söndag 25 mars 2018

Education spin-offs (follow-up)

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This is a follow-up and it's divided into two separate parts which both are related to our master's level project courses and to our students' excellent work.

Normal humans need not apply

I've written about the course DM2571, "Future of Media" many many many times on the blog, including several times this past autumn when the course was given for the very last time. There has also been quite a few spin-off projects from the course of which only a few have been documented on the blog such as my realisation that I had been working with "Design Fiction" in my course and that I just had to go to that workshop at the CHI conference back in 2014 as well as the short spin-off academic paper, "Smart Magic City Run" that was based on one the student projects when we worked with "The Future of Computer Games" (2016).

The topic of the latest and the last course (2017) was "The Future of Work" and the quality of the student projects were very high. So after the course ended I forwarded an invitation to a workshop that will be held in Berlin in May, "The future of work and innovation in a networked society". One of the groups handed in a submission to the workshop and it has been accepted for presentation!

"The Weizenbaum Institute for the Networked Society is organizing a symposium on Tuesday, May 15, 2018 in Berlin on the subject of “The Future of Work and Innovation in a Networked Society” and invites you to submit abstracts for contributions.

The aim of the symposium is to bring together different disciplinary perspectives (e.g., from communication and social science, legal studies, computer science, economics science and engineering science) on the transformation of the working world and of innovation models in the digital society and to identify and discuss the key challenges for the creation of a self-determined, creative and innovative society.
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• Working in highly automated processes
• Skill change, education and learning in the digitalised world of work
• Algorithmic governance: Using artificial intelligence and big data at the workplace
• Platform economy, gig economy, sharing economy
• Alternative models of collaboration and innovation
• Social media and online communication at work
• Human-computer and human-machine interaction
• Socio-technical systems perspective on introducing digital technologies at work
• Data-based business models and the transformation of industrial structures
• The “dark sides“ of work in the digital society: stress, overload, surveillance
• Maker culture and new forms of work
• Ways and methods of researching digitalisation of work
• Digitalised work and participation in political communication
• Network effects, competition and innovation on digital markets
• Intellectual property as means to foster innovation and participation
• New ways of corporate learning—blended, gamified, adaptive
• Fair open innovation practices
• The role of user contributions in social innovations

It's a pity there is no "flexible" money at KTH to support the students' trip to Berlin. It won't cost a lot and encouraging our students to actually do something with the results of project courses is surely a thing we would like to encourage, right!? While there are (a few) travel grants for students, you have to apply by a fixed date (February 15) and the timing of a course/project has to be just right for that to work out... 

It does however seem my students will go to Berlin and to the workshop at their own expense. While the workshop call for papers is not on the web any longer, I did find online information about the workshop itself, including the program (pdf) - where my students have a slot:

"Regular Humans Need Not Apply: A Design Fiction Exploration
Tomás Albrecht, Martyna Nowik, Lon Hansson and Adrian Latupeirissa"

The students wrote a report in the course but their main thing is their presentation which is closer to "performance" than an ordinary presentation and that includes a 3-minute trailer for a January 2051 documentary movie, "Normal humans need not apply". The trailer is available on YouTube and has currently been seen only 75 times - so go see it!

From Science Fiction to Science Fact

I wrote about our new project course, DM2799, "Advanced Project Course in Interactive Media Technology" after the course had started back in November as well as when it ended in December. The course has been given only once this far and this is in fact the course that replaces the project course Future of Media (above). I supervised three groups of students and the sustainability team together supervised no less than seven groups (which was about a third of the whole class).

It turns out the group working on "eating insects" were irresistible (see the image from their report below). KTH have now done a 3-minute promotional video about the course (currently only available on a KTH homepage but it will later be disseminated also in other social media channels). My students get to say a few words about their project in the middle of the video and I also talk for half a minute (promoting the course).


I think this course has potential. Linking this statement to my previous blog post (a rant), I do believe this potential is less an effect of hashing out suitable course goals and criteria for grading and that it has more to do with the very idea of the course (researchers working together with the master's students), the actual job ("boots on the ground") of the course leaders Jarmo and Karey as well as the work that us teachers did by suggesting project topics and (of course) the actual work that was done by the students who took the course.

Me and my students had a feast in January - we met to finally eat some dishes with insects in them - after having (only) talked and written about insects during the latter half of the autumn term.


I ordered these insects (mealworms and crickets) from the UK.

We didn't know how to cook insects. What should they look like when they are ready?

The worms were actually delicious!

The crickets on the other hand were nothing special

Besides my students, also my family had the good fortune to be able to try eating insects

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