How Obama's tech team built a "force multiplier" with Amazon and a narwhal.
Nonfiction Article Teaches Students to be 'Force Multipliers': Information Management 'Gamifies' Political Campaigns and Alters the Workplace Landscape
This is a terrific nonfiction article for high school and undergraduate classrooms because the subject matter is real-world relevant and provides students insight into skills needed for the workplace they will be entering in the not-too-distant-future. Although the vocabulary is a bit esoteric and challenging, the story of how an election campaign tech team, led by Senior Engineer Clint Ecker, was able to use an application called 'Dashboard' to rally support for their candidate using a social network venue that might be comparable to Facebook for supporters.
"The true power behind these applications won't be in the devices themselves, but in the analytic systems that back them" writes
Ars Technica's IT Editor Sean Gallagher. When we think about integrating technology into our lessons, some focus on the equipment or computing devices as carrying some import; however, Gallagher makes it abundantly clear in his article "Forget 'post–PC'– pervasive computing and cloud will change the nature of IT" that the devices themselves will matter very little to our students in the workplace. He says that application programming or interface–based architectures are where the focus is now.
The shift from platform dependent to platform independent systems design is not only an important discussion to have with students interested in IT management, it is important for developing critical thinking skills and vocabulary on subject matter that appears challenging at first, but relates to the applications they and you access daily. How 'Dashboard' and 'Call Tool' (and other 'volunteer-facing' applications) were used to multiply the campaign force by automating the recruitment and outreach work originally done by field offices and volunteers is interesting when all of the logistics and coordination issues are considered. A single application called 'Identity' tracked volunteer activity "and allowed for all sorts of campaign metrics, such as tracking the number of calls made with Call Tool and displaying them in Dashboard as part of group 'leaderboards'". The leaderboards were developed to "gamify" activities like calling, allowing for what Ecker called "friendly competition" within groups or regions. On top of that, their man won.j