Tag Archives: NEH

HCLE Second Quarter 2014 Progress Report

HCLE Second Quarter 2014 Progress Report

Welcome to the second HCLE quarterly report (second quarter of 2014). We share many of these news items via our outlets (wiki, blog, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) and collect them here for your and our convenience.

So much has been going on that we’ve barely had time to reflect upon our progress. The following is a long list of items that we’ve worked on in the last three months. Consider them headlines, and if you want more details behind them, send us a note if there isn’t a link. (You’re also invited to browse our wiki, the virtual museum’s electronic loading dock, where many of these topics have working pages.)

Please pass it along, especially if you know someone else who will want to contribute money, time, artifacts, stories, or connections. Even by glancing at what we’ve done, you’re helping make HCLE happen if you pass along the story. Thank you.

Operations

  • Digital Repository
  • Stanford
    • Henry Lowood enabling digitization of HCLE collection
    • Fred Turner using HCLE archive as class material
  • Internet Archive
    • referred us to Mark Pilgrim who will copy all Apple II disks
  • database
    • preliminary screens running on HostGator.
  • Writing Competition / Story Project
    • two winners: Delia Caban & Jane Wilson
  • example exhibits being reviewed to aid design
  • Proof of Concept
  • Back Office Thinking proposal incorporated into program plan

Funding

  • government and institutions
    • Proposal applications submitted
      • NEH – Preservation and Access
        • recommendations on how best to archive HCLE’s collection
      • ESA – Oregon Trail
        • build exhibit and research platform for study of games and education
      • NEH – Digital Projects for the Public
        • production and publication of Design Document for HCLE’s Virtual Museum
    • Proposal applications in process
      • NEH – Humanities Collection and Reference Resource
        • digitization and cataloging of documents and software in HCLE collection (cancelled after conferring with NEH)
      • Cal-Hum – California Humanities
        • Oral History project of California EdTech Pioneers
    • Complete list of proposals available on the wiki
  • Individuals
    • Vision Club – Lisa Webster, Joi Ito
    • Vision Club newsletter
  • Corporate & Foundations
    • Google NYC
    • GE Foundation
    • Vulcan
    • Hewlett Foundation
    • Mellon Foundation
  • Associations – ACM, IEEE,  ISTE
  • Reviewing Foundation Center
  • Reviewing GetEdFunding.com
  • HCLE to donor introductory letter prepared for:
    • Liza to individual – done (HNW letter)
    • Liza to organization – done but up for revision
    • HCLE to individual (Fundraising Letter HCLE-to-one Vision Club invite)
    • HCLE to organization (Fundraising Letter HCLE-to-many)
  • Funding database updated and planned to be ported to CiviCRM on HostGator
  • other contacts made:
    • Brabson Library & Educational Foundation
    • Tech Museum of Innovation
    • EMC Heritage Trust Project
  • in search of: volunteer to implement CiviCRM on HostGator

Outreach

  • Social Media traffic report
1/1/2014 3/29/2014 6/29/2014
Facebook 59 71 80
Twitter 67 98 194
WordPress 18 29 31
Wikispaces 12 25 28

Collaborations

  • Stanford
    • Henry Lowood enabling digitization of HCLE collection
      • People’s Computer Company
    • Fred Turner using HCLE archive as class material
  • Internet Archive
    • referred us to Mark Pilgrim who will copy all Apple II disks
  • Living Computer Museum
    • Justin Speilmann
      • Discussion of designing and operating our Traveling Exhibit
    • Cynde Moya
      • Archiving practices and consultation referrals
  • HCLE is now a partner in the National Digital Stewardship Alliance
  • The Made (themade.org) Peter Suk & Alex Handy
    • How early games designers learned their craft
  • Southampton, Earl Graeme – possible UK trip and talk
  • RICHES Mosaic Interface – innovative online museum
  • New York School – LL intro
  • NIU – Blackwell Museum of Education – email intro sent
  • NMOE – National Museum of Education – email intro sent
  • American Folklife Center, Library of Congress – Nicole Saylor (Nicky), Head of the Archive, – technical connection
  • David Larsen – @Apple1Computer
  • U of MD – Porter Olsen
  • Cathleen Wiggins, Dir. Museum Ed & Leadership in Tech and the arts, Bankstreet Sch of Ed – lft msg
  • Pratt School of Library and Information Sciences, Craig MacDonald, Prof Interested in collaborating and will connect us to other Pratt profs., specifically Anthony Cocciolo who is teaching “Projects in Digital Archiving”
  • Alex Lin, http://faculty.ndhu.edu.tw/~aleck.lin/#pr
  • Karen Kroslowitz, Dir of Collections, Computer History Museum
  • EMS museum – Kristy vanHoven

People – staff, volunteers, participants, unaffiliated, possible contractors/consultants

  • board development
  • Vision Club – Walter Isaacson NEH talk & NPR interview
  • Delia Caban – volunteer, retired for now
  • MsBosh – volunteer
  • Diana Morningstar – professional databaser
  • new volunteers
    • Shalinie De
    • Jonathan Straus
  • PCGuy (Stan) – catalog team
  • Jessica Sullivan – possible consultant
  • Ekatarina in  Ontario with McMaster Online Museums
  • Roy Pea, Stanford Sch. of Ed.
  • Peter Sessions – HCLE Pioneer
  • Marvin Wisenread

Admin

  • Program Plan – updated to support operations, internal budgeting, and proposals
  • Reconciling previous budgets with current proposals
  • Dunn & Bradstreet registration and update
  • SAM registration and update
  • In search of: a volunteer accountant willing to work on non-profits that are in the midst of grants
  • In search of: an HCLE logo

 

A Benefit Of Writing Proposals

One of the benefits of preparing grant proposals is the opportunity to practice, yet again, restating who we are, why we’re here, how we’re doing, and where we’re going. The following is a quick excerpt from our recent Digital Projects of the Public proposal, a National Endowment for the Humanities proposal that may fund our development of a Design Document that will guide the construction of our Virtual Museum. Those details are available, but for now, here’s an overview in case you’ve wanted to step back and see our bigger picture.

(excerpt from HCLE’s grant proposal to the National Endowment for the Humanities Digital Projects for the Public – slightly edited for this post)

HCLE is in its first phase of development, that is, creating its conceptual framework, content focus and presentation platforms. Its aim is to create an “edutainment” resource that enlarges public understanding of the nature and extent of educational change and what this change means in the individual visitor’s life. As technology becomes a larger part of everyone’s daily activities, instruction focuses less on teachers in classrooms and more on the situated learner. The definition of ‘student’ now extends to everyone who has to learn about a new app or device, upgrade a household system or master a new way of shopping. We are expected to teach ourselves, even to the point of researching history through conventional sources or through crowdsourced content like wikipedia. Then we have to evaluate the validity of the information we garner. How did this change happen? What were its perpetrators thinking? How can we adapt? Drawing on the content of LO*OP Center’s archive of historical documents, images, hardware and software from the 1960s to the 1990s and on subsequent contributions from other collectors, HCLE will use current cultural studies methods to design an engaging, informative and thought provoking internet destination.

LO*OP Center, Inc.’s HCLE Virtual Museum project has four goals:

  • to collect, preserve, and provide access to the documents, software, images and stories that describe the history of how learning and education changed because of computing between 1960 and 1990;
  • to provide a highly-accessible, web-based, scholarly resource for use by researchers ranging in expertise from young students to university faculty;
  • to curate the collection, interpret it so that the general public can learn about the cultural ferment that occurred during this period and think critically about its implications for themselves and their children;
  • to present this material to the public on the internet in attractive, entertaining and user-friendly formats.

The intent of the museum is to create an online environment that can be explored by anyone with internet access; to present original documents, images and software in an engaging format; to exhibit these artifacts so that their significance can be appreciated and visitors are invited to think critically about the ongoing implications of this revolution in their lives.

The Design Document will describe the technical, resource, and experiential specifications for the virtual museum.

The Virtual Museum will incorporate the shared experience of humanities scholars who focus on interpreting their work to the lay public, museum professionals and digital media practitioners.

Thank you for your interest and look forward to any help you can contribute. In the meantime, follow this blog and our wiki for updates.

HCLE At AAM2014

We finally made it. HCLE was represented at AAM2014, the 2014 Annual Meeting of the American Alliance of Museums, a four-day event attended by thousands of museum professionals. While the program emphasized the formal aspects like the sessions and exhibits, the greater value for HCLE were the one-on-one meetings with potential funders and the informal networking. The parties were good too, so I hear.

Washington State Convention Center - Seattle
Washington State Convention Center – Seattle

Conferences and conventions aim at the mainstream. That’s where the majority live, so that’s where the majority are served. HCLE fit in nicely at the previous conference, Museums and the Web, because it was organized for more technical issues. Developing a virtual museum is dominated by discussions of technical issues. AAM2014’s main focus seems to be the big museums with sophisticated exhibits of physical artifacts that will be visited by crowds coming through the doors. We won’t have that, but AAM2014 was large enough to include subgroups of small museums, new museums, and technical discussions of digitization and curation. We felt that we were helping shift the mainstream because the issues we must resolve can benefit others that have less urgency.

Recently we’ve been busy applying for funding. Preliminary conversations with the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH which also hosted a major lecture by HCLE Vision Club member Walter Isaacson) and various other agencies helped us submit proposals and inquiry letters to several potential funders. While most funders have submission guidelines, examples, and procudures online, and encourage phone consultations the communication is much better in person. An online document has no intonation. A representative reading the same document emphasizes the key points. A representative listening to our proposed proposal says a lot with body language. We witnessed enthusiasm as well as discouragement, even if no words were spoken.

We learned of the emphasis on including scholars, the importance of board donations, the meticulous attention to grammatical detail, and the legitimacy delivered by a proper program plan.  Decades have gone into defining HCLE’s architecture, but we’ve only just begun to implement the first elements; so, to many in the museum world HCLE appears young. HCLE’s status also means that our needs span the range from individual components to broad campaigns to implementing the main museum. The typical proposals, though, are aimed at incremental improvements to conventional facilities. Finding a good fit for innovative, small, and young museums is difficult.

Fortunately we met with representatives from NEH in several meetings; with representatives from IMLS (Institute for Museum and Library Services) including a mock peer review panel session; and even the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) who pointed out that understanding the effects of computers and computing on the history of education of music fits within their charter. We have a long list of potential grants to write proposals for. Prioritization will be necessary.

This was our first time at AAM’s meeting, but it felt that there was an emergent trend of funding from corporate and private sources. There weren’t any representatives as there were from the national endowments, but several sessions described direct or indirect funding from outside government. The projects tended to be more innovative, more responsive, and less reliant on proper proposal preparation though more detailed as the negotiations developed. Almost all of the projects were thanks to board members, volunteers, and advocates who made personal contacts with key people with familiar corporations. Scholarship wasn’t as important as results, but results had to be measurable and verifiable. A different culture and avenue, and also one that is less organized. Instead of lots of grants being produced by one over-arching entity like the Federal Government, there are at least one opportunities per corporation but each corporation is also a unique process and set of individuals.

The funding possibilities were readily apparent to us because, while we were attending the conference, we were also finishing a proposal for a private non-profit that had some of the structure of the governmental process and some of the flexibility of the corporate approach.

AAM2014 wasn’t all about money.

  • Microsoft Research was nice enough to spend a considerable amount of time building an HCLE exhibit with their Chronozoom timeline tool. Ours is unlisted, but other examples are available.
  • Liza encouraged the crowd of museum professionals to engage via the career development wiki (mlcentral) she built at the Museum and the Web conference.
  • We were even given a shout-out for our extensive live-tweeting of the sessions. Check our tweets (@HCLEmuseum) from May 18-21 for our real time notes.
  • Hopefully an interview or two of Liza will be posted so we can pass along her insights on education, technology, museums, and where we’re heading.
  • We tasked several exhibitors with the same new-technology issue we presented to the funders: How do we integrate collection, content, and constituency systems into one? Currently, each is separate, but we are likely to receive an artifact from someone who is also the subject of an exhibit and who is also a donor. We must pull the systems together, but current government museum funders rarely have grants that fit such tasks and most vendors live within narrow product niches. We are innovators by necessity.

Where we’re heading was a sub-theme to the conference. While most conversations were based on conventional museums and exhibits, the discussions were flavored with the changing technologies and expectations of new generations of visitors.

Because HCLE requires an understanding of computers, computing, technology, and how people adapt we found ourselves in the role of educator occasionally. For two people, we evidently managed to make our presence apparent well through twitter and by asking pertinent questions.

One message from HCLE is that education changed as computers were introduced to classrooms. The role of the teacher changed from lecturer to facilitator. Museum visitors are less likely to absorb static information and more likely to actively research through online sources (wikipedia). Instead of being quiet and eventually telling someone about what they saw, they are more likely to get out their phone and instantly share it verbally or via social media. Recharge stations and good wi-fi are more important than comfortable benches and potted plants.

We are taking the museum to the next step by making our first step a very large one. We can reach the largest community by having the smallest physical presence. HCLE can be more sustainable than most because it requires the least overhead; and, if done right, will evolve with technology rather than have to successively abandon and rebuild.

It was a busy event, and while we did make it to one party (the CEO event), we were busy enough with networking and proposal preparations that we missed the rest of the social events. Maybe next year.

Assessing Preservation of the HCLE Archive

We know what we need to do. But how do we describe it so others understand (and fund) the work?

2013 and 2014 are when HCLE has been building the framework for the construction of the Virtual Museum. General plans are in place. Initial collaborations have begun. Our network is extending into all the necessary fields: humanities, history, education, computing, computers, curation, preservation, exhibits, etc. Now the details begin to reveal themselves.

HCLE is applying for an NEH (National Endowment for the Humanities) Preservation Assessment Grant. (HCLE > NEH PAG – Maybe we all need shorter names.) Our first step is straightforward to us: get the right help to steer us to the best way to turn a collection into a widely-accessible digital repository. Every collection starts with a bit of chaos. Now is when we put some order to the informalities.

Here’s our draft abstract. You are welcome to comment.

1. Project abstract

The target collection is an historical record of the introduction of computing into teaching/learning environments from the early 1960s to 1990. It comprises documents (publications, correspondence, notes, manuals, product inserts, etc.), software (printed listings, paper tape, magnetic tape, audio cassette tape, various floppy disk formats), hardware (mini- and micro-computers and peripherals), and recorded conferences and interviews (multiple formats). The goal is stabilizing, preserving and inventorying educational software and supporting documents used in teaching of the humanities. In the case of historic software, transferring software from historical to modern media is not a simple case of reformatting; it is preservation because a) the original magnetic media will degrade and b) devices capable of accessing the software from original media are rapidly becoming unavailable.

Creating a digital repository sounds simple, but it only stays that way if every artifact is like the rest. Hundreds of copies of a magazine can all be processed the same way as one. Our collection is a mix of documents, software, and hardware. The documents exist as newsprint, mimeographs, dot matrix, hand-written notes, instructions on the backs of boxes, etc. The software is on such a diverse media that we may find that no one has a complete collection of drives and readers; and then, some of the software is stored as printed text that must be typed in.

a selection of the collection
a selection of the collection

Error checking may require proper emulation environments to make sure each program operates properly. (And then someone has to play the games to make sure they work.) The hardware was usually designed to only last a few years. Obsolescence wasn’t planned. Technology changed so quickly that everything was effectively obsolete as soon as it was available for sale.

We plan to hire a consultant to provide a professional opinion, and as usual be very grateful to our volunteers. While this may seem like a small task, it is a necessary one that will enable the very existence of our Virtual Museum. These are exciting times for our (currently) small museum. Thanks for being a part of it, even as a spectator.