Pervasive, disruptive, seductive, enabling: Designing technologies for learning and social innovation

Patrizia Marti

Abstract


“There are no technological revolutions without cultural transformations.”
This is a quote from the book “The Internet Galaxy: Refl ections on the
Internet, Business, and Society” by Manuel Castells (2003), in which the
author explores the complexity of the social problems generated by the
spread of the Internet.
Nowadays the Internet is no longer simply a means for connecting
people through computers. The digital components of the network have
materialized in things. Information has ceased to travel exclusively on the
computer screen and moved onto physical objects, now able to talk to each
other and with the environment.
The challenge is that this technological innovation will become a social
innovation, and that individuals, society, institutions and companies will
appropriate it, modifying it, transforming it, and experimenting with it.
This paper is a refl ection on the role of technology in supporting social
innovation. We will approach this topic from the perspective of interaction
design, a discipline that studies social practices connected with use of technologies, and imagines new possibilities as well as new activities enabled by them.

The reflection will develop by presenting the outcomes of Light through
Culture, an international educational project that aims to create a meaningful context for learning in which students refl ect on socio-cultural issues together by building interactive installations.


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