CDI-Type I: Transformative Models of Learning and Discovery in Cultures of Participation



The rise in social computing facilitated and supported by Web 2.0 cyberinfrastructures has resulted in a rise in cultures of participation—in which all people are provided with the means to participate actively in personally meaningful problems and problems within their community. Boulder, Colorado was recently named the first “smart grid” city such that many choices about the allocation of electrical power and use decisions will be accessible at the individual household and community level under the notion that this will lead to the most intelligent use of resources. This development represents opportunities and challenges for exploring a possible transformation of learning and discovery including: (1) allowing passive consumers to become active decision makers and contributors; (2) democratizing participation; and (3) solving systemic problems that necessitate computational approaches that transcend the individual human mind and require collaborative actions. The overarching research question addressed by this CDI Type I proposal is: What fundamental transformations of learning and discovery can be achieved by supporting and fostering cultures of participation? The project will make use of active ongoing participation of students as well as focus groups and interviews. The project has the support of the University’s Renewable and Sustainable Energy institute, the City of Boulder, Tendril Inc., and a university student alliance. The project will also include an afterschool club program and a summer school program that serves underrepresented audiences.