Professor Katie Salen is Chair of the Digital Media & Learning Conference 2011. Her work at the innovative Quest to Learn school in New York City has been featured most recently in The New York Times Magazine.
As temperatures begin slowly to abate from the rather uncomfortable heights of a long Brooklyn summer I find I am already anticipating an escape from winter. An escape that will be made possible by the second annual Digital Media and Learning conference, to be held in sunny Long Beach, Mar. 3-5, 2011. It may seem strange to speak of the significance of the conference in this way, tied, as it were, to a seasonal escape from the cold. But the conflicting nature of arriving in Los Angeles in March with a useless parka in tow does offer a most welcome change in perspective. This year’s conference, Designing Learning Futures, is in some ways well suited to themes of conflict, change, dislocation, and shifting perspectives, whether engendered by travel via plane or digital networks. The changes brought about by the accessibility of digital and networked tools for young people have been the cause of both concern and celebration, and have undoubtedly demanded a transformation in how we think about, and design for learning.