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Exploring the Design Space of Telephony Applications for Community Organizations and Social Activism [pdf]
Derek Lomas


Derek Lomas is an artist and scientist with a background in cognitive science and social design. He is currently a doctoral student at the HCI Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, where he conducts design experiments with educational games to understand the complex relationship between learning, enjoyment and challenge. Lomas received his BA in Cognitive Science from Yale University, where he studied the neurological bases of empathy.

Lomas received his MFA from UC San Diego, where he researched Social Design, or the design of objects and environments to influence social behavior. With artist Natalie Jeremijenko, he co-founded the Social Movement Laboratory, an action research laboratory investigating the relationship between sociality and materiality through critical interventions that seek to catalyze social change by design. Projects include Memory Columns: A Comparative Graffiti Study, an urban architectural intervention that enabled a controlled study of the production of graffiti across four neighborhoods in San Jose, during the 2008 ISEA arts festival.

Bridging the fields of learning science and social design, Lomas is the founder of, an open-source community that is developing 8-bit learning games for a $10 home computer that is widely sold in developing countries. In 2009, Playpower received support from the MacArthur Foundation to seed local 8-bit development communities in India and Brazil. has developed and field-tested a set of participatory learning games, which teach skills ranging from typing to malaria prevention.

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