A New Visualization Approach to Re-Contextualize Indigenous Knowledge in Rural Africa

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Abstract

Current views of sustainable development recognize the importance of accepting the Indigenous Knowledge (IK) of rural people. However, there is an
increasing technological gap between Elder IK holders and the younger generation and a persistent incompatibility between IK and the values, logics and literacies embedded, and supported by ICT. Here, we present an evaluation of new technology that might bridge generations and preserve key elements of local IK in Namibia. We describe how we applied insights, generated by ethnographic, dialogical and participatory action research, in designing a structure in which users can store, organize and retrieve user-generated videos in ways that are compatible with their knowledge system. The structure embeds videos in a scenario-based 3D visualization of a rural village. It accounts for some of the ways this rural community manages information, socially, spatially and temporally and provides users with a recognizable 3D simulated environment in which to re-contextualize de-contextualized video clips. Our formative in situ evaluation of a prototype suggests the visualization is legible to community members, provokes participation in design discussions, offers opportunities for local appropriation and may facilitate knowledge sharing between IK holders and more youthful IK assimilators. Simultaneously differing interpretations of scenarios and modeled objects reveal the limitations of our modeling decisions and raises various questions regarding graphic design details and regional transferability.
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Current views of sustainable development recognize the importance of accepting the Indigenous Knowledge (IK) of rural people. However, there is an
increasing technological gap between Elder IK holders and the younger generation and a persistent incompatibility between IK and the values, logics and literacies embedded, and supported by ICT. Here, we present an evaluation of new technology that might bridge generations and preserve key elements of local IK in Namibia. We describe how we applied insights, generated by ethnographic, dialogical and participatory action research, in designing a structure in which users can store, organize and retrieve user-generated videos in ways that are compatible with their knowledge system. The structure embeds videos in a scenario-based 3D visualization of a rural village. It accounts for some of the ways this rural community manages information, socially, spatially and temporally and provides users with a recognizable 3D simulated environment in which to re-contextualize de-contextualized video clips. Our formative in situ evaluation of a prototype suggests the visualization is legible to community members, provokes participation in design discussions, offers opportunities for local appropriation and may facilitate knowledge sharing between IK holders and more youthful IK assimilators. Simultaneously differing interpretations of scenarios and modeled objects reveal the limitations of our modeling decisions and raises various questions regarding graphic design details and regional transferability.
Original languageEnglish
Book seriesLecture Notes in Computer Science
Volume6947
Pages (from-to)297-314
Number of pages18
ISSN0302-9743
DOI
StatePublished - 2011
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes
Event13th IFIP TC 13 International Conference - Lisbon, Portugal
Duration: 5 Sep 20119 Sep 2011

Conference

Conference13th IFIP TC 13 International Conference
CountryPortugal
CityLisbon
Period05/09/201109/09/2011

    Research areas

  • 3D visualization, indigenous knowledge, Participatory Design
ID: 66065395