Blog Post

DML Launch Kicks Off

The hotel exudes tradition, beginning with the stone steps that have been weathered over the years into grooves, and offer an enchanting entrance. Once inside, you find the luxurious lobby adorned with an elaborately painted vaulted ceiling.

Head one more floor up to the Crystal Room and the buzz of excitement is thick enough to cut with a knife. From the MacArthur staff busily putting the final touches on the showcase to the arrival of many people that, until now, have only had the privilege of chatting with through email. Now matter how much technology and how good the video quality is, it is always reassuring to put a face with a name and shake the persons hand.

The presentation space looks wonderful and cozy, the projector appears to be displaying, and the seating chart being finalized. Personally, I?m excited to meet people who are using technology for learning and education, and learning techniques and tricks from those who hold vast amounts of experience.

During the welcoming lunch for the DML competition, we heard from many people involved in with HASTAC and the MacArthur Foundation including, Craig Wacker, a program office at the MacArthur Foundation, and Cathy Davidson and the David Theo Goldstein, co-founders of HASTAC. The food as exceptional. 

The keynote was giving by Jonathan Fanton, the president of the MacArthur Foundation, in which he made clear the importance of common valuese. ?I?m also struck how your values and aims closely align with the aims and values of the MacArthur Foundation.? Fanton went on to detail the alignment of peace and justice, good and accessible public information, environment, women?s issues and the protection of rights as key aspects of the Foundation?s goals.

In reiterataing his support for the DML competition and the HASTAC network, Fanton suggested that the foundation?s goals are to transform education and that digital pedagogy was a way to do that. He said that the aims were to be a force from the outside and impact learning.

The theme of participatory learning came up time and time again. A question and answer section with Jonathan Fanton led to an important conversation. Connie Yowell helped answer the questions about what skills students need and how to measure creativity, navigating transmedia transformation, and the judgment and the decisions they make with the amounts of education. ?Are we assessing the right skills? Are we placing students in the right environments to build the skills they need for the 21st century? These are the questions we are hoping to engage in the future.?

A quick word about our generous hosts, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation: without any hesitation, their generosity and support for digital learning initiatives and support of HASTAC has enabled scholars, geeks, and students, examine technology and engage in a discussion that will benefit generations to come. Without their support, this conversation would not have been possible. They have single handily sponsored the building of the field of Digital Media and learning. For more information on their efforts, go here.

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1 comment

Thanks for your blog entry, Ramsey! I will be adding my own voice to the blogosphere about this get-together soon enough, but this is a perfect introduction to our two days of events.

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