The Digital Media and Learning Initiative
The MacArthur Foundation Portfolio Conference: Digital Media and Learning
Photo: Courtesy of UCHRI/Jennifer Wilkens
Woodrow Wilson organized the annual MacArthur Foundation Portfolio Conference in Digital Media and Learning, held on February 19-20, 2009 at Calit2 at UC Irvine, where a number of the MacArthur Fellows are conducting research. The event was intended to promote communication among Fellows about their research. Close to forty separate projects were represented at the convening; guests from the international and national philanthropic community also participated. This convening was the first in a series to be hosted by Woodrow Wilson, part of a project on the implications of digital media for teaching and learning.
A Turning Point: Applying Knowledge
This event represented an important moment in the MacArthur Foundation’s five-year, $50 million grantmaking process. Research in this diverse field is finally taking shape as a set of understandings about how digital media has changed how young people live and how they learn, not only in classrooms, but in other learning institutions and in their daily lives. Many details remain to be worked out. But the most important question many Fellows are facing is that of the practical implications of their findings: How does the knowledge the group has gained affect what learning environments should look like, what schools should look like, and what institutions should look like? This is the next step for building the digital media and learning field.
Many Fellows are facing new challenges around implementing change, affecting curriculum, affecting policies that exclude digital media, and scaling up successful innovations. These questions will be central to discussions going forward. Indeed, the MacArthur grants and events such as this one seek to bring experts together to share challenges and solutions—opportunities that Woodrow Wilson and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching are supplying through a series of small convenings.