Technology for engagement

Technology plays a key role in the everyday lives of many persons, changing how we learn, how we work, and even how we interact with other persons. However, can the technologies change the way in which the communities engage in their local context? To answer this question, the Knight Foundation launched the Tech for Engagement Initiative to support innovative projects which empower communities to actively participate in the development of their local context.

Last summer the Foundation organized the Technology for Engagement Summit, to exchange ideas, experiences and problems related to this growing field. The results were published in a booklet called Digital Citizenship. It presents some the projects funded, their results and future challenges. While there are many interesting projects to see, three of the most interesting are:

Games for change: Founded in 2004, this non profit organization facilitates the creation and distribution of social impact games that serve as critical tools in humanitarian and educational efforts. Games for Change offers services to organizations and people who are actively using games to strenghthen their public, philanthropic, or academic mission.

Code for America: Or the peace corps for the geeks, imagines governments for the 21th century. Code for America helps governments become more connected, open, and participatory through new opportunities for public service so we’re not only making a direct impact everyday, but also creating the relationships and network for lasting change.

Engagement Game Lab: Located at Emerson College, the EGL focuses on the development and study of games, technology, and new media to enhance civic life. The EGL works directly with its partner communities to innovate civic engagement processes, augment stakeholder deliberation, and expand the diversity of participants in local decision-making.

They also published some videos that present the opinions and goals of some of the summit’s participants. Definitely inspiring!