Jonathan Arnowitz, Elizabeth Dykstra-Erickson
We are proud to introduce this special issue on societal challenges guest edited by Manfred Tscheligi, a regular contributor and previous guest editor of last year's Gadgets issue. Software that promotes social behavior has a significant impact and is interesting in itselfthink YouTube, MySpace, Facebook, and the many other software experiences that have become popular over the past few years. However, more important than simply connecting people is connecting them in need, using software interfaces to create connections to services and support that change possibilities in society. We hope you are inspired in your own thinking and practice by this collection of articles to extend how HCI and technology can break down social, political, and economic barriers.
Also in this issue is an excellent article by Lothar Mueller about how the Swiss CHI local chapter played a key role in the development of an HCI educational program. Lothar explains how local SIGCHI chapters can build bridges between education and practice. Take a look at your own local chapter and consider the possibilities. And if you don't have a local chapter nearby, consider creating one!
The discussion of HCI education continues in Under Development: Nathan Eagle tells of how the burgeoning mobile phone business in Africa is raising the bar for computer science students to keep up with the demand. While we often hear of third world countries' stellar performers leaving home to find comfort and opportunity not available in their native country, Nathan shares some interesting observations of just the opposite. New opportunities in Africa, fueled by one of the fastest-growing mobile markets, are piquing the interest of students pursuing programming careers. These students are determined to stay and contribute to the development of their homelands. But they need teachers. Are you a potential candidate?
And finally, Dan Zucker gives us a nuts-and-bolts overviewboth the pros and the consof Ajax and what it means to designers. Look for more technical information in our next issue on open-source software. Enjoy...
Jonathan Arnowitz and Elizabeth Dykstra-Erickson
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