[Newbies] Grafoscopio and the Data Week: Critical code+data literacy practices and pocket infrastructures from/for the Global South

Offray Vladimir Luna Cárdenas offray at riseup.net
Tue Feb 6 02:09:55 UTC 2018

Hi Joshep,

Thanks for your interest and sorry for the technicalities. Is some kind
of old bad habit from "academy and research" and their ivory towers
built with expert languages. I will try to explain myself and provide
more technical details in links. It doesn't help not being a native
English speaker neither, but I will try my best.

So, lets start with the idea of critical literacy practices. This idea
comes, mostly, from adults literacy. In such context, the teaching
practices developed with children don't work pretty well (or at all). So
the teachers of such practices don't start by teaching the basic of
letters and handwriting and syllables compositions and words, as used
with children education, or problems about adding numbers or planets
names and rotation trajectories. Paulo Freire[1], for example, started
with what he call "problemas generadores" (I don't know the English
translation, but is about problems that create more problems, usually
related with social and emotional issues), like reading the local
newspapers or writing/reading letters from/for the loved ones, working
such problems with poor people in rural Brasil. In such practices he
recognized that there is not such think as a "neutral" education
practice, and that education is about empowerment (or not) of the
oppressed. So, think in something like that, but instead of using
"classical" literacy for the printed world, we use practices related
with data and code for young and mature adults. In such endeavor we
don't start with the classical (and kind of dumb) "Hello world!"
introduction to computing [2], but with social problems and questions:
Do we and our politicians monologue or dialogue in social networks? How
our public money is spend? How much information release the governments
about medicine information[3]? Do you really need to have a lot of "Big
Data" to be a critical participant in the "information society"?

Once we have such questions, we start to get the proper vocabulary
(coding+data) to express our partial ideas using prototypes. For that,
we learn about Smalltalk basis, but instead of learning to create
"apps", we learn to create visualizations and to tell stories supported
by data. Some visualizations are the classical colored world map, like
the one in the Panama Papers example [4], but made with reproducibility
in mind. The idea is not only to publish a bitmap (png, jpeg) or vector
image (SVG, PDF), but to provide the complete rationale, data and code
behind such stories and visualizations. Other visualizations are custom
made, to express some kind of issue, like the one about medicines
released information[3] or our ways of communication in Twitter[5].

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paulo_Freire
[2] http://mutabit.com/offray/blog/en/entry/dumb-hello-world
[3] http://mutabit.com/offray/blog/en/entry/sdv-infomed
[4] http://mutabit.com/offray/blog/en/entry/panama-papers-1
[5] http://mutabit.com/offray/blog/en/entry/ds-twitter-mockup

Despite of not being directly inspired by the theories of Alan Kay or
Paulo Freire, I think that my research put some of their ideas into
dialogue. What would happen if we put the ideas of Dynabook, started
with kids ( and developed in the North) in dialogue with the ideas of
Critical Pedagogy, started with adults (and developed in the South) in
the current age of data? How new ways of civic participation are created
when people learn how to use data, code, visualization and storytelling
to talk about civic concerns?

I hope to be clearer, but let me know if I'm still in the Ivory Tower.

Thanks again,


On 05/02/18 20:24, Joseph Alotta wrote:
> Offray,
> I am sorry but I don’t understand what your project is about.   The words you use are very precise words that have a technical meaning that I do not possess.
> Can you give us a simple example?  I am looking for the junior high school version of your explanation.
> Sincerely,
> Joseph.
> _______________________________________________
> Beginners mailing list
> Beginners at lists.squeakfoundation.org
> http://lists.squeakfoundation.org/mailman/listinfo/beginners

More information about the Beginners mailing list