IMFA campaign for World Wildlife Fund explains why buying FSC is important for forests and wildlife

Curious why buying FSC-certified products matters for tigers and forests? If so, check out “Switch to FSC-certified products and save tigers,” a campaign my students conceptualized, designed, and developed for World Wildlife Fund. Visit the page, share the tweets, and spread the message about #FSC sustainable wood products!

The “Switch to FSC-certified products and save tigers” campaign launched on March 20, 2015, in advance of World Forestry Day, and was also highlighted in the April 17, 2015, edition of  WWF’s E-News, which has over 3 million subscribers.

 

During Fall 2014 I had the unique opportunity to teach the inaugural UM CoLab course, a core course in our MFA in Interactive Media program in which students spend part of the semester researching, brainstorming, and iterating on a project concept and then spend the remaining part of the semester designing and developing it for a partner client. We were extremely fortunate to partner with the U.S. chapter of World Wildlife Fund, headquartered in Washington, D.C., and make a true impact advocating for an important environmental concern and simple call to action. Click here to read about early happenings from this course.

 

Join the Field Innovation Team at University of Miami for the first Miami DO Tank, February 5, 2015

I’ve teamed up with the Field Innovation Team (FIT) to run the first ever Miami DO Tank on February 5, 2015, at the University of Miami’s Student Activities Center. Living in South Florida, the detrimental effects of climate change may be inevitable in our lifetime. Co-sponsored by University of Miami’s Center for Communication, Culture, and Change (4C) and FIT, Miami Do Tank will demonstrate how gaming can move communities to prepare and become more resilient to the impact of rising sea levels.

Please join us to learn how gaming can move communities to prepare and become more resilient to climate change impacts. We will play two exciting scientifically constructed games, including Magnitude, to demonstrate this concept. Tying in these games, we will explain the 6-step design-thinking process. We will train participants on how to use this methodology to create rapid, innovative solutions for addressing the challenges of rising sea levels.

Come the University of Miami to meet with other concerned leaders, experts, and researchers on climate change. Play the scientifically created games and find out where they are available as an open source resource.

Miami DO Tank
Thursday, February 5, 2015 (9am – 4pm)
University of Miami, Student Activities Center (North & South rooms)
Coral Gables, FL

For event information and RSVP, please visit: http://goo.gl/TQ1mJj

Good news, students can attend for free by sending an email to Miami DO Tank at info@fieldinnovationteam.org.

General Agenda

  • 9:00 am – Welcome
  • 9:15 am – “What are Miami and South Florida’s most pressing challenges?” discussion
  • 9:45 am –  Intro to FIT’s design-thinking process and goals for the day
  • 10:05 am – Break
  • 10:15 am – Steps 1 + 2 of design-thinking process: “Understand & Observe”
  • 10:45 am – Rapid sharing on “Understand & Observe”
  • 11:00 am – Play REStrukt game
  • 12:00 pm – Lunch
  • 1:00 pm – Score REStrukt
  • 1:30 pm – Break
  • 1:40 pm – Play Magnitude game
  • 2:40 pm – Break
  • 2:50 pm – Magnitude debrief; Steps 3 + 4 of design-thinking process: “Define & Ideate”
  • 3:45 pm – Wrap up

The Field Innovation Team is a 501(c)3 that responds to crises while simultaneously working on disaster preparedness and disaster risk reduction at local, state, national, and international levels. FIT’s mission is “Innovating real-time in disasters.” The Miami DO Tank is a short program that helps communities by mobilizing actors and organizations within South Florida to support theexpected outcome of the United Nations Hyogo Framework for Action 2005 – 2015, a 10-year plan to make the world safer from natural hazards.

The Center for Communication, Culture and Change focuses on using communication for social and behavioral change through engaged scholarship and immersive experience. Seeking to address urgent societal issues while making a positive difference in people’s lives, the Center is particularly focused on Latin America and its Miami diaspora.

 

This information also appears on UM’s School of Communication website.

Interactive Media featured in Fall 2014 Miami Magazine // Toma el Paso graces the cover

Tim Collie wrote a comprehensive article about our Interactive Media program and games at UM, including both faculty and student projects, for the Fall 2014 issue of UM’s Miami magazineToma el Paso (Make a Move) is featured on the cover and as a sidebar, and Cops and Rubbers also gets a nice mention.

Toma el Paso has been played by hundreds of unaccompanied immigrant minors in Miami since April 2014, and it will spread to Texas starting in April 2015. Stay tuned for more on my immigration games and serious games projects.

 

For the full article, visit: http://miami.univmiami.net/gaming-system/

Miami Magazine featuring UM's Interactive Media program and game projects

Miami Magazine featuring UM’s Interactive Media program + game projects; Toma el Paso graces the cover

UM Interactive Media MFA Among Princeton Review’s Top Graduate Game Design Programs

The School of Communications Interactive Media Master of Fine Arts program has earned a No. 24 ranking on The Princeton Review’s 2014 list of the best graduate schools to study video game design. The Princeton Review chose the schools based on a survey it conducted in Fall 2013 of 150 programs at institutions offering video game design coursework or degrees in the United States, Canada, and some countries abroad.

It’s an honor to have our Interactive Media program on this list and in such great company (including my alma mater Parsons) in our first year. We look forward to supporting the many amazing game projects that will come out of our Interactive Media program!

If you’re a student interested in studying with us, please check out: interactive.miami.edu

Check out the original article on the School of Communication website.

 

 

Creating Crowdsourcing Mobile App to Monitor Water Quality in Ghana

Article sourced from UM Interactive website (September 2013)

With the global population booming and water-borne diseases on the rise, developing nations are faced with the serious challenge of providing clean water to their citizens. Of particular concern are many cities in Sub-Saharan Africa, which are expected to fall short of Millennium Development Goals for ensuring adequate and potable resources for the entire community. For example, recent studies in Accra, Ghana, have shown that existing water rationing programs are highly variable not only across geographical regions but also income levels. In fact, this is one of the few cities in the world where access to piped water has actually decreased in recent decades due to lagging public infrastructure and production limitations.

In the past, Ghana Water Company Ltd. (GWCL) carried out residential surveys to assess water service at the neighborhood level; the results were alarming. However, follow-up studies and broader research were not feasible due to the cost and time required to do the surveys. Ghana is in desperate need of a cheap, quick alternative that will allow officials to monitor water quality throughout the region without wasting excess resources or time.

In late July 2013, Interactive Media professors Lien Tran and Clay Ewing traveled to Accra to apply the power of crowdsourcing to Ghana’s municipal water challenge. Working in collaboration with Justin Stoler, also from the University of Miami, as well as GWCL officials, they created a new, mobile-based tool to track residential water service. The system, Improving Quality of Urban Water Service by Engaging SMS Technology or IQUEST for short, harnesses the power of short message service (SMS) on users’ cell phones. By collecting data from residents, GWCL management is able to monitor water quality trends across the region.

The road to a reliable SMS-based water quality network is not without challenge; socio-cultural factors, including language barriers, varying literacy rates and expensive texting fees, have limited IQUEST’s test data collection so far. Nevertheless, Lien and Clay eagerly await the results of the pilot study in addition to the responses from local GWCL officials. With time and perseverance, they hope to implement IQUEST throughout the Accra region to help improve water access, managerial awareness and, ultimately, quality of life.

Lien and Clay would like to thank the School of Communication for providing the funding for this project.

For more information visit http://lienbtran.com/design/iquest/.

Accra, Ghana

Ghana Urban Water Limited

IQUEST Collaborators

IQUEST Mobile App

IQUEST Mobile App Results

IQUEST Mobile App Results

UM launching MFA in Interactive Media in 2013

It’s official, the University of Miami is launching a new MFA in Interactive Media program starting in the 2012-13 academic year. There’s also an Interactive Media minor for undergraduates. I know I’m not alone sharing in the excitement of what’s to come with more interaction courses and projects coming out of the U. To learn more about the new program you can visit interactive.miami.edu.

Don’t forget to play Sebastian in Space (I leave it to you to find him), a simple but possibly addicting game designed by fellow faculty Clay Ewing and myself. To learn more about Sebastian check out Wikipedia and to vote for him as Best Mascot in Capitol One’s Mascot Challenge go here.

Introducing UM’s SoC New Faculty

UM’s School of Communication welcomed 4 new faculty this academic year, and the South Florida Business Journal was kind enough to consider us and our research and creative interests as integral to southern Florida’s economic future. Here’s the full article.

Also I love this intro. It would be wonderful if Clay and my serious games got on President Shalala’s radar!

[quote]Two of the new UM faculty members are notable for being from the Parsons The New School of Design in New York. It’s also notable that some of the new hires have done research in the area of political campaigns and social issues, which probably interest UM President Donna Shalala because she served as secretary of health and human services for eight years in the Clinton administration.[/quote]

One correction to the article: my title is actually Lecturer of Interactive Media (in the department of Journalism and Media Management).

Paul Amelchenko, Juliana Fernandes, Lien Tran and Clay Ewing are the newest faculty at UM’s School of Communication.

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