Ahmanson Lab: Collaboratory - 2018-2019
Students in the Futures of Democracy collaboratory designed and crafted a game kit intended to facilitate community and individual engagement with present-day issues through acts of playful speculation. The Futures of Democracy kit contains a series of games that allow players to explore democracy-related issues such as campaign finance, corruption, and political compromise.
Mars and its potential habitability have intrigued humanity for centuries. Since 1965, when the Mariner 4 spacecraft found Mars to be a lifeless, barren world, our imagination has taken a new turn--that of terraforming Mars and making it habitable for humans. Students in this collaboratory were guided through a multidisciplinary approach to the problem of terraforming: they reviewed scientific and science fiction literature, built self-contained ecosystems in which plants were grown in simulated Martian soil, attended active learning sessions about Mars, and used fishbowl discussions and worldbuilding tools to visually explore possibilities of a terraformed Mars of their own design. Students also explored the social, political, geological, and environmental impacts of a terraformed Mars.
This collaboratory addressed the dual issues of a disjointed Los Angeles and a declining local press by working in partnership with the L.A. Times to create a mobile app for delivering immersive journalism. Students in this collaboratory explored ways to tell newsrooms stories using augmented reality, focusing, in particular, on large-scale environmental reports (e.g. stories about floods, hurricanes or fires) that when read, are often hard to visualize.