Website Wednesday

Website Wednesday is a regular feature in which we highlight one (or a couple) of sites from the Billions floating around the Intertoobz that just might help you with your Herculean task of educating inquiring minds. Any and all suggestions for future editions are welcome.

Once again, I have absolutely no idea how this site might be used in a course, but I think it has great potential. Introducing: Thingiverse.

I first read about this site in a NY Times article on “the next big disruption” (which, to be honest, sounded like an April Fool’s joke when I first read it) about 3D printers, which apparently allow their owners to load up a design (let’s say for a coffee mug) and then “print out” a real version (using sprayed plastics or something).

Anyway, the article mentions this website as a place with all kinds of designs, and so I went there out of curiosity, and stayed out of fascination.

Post any favorite designs you find in the comments. I’m on the lookout for holiday break projects…Check out the site HERE.

New BHM Brochure Communicates Plenty

Apparently there is a new brochure providing the schedule for Black History Month events at the seven colleges (combined into one informational design). Sherry Ledbetter, librarian/awesome woman/Distinguished Professor/educational leader and more, saw the design and sent me an email asking how she could get a post up on the Lounge with her thoughts on the brochure, and I am delighted to share her thoughts. Here they are from her email to me:

This past Tuesday, February 8, 2011, I had the opportunity to view the Black History Month “Calendar of Events” brochure.  I was appalled and very insulted as an African American by the design.  The colors are not representative of Black History Month, which traditionally involves red, black and green–a combination which has very special meaning to those of us who came up during the Civil Rights Movement, and indeed, grew up in the South in the 50s, during the height of segregation and other types of brutality.  The desgn has absolutely nothing to do African-Americans and their struggle to gain equal rights.  (In fact, what do these colors represent?)

As far as I can determine, this design is District-wide, too; so what happened to all the hard work done by the HWC BHM committee?  There are several other minor problems:  the calendar is incorrect and the list of committee members is out-of-date and why have 2 programs on domestic violence?  Is there some hidden meaning in that?  These are extremely minor, especially when seen in the context of the meaning of this month. What more can I say?

Sherry Ledbetter–an offended black person.

I am pretty sure that this is the link to the piece of which she is speaking, but I could be wrong on that.

In any case, what are you thoughts? Heirapparent seems to like it (thanks for the link, by the way, Heirapparent). Sherry, obviously does not.

(For the record, so as not to seem like I’m dodging here, I’m inclined to side with Sherry on this one, and not just because I think the whole “one college” thing is a wrong headed canard that is much more about centralizing power, control and convenience than it is educational or student need. No, my objection lies in the very point and history of Black History Month and the educational philosophy of Carter G. Woodson, it’s founder, which is all about individual empowerment, self determination, ground-up educational movements, and local autonomy. I know that the District office isn’t taking away anyone’s ability to do anything, but in taking the work of others and re-doing it, in a way , without input or approval from the people who did the work locally, is to do exactly the sort of thing that Woodson talks about as being disempowering and  one form of mis-education in his most famous book.

One message that comes through loud and clear upon reading Woodson’s book is that it’s the hidden (or obscured) messages that do the most damage to those involved in educational environments. There are plenty of them in this project, I think, and, like Sherry, I don’t much like their content. I’m interested to hear the other side, though.)