Links For July 15, 2015

The Chuck E. Cheese/ShowBiz Pizza Robot Wars

When Brock met him, Fechter had just finished building an animatronic musical act called “The Wolf-Pack Five.” Brock instantly realized Fechter’s animatronics were more advanced than Bushnell’s. Their movements were more subtle, their facial expressions changed, their lupine drummer could really play the drums. Brock cancelled his deal with Bushnell and teamed up with Fechter’s company, Creative Engineering, to start the ShowBiz Pizza franchise. This “betrayal” launched the war between ShowBiz and Chuck E. Cheese: a war, incidentally, that Fechter and Bushnell both ended up losing.

Former Microsoft Research Executive [Kentaro Toyama] Says Technologists Overestimate Their Ability to Drive Social Progress

I think it’s perfectly sensible for parents to want a certain amount of exposure to technology for their children, both as a form of explorative play and as a way to get them used to technology that they’ll undoubtedly encounter later in their life. I think the fundamental error people make is that, therefore, we should have the computer be the primary instrument of education for all children. That, to me, is a major leap. It’s not clear to me why people seem to make that leap all the time. I think one of the issues is we tend to think of education as being the content. We overemphasize the importance of content, as opposed to emphasizing the part that’s really difficult in any good education, which is adult-supervised motivation—the motivation of the child to learn something.

Diversity in Apps

Diversity In Apps (DIA) is a new initiative formed to address the issues and concerns about the lack of diversity in children’s interactive mobile media. We are a group of concerned creatives, developers, publishers, marketplace shapers, educators, and academics, whose goal is to not only address the need for more diverse content in mobile media, but also to bring to the forefront those companies that are publishing diverse content.

Is It Time to Give Up on Computers in Schools?

What “the network” introduced in educational technology was also a more centralized control of computers. No longer was it up to the individual teacher to have a computer in her classroom. It was up to the district, the Central Office, IT. The sorts of hardware and software that was purchased had to meet those needs – the needs and the desire of the administration, not the needs and the desires of innovative educators, and certainly not the needs and desires of students.... Computers and mainframes and networks are points of control. They are tools of surveillance. Databases and data are how we are disciplined and punished. Quite to the contrary of Seymour’s hopes that computers will liberate learners, this will be how we are monitored and managed.

The Houghton Mifflin Readers (1971)

The series is heavily focused on ethnic and class diversity, urban settings, social and environmental concerns, narratives of liberation, fantasy and science fiction, and an increased respect for kids as creatures with genuine interiority.... The graphic influence of psychedelia is apparent in the interior illustrations and in the design of each volume’s distinctive graphic identity. The titles alone are a timestamp: Signposts, Panorama, Images, Diversity, Galaxies, Serendipity…