Open Forum: Digital Media & Learning Competition -- Comments Welcome!

We are extremely proud of HASTAC's leadership role in the Digital Media and Learning Competition supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation's $50 million initiative on Digital Media and Learning. The initiative was launched last year ( and the Competition is designed to support new projects that might not come to the Foundation's attention through other channels. This is the MacArthur Foundation's first open-call competition in the U.S. and that, too, makes us proud, that they entrusted a virtual institution with this role. For more information about all of this, please go to the Competition website (, where you will also find a press release with all the details.

The Competition is for a total of $2 million in awards. Entries to the competition are due October 15, 2007. Awards will be made in two categories, Innovation Awards and Knowledge-Networking Awards. Innovation Awards ($100,000 and $250,000) will support learning pioneers, entrepreneurs, and builders of new digital learning environments for formal and informal learning. Knowledge-Networking Awards ($30,000-75,000) will support communicators in connecting, mobilizing, circulating or translating new ideas around digital media and learning. All details about the competition and application requirements can be found at

If you have questions about the Competition, please contact the Competition staff through the competition website ( If you'd like to discuss the Competition publicly with other HASTAC participants, feel free to do so in this Forum. In the meantime, David and I, as the co-PI's on this project and on behalf of our teams at UCHRI and at the John Hope Franklin Center at Duke University--Alison Dame-Boyle, Jason Doty, Erin Ennis, Mark Olson, Jonathan Tarr, and Brett Walters (at Duke) and Suzy Beemer and Khai Tang (at UCHRI), hope that you will spread the word about the Competition (we need all your Web 2.0 skills to get out the word)--and we hope that, if you have a great project, that you will apply.

For those who want more ideas about what constitutes "digital media and learning," you might want to visit the MacArthur Foundation's Spotlight Blog where various educators, innovators, entrepreneurs, and others discuss new forms of digital media and the many different ways to learn through, about, and with new media. Here's the url: Or feel free to browse this HASTAC website and read the various postings in the "Cat in the Stack" blog that focus on digital media and learning. Examples are the posting "'Digital Learning' versus IT" ( or "What Is Digital Learning?" ( Or you might listen to the podcast interview conducted by DK at MediaSnackers (a UK podcast site for media and youth),


We also invite you to use this Forum to express and exchange ideas about the Competition, thoughts
about future competitions, or to post any creative multimedia responses
you come up with. There's an avatar wandering around Second Life with a
sandwich board announcing the Competition. And two American artists (one visual, one sound) in
Tokyo have posted a very hot response to and advertisement for the Competition on YouTube
called "couture Guerilla":
We'd love to see more, hear more of your interpretations, ideas, and

--Cathy N. Davidson, co-founder, HASTAC

--David Theo Goldberg, co-founder, HASTAC


MacArthur Competition wrt New Digital Media and Learning

--This is a reblog from danah boyd's post on her fabulous Apophenia blog---I really like her take on what this competition is about!

Her url is and this posting is at:

The MacArthur Foundation (the folks who fund my advisors and thus support my research) have just announced an open competition to encourage innovation and knowledge-sharing surrounding new digital media and learning. There are two types of awards:

- Innovation Awards will support learning entrepreneurs and
builders of new digital environments for informal learning. Winners
will receive $250,000 or $100,000.

- Knowledge Networking Awards will support communicators in
connecting, mobilizing, circulating or translating new ideas around
digital media and learning. Winners will receive a $30,000 base award
and up to $75,000.

If this might be up your alley, check out their announcement and the competition homepage for more information.

Personally, I'm really interested in the knowledge networking
awards. This is explicitly to help get knowledge out far and wide, to
put theory into practice, and to make practice replicable. This is a
great opportunity for educators and journalists and others who want to
take what is known to the next level. Too many good ideas get locked
down in small experiments or academic articles that few will ever hear
of. The more effort there is to scale good ideas, the better we'll all
be! So start brewing some good ideas!


This is a reblog from Savage Minds: Notes and Queries in Anthropolgy

The url for this posting is

You can read more about Savage Minds at

Digital Media and Learning Competition

The "virtual institution" HASTAC (the Humanities, Arts, Science and Technology Advanced Collaboratory, centered at UC Irvine and Duke) has announced a competition
to win some of the Macarthur Foundation's money ($2million of it) for
projects in digital media and learning... It's pretty clear this is for
just about anyone, and probably just about any kind of project (though
the HASTAC site is bizarrely specific
in proposing that "For example, a team of teacher bloggers who already
reach hundreds of thousands of readers may now seek to provide
multimedia coverage and translation of MIT Professor Henry Jenkins'
recent white paper on media literacy." Should we be doing that? Do we
have to use Official Henry Jenkins White Papers?). In any case, surely
there must be some anthropods out there with good ideas for goinig
forth and learning the people with your digital media... now's your


Digital Media and Learning Competition-Call for entries: Application Deadline: October 15, 2007




Photos from The Resonance Project: Exploring what Here and Presence means using tele-immersive technology,


Applications must be complete by 8 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on October 15, 2007. (5:00 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time)


This article originally appeared on The National Science Digital Library website. The url for this posting is

Digital Media and Learning Competition

With the aim to "promote expansive models for research, teaching, and thinking," HASTAC (Humanities, Arts, Science and Technology Advanced Collaboratory) will administer a $2M New Digital Media and Learning Competition from the The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The funding is available to emerging leaders, communicators, and innovators shaping the field of digital media and learning across disciplines. The competition is part of MacArthur's $50 million Digital Media and Learning initiative.

In a recent Wall Street Journal article entitled Not By Geeks Alone Chester E. Finn and Diane Ravitch suggest, "Liberal arts make us 'competitive' in the ways that matter most. They make us wise, thoughtful and appropriately humble. They help our human potential to bloom. And they are the foundation for a democratic civic polity, where each of us bears equal rights and responsibilities." They argue that while the America Competes Act that recently passsed Congress focuses on boosting STEM education opportunites nationwide, it does not place enough emphasis on the interdisciplinary role of humanities education in developing a skill set that is the hallmark of American innovation defined by "Creativity, versatility, imagination, restlessness, energy, ambition, and problem-solving prowess."

Awards will be given in two categories: Innovation Awards that will support learning pioneers, entrepreneurs, and builders of new digital learning environments for formal and informal learning and Knowledge Networking Awards that will support communicators in connecting, mobilizing, circulating or translating new ideas around digital media and learning.

For more information about the application process visit the competition web site. Deadline for applications is October 15, 2007.

The National Science Digital Library (NSDL) was created by the National
Science Foundation
to provide organized access to high quality
resources and tools that support innovations in teaching and learning
at all levels of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics



Digital Media and Learning Competition applications must be complete by 8 pm EDT on Monday Oct. 15, 2007 (5 pm EDT)


Photograph taken at SPECFLIC 2.0, a Distributed Social Cinema project directed by Adriene Jenik and performed at the San Jose Public Library as part of ISEA06/ZeroOne San Jose.
Photographer, Chris O'Neal
Performer, Praba Pilar


HASTAC co-founder David Theo Goldberg talks about the Digital Media and Learning Competition in the Topics Education October eNewsletter.

The URL for this article is The Topics Education website is

Spotlight: Education in a New Virtual World

Forget everything you've heard about Second Life. Forget the stories about unicorn babies and vandalized presidential campaigns. Even forget the concept of people spending real money for virtual goods.

Now imagine a safe online world where kids dress up in their own Medieval costumes and live the life of a manor lord, clergyman, town blacksmith, or peasant. Students adopt the appropriate dialogue and language, role play their parts, and create their own products to sell at a marketplace. At the same time, they learn about history, art and culture, and even mathematics and economics. Teen Second Life, which is geared toward 13- to 17-year-olds, and other virtual environments offer these learning possibilities for both teachers and students.

Digital technology has become an integral part of young people's lives, both socially and in educational ways. Educators, businesses, and communities increasingly are investigating ways to leverage these multimedia tools for classroom and learning purposes.

Digital Immigrant, Meet Digital Native

To reach today's children, we must try to understand how they approach technology. Expert Marc Prensky calls today's children "digital natives" because they are native speakers of the digital language of computers, the Internet, and video games. This generation was raised on cell phones and text messaging, email and the Internet, and computer and video games. The rest of us are "digital immigrants" who have adapted to the new technologies but often retain an "accent" - such as printing out a document to edit it rather than editing on the computer.

Digital natives need more than computers and Web access to appeal to their tech prowess. They are accustomed to peer-to-peer interactions in social networking sites and networked video games. Connecting with and engaging this generation requires collaborative learning and interactive technologies.

Putting Technology to Use

Julie Franklin, an IT resource teacher in Virginia, says virtual worlds have "a lot of educational advantages." The Weather Channel, for example, has created an area within Second Life where students can experience a tsunami or ride a weather balloon and learn how it works. "You live what you're doing," she explains, adding that even young kids love the virtual environments and interaction that are part of these online worlds.

Franklin admits that there is a lot of adult content in Second Life. To avoid student exposure to these areas, school systems can buy Second Life space at a discount and close it off for their students, creating an environment that also meets state standards of learning.

Whyville is another virtual community that engages preteens and teens in games and roleplay in a variety of subjects, from geology to geography. "Whyville is an inquiry-based pedagogy that allows student-centered teaching where teachers are assistants and not directors of the learning," Whyville founder and CEO Jim Bower says.

The site's games are designed to provide learning experiences through game playing in a social setting. And it works, Bower says. "Students spend hours and hours on things like the WhyEat nutrition project - where the goal is to keep their avatar healthy through good eating habits. It's not because they have to, but because they want to. That's what learning is all about, and good teachers already know this."

Virtual Goes Corporate

The corporate world has taken notice of these new technologies, providing sponsored learning environments within the virtual communities. For example, Toyota has made a significant investment in promoting its Scion car brand, geared at younger drivers, in both Whyville and Second Life, and soon in the Gaia Online virtual world. The Ganz gift company has secured a virtual presence with its Webkinz toys, which include a code for an online virtual world where kids can play with a virtual version of their toy. The company says its site has more than one million registered users.

Beyond incorporating existing technologies, some groups are looking to new innovations in digital learning to shape the education field. The MacArthur Foundation is sponsoring a $2 million competition to find and encourage new ideas about learning in a digital world, with a focus on innovation and knowledge networking. The Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Advanced Collaboratory (HASTAC) is administering the competition. HASTAC co-founder David Theo Goldberg says the group is seeking new applications of existing technologies, such as how information from Wikipedia can be leveraged into teaching programs, perhaps by having students verify sources while gathering information.

We need to "listen to children and watch how they learn and what they learn from and how excited they get from these interactive practices," Goldberg says. Providing a learning environment that enables that interaction and encourages that self-motivating energy could help to transform the classroom. "Teachers become the shapers of information, not the givers of information," he says.

Collaborations and interactions among students and between students and teachers are the purpose of pursuing these technologies, which in turn make those goals achievable. Transformational technology may bring us one step closer to the basics of learning.

Marc Prensky, Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants, October 2001.
Interview, Julie Franklin. September 11, 2007.
Interview, Jim Bower. September 18, 2007.
"Learning Nutrition at Whyville's Virtual Cafeteria." School Nutrition Association, May 2006.
"Businesses experimenting with virtual worlds." Washington Post, June 2007.
Interview, David Theo Goldberg. September 18, 2007.
New $2 Million Competition to Challenge Innovations in Digital Learning, August 2007.