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Aug. 1, 2018

The iSchool is pleased to announce that Kyungwon Koh will join the faculty in August 2018. She is currently an associate professor in the School of Library and Information Studies at the University of Oklahoma.

Koh's areas of expertise include digital youth, the maker movement, learning and community engagement through libraries, human information behavior, and competencies for information professionals. 

"Research on contemporary youth, who were born into and have grown up in this technology-rich society, is significant to all information science and technology researchers and practitioners," she said. "Today's young people reflect most explicitly the changes in the current information environment with the rapid developments in technology. This generation's preferences and approaches are...

Feb. 20, 2018

The Center for Digital Inclusion (CDI) at the iSchool will close as a separate entity effective July 1, 2018, subject to the approval of the Senate of the Urbana-Champaign campus. Its programs and initiatives will continue in the form of a distributed research model.

The mission of CDI is to foster inclusive and sustainable societies through research, teaching, and public engagement about information and communication technologies (ICTs) and their impacts on communities, organizations, and governments. The iSchool remains committed to this mission, which will continue to be fundamental to the work of faculty.

"Equitable information access, use, and capacity building remain key concerns of the iSchool in teaching, research, and...

May. 11, 2017

The App Authors project has been underway for over a year now, bringing kids and technology together to create apps through a child-centered curriculum at Kenwood Elementary and the Douglass Branch of the Champaign Public Library. The program, developed by the iSchool's Center for Children's Books (CCB), provides kids with varying levels of experience the opportunity to develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills. App Authors is now expanding its reach, working at sites in Maryland and Oregon as well as remaining in Champaign. 

"We're excited about expanding our reach this year," said Deborah Stevenson, PI of the project and director of the CCB. "Our partnerships with the Frederick County Public Libraries in Maryland and the...

Feb. 28, 2017
Doctoral student Melissa Hahn helps a Kenwood Elementary School student build an app. (Photo by L. Brian Stauffer)

Students at Kenwood Elementary School in Champaign are building their own phone apps. Some hope their apps will help solve big problems, such as curbing pollution or money management. Others will let users fight monsters that are trying to take over the world, or let users design a look for their nails.

Through an after-school program called App Authors, the students are getting an idea of what the career of a software designer might be like, as well as gaining experience in coding and learning to work as a team to solve problems.

The program was designed by researchers at the iSchool. The goal is to get students – especially those with limited access to technology...

Aug. 18, 2016

Martin Wolske, senior research scientist and lecturer, takes a critical look at digital literacy for the twenty-first century in his paper, "A Radical Reconsideration of Digital Literacy." The article was published in the Summer 2016 issue of Information for Social Change.

Supporting the transformation of information into knowledge for human flourishing within an "information age" and a "knowledge economy" especially points out the important role library and information workers have in advancing people's digital literacy skills. But is it possible that we approach digital technology generally, and digital literacy training and programming specifically, through dominant paradigms that keep invisible the various ways our digital technology and media are controlled and mediated so as to privilege a few over the many? Is it possible that that in our very efforts to "bridge the digital divide...

Jul. 8, 2016

At the same time that humanity shifts toward digital ways of living and working, the proportion of senior citizens among the world's population is growing. Rejecting the idea that aging is just a matter of declining minds and bodies, iSchool doctoral candidate Noah Lenstra (MS '09, CAS '11) has explored digital literacy among older adults in Champaign-Urbana using information infrastructure theory and the extended case method.

For his dissertation research, Lenstra conducted one year of participant observation in senior centers and public libraries. This included two hundred and sixty-seven computer help sessions with two hundred and nine seniors; interviews with seniors and staff; and examination of institutional documents. Throughout this study he practiced the reciprocal research method.

Reciprocal research, devised in the Community Informatics Research Lab, entails providing service as you collect data and reporting findings back to community partners. Lenstra's...

Jul. 8, 2016

What happens when you give kids the opportunity to create their own smartphone apps? A developing interest in STEM, a boost in their critical thinking skills, and some really cool kid-created apps like "Jumpy Horses" and "Escape the World."

Those two titles are among the apps being created at the Douglass Branch Library in Champaign in a free six-week program that gives children a chance to explore, play, and eventually create their own apps, regardless of their level of experience. Recently featured in the Champaign-Urbana News Gazette, the app program gets high marks from the youth participants.

The program is part of the App Authors project led by Deborah Stevenson, professor and director of the Center for Children's Books (CCB), and iSchool professors Kate McDowell and...