computing for social good

CS Table 4/24/18: The Rise and Fall of the OLPC

We'll be talking about the rise and fall of the One-Laptop per Child (OLPC) initiative started by Nicholas Negroponte in 2005. The purpose of the OLPC was to transform education by introducing digital literacy to children around the world, in particular, in developing nations. To do this, the initiative focused on developing low-cost, rugged laptops and software packages that students in low-income countries could use to realize the constructivist dream of learning-by-building, e.g., through tinkering, programming, and creating digital artifacts.While the OLPC started with lofty goals, it fizzled out over the course of half a decade. During this CS Table, we'll analyze what went wrong and what went right with the OLPC movement and what we might learn from it.

The main reading for this week is an excellent historical analysis of the OLPC initiative by Adi Robertson of The Verge.

If you get interested in this topic, here is an additional paper by one of the authors, Morgan Ames, mentioned in the Robertson reading. Ames takes an ethnographical approach to analyzing the successes and shortcomings of the OLPC movement that I think is a great example of anthropology applied to the history of technology. Please note that to access the Ames article, make sure you are accessing it through a Grinnell IP address, e.g., on campus or through an appropriate proxy.

Computer science table (CS Table) is a weekly meeting of Grinnell College community members (students, faculty, staff, etc.) interested in discussing topics related to computing and computer science. CS Table meets Tuesdays from 12:00–12:45pm in JRC 224A (inside the Marketplace). Contact the CS faculty for the weekly reading. Students on meal plans, faculty, and staff are expected to cover the cost of their meals. Visitors to the College and students not on meal plans can charge their meals to the department (sign in at the Marketplace front desk).

Thursday Extra 4/27: Project Gadfly

Thursday, April 27, 2017
4:15 p.m. in Science 3821
Refreshments at 4:00 p.m. in the Computer Science Commons (Science 3817).
Everyone is welcome to attend!

Project Gadfly: Students and Alums Coding for Social Good

Over spring break, six mentors and eight Grinnell students created Project Gadfly, a system designed to help U.S. residents contact their elected representatives. With Gadfly, users can create sample call scripts and share them with friends using QR codes. Anyone who sees these codes can scan them with the app and have the script and a button to call their representatives at their fingertips. The students created a web client, two native app clients, a database, a server, an API, and an Iowa non-profit in 12 days, balancing security and design decisions with rapid development. Students who worked on Project Gadfly will discuss both the design of the system and what it was like to work with mentors on a rapid-learning, rapid-development project.

Thursday Extra: "Mobile computing for social good"

On Thursday, January 30, Spencer Liberto 2015 will report on the work of his summer 2013 research team:

Over the course of the summer, a group of students worked with Professor Sam Rebelsky to redesign the CSC 207 curriculum. Our goal was to create a curriculum that was a more natural successor of the first two introductory courses in the sequence, by engaging the students with motivational tools and a core theme they could relate to. We achieved that by building the curriculum around Android development, to provide students with tangible end-of-course projects to call their own, and tying it all together under an overarching theme of social justice.

Refreshments will be served at 4:15 p.m. in the Computer Science Commons (Noyce 3817). The talk, “Mobile computing for social good in CSC 207,” will follow at 4:30 p.m. in Noyce 3821. Everyone is welcome to attend!

Glimmer Labs: Computing for Social Good in CS2

The Glimmer Labs pages are currently under development.

Computing for Social Good in CS2, aka CSG-CS2 is a project of Grinnell College's Glimmer Labs. In this project, we are developing resources to include topics of computing for social good in the CS2, the introductory course in data structures and algorithms. (At Grinnell, CSC207, Object-Oriented Problem Solving and Algorithms, corresponds to the traditional CS 2 course.)

In our first version of the CSG-CS2 course, we are using Ushahidi as a component of the course. Students will use a local Ushahidi installation as the source for data and will build a simple Ushahidi installation for clients towards the end of the semester.

The student researchers currently working on CSG-CS2 include Spencer Liberto, Lea Marolt Sonnenschein, and Daniel Torres.

Further information is forthcoming.

[ Glimmer | People | github | CSG-CS2@github ]

Glimmer Labs

The Glimmer Labs pages are currently under development.

The Grinnell Laboratory for Interactive Multimedia Experimentation and Research, aka "Glimmer" aka "Glimmer Labs" is a research laboratory in the Department of Computer Science at Grinnell College. Samuel A. Rebelsky serves as the director of Glimmer Labs, which has a host of student researchers.

Current Research Projects

Glimmer Labs currently supports two primary research projects. In the Mediascripting project, we are building tools and resources to explore interactive scripting of media applications. While our emphasis is on using functional approaches to scripting, we support a variety of languages and paradigms. In the CSG-CS2 project, we are building a curriculum for data structures and algorithms that emphasizes computing for social good.

Historical Information

From 1997 to 2006, the research focus of Glimmer Labs was interactive hypermedia, particularly targeting the World Wide Web. The three main projects of Glimmer Labs at the time were Project Clio, a suite of resources to gather and analyze information about student Web usage, SiteWeaver, a tool suite for building Web sites, and TrailBlazer, a tool set for annotating and linking arbitrary Web pages. All of those projects have been discontinued.

[ Glimmer | People | github | CSG-CS2@github ]

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