Friday, March 18, 2005

Weak Days

At long last, my Monday and Tuesday panels written up by others:

Story Structure and Mobile Media by Josh
How to Inform Design: How to Set Your Pants on Fire by Porter
How to Create Activist Technology by Kate
Deliberative Democracy and Interactive Technology by Kevin
Are Political Parties Obsolete? by Nancy White
How to Think About Democracy and Technology by Nancy White

The Panels on Activist Technology and Deliberative Democracy are also available on Nancy White’s blog. Nancy is a consultant on technology and development based in Seattle. I've come across her work on Communities of Practice in the past. Nancy is also a staunch advocate for women's participation in development projects. You'll notice that her panel notes give the number of women in attendance. Nancy had a number of suggestions for our Women's Participation KN position.

They folks at SxSW really saved the best for last. On Tuesday there were three panels in a row on aspects of technology and democracy. These panels had some of the liveliest post-panel discussion. It was easy to pick out the community of people who are really into this from among the repeat attendees. I also had a chance to go to lunch with about a dozen of the most active of this group. Some great thoughts, connections and discussion came out of these sessions, some of will find its way into later posts.

The unexpected gem of these two days was the session on Story Structure and Mobile Media. There were participants from both gaming and education worlds discussing engaging interactive software. One thing that I took out of the session is the distinction between users who respond best to a very directed storyline--they just want to know here to go next--and users who respond better when given opportunities to play around and explore. The programs that accommodate for both will be the most successful. During the democracy panels on Tuesday, it was difficult not to abstract this idea to political systems as well.


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