of the learning theory known as Constructionism, which places students in the role of designers and emphasizes creating physical artifacts in a social environment (Papert, 1980, 1991; Kafai, 2006). More information on the Lesbian Herstory Archive can be found in this video that was produced by PBS In the Life.

Kafai, Y. B. (2006) Constructionism. In K. Sawyer (Ed.), Cambridge Handbook of the Learning Sciences. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Papert, S. (1980) Mindstorms: Children, Computers, and Powerful Ideas (New York: Basic Books).

Papert, S. (1991). Situating constructionism. In I. Harel & S. Papert (Eds.), Constructionism (pp. 1-11). Norwood, NJ: Ablex.