Digital Incubator


I’ve just been reading an eSchool News report on a ‘Digital Incubator’ project that gives seed money to college students for creating innovative applications. It begins:

Among the new digital tools and applications that students will be using on college campuses this fall are a mysterious, mobile-phone-based game of espionage; an online communal ranking system that can help in group decision-making; a first-of-its-kind MP3 visualizer that uses song lyrics to dynamically generate music videos; an online and mobile-phone-based community that lets members record and collaborate on rap music; and an interactive, advice-based wiki for helping students discuss difficult subjects. – And what’s most remarkable about these applications is they’re all student-created.

A joint initiative of Cisco Systems and mtvU, the digital incubator exists to identify new technologies and support innovative student programs that help the company learn how customers are using the web to create digital media.

It’s great to see this sort of support coming for student created work, and the recognition it gives to the possibility of new teaching and learning approaches and environments. The five winners of the award announced on 5 September can be accessed via the digital incubator website, and are well worth exploring. They are:

  • Casablanca – a new style of mobile game that blends alliance and betrayal with social networking. Using text messages and email, two teams vie for control of the city by building or infiltrating social networks.
  • How do I say this? – a community based site that invites users to help each other to address the things in life that seem impossible to say.
  • Osiris – a music visualizer based on the lyrics of a song
  • RapHappy – an online and mobile-phone-based hip-hop community that enables members to easily record, collaborate on, search, and listen to freestyle or written raps, without any need for software or file uploading.
  • Selectricity – advanced voting technology for everyday decisions.

The 2006 winners can also be found on the digital incubator website and a worth a look – I found College2.0 intriguing – an interactive, choose your own adventure video based on (American) College life.

Initiatives like this go a long way to encouraging our young innovators and ‘imagineers’ to pursue their dreams – and I applaud them. I’m working at the moment with someone in NZ who I’d rate in this sort of category – unfortunately the options for him aren’t so alluring, and his idea, as innovative and forward thinking as I believe it is, may well end up being just that, an idea, due to the lack of this sort of support.

One thought on “Digital Incubator

  1. Hi Derek,

    Wonder if you have come across this group before?

    They are running the YMedia challenge this year. They are interested in growing this event into something similar to the digital incubator that you have profiled. Would be great to see NZ companies get behind this.

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