Publications

Publication date: 2015

To explain the uncanny holding power that some technologies seem to have, this paper presents a theory of charisma as attached to technology. It uses the One Laptop per Child project as a case study for exploring the features, benefits, and pitfalls of charisma. It then contextualizes OLPC's charismatic power in the historical arc of other charismatic technologies, highlighting the enduring...

Publication date: 2015

In 1778, Vicesimus Knox declared his time the “Age of Information,” suggesting, in a fashion recognizable today, that the period had severed connections with prior ages. This paper examines Knox’s claim by exploring changes in conceptions of information across the eighteenth century. It notes in particular shifts in the concept’s personal and political implications, reflected in the different...

Publication date: 2015

This dissertation grapples with the questions: Does transparency lead to accountability? Is it possible to "democratize" surveillance, turning surveillance into an instrument of democratic control over state bureaucracy? Can a state bureaucracy combine visions of surveillance within the state and "openness" to citizens to help police itself? To address these questions, I studied an "open...

Publication date: 2015

An emerging field of educational data mining (EDM) is building on and contributing to a wide variety of disciplines through analysis of data coming from various educational technologies. EDM researchers are addressing questions of cognition, metacognition, motivation, affect, language, social discourse, etc. using data from intelligent tutoring systems, massive open online courses, educational...

Publication date: 2015

Since the early-to-mid 2000's, South Africa's Western Cape and Kenya's capital city Nairobi have been attracting flows of trade and investments in information technology-enabled services (ITES). The flows are small but significant and growing, with multinational companies like Amazon, Google, IBM, and others locating and developing market niches in these regions. Why have these regions managed...

Publication date: 2015

The notion that farmers use mobile phones to acquire market price information has become a kind of shorthand for the potential of this technology to empower rural, low-income populations in the Global South. We argue that the envisioned consequences of ‘market price information’ for market efficiency with benefits at all income levels is a kind of myth, one frequently promulgated in the...

Publication date: 2015

In this paper, we address issues of transparency, modularity, and privacy with the introduction of an open source, web-based data repository and analysis tool tailored to the Massive Open Online Course community. The tool integrates data request/authorization and distribution workflows as well as a simple analytics module upload format to enable reuse and replication of analytics results among...

Publication date: 2015

Effective use of spectrum is essential to the forms of mobile, ubiquitous, and social computing that increasingly shape and define CSCW research. This paper calls attention to the key policy processes by which the future of wireless spectrum – and the forms of technology design and use that depend on it – is being imagined, shaped, and contested. We review CSCW and HCI scholarship arguing for...

Publication date: 2015

While some in the CSCW community have researched the values in technology design and engineering practices, the underlying ideologies that reinforce and protect those values remain under-explored. This paper seeks to address this gap by identifying a common ideological framework that appears across four engineering endeavors: the OLPC Project, the National Day of Civic Hacking, the Fixit...

Publication date: 2014

What does it mean to "plan" a technology?  Designs with a footprint in public space are important hybrids, including wired bus stops and rebuilt payphones.  Our goal is to shift from designing technology for a neighborhood by planning technology as part of the neighborhood.  Aging phone booths were purchased in LA's historic Leimert Park.  For six months, residents joined with technologists to...

Publication date: 2014

With the rise of global telecommunications networks, and especially with the worldwide spread of the Internet, the world is considered to be becoming an information society: a society in which social relations are patterned by information, transcending time and space through the use of new information and communications technologies. Much of the popular press and academic literature on the...

Publication date: 2014

We introduce two case studies that illuminate a particular way of conceptualizing childhood and technology: the East Bay Fixit Clinic and the One Laptop Per Child project. Both cases borrow ideologies of childhood from contemporary American culture and ideas of technological potential from computer cultures. The developers and organizers in these two groups ground the resulting narrative in...

Publication date: 2014

Trademark theory implicitly assumes that laws favoring the interests of the producer will inevitably serve the interests of the consumer. Such a claim justifies the way that trademark law privileges the voice of the producer in the marketplace. Historical work has tended to endorse this view, explaining the development of trademarks and trademark law in terms of the information needed for...

Publication date: 2014

In this paper, we investigate the correspondence between student affect and behavioural engagement in a web-based tutoring platform throughout the school year and learning outcomes at the end of the year on a high-stakes mathematics exam in a manner that is both longitudinal and fine-grained. Affect and behaviour detectors are used to estimate student affective states and behaviour based on...

Publication date: 2014

This paper explores issues that come up in practices of breakage and repair through two projects: the 'XO' laptops of One Laptop Per Child in Paraguay and public sites of facilitated repair in California, USA. Collectively drawing on 15 months of ethnographic fieldwork, 156 interviews, and archival research, we find that breakdown and repair are not processes that designers can effectively...

Publication date: 2013

In the mid-2000s, China began a set of policies to ‘informatize’ the countryside, i.e. to bring Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) to rural residents in order to improve their economic conditions. These policies posit the countryside as a world of ‘less,’ compared to urban areas, and they are framed in terms of what people who are at the margins of China’s modernization (migrant...

Publication date: 2013

Technologies have been and are being designed to address varied human needs. Of these, the need for physical and economic well-being is typically considered to trump the need for culture, leisure, fun, and entertainment. Research initiatives in the field of Information and Communication Technology and Development (ICTD) have been in motion to address agricultural, educational, and health care...

Publication date: 2013

Interaction design is the definition of digital behavior, from desktop software and mobile applications to components of appliances, automobiles, and even biomedical devices. Where architects plan buildings, graphic designers make visual compositions, and industrial designers give form to three-dimensional objects, interaction designers define the digital components of products and services....

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