I. Instructions for your Choosing your Topic
Choose a specific technological artifact (or interconnected set of artifacts) or form of technology whose impacts, biases and political properties you can study by observing first-hand how people in the world use it. Your choice should be a primary source, some form of immediate, first-hand technology that you can observe directly. It should be original and unique, chosen from the categories below, and not be simply something like a smart phone.
Possible topic categories include:
· Technological Artifacts in the Built Environment: The built environment includes human-made structures, features, and facilities that encompass the environment where people live and work. Artifacts here would include things like a streetlight, a walkway, a road, a fence or barrier, a sidewalk, a piece of playground equipment, a building entrance, and a building elevator. For example, you could examine the streetlights at a specific busy corner where you live, an EV plug-in parking spot at a local supermarket, elevators in a building near you, an overpass on a specific street, or a specific floating dock at a riverside.
· Household Items & Tools: These would include forms of technology used in a home. Included here could be things like a vacuum cleaner, a steam mop, a tool for fixing or building things, an interior or exterior lighting system, appliances, pieces of entertainment systems. Be sure to pick a specific brand and model since all vacuums, for instance, are not designed the same way. They can be items used in your own home by your family or in the home of someone you know. Make sure you have been able to observe their actual use.
· Transportation and Infrastructure: These would include technologies people use to get around and systems that deliver specific locale services. Examples would include a specific car, truck, tractor, bus, train, airplane or a water/sewer system, a set of electrical towers, a dam, a sewage plant or system, a snowplow, a UPS truck, etc. This should be something you can see with your own eyes in its actual context where you live.
· Technology from another Culture: This would include a technological artifact or form of technology used in a culture other than American culture or another country. Examples would include facial recognition technology in China, high-speed rail systems in Japan, precision farming technology in South Africa, the motorcycle rickshaw in India, and speaker systems on mosques in Pakistan.
· Digital technology: This would include specific categories of computer programs, apps, platforms, or video games. Examples would be word-processing software, shopping apps, puzzle apps, Web 2.0 social media platforms, Web 1.0 multi-user platforms (usenet, text-based mmorpgs), first-person shooter video games, building video games, military training programs, MMOs of a particular genre (adventure, first person shooter, building), graphical based MMORPGs, bitmap games.
· Workplace technology: This would include artifacts and digital technology found in the workplace. Examples would be things like staplers, copiers, labelers, mail sorters, forensic microscopes, accounting software, medical software, medical and dental tools, learning management systems, customer management software.
II. Instructions for Creating your Video
Once you have chosen your topic, create a 3-5 minute video. You can record your video with your smartphone, tablet or computer. You can give us a glimpse of what you will talk about, such as making your video on-site if you plan to talk about a set of streetlights or a playground, or you could edit in a photo of an artifact you plan to discuss. Be creative!
In your video you should describe your artifact, mention why you are interested in examining it further, and include some of your thoughts about why this is an appropriate topic for a class on technology and culture. In your video, please make sure to cover the following questions, and feel free to include additional thoughts as appropriate.
1. What are you planning to study?
2. Where is it located? If a digital form, where are its creators located?
3. Why is this technology interesting to you, personally?
4. Why is it an appropriate choice to talk about its impacts, biases or technological politics? Please see the readings and other assignments from week 3 to help you figure out how to talk about this question.
Your video should be about 3-5 minutes long and formatted as an MP4, MOV, or WMV. If you cannot create a video for whatever reason, please contact your instructor for an alternative way to fulfill this assignment’s requirements.
III. Instructions for Sharing your Video
Please do not upload your video to the classroom. Instead, upload it to a cloud server (Google, OneDrive, etc.), set the permissions so that everyone with the link can see it, and cut and paste the link from your cloud server into the discussion forum.
After you post your video, please make sure that others can access it by testing it. You can send your link to a family member or friend to see if they have access. If they don’t, then this means your professor and classmates also don’t, and you will have to adjust the settings.
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