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Friday, October 4 • 2:00pm - 3:00pm
Locative Media and Community Engagement

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Connecting to Place Through STUDIO: Mobile City Science
Erin Riesland, Don LaBonte

Our team set out to design and implement an afterschool curriculum that leverages spatial and locative technologies to explore youth connections to community and place. Located in a recently revitalized HOPE IV neighborhood (Housing For People Everywhere) historically synonymous with crime and inequity, we worked with middle and high school youth as part of an afterschool STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) program. Youth were presented with a series of spatial “learning on the move” (Taylor, 2013) activities that made use of mobile technologies and were guided by undergraduate mentors. In the field, youth took immersive 360 images which were then uploaded into a virtual building space. Through our curriculum, we aimed to challenge rhetoric around technology’s role as an agent of displacement and isolation. Youth worked collaboratively with near peer mentors across technologies to re-present, create, and inscribe themselves into locative technologies that mediate place. Final projects combined common location-aware technologies and virtual reality (VR) creation software. Google Earth walks in VR inspired new perspectives of community while virtual painting provided a way to create 3D materials to add into the VR world-building platform. Together these mundane and novel locative technologies enabled youth to inscribe themselves back into place-making and place-learning technologies. Google Maps was used to trace and curate youth’s real and virtual experiences and creations. Youth’s immersive virtual worlds were shared using smartphones and Google Cardboard viewers.

Neighborhood Circulation of Civic Stories: A Trans-Local Platform
Benjamin Stokes, Olivia Williams, Hazel Arroyo

How can cities make their history more visible, and invite residents to participate across channels? This project investigates a transmedia "storytelling system" for neighborhoods, designed to circulate audio stories and digital photographs beyond institutional walls. Residents often discovered the system at one of five neighborhood libraries, each featuring a "satellite exhibit" of a Smithsonian exhibit on DC neighborhood history. A novel transmedia design extended the physical installations, yet remained deliberately low-tech. In particular, the system featured repurposed payphones, a storytelling truck, and a multimedia texting system to connect key sites around the city. The system recruited residents’ own stories of neighborhood history, even as it circulated specific oral histories from city archives. Print media like postcards proved essential for scavenger hunts and learning activities, shaping playful experiences around neighborhood stories. Over 18 months, the project demonstrated how connected learning at the neighborhood level can prioritize inclusion by balancing transmedia organizing with locally-owned platforms.

Exploring STEM Impact and Engagement in Student-Led and Purpose-Driven Projects (Aka – Make With Data)
Cassie Xu

The Make with Data project, a collaboration between Teachers College and Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, aims to address the lack of diversity in STEM fields by engaging high school aged learners in an informal setting that uses data and data science to identify a compelling local community challenge and to design and implement a solution. Using service learning and constructionism frameworks, we are studying how framing STEM practices as being a way of contributing to and improving one’s community might increase interest in STEM fields. However, rather than create a one-size-fits-all activity that assumes a community problem, the Make with Data project aims to develop and study design frameworks for creating personally meaningful and learner-centric experiences and activities that can be deployed in a broad range of communities with similar demographics. By engaging students throughout New York City (NYC) in data science practices with data experts to identify local challenges, we expect students might develop strong personal connections to problems they identify and the solutions they create, which will in turn positively impact their STEM interests.

What Happens When Student Passion, Interests, and Activism Collide?
Lahari Goud, Matsuo Marti

Civitas Education Partners (CEP) is reimagining schools. An overarching consensus of the Stanford University’s 2017 Policy Forum on K-12 Education was the need to transform the status quo in education. Mark Duggan shared if we keep at the same rate of improvement [of narrowing the achievement gap], it would take anywhere from 60 to 100 years for some of those gaps to close for student populations who are poor, Latino or Black.

CEP aspires to be a world leader in incubating innovative educational solutions that disrupt the status quo, resulting in the elimination of educational inequity through widespread implementation of transformational practices. For the 2018-2019 school year, CEP piloted an innovative, startup learning experience for high school seniors at CICS ChicagoQuest, a small high school serving students that are 90% Black, 7% Hispanic, and 90% economically disadvantaged. 

The Civitas Community Impact Experience (CCIE) empowers students to discover their unique talents, passion and duty to serve through experiences in authentic community projects, problems, and opportunities. The transformational experience engages, challenges, and prepares students to impact their communities and the world as consultants, designers, problem-solvers, critical-thinkers, and innovators. Teams of ChicagoQuest seniors use the City of Chicago as their classroom and engage in projects based on authentic problems and topics from sponsors and community partners that reflect the diversity of the workplace: corporations, entrepreneurial ventures, non-profit organizations, and government agencies.

avatar for Benjamin Stokes

Benjamin Stokes

Assistant Prof., American University
Benjamin Stokes is a civic media scholar and designer at American University in the School of Communication and Game Lab. His designs for cities have introduced neighbors, retold local history, and rebuilt payphones. Previously, Benjamin co-founded Games for Change, the movement hub... Read More →

Lahari Goud

avatar for Cassie Xu

Cassie Xu

Columbia University

Erin Riesland

PhD Student / Researcher, University of Washington
avatar for Don LaBonte

Don LaBonte

Graduate Researcher, University of Washington

Matsuo Marti

Civitas Education Partners

Friday October 4, 2019 2:00pm - 3:00pm PDT
Doheny Beach A 311 Peltason Dr., Irvine, CA, 92697