Scientific Animations Without Borders and Crowd-sourced Emergency Relief Knowledge in Local Languages: A Case Study of the Iranian Earthquake

By Saber Miresmailli, Julia Bello-Bravo and Barry R. Pittendrigh.

Published by The International Journal of Science in Society

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: February 5, 2015 Free Download

Scientific Animations Without Borders (SAWBO) is a University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign-based program focused on the development and deployment of educational content that can be rapidly translated and voice overlaid into new languages and deployed through cell phones and other video-capable devices. SAWBO relies on volunteers for translation and deployment of content both online and offline. On August 11 of 2012, a 6.4 magnitude earthquake struck East Azerbaijan province of Iran. SAWBO was contacted by, and worked with, Iranian expatriates from Vancouver, Canada, interested in gaining knowledge, about how to treat water to prevent cholera, into the zone hardest hit by the earthquake. In this case study, we outlined the challenges of deployment of educational content into a country where the authorities restrict the flow of knowledge to their own populations (i.e. a minority language group). We also discuss certain ethical dilemmas related to tracking content and user activities.

Keywords: Natural Disasters, Iran, Cholera Prevention, Social Media, Animations

The International Journal of Science in Society, Volume 6, Issue 2, February 2015, pp.1-12. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: February 5, 2015 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 611.651KB)).

Dr. Saber Miresmailli

Project Manager, Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Saber Miresmailli: Dr. Miresmailli is a project manager at the Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology at the University of British Columbia. He is also founder and CEO of Ecoation Innovative Solutions Inc. He has worked as an executive in the areas of Applied Biology, Sustainability, International Development and Renewable Energy.

Dr. Julia Bello-Bravo

Assistant Director, African Studies, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, Urbana, IL, USA

Dr. Bello-Bravo (JD, MBA, PhD) is an Assistant Director in the Center for African Studies at University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. She is a co-founder of Scientific Animations Without Borders.

Prof. Barry R. Pittendrigh

Professor, Liberal Arts and Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Illinois, USA

Dr. Pittendrigh is an endowed chair professor at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He has worked in the areas of international development and extension for the past six years. His work includes development of novel teaching tools for genomics and more recently he has been working on strategies for deployment of development messages for low literate learners.