The MacArthur Foundation announced today at the Museum of Natural History their new initiative to provide $50 million to fund universities and non-profits for work on using technology for education. I’m at the press conference right now. Here’s the details on how to connect from the web and Second Life:
Thursday, October 19, 2006 ,10:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. EST
- Second Life Venue: NMC Campus
(NOTE: Please join "NMC Guests"
group for access to Amphitheater)
- Webcast Link: http://www.visualwebcaster.com/event.asp?id=35992
(beginning at 10:00 a.m. ET)
The full press release you can read after the jump….
Here’s the press release from MacArthur
MacArthur Investing $50 Million in Digital Learning
How is widespread use of digital media transforming our youth and how they learn?
October 19, 2006
New York, NY, October 19, 2006 – The John D. and Catherine T.
MacArthur Foundation today announced plans to build the emerging field
of digital media and learning, committing $50 million over five years
to the effort. The Foundation will fund research and innovative
projects focused on understanding the impact of the widespread use of
digital media on our youth and how they learn.
“This is the first generation to grow up digital – coming of age in
a world where computers, the internet, videogames, and cell phones are
common, and where expressing themselves through these tools is the
norm,” said MacArthur President Jonathan Fanton, who announced the new
initiative today. “Given how present these technologies are in their
lives, do young people act, think and learn differently today? And
what are the implications for education and for society? MacArthur
will encourage this discussion, fund research, support innovation, and
engage those who can make judgments about these difficult but critical
MacArthur’s approach is comprehensive, extending beyond the
classroom to assess how digital technology may transform youth in both
their formal and informal learning environments. The research will
test the theory that digital youth are different because they use
digital tools to assimilate knowledge, play, communicate, and create
social networks in new and different ways. The Foundation’s efforts
will connect players across a variety of academic, education,
commercial, and nonprofit fields to assess implications and seed new
Eighty-three percent of young people between the ages of 8 and 18
play video games regularly; nearly three-quarters use instant
messaging. On a typical day, more than half of U.S. teenagers use a
computer and more than 40 percent play a video game. Using websites
like MySpace and Facebook, young people are sharing photos, videos,
music, ideas, and opinions online, connecting with a large group of
peers in new and sometimes unexpected ways.
Fanton also announced –
• Beginning in 2007, MacArthur will dedicate $2 million annually for competitive research, writing and demonstration projects.
a new hub for information on digital media and learning, where people
can learn more about the field and this initiative, share opinions and
interact with guest bloggers.
• In 2007, MacArthur will publish six books, online and in print,
representing leading research and thinking on a range of digital media
and learning topics. Topics will include credibility, innovative uses
and unexpected outcomes, civic engagement, the ecology of games, race
and ethnicity, and identity and digital media. Online public
conversations, which have already begun, will help shape the content of
• The first in an occasional series of papers on digital learning
topics, authored by MIT Professor Henry Jenkins, describes a
participatory culture for young people and addresses the potential
benefits and educational implications.
MacArthur has already funded some exploratory grants in the field of digital media and learning:
• Researchers at the University of California-Berkeley and the
University of Southern California are engaged in a large-scale
ethnography of young people that will provide a broad portrait of the
digital generation: technology’s influence on their social networks and
peer groups, their family life, how they play, and how they look for
information. It will be one of the most significant attempts yet made
to explore the influence of digital media on youth.
• The Academic Advanced Distributed Learning Co-Laboratory at The
University of Wisconsin-Madison is developing "Game Designer," a
software application for young people. As students use it to create
games, they learn about ethical judgment, aesthetic design, systemic
thinking, and collaborative problem solving.
• Professor Jenkins is engaged in further research on media
literacy, exploring ways to teach it in the classroom and through
after-school activities. The aim of the MIT project is to help young
people learn how to filter, judge, synthesize, and use information
available on the Internet and from other sources. An additional grant
to Professor Howard Gardner at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education
supports research on young people’s ethical use of digital media.
• MacArthur is also funding efforts to engage young people directly
in this initiative. Global Kids, a nonprofit youth development
organization, has organized online discussions and run a written essay
competition for kids in which they describe their everyday use of
digital media. And the University of Chicago is working to expand
after-school media literacy programs in Chicago.
• The Illinois Institute of Technology is examining how digital
media and learning may change social institutions and developing new
designs for schools and libraries.
The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation is a private,
independent grantmaking institution dedicated to helping groups and
individuals foster lasting improvement in the human condition. With
assets of $5.5 billion, the Foundation makes grants totaling
approximately $200 million annually. For more information or to sign-up
for MacArthur’s electronic newsletter, visit www.digitallearning.macfound.org.
MacArthur Foundation Public Affairs