Morgan G. Ames Publications Research Teaching Contact CV (pdf)
Books and Full Research Papers
Shorter Research Papers
Press Coverage
Theses and Technical Reports
Conferences Organized
Publications
"Writing is a process, a journey into memory and the soul."
                                                      - Isabel Allende

Books

2019. Morgan G. Ames. The Charisma Machine: The Life, Death, and Legacy of One Laptop per Child. MIT Press.

The Charisma Machine chronicles the life and legacy of the One Laptop per Child project and explains why — despite its failures — the same utopian visions that inspired OLPC still motivate other projects trying to use technology to “disrupt” education and development.

Announced in 2005 by MIT Media Lab cofounder Nicholas Negroponte, One Laptop per Child promised to transform the lives of children across the Global South with a small, sturdy, and cheap laptop computer, powered by a hand crank. In reality, the project fell short in many ways, starting with the hand crank, which never materialized. Yet the project remained charismatic to many who were enchanted by its claims of access to educational opportunities previously out of reach. Behind its promises, OLPC, like many technology projects that make similarly grand claims, had a fundamentally flawed vision of who the computer was made for and what role technology should play in learning.

Drawing on a seven-month study of a model OLPC project in Paraguay, this book reveals that the laptops were not only frustrating to use, easy to break, and hard to repair, they were designed for “technically precocious boys” — idealized younger versions of the developers themselves — rather than the diverse range of children who might actually use them. Reaching fifty years into the past and across the globe, The Charisma Machine offers a cautionary tale about the allure of technology hype and the problems that result when utopian dreams drive technology development.


Full Research Papers: Journal Articles, Peer-Reviewed Conference Proceedings, and Book Chapters

(Peer-reviewed conference proceedings are comparable in length and rigor to journal articles)

2019. Morgan G. Ames. “The Media Machine: One Laptop per Child in Paraguay.” In Héctor Fernández L’Hoeste and Juan Carlos Rodríguez (eds.), Latin/o American Studies in the Age of Digital Humanities. University Press of Florida (2019).

2018. Morgan G. Ames. “Hackers, Computers, and Cooperation: A Critical History of Logo and Constructionist Learning.” Proceedings of the ACM on Human Computer Interaction, 2:CSCW, Article 18. [pdf]

2018. Morgan G. Ames, Silvia Lindtner, Shaowen Bardzell, Jeffrey Bardzell, Lilly Nguyen, Syed Ishtiaque Ahmed, Nusrat Jahan, Steven J. Jackson, and Paul Dourish. “Making or Making Do? Challenging the Mythologies of Making and Hacking.” Journal of Peer Production, Issue 12, Makerspaces and Institutions (Varia). [pdf]

2018. Morgan G. Ames. “Deconstructing the Algorithmic Sublime.” Big Data and Society, 5:1 (2018), special theme on Algorithms in Culture. [pdf]

2017. Morgan G. Ames and Jenna Burrell. “‘Connected Learning’ and the Equity Agenda: A Microsociology of Minecraft Play.” Proceedings of CSCW 2017, ACM Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing. ACM Press, February 2017, 446-457. Winner, Best of CSCW 2017. (34% accepted, in top 1.1%) [pdf]

2017. Janaki Srinivasan, Megan Finn, and Morgan G. Ames. “Information Determinism: The Consequences of a Faith in Information.” The Information Society, 33:1 (2017). [pdf]

2016. Morgan G. Ames. “Learning Consumption: Media, Literacy, and the Legacy of One Laptop per Child.” The Information Society, 32:2 (2016), Special Issue on Connecting Fields: Information, Learning Sciences, and Education. (13% accepted) [pdf]

2016. Morgan G. Ames, Mark Warschauer, and Shelia R. Cotten. “The ‘Costly Lesson’ of One Laptop per Child Birmingham.” In Michael A. Gottfried and Gilberto Q. Conchas (eds.), When School Policies Backfire: How Well-Intended Measures Can Harm Our Most Vulnerable Students. Harvard Education Press (2016), 133-155. [pdf]

2015. Eric P.S. Baumer, Morgan G. Ames, Jenna Burrell, Jed R. Brubaker, and Paul Dourish. “Why study technology non-use?” First Monday, 20:11 (2015), Special Issue on Non-use of Technology: Perspectives and Approaches. [pdf]

2015. Morgan G. Ames. “Charismatic Technology.” Proceedings of CC 2015, the 5th Decennial Conference on Critical Computing, Aarhus, Denmark. ACM Press, August 2015, 109-120. [pdf]

2015. Morgan G. Ames, Daniela K. Rosner, and Ingrid Erickson. “Worship, Faith, and Evangelism: Religion as an Ideological Lens for Engineering Worlds.” Proceedings of CSCW 2015, ACM Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing. ACM Press, March 2015, 69-81. (28% accepted) [pdf]

2015. Eric P.S. Baumer, Jenna Burrell, Morgan G. Ames, Jed R. Brubaker, and Paul Dourish. “On the Importance and Implications of Studying Technology Non-Use.” Interactions, 12:2 (2015), 52-56. [pdf]

2014. Morgan G. Ames and Daniela K. Rosner. “From Drills to Laptops: Designing Modern Childhood Imaginaries.” Information, Communication & Society, 17:3 (2014), 357-370. [pdf]

2014. Daniela K. Rosner and Morgan G. Ames. “Designing for Repair? Infrastructures and Materialities of Breakdown.” Proceedings of CSCW 2014, ACM Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing. ACM Press, February 2014, 319-331. (27% accepted) [pdf]

2014. Morgan G. Ames. “Translating Magic: The Charisma of OLPC’s XO Laptop in Paraguay.” In Eden Medina, Ivan da Costa Marques, and Christina Holmes (eds.), Beyond Imported Magic: Essays on Science, Technology, and Society in Latin America. MIT Press (2014), 207-224. [pdf]

2013. Morgan G. Ames. “Managing Mobile Multitasking: The Culture of iPhones on Stanford Campus.” Proceedings of CSCW 2013, ACM Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing. ACM Press, February 2013, 1487-1498. Nominee, Best of CSCW 2013. (35% accepted, in top 4.1%) [pdf]

2011. Morgan G. Ames, Janet Go, Joseph ‘Jofish’ Kaye, and Mirjana Spasojevic. “Understanding Technology Choices and Values through Social Class.” Proceedings of CSCW 2011, ACM Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing. ACM Press, March 2011, 55-64. (22% accepted) [pdf]

2011. Mark Warschauer, Shelia Cotten, and Morgan G. Ames. “One Laptop per Child Birmingham: Case Study of a Radical Experiment.” International Journal of Learning and Media, 3:2 (2011), 61-76. [pdf]

2010. Mark Warschauer and Morgan G. Ames. “Can One Laptop per Child Save the World’s Poor?” Journal of International Affairs, 64:1 (2010), 33-51. [pdf]

2010. Morgan G. Ames, Janet Go, Joseph ‘Jofish’ Kaye, and Mirjana Spasojevic. “Making Love in the Network Closet: The Benefits and Work of Family Videochat.” Proceedings of CSCW 2010, ACM Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing. ACM Press, February 2010, 145-154. Winner, Best of CSCW 2010. (20% accepted, in top 1.7%) [pdf]

2010. Morgan G. Ames, Dean Eckles, Mor Naaman, Mirjana Spasojevic, and Nancy Van House. “Requirements for Mobile Photoware.” Journal of Personal and Ubiquitous Computing, 14:2 (2010), 95-109. [pdf]

2010. Rafael Ballagas, Hayes Raffle, Janet Go, Glenda Revelle, Joseph Kaye, Morgan G. Ames, Horishi Horii, Koichi Mori, and Mirjana Spasojevic. “Story Time for the 21st Century.” IEEE Pervasive Computing, 9:3 (2010), 28-36. [pdf]

2007. Morgan G. Ames and Mor Naaman. “Why We Tag: Motivations for Annotation in Mobile and Online Media.” Proceedings of CHI 2007, ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. ACM Press, April 2007, 971-980. Most cited paper of CHI 2007. (25% accepted) [pdf]

2003. Jennifer Mankoff, Anind K. Dey, Gary Hsieh, Julie Kientz, Scott Lederer, and Morgan G. Ames. "Heuristic Evaluation of Ambient Displays." Proceedings of CHI 2003, ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. ACM Press, April 2003, 169-176. (16% accepted) [pdf]


Shorter Research Papers: Encyclopedia Entries, Peer-Reviewed Extended Abstracts, and Peer-Reviewed Workshop Papers

2018. Morgan G. Ames and R. Stuart Geiger. “(Re-)Engaging the ‘Algorithmic Turn’ in Sociotechnical Scholarship.” Workshop Paper, Consortium for the Science of Socio-Technical Systems (CSST) Decennial Sociotech Futures Symposium.

2018. Michaelanne Dye, Neha Kumar, Ari Schlesinger, Marison Wong-Villacres, Morgan G. Ames, Rajesh Veeraraghavan, Jacki O’Neill, Joyojeet Pal, and Mary Gray. “Solidarity Across Borders: Navigating Intersections Toward Equity and Inclusion.” Extended Abstracts of CSCW 2018, ACM Conference in Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing. ACM Press, November 2018. [pdf]

2017. Morgan G. Ames. "One Laptop per Child." Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology, 2nd Edition, June 1, 2017.

2016. Morgan G. Ames and Jenna Burrell. “Race, Class, and Minecraft: The Microsociology of Diverse Videogame Play.” Workshop Paper, Digital Media and Learning, workshop on power brokers: building youth social capital through connected learning.

2016. Daniela Rosner, Sarah E. Fox, and Morgan G. Ames. “What Happened to Craft? Surfacing Alternate Histories of Digital Fabrication and Community in the Maker Movement.” Workshop Paper, CHI 2016, ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, workshop on fabrication and HCI: hobbyist making, industrial production, and beyond.

2015. Janaki Srinivasan, Megan Finn, and Morgan G. Ames. “Beyond Information Determinism to Information Orders: A New Framework for Policy.” Proceedings of iConference 2015 (poster descriptions). March 2015. [pdf]

2015. Morgan G. Ames. “Critiquing Utopianism at the Borderlands of Technoscience.” Workshop Paper, CC 2015, the 5th Decennial Conference on Critical Computing, workshop on the shifting borderlands of technoscience: tracing trajectories of critical practice.

2015. Morgan G. Ames. “Criticism in Engineering Worlds and Beyond: A Case Study of One Laptop per Child.” Workshop Paper, CC 2015, the 5th Decennial Conference on Critical Computing, workshop on criticism for computational alternatives.

2015. Morgan G. Ames, Katherine Lo, and Paul Dourish. “The Gendered Mythologies of Computing Culture.” Workshop Paper, CSCW 2015, ACM Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing, workshop on feminism and feminist approaches in social computing.

2015. Morgan G. Ames. “A Social Analysis of One Laptop per Child in Paraguay.” Workshop Paper, CSCW 2015, ACM Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing, workshop on doing CSCW research in Latin America: differences, opportunities, challenges, and lessons learned.

2014. Morgan G. Ames, Jeffrey Bardzell, Shaowen Bardzell, Silvia Lindtner, David A. Mellis, and Daniela K. Rosner. “Making Cultures: Empowerment, Participation, and Democracy - or Not?” Extended Abstracts of CHI, ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. ACM Press, May 2014, 1087-1092. [pdf]

2014. Eric P.S. Baumer, Morgan G. Ames, Jed R. Brubaker, Jenna Burrell, and Paul Dourish. “Refusing, Limiting, Departing: Why We Should Study Technology Non-use.” Extended Abstracts of CHI, ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. ACM Press, May 2014, 65-68. [pdf]

2013. Morgan G. Ames. “Invisible Work, Visible Success: Paraguay Educa’s Hidden Labor for One Laptop per Child.” Selected Papers of Internet Research, IR14.0: Resistance and Appropriation. October 2013. [pdf]

2013. Morgan G. Ames and Daniela K. Rosner. “From Laptops to Toasters: Designing and Repairing Modern Childhood Imaginaries.” Selected Papers of Internet Research, IR14.0: Resistance and Appropriation. October 2013. One of 12 invited to submit a full paper to Information, Communication & Society. (8.5% invited) [pdf]

2013. Morgan G. Ames. “The Implications of DIY Education: A case study of OLPC in Paraguay.” Workshop Paper, CSCW 2013, ACM Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing, workshop on CSCW in education: viewing education as a site of work practice.

2012. Susan Wyche, Elisa Oreglia, Morgan G. Ames, Christopher Hoadley, Aditya Johri, Phoebe Sengers, and Charles Steinfield. “Learning from Marginalized Users: Reciprocity in HCI4D.” Extended Abstracts of CSCW 2012, ACM Conference in Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing. ACM Press, February 2012, 27-28. [pdf]

2010. Tricia Wang and Morgan G. Ames. “Global Discourses of Information: Questioning the Free Information Regime.” Workshop Paper, UbiComp 2010, ACM Conference on Ubiquitous Computing, workshop on transnational times: locality, globality and mobility in technology design and use. [pdf]

2009. Rafael Ballagas, Joseph ‘Jofish’ Kaye, Morgan G. Ames, Janet Go, and Hayes Raffle. “Family Communication: Phone Conversations with Children.” Proceedings of IDC 2009, ACM Conference on Interaction Design and Children. ACM Press, June 2009, 321-324. (32% accepted) [pdf]

2008. Morgan G. Ames, Janet Go, Leila Takayama, Hayes Raffle, Mirjana Spasojevic, and Rafael Ballagas. “Exploring Family Communication and Technology Use with an Eye to Design.” Workshop Paper, CSCW 2008, ACM Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing, workshop on designing for families. [pdf]

2006. Morgan G. Ames and Lilia Manguy. “PhotoArcs: Ludic Tools for Sharing Photographs.” Extended Abstracts of MM 2006, ACM Conference on Multimedia. ACM Press, October 2006, 615-618. (16% accepted)

2006. Morgan G. Ames and Lilia Manguy. “PhotoArcs: A Tool for Creating and Sharing Photo-Narratives.” Extended Abstracts of CHI 2006, ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. ACM Press, April 2006, 466-471. (23% accepted)

2005. Nancy A. Van House, Marc Davis, Morgan G. Ames, Megan Finn, and Vijay Viswanathan. “The Uses of Personal Networked Digital Imaging: An Empirical Study of Cameraphone Photos and Sharing.” Extended Abstracts of CHI 2005, ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. ACM Press, April 2005, 1853-1856. (15% accepted) [pdf]

2004. Morgan G. Ames, A.J. Bernheim Brush, and Janet Davis. “Comparing Synchronous Remote and Local Usability Studies for an Expert Interface.” Proceedings of Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, October 2004. (32% accepted)

2004. A.J. Bernheim Brush, Morgan G. Ames, and Janet Davis. “A Comparison of Synchronous Remote and Local Usability Studies for an Expert Interface.” Extended Abstracts of CHI 2004, ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. ACM Press, April 2004, 1179-1182. (16% accepted) [pdf]

2003. Morgan G. Ames, Chinmayi Bettadapur, Anind K. Dey, and Jennifer Mankoff. “Healthy Cities Ambient Displays.” Extended Abstracts of UbiComp 2003, ACM Conference on Ubiquitous Computing. October 2003. (14% accepted) [pdf]


Press Coverage

2019. Morgan G. Ames. “Future Generations will Suffer if we Don’t Solve Unequal Access to Tech.” The Pacific Standard, April 2. Available at psmag.com/ideas/future-generations-will-suffer-if-we-dont-solve-unequal-access-to-tech (invited author, “Understanding Gen Z” feature)

2018. Michael Charboneau. “Why Long Distance Doesn’t Have to Mean Losing Touch With Loved Ones.” The New York Times T-Brand Studio, December 14. Available at nytimes.com/paidpost/facebook/why-long-distance-doesnt-have-tomean-losing-touch-with-loved-ones.html (interviewed)

2018. Adi Robertson. “OLPC’S $100 Laptop was Going to Change the World – Then It All Went Wrong.” The Verge, April 16. Available at theverge.com/2018/4/16/17233946/olpcs-100-laptop-education-where-is-it-now (interviewed)

2017. Eric Westervelt. “The Cubist Revolution: Minecraft for All.” NPR Morning Edition, August 8. Available at npr.org/sections/ed/2017/08/08/538580856/the-cubist-revolution-minecraft-for-all (interviewed)

2016. Kelly Burch. “What to do when the grandparents live far away.” Headspace, September 30. Available at headspace.com/blog/2016/09/30/grandparents-live-far-away/ (interviewed)

2016. Morgan G. Ames. “Should Parents Post Photos of Their Children on Social Media? NO: They Violate Privacy, and Without a Child Giving Consent.” The Wall Street Journal, May 23. Available at wsj.com/articles/should-parents-post-photos-of-their-children-on-social-media-1463968922 and wsj.com/video/the-case-against-putting-children-on-social-media/2A6BBC9F-6451-461E-8920-79ADFDECAC6C.html (invited commentary author and guest on WSJ Video)

2015. Kelly Burch. “Over the Web and Through the Screen to Grandmother’s House We Go.” The Daily Dot, December 23. Available at dailydot.com/lifestyle/skype-facetime-family-video-calling/?post_id=166077283747990_166077277081324 (interviewed)

2015. Susan Pinker. “Can Students Have Too Much Tech?” The New York Times, January 30. Available at nytimes.com/2015/01/30/opinion/can-students-have-too-much-tech.html (research quoted)

2012. Cyrus Farivar. “Step 1: Give Every Kid a Laptop. Step 2: Learning Begins?” Ars Technica, February 8. Available at arstechnica.com/business/2012/02/step-one-give-every-kid-a-laptop-step-two-learning-begins (interviewed)


Theses and Technical Reports

2013. Morgan G. Ames. From MIT to Paraguay: A Critical Historical and Ethnographic Analysis of One Laptop Per Child. Dissertation, Department of Communication, Stanford University.

2010. Morgan G. Ames. “Values, Politics, and Technosocial Systems: A Critical Analysis of Value-Sensitive Design, the Social Construction of Technology, and Actor-Network Theory.” Area Exam, June 8-15, 2010. Department of Communication, Stanford University.

2006. Morgan G. Ames. "The Social Life of Snapshots." Master's Thesis, School of Information Management and Systems, University of California, Berkeley.

2004. Nancy A. Van House, Marc Davis, Yuri Takhteyev, Morgan G. Ames, and Megan Finn. “The Social Uses of Personal Photography: Methods for Projecting Future Imaging Applications.” Berkeley Technical Report.

2002. Morgan G. Ames and Anind K. Dey. “Description of Design Dimensions and Evaluation for Ambient Displays.” Berkeley Technical Report.


Conferences Organized

2018. “Techno-Optimism Within and Beyond Silicon Valley,” Center for Science, Technology, Medicine & Society conference. U.C. Berkeley, October 19-20.

2017. “Longue Durée History of Algorithmic Thinking in Mathematics,” Center for Science, Technology, Medicine & Society conference. U.C. Berkeley, May 5-6.

2016. “Algorithms in Culture,” Center for Science, Technology, Medicine & Society and Berkeley Institute of Data Science conference. U.C. Berkeley, December 1-2.

2016. “STS+Design: Scoping the Field and Establishing an Agenda,” Center for Science, Technology, Medicine & Society conference. U.C. Berkeley, May 13.

2013. “Governing Technology: Material Politics and Hybrid Agencies,” Stanford Science and Technology Studies Conference. Stanford Humanities Center, May 9-10.

2010. “Designing for Freedom: Values in Communication Technologies,” Pat and Rowland Rebele First Amendment Conference. Mendenhall Library, Stanford University, May 17.

Contact: webmaster@morganya.org