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  • FOLD: Part-Time Job Opportunity for JavaScript Developer | MIT Center for Civic Media
    tools to re think how people publish and consume news FOLD is a reading authoring and publishing platform allowing storytellers to structure and contextualize complex stories You can read a little bit more about us on Fast Company Nieman Lab and Boston Magazine We are looking for a Boston area contract developer who wants to play an active role in realizing the vision for the tool and getting it ready to deploy by early March The tool is already underway but this will be a short development cycle and we need someone passionate energetic and disciplined This position is part time and will be between 10 and 20 hours a week for about six months This period will include a post deployment phase to provide support for early users and integrate user feedback Qualifications Solid knowledge of JavaScript our app is written in CoffeeScript Experience developing with JS frameworks Knowledge of Meteor js or a willingness to learn Detail oriented capable of delivering a polished product You ll work closely with designers on the FOLD team and we would like you to be available periodically for in person meetings at the Media Lab If you are not in the Boston

    Original URL path: https://civic.mit.edu/blog/alexishope/fold-part-time-job-opportunity-for-javascript-developer (2016-04-29)
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  • Monitorial Citizenship: Projects and Tools | MIT Center for Civic Media
    than was publicly available at that time The Safecast project is compatible with a number of sensor devices both open source hardware and commercial off the shelf tools Citizen monitors can attach Safecast compatible units to their cars collecting data as they drive through their environment The data is presented on their website on various maps and is also available for download Other projects focus on creating robust thorough maps through participatory processes Map Kibera a project in Kenya works with community members to create a free and open map of Kibera a slum in Nairobi The purpose of this mapping project is to mobilize community members who are part of existing grassroots movements like women s groups or savings groups to collect data about topic areas that the community cares about such as Water Sanitation and Education and use that data for lobbying and advocacy Map Kibera uses a suite of tools which they call Voice combining Ushahidi a platform that allows users to crowdsource information using text messages email Twitter and the web with open source editable maps from OpenStreetMap Some civic data collection projects are instigated by governments themselves for the purpose of planning and evaluation For example the Nigerian Government partnered with Columbia University s Earth Institute to equip hundreds of government hired enumerators with smartphones to visit schools water points and health facilities across the country At these sites enumerators would take a photo record the location using GPS and assess the quality of infrastructure The purpose of this government organized monitoring project was to help the government track infrastructure projects being completed by the contractors they hired and evaluate the country s progress towards the UN Millenium Development Goals Data Collection Tools There are a number of existing tools designed to facilitate data collection by a group of people Many of these involve creating customized forms using a web tool and deploying data collection on mobile phones using either a native data collection app or web app During our research on Promise Tracker we came across a number of data collection tools and analyzed these tools according to a number of metrics such as customizability open source or proprietary technical support sustainability and security These tools include Open Data Kit ODK is an open source data collection tool that came out of the University of Washington s Department of Computer Science and Engineering ODK allows users to create data collection forms using ODK Build a web based form builder and deploy these forms in the field using ODK Collect an Android App With ODK data is collected on ODK Aggregate and users can output basic visuals from Aggregate including pie charts bar charts and maps ODK has a strong user base ranging from public health data collection to citizen science projects We used ODK during our initial design workshops in Belo Horizonte and Sao Paulo Brazil and found ODK worked well for quickly iterating on forms ODK Build however ODK s GUI form builder

    Original URL path: https://civic.mit.edu/blog/alexishope/monitorial-citizenship-projects-and-tools (2016-04-29)
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  • Putting Users First | MIT Center for Civic Media
    thing that all of the Knight winners have in common is putting their users first Emi explains that all of the projects that received grants are projects that prioritize openness that take into account people who do not have access to the open Internet She believes that providing access is an essential first to trying to provide any of the larger benefits of the Internet you can t have an open internet for someone when they don t have access in the first place emikolawole civicmedia whitney erin boesel weboesel June 24 2014 Kirsten asks John what this means to him how can foundations and funders do this work bigger better and in a way that helps us succeed John says wow that s a really good question Honesty is really helpful he says Knight emphasizes constantly that they really want to know what doesn t work it is really important to know that early The grantee and foundation relationship hasn t necessarily taken honesty into account previously and that s really a shame because the lessons and failures are what Knight can help provide back to the world jsb Knight wants to learn lessons from its grantees whether they succeed or fail Tension honesty is hard when you fail civicmedia Priya Kumar DearPriya June 24 2014 Kristen mentions that funding models are still outdated even though there are some emerging innovations like the prototype fund and seed funding for early stage ideas She asks Emi to describe some of the learnings she s seen from the projects they ve decided to fund Emi mentions that the NY public library came up with their idea to provide free access to the internet because they noticed people sitting outside of the public library leaching off the internet Investigating this can provide hints at solutions eg handing out free wifi spots John says that adaptation is a tough one for those in the social sector to make they are doing the work because they are passionate about giving back to their communities and they don t necessarily want to be challenged with the realities of where people are Sometimes we focus on our little ideas which we huddle around and protect instead of being more open Emi highlights starting cheap both in terms of financial and emotional investment The feedback is the most important part and making quick iterations before you get too invested Kristen asks one last question when you do find that really great idea the one that could scale and impact many lives but it will take resources marketing talent funding how can we help people get over those hurdles John responds that ideas are cheap and it s important to get through lots of ideas quickly and get to the core of good ideas easily The human churn and conversations that ensue from conferences like these and the relationships that are built that human interaction is really important to push these projects forward Now Kristen says we will

    Original URL path: https://civic.mit.edu/blog/alexishope/putting-users-first (2016-04-29)
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  • AS220: Creating a just and uncensored forum for the arts | MIT Center for Civic Media
    ways including charging a small membership fee for people in the community to use some of their equipment and to take classes consulting for other community arts projects operating a restaurant and bar renting live work lofts to artists and office space to non profits and accepting private donations from individuals AS220 is also supported by a number of foundations and corporations who are drawn to their mission Renovation in progress of Mercantile building Photo by Erik Gould The organization has a few special programs that expand their reach AS220 Youth and AS220 Industries AS220 Youth provides free year round arts education programs to individuals aged 14 21 with particular emphasis on providing service to youth emerging from the juvenile detention system and otherwise under care of the state On our visit we saw kids painting planning public arts projects recording music learning how to play the piano reading comics and just generally having a great time together When you walk into the space the core values are written prominently on the wall alongside artwork made by participants in the various programs that they offer photography visual arts music production dance graphic design and more AS220 Youth Space Photo by Linda Louise King AS220 Industries is composed of a media arts center a print shop and AS220 Labs AS220 Labs the fabrication arm of the organization offers courses in digital software and hardware design and allows community members to reserve time on their various machines It is one of the original sites of Neil Gershenfeld s Fab Academy a six month certification program in digital fabrication Bert stressed to us the importance of growing an organization like AS220 organically and credits the non hierarchical structure of the organization and the shared values they embody through their practice as reasons for

    Original URL path: https://civic.mit.edu/blog/alexishope/as220-creating-a-just-and-uncensored-forum-for-the-arts (2016-04-29)
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  • alexishope | MIT Center for Civic Media
    for promises they make about infrastructure These workshops were part of our ongoing design process to create a mobile phone tool that will support citizen monitoring and data collection related to political promises Google Plus One Tweet Widget Facebook Like Read more about Workshop Stories from Minas Gerais Brazil alexishope s blog Seamus Kraft Producing Open Laws and Open Legislation Submitted by alexishope on December 12 2013 3 15pm On Thursday December 5th Seamus Kraft from the OpenGov Foundation gave a lunch talk at the MIT Center for Civic Media This is a liveblog of the talk authored by Alexis Hope Heather Craig schock Lorrie introduces the talk Seamus studied classical political theory went into government discovered that government is complicated and should be open and then founded OpenGov Foundation His talk today will focus on how data and people are coming together Google Plus One Tweet Widget Facebook Like Read more about Seamus Kraft Producing Open Laws and Open Legislation alexishope s blog Improving Digital Security and Privacy Practices Submitted by alexishope on November 19 2013 11 11am This past week I attended a behavior change and digital security workshop hosted by the Tactical Technology Collective in Berlin Tactical

    Original URL path: https://civic.mit.edu/users/alexishope?page=1 (2016-04-29)
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  • A Map for Change | MIT Center for Civic Media
    emailed the Obama team on July 10 with an idea map voter data in battleground states to capitalize on limited campaign resources His proposal must have synced with Obama strategy A couple of forwards later Vennemann was talking to the Obama technology team and by August 13 he had been contracted the work Vennemann uploaded millions of geocoded voter recorded into the open spatial database PostGIS and setup a system where on the ground resources such as Voter Activation Network could help update voter information All was rendered with the MapServer engine and viewed in OpenLayers This project stands out for 2 reasons First no other presidential campaign has made such extensive use of mapping for strategy decisions Even before Vennemann s involvement the campaign had up to 4 onsite GIS experts While web mapping tools have been used by the electorate to reflect upon the status outside a campaign e g Fundrace the ease of integrating webmapping within a campaign was only possible because of a pre existing technology and mapping infrastructure Second the choice of using such open source components as OpenLayers and PostGIS for these ends is significant In the shadow of an administration that seemed to value obfuscation I would like to taught ideological considerations of transparency as the reason for opensource According to Vennemann however it really came down to ease and money At the time of the proposal the Obama campaign was considering proprietary software However it became clear that the combination of licensing required to meet the campaign s canvassing needs made such options cost prohibitive According to Vennemann it was much easier to speculate the costs involved for implementing and updating an opensource tool And that such budget projections were much lower than previously considered routes In this vein OpenLayers proved to

    Original URL path: https://civic.mit.edu/blog/alyssa/a-map-for-change (2016-04-29)
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  • alyssa's blog | MIT Center for Civic Media
    used opensource components including OpenLayers to map voter registration in battleground states By combining millions of public voting records with daily updates from on the ground troops these interactive map helped organizers priori to map voter registration in battleground states By combining millions of public voting records with daily updates from on the ground troops these interactive map helped organizers prioritize canvassing efforts Used in about 12 battleground states the

    Original URL path: https://civic.mit.edu/blog/alyssa (2016-04-29)
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  • Light Fieldwork: Lytro Cameras, Open Research & the Partial | MIT Center for Civic Media
    or focal point we choose both reveals and limits what we see Partiality and incompleteness are in your face visible and that s awesome Recent years have seen the quest for the ultimate high def display accompanied more quietly by the privileging of the high depth of field image in device cameras The implicit goal is to have everything no matter distance of separation in focus This is part of a larger ideology of data capture that s very trendy right now Yes big data I m talking about you Our eyes don t actually create such images unaided Eye tracking studies show we don t absorb everything at once our attention selects and travels Universal focus lets us lie to ourselves helps us hide from the partial and incomplete helps us play at omniscience We assemble wholes in our minds and pretend we ve always seen them Asakusa grating Summer 2013 Images from a Lytro camera deny us these lies We see one focal point at a time and we see it as one possibility among multiple Each time we click on a different part of an image we see that where we direct our attention changes what s clear to us dragonfly Imperial Palace gardens Summer 2013 The technology is still in its early stages but it offers provocative ways to explore worldview To ask How do we see the world What do people choose to focus on How does this differ across individuals Across time Does the you at 16 choose to focus on the same thing as the you at 32 and 64 How do different perspectives combine Of course images and possible focal points are necessarily limited by the selection choices of the photographer and the constraints of the technology I m not making the wildly utopian claim that light field images give us a perfect ability to see the world as someone else This process is limited and constrained but those limits and constraints are themselves productive There are suggestive possibilities So for example a researcher could take a set of light field images produced either by her or by participants and ask participants to set the focal point to what they saw as most meaningful important unusual traditional whatever in the image Lytro software doesn t currently support focus lock as a post exposure feature but selections can be saved as jpegs This allows not only comparison among participants but also between participants and researchers as well as among researchers Participants could be people in the images people who inhabit the same spaces as the images people who have no other direct connection to the images Researchers and participants are separated here solely for clarity the latter category encompasses the former How different are worldviews at this basic visual level Asakusa sharehouse view Summer 2013 For me this emphasis on the partial and the incomplete also prompts questions about how we understand openness and participation itself There s a lot of debate about

    Original URL path: https://civic.mit.edu/blog/amyj/light-fieldwork-lytro-cameras-open-research-the-partial (2016-04-29)
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