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July 8, 2005

the Prince George's Information Commons

Today was the last day of the Leaders for Tomorrow summer program. Eleven University of Maryland undergrads have been in residence on campus since Memorial Day, working with me and my excellent graduate assistant Libby Bixby Skolnik, to create materials about our community. Their products range from an audio portrait of the County's diversity (a set of musical clips that you can hear by clicking on a map), to a detailed explanation of mission planning at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, to a short story about teenagers' experience of busing in 1973. All these products have been fed into the Prince George's County Information Commons website, which is also the home for work created by high school students. (In fact, by July 15, we expect to be able to post a nice new video feature on obesity, created by students from Northwestern High School as part of a project that I direct.) Other material is also on its way, including a "flash" (i.e., movie) introduction to the whole site.

We see this as pretty innovative, because it is ...

  • organized spatially, chronologically, and by topic, so that most of the projects can be found by browsing on a map, scrolling through a timeline, or looking at subject headings. This is an interesting way to portray a large community--different from a magazine or newspaper.

  • highly "scalable"--it will be easy for all kinds of groups on campus and in the community to add their own projects, which visitors will be able to find by place, time, and topic.

  • interactive: already, visitors can put comments almost everywhere; and we plan to have more ambitious interactive features like maps that visitors can annotate for others to see.

  • predominantly created by youth, but open to others to participate.

  • July 8, 2005 9:01 PM | category: none


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