Blog Post

Digital Media and Learning Competition- Where are they now? 2013 Update

2010 Cycle

Gemma McLean of A Day in the Life of a Computer, 2010 Digital Media and Learning Competition winner, won the 2012 Vodafone Foundation Smart Accessibility Award in the Social Participation Category for a new app called, Starting Blocks.  The app was created to help new technology users familiarize themselves with using touchscreen devices. (A video about the app is available at the above link.)

2010 Digital Media and Learning Competition winners, Jennifer Biedler and Michael A. Evans published an article about their DML project, Mission: Evolution in the International Journal of Media and Learning in late 2011 called, Playing, Designing, and Developing Video Games for Informal Science Learning: Mission: Evolution as a Working Example.

On January 13, 2012, Click! The Online Spy School, 2010 Digital Media and Learning Competition winner, hosted an interactive workshop at the New York Hall of Science as part of their Design Make Play Conference called, Click! Agent Training @NYSCI. “Click! Spy School Workshop is a program of Girls, Math & Science Partnership (GMSP). Click! engages girls, ages 10 -14, to solve mysteries and complete covert missions using important science concepts, tactile-based inquiry and problem solving skills as agents-in-training.” In mid 2012, Click! was featured in a blog post on Spark: The Kids + Creativity Network titled, International Spy School based in Pittsburgh gives middle school girls a head start in STEM.

Joshua Drew of Conservation Connection, 2010 Digital Media and Learning Competition winner, now a faculty member in the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology at Columbia University where he also runs the MA in Conservation Biology program, released his animated TED-Ed video, Conserving our spectacular, vulnerable coral reefs in January 2013. TED-Ed is a video library of educational lessons that build’s off “TED’s mission of spreading great ideas.” Joshua Drew created a lesson around his video, which includes a link for more information on conserving coral reefs and a quiz with multiple-choice questions and open-ended critical thinking questions. You can follow Joshua Drew’s new projects on twitter: @Drew_Lab.

Sugata Mitra of Hole in the Wall, 2010 Digital Media and Learning Competition winner, gave a TED talk in July 2010 titled, The Child-driven Education. Hole in the Wall continued their great work of “bridging the digital divide by reaching previously underserved children in the developing world-urban slums and remote-rural populations, ethnic minorities, juvenile home detainees, and children with special needs” last year in Bhutan and in Kerala.

Mitch Resnick of Scratch & Share, 2010 Digital Media and Learning Competition winner, presented a talk, Learning from Scratch (video link), at the 2012 Learning Without Frontiers conference in London. “Learning Without Frontiers is a global platform for disruptive thinkers and practitioners from the education, digital media, technology and entertainment sectors who come together to explore how new disruptive technologies can drive radical efficiencies and improvements in learning whilst providing equality of access.”

Joshua Hughes of Team KAIZEN and Discovery Pier, 2010 Digital Media and Learning Competition Winner, posted an article on his personal story as an entrepreneur on Think Entrepreneurship. His work on a partnership between his videogame company, Add-A-Tudez and Sunnyside Elementary School in Great Falls was featured on KRTV (video link) of Great Falls, Montana. This project’s focus is on improving STEM education.

Leshell Hatley of Youth APPLab, 2010 Digital Media and Learning Competition Winner, won a Google RISE (Roots In Science and Engineering) award in 2011 for her work on Uplift, Inc. “Uplift, Inc. guides K-12 students through innovative educational experiences in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM), teaching them to solve everyday problems as they advance toward making real world impact.”  She also published the article, Youth APPLab: The Wonder of App Inventor and Young App Developers, about best practices for success on ETC- an “academic, open source, multimedia, publishing imprint affiliated with the Entertainment Technology Center (ETC) at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) and in partnership with” Leshell Hatley is also featured on the Fall 2011 cover of Howard Magazine and in that issue’s article, Breaking Through the Stem Ceiling.

Building on the establishment of its Mobile Action Lab in 2010, this year Lissa Soep and Youth Radio launched a new initiative, the Innovation Lab, which leverages the organization’s top-flight journalism and its track record as one of the first programs worldwide to teach teens mobile app development. In partnership with in-house mentors and colleagues at MIT Media Lab’s Center for Mobile Learning, young people will integrate storytelling and programming to design dynamic new media tools and platforms. Already, participants are producing multi-media stories related to science, technology, engineering, and math (with a special focus on environmental themes); developing apps linked to these stories; and creating curriculum resources for anyone to use, distributed via PBSLearningMedia and other outlets. To date, young people have worked and learned with professional designers, developers, and reporters from Stanford University, Mozilla, Smule, Apple, Google, MIT,, UC Berkeley, StarMakerStudios, The Atlantic, Roominate, and many other hotbeds for digital ingenuity and imagination. Innovation Lab = Data-Driven Journalism x Youth-Made Apps! In other exciting news, Youth Radio won a second Peabody Award in 2011 and a White House Award from the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities in 2012.

2009 Cycle

Bruce Caron and Ronald E. Rice of DigitalOcean: Sampling the Sea, 2009 Digital Media and Learning Competition Winners, along with Julie A. Robinson published an article in 2011 on their project called, Sampling the Sea: Using Social Media for an Online Ocean Sustainability Curriculum in the book Social media tools and platforms in learning environments: present and future.

Congratulations to Thomas Axworthy of The History Game Canada, 2009 Digital Media and Learning Competition Winner, for being awarded the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal for his contributions to Canadian public policy!

Esther Wojcicki of Student Journalism 2.0, 2009 Digital Media and Learning Competition Winner, is now the Senior Vice President of Education and Outreach for ClassBadges: Empowering Teachers. Motivating Students. “ClassBadges is a free, online tool where teachers can award badges for student accomplishments. Through your teacher account, you can award badges customized for your classroom or school.”

Alan Gershenfeld of Talkers and Doers, 2009 Digital Media and Learning Competition Winner, published the article, Can video games unite generations in learning?, on Slate with Michael Levine.

Jennifer Kidd of WiTTIE, 2009 Digital Media and Learning Competition Winner, published an article, WiTTIE (Wiki Templates Transforming Instructional Environments), in the Proceedings of Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference 2010. She was also one of three recipients of the Teaching with Technology Award for 2012 at Old Dominion University.

Moushumi Basu's video 'Toxic Neglect' created for Women Aloud Videoblogging for Empowerment (WAVE), 2009 Digital Media and Learning Competition Winner, was selected to screen at the 2nd International Uranium Film Festival in Rio de Janeiro on June 28 - July 14, 2012. Get more information about the video here.

DevInfo, 2009 Digital Media and Learning Competition winner, has written about their most recent experiences in Ghana and United States: Using DevInfo in the Classroom and Pakistan: Using di Profiles to help eradicate polio. You can find out more about their current initiatives in the YouTube video, DevInfo Research and Innovations Programme Activities by Chris Dickey, Dr.P.H. M.B.A. that was presented at the 10th Annual Conference of the Community Systems Foundation.

2008 cycle

Greg Niemeyer of Black Cloud, 2008 Digital Media and Learning Competition Winner, gave the talk, Making the City More Resilient with ICT (Information and Communication Technologies) at the California France Forum on Energy Efficiency Technologies conference “Smart City: What is the Added Value?” in Berkeley on November 5-6, 2012. Earlier in the year, he also spoke at the Goethe Institut in Washington, D.C. on Thinking in Digital Terms.

Dr. Matthew Kam of MILLEE, 2008 Digital Media and Learning Competition Winner, spoke at the 2012 World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE), gave the Conference Keynote at DIGITEL 2012 in Japan, and a paper presentation at the ACM CHI 2012 conference in Austin, TX.  Kam’s MILLEE project was featured in the article, Technology for the greater good: Recognising organisations that create and use IT to promote and advance public welfare published on Computerworld in June of 2012 and in the The State of Public Education in Afghanistan (PDF file). And congratulations are in order for MILLEE for being named a 2012 Laureate in the Computerworld Honors Program. “The annual award program honors visionary applications of information technology promoting positive social, economic and educational change.”

2008 Digital Media and Learning Competition Winner, Mobile Musical Network’s creation the Princeton Laptop Orchestra (PLOrk), performed a concert at Princeton in Spring 2012. See a video of the performance here.

Howard Rheingold of Social Media Virtual Classroom, 2008 Digital Media and Learning Competition Winner, is a regular contributed to DML Central. Check out all of his posts here. In 2012, he conducted some great interviews, including one about assessment and one with Jonathan Shaw about Coventry MOOCs.

Edwin Bender of Follow the Money, 2008 Digital Media and Learning Competition Winner, was featured in the article, Where to Turn When Tackling Money-in-Politics Stories published by the Columbia Journalism Review and in the article, FOLLOW THE MONEY: Who Calls Shots in Michigan Politics? At What Costs.  Follow the Money’s current project is examining the State of Tobacco Control.

In 2011, Mobile Movement, 2008 Digital Media and Learning Competition Winner, won an Honorary Webby in the Youth Category. “The Webby Awards recognize innovation, good design and communication.” Mobile Movement is currently involved in 56 active projects and they have created a badging system for their Mobile Movement University. Check out their news page to learn more about their current initiatives.

Sustainable South Bronx Fab Lab, 2008 Digital Media and Learning Competition winner, has received a lot of press for their advocacy work in New York.  Sustainable South Bronx’s efforts were featured in a New York Times article, River of Hope in the Bronx, and in the Daily News article, South Bronx real estate developer turning notorious illegal garbage dump into fresh food hub. And, they literally made the South Bronx a greener place by giving away 200 free trees at an event in 2012! You can learn even more about their continued work here.

Barry Joseph of RezEd, 2008 Digital Media and Learning Competition winner, was the Director of the Online Leadership Program of Global Kids, Inc., which was named one of the top 50 non-profits to work at in 2012 and in the fall of 2012, he became the Associate Director for Digital Learning at the American Museum of Natural History. Earlier in 2012, Barry Joseph presented workshops on gaming to Jewish Day Schools in New York. Congratulations on your new position Barry!

The staff of Hypercities, 2008 Digital Media and Learning Competition winner, presented several workshops on their project, including ones at Stanford and USC, plus they put on an NEH Summer institute at UCLA. Several major collaborative publications were realized using HyperCities, including:   

  • HyperCities Los Angeles”, funded by the Haynes Foundation, with PI Phil Ethington, Jan Reiff (co-PI), and Presner (co-PI) — brings quantitative GIS and census data together with qualitative story-telling, oral histories, and neighborhood memories, focusing on LA’s Historic Filipinotown.  Realized in collaboration with Public Matters and the Pilipino Workers’ Association.
  • Visualizing Statues in the Antique Roman Forum”, funded by the NEH, with Diane Favro, Chris, Johanson, and Gregor Kalas (PIs).
  • “HyperCities Now” (mapping social media from Egypt, Libya, and Sendai, Japan) with co-PIs David Shepard, Yoh Kawano, and Todd Presner.
  • Holocaust Survivor Stories: Survivor stories told by undergraduate students in Todd Presner’s German 118 Service Learning course, in collaboration with the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust.

Keep up the good work!

The following Digital Media and Learning Competition winners from 2008 and 2009 are continuing to do innovative work on their winning projects. Check out what they’ve been up to!

  • The Wild Lab, 2009 Digital Media and Learning Competition winner, mobile app continues to be used every day! Check out their website to see the citizen science content roll in. The Wild Lab is currently being used in 11 schools and 4 organizations in partnership with The Cornell Lab of Ornithology. You can grab their WildLab Bird app (with a four star rating!) for free on iTunes.
  • Learn how you can get involved in Voces Moviles/Mobile Voices’s, 2009 Digital Media and Learning Competition winner, current projects here.
  • Self Advocacy Online, 2008 Digital Media and Learning Competition winner, is keeping up the good work, by teaming up with The Arc and by providing more accessible content for learners with intellectual and developmental disabilities at, which Jerry Smith blogged about on HASTAC.
  • Check out 2008 Digital Media and Learning Competition winner, Critical Commons’ relaunch of their project with all new code, servers and added functionality at
  • YouthActionNet Marketplace, 2008 Digital Media and Learning Competition winner, selects a group of 20 young social entrepreneurs to participate in a Laureate Fellowship each year. Take a look at the fantastic group of 2012 Laureate Global Fellows (PDF file). “Through the Fellowship, they receive: training and peer-to-peer learning opportunities at a week-long workshop; recognition for their efforts at an annual awards ceremony; and a robust package of yearlong support, including virtual learning, personalized coaching, and access to global advocacy and funding opportunities.”














Hey everyone! Josh from Team KAIZEN (creators of Discovery Pier, here!! We're doing well too---just wanted to add that we're starting our 3rd year of teaching kids game design in schools through LittleBigPlanet 2 (a program that was sparked by our DMLC win)!


Also, when we make normal video games, our interaction with HASTAC got us thinking about how normal games can interact with STEM. This led us to make a rhythm game about fireworks called Burst!. Burst! has players blowing up fireworks to the beat and unlocking elements off the Periodic Table to increase their color palate (these are the same elements that give their corresponding colors to real life fireworks). We made a Flash 2D prototype in 2011 to test the gameplay and are using the feedback to make a full 3D version!


You can see our crowd funding campaign at -please check it out and spread the word! We want Burst! to highlight garage musicians, show some love to the bridge we have in game (it's a recreation of a real-world bridge undergoing restoration and show that STEM can be integrated into games in engaging ways that people will want to play of their own volition!


Youth APPLab has grown and continues to teach students the basics of programming and algorithmic thinking via app, website, and game development.  Just this summer, Youth APPLab teens published 4 apps (3 currently on Google Play and 1 on the way).  

Projects such as Water Drops is a website, app, and game sharing the benefits of drinking water and helps you track  the number of cups of water you drink - both daily and total since using the app!  More information about this project can be found at

BabySitting 101 shares tips, safety, and other forms of responsibility with those interested in becoming the best babysitter possible.  Check it out, download, and learn all those things you thought you already knew about babysitting.  A must have app!

Our Voice Chavez is a Suggestion Box app designed for students of the Cesar Chavez Public Charter School of Public Policy in Washington, DC.  The app helps students (anonymously, if desired) give suggestions to administrators and teachers.  The school's PTA attempted to create a physical Suggestion Box, but likes this app much better!  Check it out - you can use this app to send anyone a suggestion - just enter their email address, your issue, and your suggested solutions.  It certainly gives all Cesar Chavez students a voice.

WordSearch is exactly that - a word searching app.  Take this puzzle with you for entertainment, check off the words you find and move to the next level.  This app will actually be published this week on Google Play, so stay tuned.

All apps, the website, and the game were created by teen participants of Youth APPLab during the Summer of 2013. 

They did a fabulous job!  We think you'll agree.

More info at


Thanks for your continued support!