Monday, February 02, 2004

on Wednesday, February 4 at 5:00pm at the Pyle Center.

Many workers and academics spend more time in front of computer
interfaces than they do reading books or looking at non-digital images.
What are the aesthetics and politics of normalized interface experiences
such as those users have while reading email or generating documents
using commercial operating systems and software? Has the wide
dissemination of computer interface iconography initiated a true
disjunct between earlier studies of iconographic systems such as those
from the visual arts, or it is best read in a continuum with these? Is
the term "graphical interface" redundant, or is there more to the
earlier interfaces than had been thought?

"Enabling Social Dimensions of Learning Through Persistent and
Extensible Online Virtual Environments"
by Julian Lombardi, Division of Information Technology
Lombardi will discuss his current efforts to implement a persistent,
unified, and extensible framework for collaborative online interaction
and knowledge management in the form of a massively multi-user
collaborative virtual learning environment. He will discuss how new and
emerging post-browser technologies can be recombined to establish a
crucial social foundation for the distributed development of rich
educational resources and for the development of academic communities of

Dr. Lombardi is an experienced university educator/researcher and
software systems architect. He is presently an assistant director at UW
- Madison's Division of Information Technology where he provides
leadership, fiscal, and operational management for a software
development unit of 18 programmers, instructional designers, multimedia
specialists, grants/awards specialists, and evaluators. Julian also
provides strategic leadership for the UW system in the area of
technology-based educational initiatives. Julian began his academic
career in 1986, when he joined the faculty at the University of North
Carolina at Greensboro. Prior to receiving promotion and tenure in 1989,
he established an extramurally funded research program addressing the
evolution and development of complex adaptive systems. He has authored
numerous scholarly articles, book chapters, and a monograph published by
Kluwer. Julian has also served on university committees for promoting
the use of instructional technologies and delivered faculty workshops on
the use of instructional technology and interface design. In 1996,
Julian founded a 3D software development company which eventually became
ViOS, Inc., a company with over 60-employees. Over the next years he
served as the company's first CEO as well as Chairman of the Board and
its Chief Creative Officer. He architected and oversaw the successful
completion of the company's core multi-user 3D technologies and holds a
US patent on processes for visualizing and organizing location-based
information. His software design has won a major industry award. Since
leaving the faculty at the University of North Carolina Greensboro in
1999 to pursue the development of post-browser visualization
technologies, Julian has raised over $7 million in financing in support
of his efforts.

"Pregnant Sims: Avatars and the Visual Reproduction of Motherhood on
the Web"
by Lisa Nakamura, Department of Communication Arts
Parenting websites exemplify the ways that women use the Internet to
graphically embody themselves in specific reproductive states, that is,
as pregnant women, nursing women, and mothers. This talk will examine
images of pregnant avatars and their creation and deployment in sites
such as and and analyze the implications of
this form of digital (re)production for cyber and other feminisms.

Lisa Nakamura specializes in New Media Studies, Cultural Studies,
Ethnic Studies, Asian-American Studies, and Critical Technology Studies.
Nakamura has written many book chapters, recently including "Race" in
The Internet and American Life, edited by Phil Howard and Steve Jones,
Thousand Oaks and London: Sage Press, "Remastering the Internet: the
Work of Race in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction," in Archaeology of
Multi-media, edited by Wendy Chun, New York: Routledge, "Race in the
Construct, or the Construction of Race: New Media and Old Identities in
The Matrix" in Domain Errors! A Cyberfeminist Handbook of Tactics,
edited by Michelle Wright, Maria Fernandez, and Faith Wilding, New York:
Autonomedia Press and "After/Images of Identity: Gender, Technology, and
Identity Politics" in Reload: Rethinking Woman + Culture, edited by
Austin Booth and Mary Flanagan, Cambridge: MIT Press. Dr. Nakamura is a
contributing editor for New Media and Society and is an Advisory Board
Member for The Resource Center for Cyberculture Studies.

"Designing Supercharged: Opportunities and Challenges using Video Game
Interfaces in Instructional Design"
by Kurt Squire, Department of Curriculum and Instruction
This talk will present the background and rationale behind
Supercharged, a 3D simulation game designed for use in advanced physics
classes and explore the consequences of using game vocabulary, interface
elements, and semiotic systems in an academic simulation game. This
presentation relies on a mix of qualitative and quantitative data to
show how students' experiences with games mediated their experience with
Supercharged and set expectations for their academic work. This study
suggests that not only should educators be aware of and capitalize on
the affordances of games, but also that educational game design plays an
important role in illuminating design issues in games studies more

Kurt Squire is an Assistant Professor in Educational Communications and
Technology at the University of Wisconsin at Madison and a Visiting
Research Fellow at MIT. Squire earned his PhD from Indiana University in
Instructional Systems Technology. He is a former elementary and
Montessori teacher. Squire's dissertation focused on how playing
Civilization III mediated students' understandings of social studies.
For the past two years, Squire has been instrumental in shaping the
vision and research for MIT's Games-to-Teach Project and The Education
Arcade. In 2000, Squire also co-founded, a web community
studying game culture.


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