1. AI Journalism

    August 31, 2023 by Santiago D.

    Driving Question:

    How can AI be applied in investigative, opinion, and solutions-based journalism in the context of digital communities in Bosnia?

    Module Summary:

    The “AI Journalism” module explored the intersection of artificial intelligence and journalism. The module aimed to understand the capabilities and limitations of AI in news writing and its impact on current events.

    Students investigated the origins and evolution of journalism in their home countries and Bosnia, comparing human-written articles to AI-generated content. They examined various types of journalism—investigative, solution-based, and opinion—and learned how AI can be ethically and legally integrated into these fields.

    The module included excursions to notable sites like the Al Jazeera Balkans, the National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the Sarajevo Film Festival. Guest speakers provided insights into wartime reporting and modern journalism challenges, emphasizing the irreplaceable human element in storytelling.

    Through practical experiences and reflections, students created their own articles, juxtaposing them with AI-generated pieces to discern the unique human touch in journalism.

    For instance, senior student Santi D. created an article titled ‘Unraveling the Web of Deceit: Serbian Media’s Role in Spreading Fake News During the Yugoslav Wars,’ which examines the impact of misinformation during the 1990s conflicts in the Balkans. The article outlines how the Serbian media played a crucial role in shaping public perception and exacerbating ethnic tensions through the dissemination of fake news and propaganda.

  2. Carpentry Innovation

    August 1, 2023 by Niko W.

    Driving Question:

    How can you use traditional Bosnian carpentry techniques to create innovative product designs?

    Module Summary:

    The “Carpentry and Innovation” module, tasked students with transforming a plank of wood into an innovative and culturally significant piece over five days. Working closely with local experts in Konjic, the students learned traditional Bosnian carving techniques. They designed and created wooden carvings and objects, using both sketches and 3D models.

    Students visited the Zanat factory and a wood carving museum, where they were introduced to different types of wood, carpentry, and woodworking techniques. They also delved into the innovation aspect, learning about the difference between innovation and invention, legal and ethical considerations, and the process of idea protection through patents, trade secrets, and copyrights.

    After mastering the basics, the students created their final products in two factory spaces: Elektra, where they worked on sawing, chiseling, and filing their basic shapes, and Zanat, where they refined their shapes, added intricate patterns, and completed their projects with sanding and oiling.

    Niko W.’s final product is an oak wooden boat with a unique texture designed to enhance its hydrodynamic performance, akin to the dimples on a golf ball or sharkskin texture. He employed two types of chiseling techniques—flat-headed, curved, and V-shaped—to serve different purposes in crafting the boat. The rip saw, while providing a cleaner cut, required more time compared to the bow saw, which removed more material but left a rougher finish.

    Initially using the rip saw for shaping, Niko later switched to the bow saw based on feedback from Alestra staff, prioritizing time efficiency over surface smoothness, as he planned to refine the boat’s sides through subsequent shaping and sanding. To achieve smoother edges and surfaces, he utilized a file initially for its material-removal capability, followed by 80-grit sandpaper to refine the texture further.

  3. Why Plastics?

    July 1, 2023 by Sigurd R.

    Driving Question:

    How can I further understand the past, present and future of plastic through scientific tests, research, and inquiry, including and relating to the chemistry behind plastics?

    Project Summary:

    Sigurd R.’s project challenges the commonly negative perception of plastics by highlighting both their detrimental and beneficial aspects. He begins by acknowledging the environmental harm caused by single-use plastics, such as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and the danger to sea life. However, he shifts the focus to the often-overlooked positive uses of plastics, particularly in the medical field where they are essential for procedures like open-heart surgery due to their sterility, versatility, and low cost.

    Sigurd also explores the historical use of plastics, noting that early forms of plastic-like materials, such as rubber, were used by the Mesoamericans as early as 1600 BCE. This historical context sets the stage for a broader discussion on the definition and perception of plastics. He argues that plastics are diverse and not well-defined, encompassing a wide range of materials beyond the common single-use items.

    He emphasizes the versatility, durability, and affordability of plastics, which make them invaluable in numerous industries, including automotive and food transportation. Sigurd acknowledges the environmental issues associated with plastics but argues for a balanced perspective that recognizes their essential role in modern society.

    Lastly, Sigurd touches on the future potential of plastics, mentioning innovative uses like conductive polymers. He cautions against a blanket rejection of all plastics, suggesting that doing so could hinder technological and scientific progress. His ultimate message is to encourage a nuanced understanding of plastics, recognizing both their benefits and their environmental impacts.

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