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What do you want to know about service-learning in online courses?

We are thinking about offering another webinar on the topic of service-learning in online courses. As I begin to plan, I would be interested to know what specific questions you have and what types of information you would find most useful. Feel free to respond by commenting at the bottom of this post.

Great Ideas: Adopt-a-Hydrant

hydrantI am always looking for great examples of readily available, free technologies are being used for public benefit. This sounds like a great potential civic engagement project for campuses in  snowy places like Minnesota.

Developed by Code for America, Adopt-a-Hydrant helps people to claim responsibility for shoveling out a fire hydrant after it snows. The Adopt a Hydrant software is free for any city to adopt. Learn More.

More People Have Mobile Phones Than Electricity Or Drinking Water

Reblogged from
Author: Jay Yarow, Date: April 30, 2012

How big is mobile? Really big. This slide from analyst Chetan Sharma shows that mobile is the most pervasive technology ever invented. As you can see, mobile has deeper penetration than electricity and safe drinking water.

Facebook Privacy – Consumer Reports

An interesting new article at asks the question: Who sees the data you share on the biggest social network?

“. . . Facebook and other social networks collect enormous amounts of highly sensitive information—and distribute it more quickly and widely than traditional consumer data-gathering firms ever could. That’s great when it helps you find old classmates or see ads for things you actually want to buy. But how much information is really being collected about you? How is it being used? And could it fall into the wrong hands?”

Read the full article, Facebook & Your Privacy at Consumer Reports.

It’s not just about technology as “tools”

When I talk to people about the Center for Digital Civic Engagement, and the idea that the use of social media and information technology can be  important in civic engagement efforts, I often have a hard time getting past their desire to simply view the technologies as “tools.” As the letter became the email and then the text message, something else was happening. In both public and private life, ideas and creativity took place in open and connected spaces. Brainstorming, trial & error, re-imagining, and LEARNING all became social.

Just as social media transformed people from consumers of Internet content, into producers of Internet content – civic engagement transforms us from spectators of democracy into creators of democracy. Want to create public policy? You’ll have to use a similar model of Brainstorming, trial & error, re-imagining, and learning.

David White and colleagues at University of Oxford, have developed an interesting framework for thinking about these changes. I have found their work on “digital visitors” and “digital residents” to be very useful in understanding this profound cultural shift. White explains the theory in the video below.