The Center for Information, Technology & Society and The Program for Knowledge, Learning & Social Progress
Since 1986, our mission has been to help mankind make the best of life in ways that economic market forces neglect. So our focus is on furthering K-12 education and furthering human values which cannot (or are not) monetized. These are "public goods" which, like other nonprofit efforts or government efforts, are the root reason for these agents (and their philanthropic and government support)
Begun as the Program on Information, Technology & Society at MIT, CITS has been a charitable nonprofit since 1986 -- dedicated to improving human communication and learning. In 2003-2008, the program returned to MIT via a formal affiliation with the MIT Media Comparative Studies Program with a revised mission focusing on Knowledge, Learning, and Progress.
In 2012, CITS took over the 1789 Appleton Academy in New Ipswich, NH to be the site of our K-12 education programs and to provide Boynton Middle School students with learning projects, both addressing the Nation's STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) initiative and for field testing of a simpler way to learn based on Charles Peirce, William James, John Dewey, E. A. Singer, Thomas A. Cowan, C. West Churchman, and, most importantly, Russell L. Ackoff. In Choice, Communication and Conflict (AKA On Purposeful Systems), 1967, Ackoff brilliantly provide a framework for knowledge and understanding, which we have adapted as The Science of Knowledge and The Science of Learning. Dr. Priest's RPI dissertation, The Need and Value of Restructuring Human Communication Systems was based on Ackoff's work, and he created a course on The Science of Knowledge at the Emma Willard School of Troy, NY, in 1970. These students quickly and appreciatively found the course very informative. It is an improved set of materials that Appleton Academy will foster. One learning aid will be to apply the Science of Knowledge by projects where students explore the differnce between analog-based and digitally-based artifacts.
Our current interests include the discipline by which to define and build "learning objects." On November 3, 2004, Ken Komoski and I presented a paper at AACE (Association for the Advancement of Computing in Technology -- Advancing Knowledge & Learning with Information Technology Worldwide). See this seminal paper on architectural issues, A Condensation and Review of Various "Learning Object" Activities and Efforts. Since the 2004 paper we shifted to referring to the Science of Learning built on the Science of Knowledge as presented in The Science of Knowledge (including WMSCI Conference Presentation Slides) which represents our latest perspectives before publication of our forthcoming book The Science of Knowledge and Learning (2015). For further papers see the World-Brain Blog.
Further material below describes the history of CITS and various grant-funded projects that met our overall mission.
To become a member of the Cyberspace Society please click Here, register with "Topica" and join Cyberspace Society (you will receive no spam from Topica). The discussion list includes about 100 people talking about things that matter to the future of cyberspace
Recently we have invented a way to link K-12 learners with mentors via the web. Visit the Mentor-Matcher Slide Show and for our recent paper presented at the AACE (Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education) International conference in Montreal, click on Building Worldwide Mentoring Tools: Content Analysis of Visited Web Page and Matching. (requires an Acrobat reader)
In prior work we created the first database-driven web support system for Community Volunteerism. To learn more and take the "tour" please click Here. (sorry, currently inactive as we change sites). If you have an XP Professional Version you can simply download the software. Or, if you wish us to sponsor your community, please click Here and enter "Sponsor our Community" in the subject line (if you wish to acquire both the HTML and the NT4/NT5 compliant Active Server Page plug-in -- Virtuflex -- please e-mail us.)
Dr. Priest has long awaited the arrival of the Internet which he anticipated in his 1972 doctoral dissertation, The Need and Value of Restructuring Human Communications Systems. In 1996, Newsweek described Dr. Priest as a CyberEducator and as one of fifty people who mattered most on the Internet.
CITS is a member of LINCT, Learning and Information for Community - via Technology. LINCT provides home computers through "learn and earn" programs. LINCT will provide any community with the tools needed to promote:
Forums and Chat (drop-in tools for your own community web site)
Access to eLearningSpace (see below) to facilitate learning amongst K-12 students
NewDeal School Suite for donated PCs that includes wordprocessing, web browsing, and other Microsoft "Works-like" tools (at no cost to LINCT members)
Webbed-TimeDollar Administration (currently not available due to site transition, described above) in combination with a Time Dollar Auction site where learners can redeem learning credits for surplus merchandise
Welfare to Work programs that really work, providing low income people with the opportunity to learn and earn computers and, as a result, become gainfully employed
Cross-Age Peer Mentoring (developed in cooperation with the Time Dollar Institute)
The ability to create "student learning portfolios" which aids teachers and parents in assessing a student's progress
CITS works closely with EPIE (Educational Products Information Exchange) on K-12 education. See, for example, Creating Learning Communities -- a report on the use of technology in schools (and homes) which whole states have adopted as part of their technology plans. CITS and EPIE have developed a web database of over 20,000 K-12 educational software references for member states such as Utah and Massachusetts. Available, also via CD please e-mail EPIE for a modest cost.
Another activity of CITS and EPIE is the creation of eLearningSpace. While under major construction, eLearningSpace provides a place for students or teachers to evaluate learning resources, links to many math and science learning web pages, a visit to the "Invention Factory" and e-Mentoring. We have developed web-Tracker - Mentor/Matcher (to see the paper, click on the Mentor-Matcher link; for the slides, click on 'Slide Show'). Web tracker follows what a learner finds on the Internet, gives him or her the opportunity to comment about how useful it was, and the learner earns credits for learning on the Web which can be exchanged in a Time Dollar Store Auction Site. Mentor-Matcher extends Web-Tracker by connecting the learner with an online mentor whose skills match the contents of the web page the learner is currently viewing. By starting with AOL's Instant Messenger and using advanced text matching software, the inventory of mentors is consulted by Web-Tracker and the mentor and learner are put into a chat session within seconds. If both parties have a high speed connection, they can use NetMeeting for whiteboard, the sharing of learning materials, audio, and video. (The child safety of such content-directed communications is an issue. We have several solutions.)
To view earlier articles and reports by CITS please click Here. Specifically, we get good feedback on The Character of Information which we wrote in support of Intellectual Property Rights in an Age of Electronics and Information (U.S. Congress, Office of Technology Assessment).
Dr. Priest also pioneered in what is now called peer-to-peer knowledge networking systems. As President of Humanic Systems he developed an early working prototype in 1987 where knowledge from one person's (e-mail) folder is put into another's folder via telecommunications. The details of the design are described in a patent awarded in 1989.
In our interest in furthering technological innovation (see our co-authored book, Technological Innovation for a Dynamic Economy), Dr. Priest was Coordinator of Advanced Innovative Projects at the Charles River Museum of Industry. Formed as a museum for artifacts from the Waltham Watch Factory, the Museum houses the American Innovation Institute. Interested in how live video access to museum artifacts can serve innovation, see http://cybertrails.org/muse-cam.
To find articles about our concerns about the mounting national debt and the economy please click Here to find over 100 CITS DEBT WATCH newsletters and comments from our readers.
More recent issues are more often found Here
And, as of April, 2009, we have concluded our analysis of "How Does DEBT Lead to a Crisis, and a Collapse" and Our Proposed Solution is the creation of the 4th branch of US Government called the Financial Safety Branch by passing a 28th Amendment to the US Constitution (Elizabeth Warren has made a similar proposal, but for a Safety Commision, and we give reason for why it must be a 4th branch to succeed).
Also, during our twenty years of studying this country's financial system we came across something far more invasive and pernicious than the various pyriamiding schemes such as by Bernie Madoff. We discovered a rather astounding version of the "long con." As you know, it a long con, the con artists, in this case the "old bankers," set up a rouse to bleed the victim. In this con, the main rouse was to convince everyone that inflation is a fact of life. In fact, inflation, at about 4% per year, is contrived by the old bankers (contrasted to the new bankers inventing other means of bleeding money away from folk, such as via derivatives). The con always involves some kind of "front" and since 1913, the front has been the US Federal Reserve. Prior to that, the front was the 1st National Bank of the US and the 2nd National Bank, which Jefferson and Jackson shutdown, respectively, because they saw the bleed of money from ordinary folk.
We term this con the "Fed Fleece" and we have written about it in more detail at "The Fed Fleece Proof." In short, the bankers who conceived of the Fed on Jekyll Island (see Griffith, The Creature of Jekyll Island) inserted one paragraph in the enabling legislation to create the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) and they gave this non-government, non-responsible entity the right to create and sell federal securities. We document, via a Barron's chart, how this committee has magically sold many more securities into the financial markets then they have purchase and returns only 10% of the proceeds to the US Treasury. And the other 90% (the other 90% of 4% of our entire GDP, aka, so-called "inflation") goes to line the pockets of member banks and thus member families. How? As we have a fractional lending system, any "new money" can create 10 times that amount in new loans. So, if asked, the Fed says, oh yes, we do introduce the equivalent of money (these are Federal obligations and do not constitute newly created money as only the US Treasury can do), and we send the proceeds to the Treasury. What they don't say, and which is the heart of the con, is that the other 90% is bled away from all of us at the rate of 4% of GDP, each year. I fact checked this issue with Martin Mayer, author of The Bankers and The Fed and it was he who steered me to the 10% flow back to the Treasury. However, and now quite elderly, Mr. Mayer could not say quite how or why the other 90% has gone unnoticed. We don't even know if Dr. Bernanke is even aware that he is running the front for the largest con in all of history.
To find other articles related to communication and the media, and the politics of cyberspace click Here. (to further limit the search to a subject of interest, please add a topic in the search box in the upper left on the page that appears, separated by the "and." For example, "and media."
A 2008 project demonstrating the use of comic panels with Adobe Visual Communicator to create comic videos resulted in the publication Turning to Warriors at a Time Like This.
And about our sister organization, Humanic Systems click this icon:
The Director of CITS is Dr. W. Curtiss Priest (e-mail)