April 13th, 2010

rock shadow

Panel 5/17, 3pm: "Designing for Freedom: Values in Communication Technologies"

I'm tremendously excited to announce the panel on values in design I am planning this spring. Please join us at Stanford for a great discussion on May 17 -- and spread the word! I'll post a flyer soon.

Designing for Freedom: Values in Communication Technologies
The Second Annual Rebele First Amendment Panel
Monday, May 17, 2010, 3pm-5:30pm
Mendenhall Library, McClatchy Hall, Stanford University
Reception following
Free and Open to the Public

Batya Friedman
Professor of Information Science, Adjunct Professor of Computer Science and Engineering
Co-Director, Value-Sensitive Design Research Laboratory
University of Washington

Mark Warschauer
Professor of Education and Informatics
Founding Director, Digital Learning Lab
University of California, Irvine

Jenna Burrell
Assistant Professor of Information Science
University of California, Berkeley

Morgan Ames (Organizer)
Doctoral Candidate, Communication
Stanford University

Chair and Discussant: Fred Turner
Associate Professor of Communication and Director of Undergraduate Studies
Stanford University

Communication technologies have long been heralded as the harbingers of unprecedented freedoms, including the promise of decoupling expression from physical constraints and political scrutiny. These promises are not accidental: many organizations, from private corporations like Google to open-source software projects like One Laptop Per Child, specifically build their machines and software to embody these values. At times, however, the full implications of these design choices are not fully understood until the technology is put into use. In the process of appropriating, re-negotiating, and sometimes countering a technological artifact, users – from governments to schoolchildren – bring their own values and practices to bear on it, often with unanticipated consequences.

What happens when the values of these groups conflict? When we account for the sundry cultures of designers and users, what are the implications of these technologies for society and free expression? The 2010 Rebele First Amendment Panel will explore the ways in which the design and use of communication technologies can help or hinder freedom of expression. We will discuss the process by which technologies come to embody and symbolize values, how values are negotiated by various groups as the technology goes into use, and the implications of these processes for free communication.

This panel brings together three pre-eminent scholars at the forefront of this research area: Batya Friedman, Mark Warschauer, and Jenna Burrell. These scholars draw from myriad disciplines, including anthropology, cultural studies, communication, education, information science, and computer science. Batya Friedman, Professor at the University of Washington and Co-director of the Value-Sensitive Design Research Laboratory, has provided a methodological framework for studying values in the design of technologies and offers a designer’s perspective on the integration of values into technology. Mark Warschauer, Professor at University of California, Irvine and Founding Director of its Digital Learning Lab, is a leading scholar of technology in education, the digital divide, and technology and development. Jenna Burrell, Assistant Professor at University of California, Berkeley, has analyzed technosocial practices in post-colonial countries, particularly Africa. Organizer Morgan Ames will join these scholars by discussing her recent work on the values that families create around communication and media technologies and her upcoming dissertation research on the social meanings of the One Laptop Per Child project. Associate Professor Fred Turner will moderate the discussion.

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