Here's a neat little clip of Connie Yowell of the MacArthur Foundation welcoming the 2008 and 2009 winners of the HASTAC Digital Media and Learning competition, including myself and Amira from Global Kids. Connie always does such a great job synthesizing the broader historic trends, the cumulative impact of the various digital learning projects supported by MacArthur, and where we might be going in the coming years. This is from the DML Showcase in Chicago on Friday, April 17 that I was honored to be at along with my colleague Amira.
First off, congrats to all the winners of the 2009 Digital Media and Learning Competition, who are all gearing up to do really innovative and empowering digital learning projects around the world! I'm blown away by the diversity of work — from a project to empower civic engagement in Boston's Chinatown to an OLPC laptop-powered education project in rural Chiapas, Mexico, videoblogging in Mumbia, and 14 other amazing digital initiatives.
The 2009 DML Showcase was a very different event than last year's gathering of the 2008 winners that I attended. Of course there were a lot more of us, with representatives of the 19 winners from this year, joining the 17 from last. It was very intense and invigorating being among 50-some folks all doing something ridiculously cool and cutting edge in our field. I enjoyed meeting the new cohort of grantees, as well as reconnecting with friends and colleagues from the Field Museum, Akili Lee of Digital Youth Network, Miquela Craytor of Sustainable South Bronx, Suzanne Seggerman of Games for Change, and many other cool folks I can't remember now.
Last year's showcase had a more informal, social mixer kind of vibe. This year was a much more produced event, opening with a public performance by PLORK: the Princeton Laptop Orchestra, a dialogue on participatory learning between online community guru Howard Rheingold and cultural anthropologist Mimi Ito, short presentations and videos by various projects, and an exhibit area to showcase our work to each other.
Amira and I were very busy during the event prepping for our presentation about our HASTAC-funded project RezEd.org that I think went very well. True to Global Kids, we weren't content to just do a simple talk — we included a YouTube video, a machinima tour of the MacArthur Foundation's sim in Second Life, audio of an incarcerated teen reading a poem, and a live Second Life talk with Barry Joseph in avatar form. Then we rushed off to staff our booth for a few hours, giving the elevator pitch about Global Kids and RezEd while giving live tours of the MacArthur Foundation sim in SL. Good times, good times.
As you can imagine, Amira and I were totally exhausted and our brains were very full returning home to New York late last night. (And I still had a couple hours of breakdance practice to look forward to that night, but that's another blog post.)