Sasha Costanza-Chock of Mobile Voices Moves to MIT’s Comparative Media Studies Program

August 19, 2011

Good news for MIT’s Comparative Media Studies program: Sasha Costanza-Chock has joined the faculty as Assistant Professor of Civic Media. Sasha was instrumental in VozMob’s (Mobile Voices/ Voces Moviles) project leadership (2009 Digital Media & Learning Competition winner). Together with 12 other Voz Mob members, Sasha made important contributions to participatory research methods that reflect the same collaborative design process and principles used in developing VozMob.

Ethan Zuckerman talked to Sasha about his research on VozMob in an interview for MIT’s Center for Civic Media:

“I believe in thinking beyond web2.0, looking beyond the glossy surface of the latest high-end tools. Many civic media projects are geared around that small slice of the population lucky enough to have always-on broadband connectivity. I’m interested in how civic media reaches beyond that 5-10% of the global public.” That design strategy, as well as a strong practice of rooting both research and design in community participation, led to Costanza-Chock’s work with the Institute of Popular Education of Southern California (IDEPSCA) on VozMob (Mobile Voices / Voces Movíles), which helps day laborers in LA share stories and reports with their community using mobile phones to write stories, record audio and take photos.

It was working with the immigrant rights movement that led Costanza-Chock to develop theory around what he calls transmedia mobilization: “My research suggests that social movements are most effective when the media opportunity structure shifts and opens; when they engage in cross-platform production and distribution; when they develop a praxis of digital media literacy; and when movement organizations shift from top-down structures of communicative practice to horizontal, participatory structures that include their social base.”


Image credit: VozMob

Digital Ocean’s Bruce Caron to Develop Skolr

August 11, 2011

Bruce Caron, one of our 2009 Digital Media & Learning Competition winners (DigitalOcean: Sampling the Sea), has an interesting new project of interest to academics, particularly scientists.

In partnership with the Sloan Foundation, the Carsey-Wolf Center, and the New Media Studio, DigitalOcean is building a searchable open-source software program that archives science posters.

In an interview with James Badham, Bruce explains the appeal of sharing and archiving posters:

“What if there were a hundred meetings of various disciplines that all contributed posters to a searchable collection?” Caron posits. “You could start finding the crosscutting research connections between disciplines, even though people aren’t in the same room, at the same meeting, or even in the same area of research. You can imagine an ocean-science researcher who has a project on a marine protected area in Hawaii being able to connect with a poster about the history of colonization on that island. It’s a way to provide a larger purview of the activity of doing science. Or imagine you are a person who has a DigitalOcean profile, where you’ve created a map of your research region of interest, and every time a poster is created somewhere in the world that has content relevant to that, you receive an announcement on your DigitalOcean’s home page.”

DigitalOcean uses collaborative digital media to network and enable interdisplinary communities to work together, both to increase public involvement and learning in classrooms around the globe. For more information on the project, see DigitalOcean’s project page on, or visit them at

[Liapynten Divingboard Panorama]

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Global Challenge Award’s David Gibson on Assessment 2.0

July 27, 2011

Listen up, class! David Gibson, a 2009 Digital Media & Learning Competition winner (Global Challenge Award), will be featured as one of three speakers talking about 21st century assessment of digital learning during Gaming and Social Networks as Next Generation Learning Experiences, a one-hour webinar in Adobe Connect on  July 28, 2011 at 1pm EST. (The webinar will be archived.)

I’ve heard David talk about digital media assessment before, and know enough about his vision with simSchool to know that this will be a very interesting talk, well worth attending live or listening to later.

(Adobe Connect, I’m pulling for you, especially the audio).

David recently won one of Next Generation Learning Challenges Wave I awards for simSchool, a “flight simulator” that helps educators adapt instruction to individual learner needs. We have had the good fortune to have David bring his vast expertise in digital media assessment to several events, including HASTAC’s Peer-to-Peer Pedagogy workshop held at Duke University in 2010, as well as the 2011 Digital Media Conference — I was glad to see that Jennifer Jesu-Anter captured the highly innovative nature of David’s work (and mind) in her Stealth Assessment blog post from the conference.

To follow the simSchool project’s progress, visit their blog at

For information on joining the Gaming and Social Networks as Next Generation Learning Experiences, see instructions below:

Topic: Gaming and Social Networks as Next Generation Learning Experiences
Speakers: David Gibson, SimSchool; Chris Sprague, OpenStudy; and David Gibson, Carnegie Learning
Date: Thursday, July 28, 2011
Time: 1:00 p.m. ET (12:00 p.m. CT, 11:00 a.m. MT, 10:00 a.m. PT)

With the rise of multi-player games and social networks in our popular culture, faculty and instructional designers are increasingly turning to these highly interactive and immersive environments to promote learning in new ways. As the debate continues around their potential for deeper learning and engagement, tune in on July 28 to hear how three recent grantees from are leveraging these environments to promote content mastery, collaboration, and critical thinking. In this one-hour webinar, representatives from Carnegie Learning, and simSchool – three pioneers in the field – will share more about their plans for scale and assessment and invite your questions and feedback for their projects as they move forward.

The web seminar is free and open to all, but virtual seats are limited. Attendance is first come, first served. The session will be recorded and archived for later viewing.

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