Digital Media and Learning Conference 2011: Designing Learning Futures
The Digital Media and Learning Conference is an annual event supported by the MacArthur Foundation and organized by the Digital Media and Learning Research Hub at University of California, Irvine. The conference is meant to be an inclusive, international and annual gathering of scholars and practitioners in the field, focused on fostering interdisciplinary and participatory dialog and linking theory, empirical study, policy, and practice.
The second conference will be held between March 3-5, 2011 at the Hilton Long Beach Conference and Meeting Center in Long Beach, California. The theme will be "Designing Learning Futures." The Conference Chair will be Katie Salen. The conference committee includes Kimberly Austin, danah boyd, Sheryl Grant, Mark Surman, Trebor Scholz and S. Craig Watkins. Keynote presentations will be given by Alice Taylor and Muki Hansteen-Izora. We are also planning a book exhibit and technology demos.
To stay up-to-date on the conference, please check back on this site, follow #DML2011 on twitter and/or join the Digital Media and Learning mailing list here.
"Designing Learning Futures"
In the twenty-first century a profound shift is underway. Digital media are central in almost every aspect of daily life, most notably in how we learn, communicate, reflect, (co-) produce, consume, create identities, share knowledge, and understand political issues. Corresponding with this increasing accessibility of digital and networked tools, we see new forms of public and private collectives which serve as seedbeds for user-driven innovation, the prevalence of many-to-many distribution models and the large-scale online aggregation of information and culture. This increased access to information, knowledge, and platforms has prompted new learning ecologies that possess the potential to support the kinds of situated, learner-driven, socially inflected, participatory learning opportunities we know are possible today.
Alongside transforming how we create, access, and use knowledge, these changes raise a series of socio-technical concerns regarding the tools, technologies, and policies that underpin digital media practices and their related learning opportunities. These issues operate on both macro and micro levels. They range from processes and protocols shaping the flow and tracking of data in social network sites like Facebook or MySpace to reward and reputation systems in multiplayer online games, collaborative DIY communities like Instructable.com or deviantART, as well as to emergent problematic practices like sexting and cyberbullying. These are, in short, concerns that give shape to both formal and informal learning ecologies and learning experiences. Developing an understanding of the impact of digital media experiences on learning, civic engagement, and professional and ethical development requires that we consider the implications of the design frameworks, institutional configurations, social practices, and research methodologies at play in our connected world.
As Bruno Latour notes, “New innovation will be absolutely necessary if we are to adequately represent the conflicting natures of all the things that are to be designed.” Understanding the role of innovation in light of past and present digital media practices is thus central to imagining and designing learning futures. To this end, the conference will focus upon themes of understanding the types of processes, methods, collaborations, and institutional models required for innovation. We are also concerned with gaining insight into the roles contradicting stakeholders (disciplines, institutions, economies, etc.) may play. This includes designers of social network sites, games, or mobile applications and learning environments such as afterschool programs, schools and other sites of learning. It also includes social scientists studying youth engagement in interest or friendship-driven communities, those involved in developing profiles of participants in intergenerational learning environments, practitioners looking to help integrate technology into learning environments, researchers studying the intersection of learning and socio-technical practices, and policy makers seeking to shape the future of connected learning, to name but a few possible participant profiles.
From these diverse perspectives, we seek to address the following questions:
1) What are the central concerns shaping learning within peer-based, participatory, open ecologies? What are the new collectives (including hybrid public institutional models) that are emerging in today's open learning ecologies? How is learning happening in user-innovation communities? How does remix, mentorship, sharing, and exchange occur? How do issues such as cyberbullying, problematic content, and privacy shape participation in these ecologies? How is diversity shaping learning constituencies? What forms of identities become possible? What are the relationships between different stakeholders, such as learner-centered partnerships and collaborations between teachers, administrators, students, institutions, policy makers, researchers, and designers? What are the design-driven pedagogies and learning models we should explore? What is the role of embedded assessment in understanding learning? How do we understand flow and engagement?
2) What is the knowledge base required of designers, researchers, and practitioners working on peer-based, participatory, open learning ecologies today? What is missing? What new forms of knowledge need to be developed? What existing frameworks need to be rethought?
3) What core socio-technical practices are shaping (or have the potential to shape) the future of learning? What practices may be impeding innovation or getting in the way of learning? How can and should knowledge about practices shape policy, design, and implementation of innovations?
We seek to support collective inquiry into the infrastructures and practices key to digital media and learning, whether research practices, learning protocols, assessment schemes, game design, or the creation of participatory undertakings. This conversation welcomes those engaged in developing a critical understanding of the design and broader socio-technical concerns shaping learning futures, as well as in other well articulated issues key to comprehending the impact and possibilities of digital media for learning. All participants are encouraged to reflect on the implications of their work for social practice—to consider the impact of their own practice or research findings on how things are currently done or could be done differently.
ABOUT THE WORKSHOP AND PANEL PROPOSALS
We welcome workshops and panels along four themes: Youth, Digital Media and Empowerment; Emerging Platforms and Policies; New Collectives and Digital Media and Participatory Learning. The themes have been conceptualized by key members of the conference committee. All proposed panels and workshops will be collectively evaluated by the conference committee.
Youth, Digital Media, and Empowerment
This strand focuses specifically on young people’s participation in the digital media world. Youth participatory practices are influenced by a variety of social and contextual factors including distinct youth-driven interests and learning ecologies, adult mentoring, institutional infrastructures, creative partnerships, and cultural diversity. We are especially interested in panels, papers, and workshops that explore how new media technologies are leveraged to promote youth health and well-being, youth media production, and dynamic expressions of civic engagement. Moreover, what kinds of institutional infrastructures lead to programs and interventions that empower young voices, fortify social and knowledge networks, and develop the digital media skills and competencies that invigorate young critical citizens? Also, how are creative partnerships, programmatic initiatives, and the widespread diffusion of social and mobile media platforms challenging the “participation gap?” How are socially stigmatized and marginal youth populations embracing social media to build networks for personal enrichment, communal empowerment, and social change? Finally, workshops and panels that discuss the art and science of interdisciplinary collaboration, design innovation, and programming offer the opportunity for vibrant discussion, planning and intervention.
Emerging Platforms and Policies
The rise of Web2.0 has introduced numerous platforms into everyday life, from social network sites like MySpace and Facebook to media-sharing services like YouTube and uStream to blogging and microblogging tools like Tumblr and Twitter. These platforms have been leveraged by people of all ages to build community, share ideas, collaborate, and hang out. While many of these platforms were designed to enable “user-generated content,” there are often conflicts between what designers intend and what participants actually do on each site. In short, these platforms were not designed for the kinds of learning that often transpires on these sites.
The goal of this track is to explore the tensions between the design of emerging platforms and the practices that unfold on them, with specific attention given to the policy challenges that emerge. How does the technology respond practice and how do users repurpose technology? Who gets to set the community norms and how are these norms negotiated? How are values— like privacy, safety, and transparency—embedded in the technology and how does this shape socio-technical practices? What happens when conflicts emerge between the users and the creators? How does the tension between technical design and personal practices configure these spaces?
The last 10 years have seen the rise of organizations and institutions that mash-up mission, market and mass participation. Organizations like Wikipedia, Mozilla and Creative Commons have shown that this hybrid model can shift whole industries—increasing how knowledge is shared and spread, promoting the wide adoption of web standards, making legally-backed knowledge sharing easy and widespread. Many have proclaimed that these new collectives can also transform education and learning for the better. The track will explore the ways that innovators in the learning world might tap into the power of these hybrid organizational models. We’ll ask questions like: What makes new collectives tick? Where are they getting traction in the world of learning? Where are they getting stuck? Can they challenge traditional approaches to accreditation, assessment and content creation in education? Or even shift the terrain of learning and education as a whole?
Digital Media and Learning
We welcome submissions that address ongoing or innovative directions in research and practice relating to digital media and learning.
Workshop and Panel Formats
This year we will be accepting proposals in three formats: panels, workshops and ignite talks. Panels bring together in discussion four participants representing a range of ideas and projects. Panels are scheduled for 90 minutes and should include a mix of individuals working in areas of research, theory, and practice. Workshops provide an opportunity for hands-on exploration and/or problem solving. They can be organized around a core challenge that participants come together to work on or around a tool, platform, or concept. Workshops are scheduled for 120 minutes and should be highly participatory. Finally, we welcome Ignite Talks. In an ignite talk the speaker gets 5 minutes to speak on a subject that might spark debate or conversation within the DML community. The format is specific: talks are given using 20 slides where each slide must automatically progress after 15 seconds.
The DML2011 Conference proposal system will open on Oct. 15, 2010 and full proposals will be due on Nov. 1, 2010. Panel Abstracts should cover the theme, format (e.g. discussion, interactive, presentations), how the session addresses the theme of the conference and/or subtheme in up to 400 words. List of participants, affiliations, emails and titles of talks/presentations (if applicable) should also be included.