Is School Enough; Coding as a Liberal Art; Social Media and Behavioral Economics Conference (HLS)

January 30, 2013
Berkman Events Newsletter Template
Upcoming Events / Digital Media
January 30th, 2013

Remember to load images if you have trouble seeing parts of this email. Or click here to view the web version of this newsletter. Below you will find upcoming Berkman Center events, interesting digital media we have produced, and other events of note.

The Berkman Center is now accepting applications for its 2013 summer internship program. More information is available here.
special event

Is School Enough?

Wednesday, January 30, 6:00pm ET, Harvard Law School. Refreshments will be served.

While policy-makers and educational experts try to determine the best “system” for delivering a world-class education to tens of millions of students across the country, many young people are finding their own ways of expressing themselves, pursuing interests, and participating in communities that are both on and offline. Largely unmediated by school and teachers, these young people, without really being aware of it, are connecting how they learn with what they care most about. Too commonly, young people are asked to solve problems in the classroom that have no relationship to the real world or relevance to their lives. Memorization and the measurement of what we know is the final basis for evaluating a students’ success; moreover, it’s the final evaluation of a teacher’s success as well. But in what ways do we ask our students to apply what they’ve learned in the classroom to something that’s happening in the world outside of it? In what ways do we reward the authentic learning and work that young people do that is not validated and evaluated by our educational institutions? In this highly connected world that is powered by what we need when we need it, is school really enough? Designed for parents and educators inside and out of the classroom, Is School Enough? – a one hour documentary - examines how young people are using everyday tools - including today's digital ones - to explore interests, connect with others, solve problems, and change the world around them. It is a call to action that moves the discourse away from how do we fix schools to how can we support, sustain and galvanize learning by helping students solve problems in their everyday lives. Please join us for a preview screening of the new documentary that will be aired on PBS this spring. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion with the director, Stephen Brown, Sierra Goldstein, Urs Gasser, Sandra Cortesi and Rey Junco; moderated by Berkman fellow Eric Gordon. RSVP Required. more information on our website>

berkman luncheon series

Coding as a Liberal Art

Tuesday, February 5, 12:30pm ET, Berkman Center for Internet & Society, 23 Everett St, 2nd Floor. This event will be webcast live.


What is the purpose of a liberal arts education? Commencement speakers have assured generations of college graduates that the real value is less in what they've learned than in how they've learned to think. This talk will present a personal case study in learning to think through code. Along the way, it will argue that coding belongs not just on the periphery of the liberal arts, but at the center of a new canon. Diana Kimball is an MBA candidate at Harvard Business School. While at Harvard College, Diana Kimball studied history; after graduation, she moved to California to design software. Upon returning to campus two years later, she decided to begin learning to how to build software in earnest. Since that moment, she has written countless surprisingly useful scripts, survived the college's introductory computer science course, and launched two full-fledged web applications. As a co-creator of ROFLCon, Diana's interest in internet culture runs deep. Most recently, this interest has expressed itself in her programming pursuits and in her efforts to apply an open-source ethos to mentoring. She's also exploring the concept of total authorship as it relates to art. RSVP Required. more information on our website>

special HLS event

Social Media and Behavioral Economics Conference

Wednesday, February 6, 9am-1pm ET, Harvard Law School. This event will be webcast live.

Scholars from across Harvard University will join social media experts from Facebook, Twitter, Socialflow and Yahoo Research, as well as leaders from Johns Hopkins and Opower, for discussions on social media, theory and practice, as well as its potential effects on voting behavior, electricity consumption and pro-social behavior. There will also be discussion on privacy and regulation. This event will feature participation by Berkmaniacs including Yochai Benkler, Jonathan Zittrain, Alex Macgillivray, and many more. RSVP Required. more information on the HLS website>

berkman luncheon series

Invisible Users: Youth in the Internet Cafes of Urban Ghana

Tuesday, February 12, 12:30pm ET, Berkman Center for Internet & Society, 23 Everett St, 2nd Floor. This event will be webcast live.


Ghana, a small country on the Gulf of Guinea in West Africa, is the size of Oregon. Its entire population is only double that of New York City. Yet what is unfolding there, I argue, matters to the future of the Internet. New users are increasingly connecting from the margins of the global economy. This includes Ghanaian youth connecting from Accra’s numerous urban Internet cafes. The new global diversity online offers a more rigorous check on the ideals associated with the Internet in early cyber-utopian discourses. These ideals linked the novel material properties of the technology to new possibilities for greater equality, openness, and freedom. I draw from a 6-year period of ethnographic research (2004-2010) on youth in Accra’s Internet cafes, where the primary activity was cultivating relationships with foreigners in chat rooms and dating sites as these users sought to enact a more cosmopolitan self. In particular, I will discuss network security practices in the West that have, in many instances, led to overreaching measures, such as country-wide IP address blocking to handle scamming activities originating from the West Africa region (i.e. the famous Nigerian 419 e-mail scams). In this discussion we may consider how network security and network administration are shaped not simply by an impersonal technical logic or even commercial interests, but also by cultural biases and parochialism that violate, perhaps unwittingly, these early ideals of the Internet. Jenna Burrell is an Assistant Professor in the School of Information at UC Berkeley. Her first book Invisible Users: Youth in the Internet Cafes of Urban Ghana (The MIT Press) came out in May 2012. RSVP Required. more information on our website>


Molly Sauter: “LOIC Will Tear Us Apart”—The Impact of Tool Design and Media Portrayals in the Success of Activist DDOS Actions


Activist Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) actions such as Anonymous' "Operation Payback" owe their success to the role of tool design and media coverage. Through a close reading of changes in tool interface and functionality over several iterations, Molly Sauter—Berkman Center fellow and graduate student in Comparative Media Studies at MIT—considers the evolution of the Low Orbit Ion Cannon (LOIC) DDoS tool from an inwardly-focused community tool to one which engaged with a larger population. She also demonstrates how Anonymous helped reframe DDoS actions from a tool of direct action to a tool of media manipulation and identity construction. video/audio on our website>

Other Events of Note

Events that may be of interest to the Berkman community:

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Last updated

January 30, 2013