Thursday, September 15, 2011

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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Watch the live announcement of the fourth Digital Media & Learning Competition on Sept. 15th!

Digital Media and Learning Competition 4: Badges for Lifelong Learning

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, in collaboration with Mozilla and HASTAC, invite you to an event on September 15th at the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, DC and online at to explore the potential of Badges for Lifelong Learning. Badges are a new assessment tool that will help identify skills mastered in formal and informal settings, virtually and in physical spaces, and in schools, workplaces and communities.

Today learning happens anytime, anyplace, at any age. How can 21st century learners demonstrate their knowledge and skills? Digital badges can inspire learning, unlock jobs, educational and civic opportunities and open new pipelines for talent. The event will feature the announcement of the 4th Digital Media and Learning competition which will provide up to $2 million in grants for innovations in the use of Badges for Learning.

Watch the live video stream from the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington at from 9:00am to 10:30am EDT on September 15th.

Featured speakers include:

  • The Honorable Arne Duncan, Secretary, U.S. Department of Education
  • Charles F. Bolden, Jr., Administrator, NASA
  • Emily Stover DeRocco, President, The Manufacturing Institute and the National Center for the American Workforce
  • Mark Surman, Executive Director, Mozilla Foundation

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Launched: HyperCities Los Angeles Research Collection

Exciting news for HyperCities, a HASTAC/Macarthur Foundation 2008 Digital Media & Learning Competition winner: With the generous support of the John Randolph Haynes and Dora Haynes Foundation, the HyperCities Los Angeles Research Collection has launched.

The “Los Angeles Research Collection” empowers citizens and researchers to use the tools of interactive “time mapping.” With HyperCities, you can explore social, cultural, and political history in Los Angeles over time. The site can be accessed from a web-browser in any school, community center, government office, home, and academic setting, allowing citizens to delve into and create their own collections of mappable knowledge and cultural heritage. Community-generated content exists side-by-side with scholar-produced research data, thereby creating new interactions between traditionally separated domains of knowledge.

A centerpiece of the Los Angeles Research Collection is the “Pdub” collection of materials from Historic Filipinotown. Built by the Pilipino Worker’s Center (PWC), a community service organization serving LA’s Historic Filipinotown (“Hi Fi”), and Public Matters, a public history design and educational media partnership, “Pdub Productions” is an innovative project using new media as a way to connect with, explore and promote Hi Fi’s rich history and culture. The collection brings to life historical maps of the region using the voices, narratives, and videos of generations of people who live in the neighborhood. In addition to featuring a trove of archival materials relating to the history of the region, it also provides viewers with a cultural map of the present-day neighborhood.

Social Scientists have contributed several important datasets as seed-beds for the planned growth of the Los Angeles Research Collections. One is the Los Angeles County Union Census Tract Data Series, 1940-2000 (Los Angeles: University of Southern California, 2000-2006), created under the leadership of Philip Ethington and Dowell Myers, and consisting of 438 variables, for the years 1940-2000. With this data, users can track the demographic history of any census track in Los Angeles county over the past sixty years, or examine shifts in ethnic composition, median income, education level, age, occupation, and more. The Voting and Demographic Data for the 2001 and 2005 Mayoral Elections in the City of Los Angeles, contributed by Mark Drayse and Raphael Sonenshein of CSU Fullerton, was funded by the Russell Sage Foundation; the Annual Immigration Data Aggregated to ZIP Code level data set was assembled by Ali Modarres of CSU Los Angeles. HyperCities supplies the connective links between these separate collections and allows researchers, scholars, and community groups to access and utilize these data through a common online platform.

The “HiFi” collection is a “Featured Collection” — but users can also create their own collections using the publicly available data or “mix-and-match” historical maps and other collections from the HyperCities site. To do so, simply close the HiFi collection (click the box in the upper-right corner) and begin exploring the historical maps and collections. You can always return to HiFi under “featured collections” (click the book icon to see the full narrative view of the collection). Over the next year, we will be dramatically expanding the LA collections with new featured collections on neighborhoods such as Boyle Heights and more demographic data-sets.

Collaborators on the HyperCities Los Angeles Research Collection include co-PIs Jan Reiff, Diane Favro, Todd Presner, and Chris Johanson, as well as Reanne Estrada, Philip Ethington, Dave Shepard, Mike Blockstein, Aquilina Soriano, Yoh Kawano, and Ryan Chen.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Sasha Costanza-Chock Moves to MIT's Comparative Media Studies

Good news for MIT's Comparative Media Studies program: Sasha Costanza-Chock has joined the faculty as Assistant Professor of Civic Media. Sasha was instrumental in VozMob's (Mobile Voices/ Voces Moviles) project leadership (2009 Digital Media & Learning Competition winner). Together with 12 other Voz Mob members, Sasha made important contributions to participatory research methods that reflect the same collaborative design process and principles used in developing VozMob.

Ethan Zuckerman talked to Sasha about his research on VozMob in an interview for MIT's Center for Civic Media:

"I believe in thinking beyond web2.0, looking beyond the glossy surface of the latest high-end tools. Many civic media projects are geared around that small slice of the population lucky enough to have always-on broadband connectivity. I'm interested in how civic media reaches beyond that 5-10% of the global public." That design strategy, as well as a strong practice of rooting both research and design in community participation, led to Costanza-Chock's work with the Institute of Popular Education of Southern California (IDEPSCA) on VozMob (Mobile Voices / Voces MovĂ­les), which helps day laborers in LA share stories and reports with their community using mobile phones to write stories, record audio and take photos.

It was working with the immigrant rights movement that led Costanza-Chock to develop theory around what he calls transmedia mobilization: "My research suggests that social movements are most effective when the media opportunity structure shifts and opens; when they engage in cross-platform production and distribution; when they develop a praxis of digital media literacy; and when movement organizations shift from top-down structures of communicative practice to horizontal, participatory structures that include their social base."

Friday, August 12, 2011

Greg Niemeyer's Social App Lab launches City Sandbox: Q&A Site for Civic Action

After developing, a 2008 Digital Media & Learning Competition winner, Greg Niemeyer went on to co-found Social App Lab, a new initiative at UC Berkeley's Center for Informational Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS). New this summer from Social App Lab, a team of thinkers, doers, and makers launched CitySandbox, a Q&A site for civic action.

Ever wonder what's going on with that empty lot? Or when the new city park is supposed to open? Maybe you've wondered where the closest community garden is located. CitySandbox is designed to leverage the collective power of the Internet to impact local, physical surroundings, and to answer those questions that don't tend to show up in Google search results. According to the website:

At CitySandbox, you ask questions about specific places in your city and discuss them with other residents. You identify priorities, form collective opinions, and take action on goals. You can find out who else in interested in your questions and how the community as a group can address them. Through a system of voting and discussion, all community members can use CitySandbox to weigh in, make their voices heard, and build their reputations as active citizens. As groups form around issues, CitySandbox provides an easy way to communicate with other people interested in the same questions and create events which others can join to take action.

In an interview with Alexndra Chang, Greg describes the unique purpose of CitySandbox:

"CitySandbox attempts to fill the gap by making physical location the central way to navigate questions, setting it apart from other question services. And the embedded Google maps let users see what people are saying about, for example, the park down the street."

CitySandbox is currently in beta, with testing taking place in Berkely -- but it's easy to see how a site like this would be useful to any community that has potholes and citizens who question, and care.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Bruce Caron on Skolr: Extending the lifespan of the academic poster

Bruce Caron, one of our 2009 Digital Media & Learning Competition winners (DigitalOcean: Sampling the Sea), has an interesting new project of interest to academics, particularly scientists.

In partnership with the Sloan Foundation, the Carsey-Wolf Center, and the New Media Studio, DigitalOcean is building a searchable open-source software program that archives science posters. In an interview with James Badham, Bruce explains the appeal of sharing and archiving posters:

“What if there were a hundred meetings of various disciplines that all contributed posters to a searchable collection?” Caron posits. “You could start finding the crosscutting research connections between disciplines, even though people aren’t in the same room, at the same meeting, or even in the same area of research. You can imagine an ocean-science researcher who has a project on a marine protected area in Hawaii being able to connect with a poster about the history of colonization on that island. It’s a way to provide a larger purview of the activity of doing science. Or imagine you are a person who has a DigitalOcean profile, where you’ve created a map of your research region of interest, and every time a poster is created somewhere in the world that has content relevant to that, you receive an announcement on your DigitalOcean's home page.”

DigitalOcean uses collaborative digital media to network and enable interdisplinary communities to work together, both to increase public involvement and learning in classrooms around the globe. For more information on the project, see DigitalOcean's project page on, or visit them at

Image credit:

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

David Gibson on 21st Century Assessment

Listen up, class! David Gibson, a 2009 Digital Media & Learning Competition winner (Global Challenge Award), will be featured as one of three speakers talking about 21st century assessment of digital learning during Gaming and Social Networks as Next Generation Learning Experiences, a one-hour webinar in Adobe Connect on July 28, 2011 at 1pm EST. (The webinar will be archived.)

I've heard David talk about digital media assessment before, and know enough about his vision with simSchool to know that this will be a very interesting talk, well worth attending live or listening to later.

Adobe Connect, I'm pulling for you, especially the audio).

David recently won one of Next Generation Learning Challenges Wave I awards for simSchool, a "flight simulator" that helps educators adapt instruction to individual learner needs. We have had the good fortune to have David bring his vast expertise in digital media assessment to several events, including HASTAC's Peer-to-Peer Pedagogy workshop held at Duke University in 2010, as well as the 2011 Digital Media Conference -- I was glad to see that Jennifer Jesu-Anter captured the highly innovative nature of David's work (and mind) in her Stealth Assessment blog post from the conference.

To follow the simSchool project's progress, visit their blog at

For information on joining the Gaming and Social Networks as Next Generation Learning Experiences, see instructions below:
Topic: Gaming and Social Networks as Next Generation Learning Experiences
Speakers: David Gibson, SimSchool; Chris Sprague, OpenStudy; and David Gibson, Carnegie Learning
Date: Thursday, July 28, 2011
Time: 1:00 p.m. ET (12:00 p.m. CT, 11:00 a.m. MT, 10:00 a.m. PT)

With the rise of multi-player games and social networks in our popular culture, faculty and instructional designers are increasingly turning to these highly interactive and immersive environments to promote learning in new ways. As the debate continues around their potential for deeper learning and engagement, tune in on July 28 to hear how three recent grantees from are leveraging these environments to promote content mastery, collaboration, and critical thinking. In this one-hour webinar, representatives from Carnegie Learning, and simSchool – three pioneers in the field – will share more about their plans for scale and assessment and invite your questions and feedback for their projects as they move forward.

The web seminar is free and open to all, but virtual seats are limited. Attendance is first come, first served. The session will be recorded and archived for later viewing.

Friday, January 7, 2011

DML Winners: Where Are They Now?

It is not hyperbolic to say that 2010 was a phenomenal year for the DML Competition. We partnered with the White House's National Lab Network initiative, sent 13-year-old Game Changer winner Jack Hanson to meet President Obama at the White House Science Fair, and were honored to have the nation's first Chief Technology Officer, Aneesh Chopra, congratulate Game Changer winners at the Games for Change Festival in New York, and the Learning Lab winners at a separate event in Washington, DC.

Digital media and learning events involving the highest offices in the nation? There is most certainly a sea change in how we define 21st century learning. And no small amount of effort went into making that transformation happen. The contributions of the DML Competition winners alone have been impressive, whether their impact is measured by research, awards, policy, partnerships, conferences, innovation, and most importantly, student participation.

In the upcoming weeks and months, we will feature DML Competition projects from the past 3 years and share their work here and on (click here for daily updates on our Countdown to the 2010 DML Competition Showcase series). For now, celebrate the beginning of a new year for Digital Media and Learning with a few highlights from our 2008-2010 DML Competition winners:

  • History Game Canada distributed 100,000 free copies of Chapter One of their game to Canadian students, ages 12 to 18 years old, which has been referred to as one of the worlds largest experiments in participatory learning of national history.
  • DevInfo Gameworks and M-Ubuntu (two projects from 2009) collaborated on an international project in South Africa with 6th grade students, using mobile phones, laptops, and other technology to create student-designed digital games.
  • Mobiles Voices won a NetSquared N2Y4 Mobile Challenge and a UN-sponsored World Summit Award, and has been featured by NPR, PBS, and the Los Angeles Times.
  • Women Aloud (WAVE) founder Sapna Shahani has been selected for World Pulse's Voices of the Future Web 2.0 training program, and was also nominated for a Manthan award in e-learning.
  • Playpowers Derek Lomas was a PopTech Social Innovation Fellow in 2009, and Playpowers work was featured in the UKs Guardian, Wired Magazine, and on the World Banks blog.
  • In 2009 alone, MILLEE received press in more than 20 publications, and received funding to expand their work to China by Carnegie Mellon University and Nokia.
  • More than 600 students have gathered 10,000 bird sightings using WildLabs app for the iPhone, and they were encouraged to apply for a US Department of Education Small Business Innovation Research Grant. Going to SXSW this year? Look for WildLab -- they have been selected to present on a panel!
  • CellCraft experienced early success, and the game has reportedly been played more than 2 millions times (as of 12/2010). It was played more than one million times within 10 days of its release, and was ranked in the top 100 best games of all time out of more than 30,000 games on the free gaming site Researchers working on the project found that those who played an early version of CellCraft for 30 minutes showed statistically significant improvement on a cellular biology quiz.
  • Jonah Models Origami project was well received and subsequently tested by The Wolfsonian (who received MacArthur Foundation and IMLS funding for the Webwise Conference).
  • CivicsLab won a Pubic Allies Changemaker Award, and has received press from Forbes, NPR, and a variety of Pittsburgh newspapers.
  • Black Cloud, now Aclima Participatory Learning Lab, acquired an exclusive license with Aclima, Inc. to globally distribute their pufftrons, and was a semi-finalist in the Buckminster Fuller Challenge.
  • HASTAC nominated Antero Garcia of Black Cloud (2008) for a Teaching Ambassador Fellowship, and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced the appointment of Antero as one of 15 Classroom Fellows selected from 500 applicants. Congratulations Antero!
  • Critical Commons was featured on BoingBoing, and won a USC Teaching with Technology Award to develop Mobile Commons, which will allow users to access Critical Commons from mobile platforms.
  • Hypercities won a Google Digital Humanities Research in 2010, and Public Matters, a collaborator on the project, was recently awarded a 5-year grant from the National Institute of Health with UCLA and Keck Medical School at USC.
  • Game Changer Josh Hughes of Team Kaizen was encouraged to apply for a US Department of Education Small Business Innovation Research grant.
  • Fab@School won a Motorola Foundation Innovation Generation Award and was featured on NPR and NBC, while also receiving great feedback about their digital fabrication and learning initiatives from Karen Cator, Director of Office for Education and Technology with the US Department of Education.
  • Mobile Action Lab will be developing youth-created apps based on a two-part investigative report with NPRs All Things Considered, a story that was subsequently picked up by the Huffington Post, Gawker, Jezebel, and BoingBoing. UPDATE: Mobile Action Lab gives us a glimpse into Brains and Beakers, a recent Lab event, as they prepare to launch their new website and get ready to go on Twitter.

Countdown to the 2010 DML Competition Showcase features Where Are They Now? updates on the 2008, 2009, and 2010 winners. The 2010 DML Competition winners will showcase their projects at the Designing Learning Futures DML Conference on March 4, 2011 in Long Beach, California.