Samuel Mann

Welcome to Computing for Sustainability.

I am interested in the nature of the sustainable perspective – the sustainable lens – that practitioners in all fields bring to their work, and how this can be applied in disciplines with great societal leverage: education and computing (particularly interaction design): hence I am active in Computing Education for Sustainability, and in Interaction for Sustainability.

This blog contains the  workings of Samuel Mann.    I am Professor at Otago Polytechnic, in Dunedin, New Zealand.   I effectively hold two positions – I teach in computing (software engineering, interaction design) and hold the institution’s Education for Sustainability Portfolio.

Here’s the bio:

A Professor with a background in both IT and land management, Sam has developed applied IT for regional government, crown research institutes and large organisations. He has taught computing since 1994, at Otago Polytechnic Information Technology since  1997, including five years as Head of Department. Sam has published over 150 conference and journal papers in the fields of augmented experiences; sustainability; and computer education.

Sam is responsible for the development of Education for Sustainability at Otago Polytechnic where we are committed to

every graduate thinking and acting as a sustainable practitioner

This initiative recently won the ITPNZ Award for Excellence in Education for a Global Role.

Sam is working in computing to develop strategies, practices and resources for computing to contribute positively to a sustainable future. Sam led the development of the draft statement on Education for Sustainability for the ACM, which followed up on the success of New Zealand NACCQ policy and agenda on computing education for sustainability.

Sam is convenor of Sustainability in Tertiary Education in New Zealand (STENZ), a cross sector group with the vision that

In 2014, all NZ tertiary graduates will understand the principles, values, and practices of sustainability.

In 2009 Sam is the Beeby Fellow for his work in Education for Sustainability.  The Beeby fellowship is a joint initiative between New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO and the NZ Council of Education Research.

In 2009, Sam is one of four NZ delegates to the UNESCO World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development.

Sam teaches Software Engineering (using a hybrid Agile Development Framework) and manages the capstone industry projects. He and his students work on systems that harness the power of technology to help engage people with information: the goal is to make the computer invisible and to instead focus on promoting engaging experiences.

Sam is on the National Advisory Committee on Computing Qualifications.

Sam’s current research, SimPa, works with Mäori communities to retell their stories in 3D game format (teaching Mäori kids programming in the process!).

Sam is on the national executive of the National Advisory Committee of Computing Qualifications, is editor of NZ’s premier computing conference, is chair of the Research and Support Working Group for polytechnic computing and is a Trustee of NZ Centres for Information Technology Research.

Email:  samuel.mann@op.ac.nz

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/samuel.mann

Twitter: samuelmann

Phone: (64) 021 735 493

Full curriculum vitae (pdf)

New here? Here are the posts you should read

1. Sustainability is important

and not just a fad, we need to take the next steps, and is the right thing:

Stage 4 companies “do the right things” so that they are successful businesses. Stage 5 companies are successful businesses so that they can continue to “do the right things.”

2. with a wide definition.

beyond a narrow focus on climate change (Australian CS, climate savers) etc

3. Computing has an important role to play

Computing does bad: big numbers, and here’s a thought: peak computing.

with stories we can tell.

4. and things are going to change

We need to think hard about what this means, 1, 2, 3, 4

And we need to be careful to avoid greenwash, or as Barne’s argues:

“The great virtue of the single bottom line is that it holds managers to account for something. The triple bottom line does not. It is not so much a license to operate as a license to obfuscate.”

5. There is work to be done:

“they all seem good”: need for a green computer RFP template

Green RFP

Computing ecolabels, new ideas,

6. But this needs to go beyond the operational compost

– to challenging business models, Blevis describes the ipod as a:

deliberately unsustainable act intent on driving consumption and with the clear side effect of premature disposal

In other areas, designers are challenging the role of the transparent communicator, and engineers are

recognising the need to recognise that a class of problems exist where there is simply not enough information and there are no objectively right answers

and we can learn from our colleagues.

Some are there: Logan Muller questions “computing’s heart of prostitution“.

7. and incorporate sustainability as part of the underpinning philosophy of computing

Sustainabilityness of Tate’s Sustainable Software Development

Biomimicry in software engineering – a super system metaphor?

SIDS: Blevis’ Sustainable Interaction Design

Agile software engineering

Computing code of ethics Gotterbarn and Nagl’s (code of ethics discussion)

8. An every graduate approach to education for sustainability

what is the core learning?

encouraging a student groundswell,

identifying barriers,

building resources: from Natural Edge, Creative Communities,

What is missing from our curricula?: low hanging fruit, missing in curricula.

8. Computing should be seen as an enabler of a wider movement

Computing contributes to sustainability through interactivity and awareness.

SimPa is a major project where we are working with Maori communities to retell stories in digital formats. We’re not “capturing” stories, rather building capabilities among the younger people so they can do it themselves.In a related project, we’re working to visualise the entire history of Dunedin.

In festivals, challenges, Heritage interactivity (Eden project etc).

14 Responses “Samuel Mann” →
  1. Greetings Dr. Mann,

    I like your blog very much. I would like to link your blog to the one I have just started.

    Would that be alright with you?

    Enrico

    EJ Wensing
    Founder, Ecosphere Net
    St. John, US Virgin Islands

    Reply
  2. Absolutely, welcome.
    SaM

    Reply
  3. Sam,

    I admire your work and what the Otago Polytechnic does in general. It shows lots of initiative and hard work.

    Unfortunately, in other institutions, buildings and $ are first. This atitude undermines the main purpose of any educational institutions (specially at higher levels) that is to be a place where knowledge is not only passed to the next generation but also a place where new ideas emerge.

    Keep up the good work.

    Pablo.
    IT Lecturer at Bay Of Plenty Polytechnic
    (Freelance programmer and localization specialist in my spare time)

    Reply

  4. annej27

    March 12, 2009

    I like your views on Green IT. Would you be willing to allow us to republish some of your work in our monthly newsletter for free exposure? It would give you a reach to over 70K+ IT Professionals across many established IT companies

    Please let me know, I’d love to chat with you – janderson@imninc.com

    Cheers – Jennifer

    Reply
  5. Your triple talent of IT/computer and landuse combined with a clear love of collaborative teaching is, at its core the kind of world-curious mind that embodies sustainability.

    As you learn and teach you model the behavior that increases the chances that those who come in touch with you will recognize the power of using best talents in non-traditional ways to live a full life and make a difference.

    As someone who is coaching three green businesses here in California i love your visualizations and language for sustainable systems & thinking

    I’m delighted that David Sibbet (who i first met when a Coro Fellow and he was on staff) raved about your work in his blog.

    Here’s to inspiring more Me2We action – Kare

    Reply
  6. Your triple talent of IT/computer and landuse combined with a clear love of collaborative teaching is, at its core the kind of world-curious mind that embodies sustainability.

    As you learn and teach you model the behavior that increases the chances that those who come in touch with you will recognize the power of using best talents in non-traditional ways to live a full life and make a difference.

    As someone who is coaching three green businesses here in California i love your visualizations and language for sustainable systems & thinking

    I’m delighted that David Sibbet (who i first met when a Coro Fellow and he was on staff) raved about your work in his blog.

    Here’s to inspiring more Me2We action – Kare

    Reply
  7. Excellent Blog Samuel

    I have an interest in green computing also and regularly speak and blog on the subject. I have promoted your blog on my Green computing twitter feed at @geekygreen

    I am in Melbourne, Australia at the moment touring green data centres and understanding abour Australian Green IT efforts but I live and am based out of London UK.

    Keep up the good work.

    Regards Sean Whetstone

    Reply
  8. Hallo!!!!!!

    Your Blog is always interesting and innovative!!

    ;O)

    laura

    Reply
  9. Hi,

    I have made the following reference to computingforsustainability.wordpress.com in relation to Global Green IT News for a Green IT eBook that I am writing for the Australian Information Industry Association.

    Please review to make sure it best represents your organisations capabilities.

    ——————————————————-

    This blog contains the daily(ish) workings of Samuel Mann. I am Associate Professor at Otago Polytechnic, in Dunedin, New Zealand. I effectively hold two positions – I teach in computing (software engineering, interaction design) and hold the institution’s Education for Sustainability Portfolio.

    ——————————————————-

    I look forward to your feedback.

    Cheers
    Scott

    Reply

  10. Jeffrey Newman

    February 28, 2010

    Just was directed by Google to your blog when I was looking for the article I’d done on the Earth Charter and Values Reflection
    http://arts.brighton.ac.uk/stibbe-handbook-of-sustainability/chapters/values
    So good when you make contact across the world. I’m just working on David Holmgren’s important book Future Scenarios.
    All best wishes.
    Jeffrey

    Reply
  11. Hi Sam,

    Greetings from the past!

    Congratulations on your ITPNZ Award for Excellence in Education for a Global Role.

    At last my institution has developed and adopted an Environmental Sustainability Strategy informed from the work I revealed to you several (!!!) years ago.

    Now I am leading the team working on infusing Education for Sustainability (EfS) into the curriculum. So I came to visit your site to update myself on your achievements, contributions, and inspirations. HELP please!…

    For instance, a colleague would like to use Mann and Shepherd’s survey of attitudes about environmental sustainability as a basis for teaching research methods to his postgrad and undergrad research methods students in management. Could you please refer us to the most relevant and/or recent outputs from your work at Otago Poly and Otago University, and, if possible, provide in electronic format the questionnaires that you used. Then we have a basis for inter-institutional comparison with your data sets. Furthermore, have you computer programmes and/or protocols that analyse the data that we could also uplift?

    In terms of my work, I’ve updated my work presented at the Tertiary Education Summit, and submitted for journal publication. Feel free to link to this publication:

    Mellalieu, P. J. (2011). The Rise and Fall of Education for Sustainability in New Zealand’s Tertiary Education Strategies: An Orchestrated Conspiracy of Ignorance? [Extended version – Under review]. Department of Management & Marketing Working Papers. Auckland, NZ: Unitec Institute of Technology. Retrieved from http://web.mac.com/petermellalieu/Teacher/Examples/Entries/2011/3/18_The_Rise_and_Fall_of_Education_for_Sustainability_in_New_Zealand%E2%80%99s_Tertiary_Education_Strategies.html

    I have also been going back to one of my foundations – Decision Support Systems. In particular, learning about machine learning. As a ‘playtime’ exercise, I’ve produced this…. No connection with EfS at this stage. Just getting my computing hand ‘back in’:

    Mellalieu, P. J. (2010, December 6). A Decision Support System for predicting success, excellence, and retention from students’ early course performance: a machine learning approach in a tertiary education programme in innovation and entrepreneurship: Part 1: Project summary. Innovation & chaos … in search of optimality. Retrieved January 10, 2011, from http://pogus.tumblr.com/post/2110849868/a-decision-support-system-for-predicting-success

    A couple of books you/your readers might find of interest:
    Bertram, G., & Terry, S. (2010). The Carbon Challenge: New Zealand’s Emissions Trading Scheme. Series 21 – Into a New Century. Wellington, New Zealand: Bridget Williams Books. Retrieved from http://www.wheelers.co.nz/books/9781877242465-carbon-challenge-the-new-zealands-emissions-trading-scheme/?audience=adult#detail

    Tomlinson, B. (2010). Greening through IT: information technology for environmental sustainability. MIT Press. Retrieved from http://books.google.com/books?id=5sp7GYopKSMC&lpg=PP1&ots=oiZ_JXeumJ&dq=greening%20through%20it%20tomlinson&pg=PP1#v=onepage&q&f=false

    Kind regards and best wishes.

    Reply
  12. Hi Sam, i arrived at your blog via a rather curious route (see “They started with 255 definitions of sustainability, as collected on the blog Computing for Sustainability.” here: http://www.cp-dr.com/node/3020). I found something utterly unexpected in my understanding of green or sustainable IT or computing: the linkage to someone with a powerful systems understanding of sustainability who is developing the interactive relationship between sustainability and computing, in addition to advancing sustainable computing (computing sector/practice that reinforces instead of compromises the systems dynamics of the biosphere as our one-and-only regenerative life support system/machine). I really like your thinking in the above outline and look forward to finding more surprising and valuable concepts and initiatives. Scott (www.sustainability2030.com).

    Reply
  13. Hi Samuel.

    This comment is to say thank you for the wonderful photos that have made a massive contribution to my website. http://www.dunedinwalkingtrailsapp.com

    In a few weeks I will be releasing a smart phone application that directs customers to various walking trails in Dunedin. I created a landing page (above) for the application and used a some of your Creative Commons licneced photography.

    I was wondering if you had a favourite charity that I might be able to donate some money to for the use of your photos, or even if you’ve got a paypal account or something set up so I could repay your generosity?

    Reply
  14. Nice writings Samuel. I am a teacher of Finance by profession and have just started my blog to share my knowledge (whatever little I have). I would like to borrow some from your blog if you permit. Also would like to have feedback as a comment on my blog. My blog is – https://financeeducationsite.wordpress.com

    Reply

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