Class 1 (2011.09.07) Notes

Reviewed Syllabus:

Did the “Tech Choices” activity, to help introduce concept of being mindful of which technology you use and why. This is important when you begin to design technology for causes, organizations, communities and movements, so that you fully consider the impact that say using iPhone vs. Android, or building an SMS text messaging service versus a full mobile app, might make on the outcome.

We watched portions of some videos:
We had some whiteboard brainstorms…

Emotions, concepts or ideas that class members associated with activism

Discussion of Monolithic (triangle) Theory of Power vs.
Pillars of Support Model – see the Helvey readings for more on this

Brainstorm on examples of technology in activism

  • Use of Ushahidi mapping software to track violence, crisis in Kenya, Mexico, Sri Lanka and Haiti
  • Satellite photography to prevent violence, investigate genocide
  • Arab Spring upgrisings, using mobile phones to text en masse (organize!), capture media, post to Twitter
  • Hollaback – harassment countermeasure for women on subway trains, etc


  1. Find a mobile app (iPhone, Android or other) that you think is a good representation of Social Activism, and be ready to present and demonstrate it in class
  2. Design (pencil, wireframe or working app!) you first activism/cause-based mobile app, promoting an existing cause of your choice or own invention.
    Tools for app design and building: http://www.uistencils.com


  1. Gene Sharp “Waging Non-Violent Struggle”, Chapter 3:
  1. Gene Sharp “198 Methods of Non-Violent Protest and Persuasion”:
  1. Helvey “On Strategic Non-Violent Conflict” (Chapters 1, 2 and 7)
  1. Read “Little Brother” or “FTW”, Cory Doctorow – Free, Creative Commons Downloads or Book Purchase: or


Leave a comment