Project Proposal

I would like to do a creative project that touches on three themes that I want to address: accessibility to these technologies, learning how to use media, and the functionality of these technologies.  I propose to design an electronic piece of literature that will essentially serve as a how-to-guide of using these technologies. The guide however will be targeted to an audience that does not usually have access to these technologies or access to learning how to engage with them.  The idea behind this stems from my interest in thinking of ways to bridge the digital divide while also being able to personally conceive and engage with technology in innovative ways.

My project will consist of an electronic piece of literature that through engaging with the technology the user will be introduced to content that explains the processes at work during the experience.  It will have technical explanations as well as theoretical concepts – framed within a historical context – to allow the user to understand the work that is being done with the technology. I plan on designing this technology through the technical skills I have with a program called Processing, which will have an interface similar to that of the cyber text literature that we had read, but it will be completely designed and computer coded by me and then put online for use.  This will allow me to exercise practical skill while being able to invent a new experience for myself and other users – keeping in mind that each experience is going to be different. My hope is that this literature becomes a tool that exemplifies theory in practice, a way of facilitating education through technology theory.  By clicking on different prompts the user will be directed to textual information that they will read to receive information or technological lessons, or they will be directed toward interactive forms of the text that asks them to use the instructions provided earlier to test their functional skills in the technology.  This guide will be fulfilling to me as a creator but also to larger communities as a tangible and interactive tool for education and social change.

7 responses to “Project Proposal

  1. This sounds like a very cool and useful project, Tigist. The goal of bridging the digital divide is ambitious, but definitely worthwhile. Digital lexicon is incredibly prohibitive, perhaps even more so than technologies themselves, so I’m excited to see how you go about describing digital processes. Maybe I’ll even use it myself.

    Do you intend to use this project post-graduation? It would be a pretty cool thing to take to a non-profit looking to improve community access to technology.

  2. is your guide going to be purely about the technology or are you incorporating content with a larger or different meaning, but one that has to be read through a guide that teaches technology? It may be interesting to incorporate a narrative (or non narrative) aspect of the writing to make things interesting and different from other technology guides.

  3. I really like the educational angle of your project. There are a few points of your proposal that I’m a little fuzzy on, though:

    First, by “technologies,” do you mean Processing, specifically? Or will the project also include, say, explanations of open-source programming, web browsers, the Internet, or computers in general? Combining technical explanations with theoretical concepts is a great idea, but you’re definitely going to have to be selective in your presentation so you and your readers don’t feel overwhelmed. I’m also curious who you would consider part of the audience who doesn’t already have access to these technologies (especially considering that Processing is an open-source platform that anyone can, theoretically, download and learn for free) and how you intend to reach them with your project.

    Again, I really like the way you describe coding your personal learning experience, but I wonder how well that’s going to translate in practical/instructional terms. On the whole, though, this sounds like a really cool, ambitious project. Good luck!

  4. The usage of hypertexts within a program that almost epitomizes the idea of a hyper-textual machine (Processing) is interesting. Also, the fact that you’re using the program the reader has to interact with in order to teach the reader how to use the program sounds like quite the experience. Also, I really like this because I’m genuinely interested in using Processing.

  5. This sounds really interesting. I like how you’re approaching the question of accessibility and technology. Do you have a certain audience in mind? A demographic that may not have access to computers at home, or maybe an older demographic that did not grow up with these technologies that we take for granted? I guess this question would really inform how you create your instructions. Otherwise it sounds really great, and I like the idea of using Processing to create this interface too.

  6. This sounds fantastic, Tigist, and I suspect that it could be enormously useful and important. Like Rachel, though, I’m a little fuzzy on some of the details (which is, I imagine, a factor of how early in this process you are). What kinds of technologies will you be exploring — computer use in general, the web more narrowly, or something even more specific? How will the form and the content of this project work together? Are there ways to graduate the instruction involved such that inexperienced users are able to jump in, but that takes advantage of what they learn as they go along? I’m looking forward to seeing more about what you imagine — it seems like this could be a really useful means of bringing a kind of digital literacy to those who might otherwise be kept at a distance, but I’m curious about where you’ll begin…

  7. Echoing everyone’s comments, your project is not only interesting but very useful. I personally could benefit from a more basic way to learn to navigate all the complexity of the internet.
    I think as your project develops you will have more information to answer the many questions that emerge within the initial phases of the project. I think narrowing it down to specific aspects would make it more “do-able.” Great idea, though!