Beth Kolko

bkolko [at] u.washington.edu
Faculty
Human Centered Design & Engineering
I am a faculty member in the Department of Technical Communication at the University of Washington, and also a Fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University. I have a background in rhetoric and cultural studies which informs my work on information technologies and international development (ICT4D). I run the CAICT project, a multi-year NSF grant studying cross-cultural impact of ICT adoption, and I work extensively with the UW Center for Information and Society on ICT4D projects.

My approach to ICT4D emphasizes the idea of diversity and technology by focusing on ICTs in developing countries in order to counteract what could be called a failure of imagination in terms of how devices, software, and services are designed. The potential benefit of ICTs across domains has been documented, but much currently available technology doesn't adequately consider infrastructure, regulatory, and usage environments. My Design for Digital Inclusion (DDI) group applies theory-based analyses of culture and technology to examine how technology is used in diverse settings and demonstrate how technologists, social scientists, and humanities scholars can collaborate on technology-related development and implementation projects. I also run the Digital Games Research Group at UW (currently on hiatus).
In 2008, I was a visiting faculty fellow at Microsoft Research and a Fellow at the Berkman Center at Harvard University.

Projects


Publications

Skills Are Not Binary: Nuances in the Relationship Between ICT Skills and Employability
Rebecca Walton, Cynthia Putnam, Erica Johnson and Beth Kolko
Information Technologies and International Development , 2009. Journal Article (PDF)
Getting online but still living offline: the complex relationship of technology adoption and in-person social networks
Cynthia Putnam and Beth Kolko
International Conference on Advances in Social Networks Analysis and Mining, 2009. Full Paper (PDF)
Mobile phone users in Kyrgyzstan: A case study of identifying user requirements for diverse users Mobile phone users in Kyrgyzstan: A case study of identifying user requirements for diverse users
Cynthia Putnam, Emma J. Rose, Rebecca Walton and Beth Kolko
International Professional Communication Conference, 2009. Full Paper (PDF)
Computer Games in the Developing World: The Value of Non-Instrumental Engagement with ICTs, or Taking Play Seriously Computer Games in the Developing World: The Value of Non-Instrumental Engagement with ICTs, or Taking Play Seriously
Beth Kolko and Cynthia Putnam
International Conference on Information and Communication Technologies and Development, 2009. Full Paper (PDF)
Mobile Social Software for the Developing World
Beth Kolko, Erica Johnson and Emma J. Rose
HCI International, 2007. Full Paper (PDF)
Communication as Information-Seeking: The Case for Mobile Social Software for Developing Regions
Beth Kolko, Emma J. Rose and Erica Johnson
International World Wide Web Conference, 2007. Full Paper (PDF)