Constance M. Yowell

Constance M. Yowell headshot

Connie is the Director of Education at the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. She oversees a $50 million program on Digital Media and Learning, one of the first philanthropic efforts in the US to systematically explore the effects of digital media on young people and its implications for the future of learning and education.

Prior to joining the Foundation, Dr. Yowell conducted extensive research on the connections among educational research, policy and practice.  She was an Associate Professor at the University of Illinois, where she published scholarly work on the complex interplay among young people’s emerging identity, their social context and achievement.  Her research integrated the fields of adolescent psychological development and organization change to address the problem of high school dropout among immigrant students in the United States.

Equally committed to developing educational and social policies for young people, Dr. Yowell has worked worked closely with teachers and administrators in the Chicago Public Schools to develop and implement literacy curricula for Latino youth.  She also served as evaluator and program coordinator for youth development programs in New York City.

Most recently, Dr. Yowell received the Distinguished Fellows Award from the William T. Grant Foundation, an award to support scholars seeking to bridge research and practice, under which she is working with the National Writing Project to develop approaches that integrate web 2.0 technologies into the social practices of teachers.


Blogs (3)


Revolution: Thank You, Brother Mike

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

brother mike holding black power fist in the air It was more than 10 years ago that I first met Brother Mike, before the launch of our Digital Media and Learning initiative and before the birth of the Digital Youth Network program. The work was in its infancy. We were just developing the initiative and had given out three grants. One to Henry Jenkins, to explore and conceptualize new media literacy. One to Mimi Ito and the late Peter Lyman, to launch the largest ethnographic study of how young people participate with digital media. And, the third to Nichole Pinkard to begin an after-school program on the


Connected Learning: Designed to Mine the New Social, Digital Domain

Thursday, March 01, 2012

3 youth filmmakers working together filming with video camera Focus on education has perhaps never been greater. As we seek to understand the impact of the internet and this age of connection, it has focused attention on a topic of extraordinary importance: the need to reimagine the experience of learning. Beginning in 2006, the MacArthur Foundation began investigating, along with a diverse community of researchers and scholars, how are youth being impacted by the forces of the digital age, especially in regards to their learning? What were the implications to schooling and to educational institutions? Initially, we were agnostic about the role of technology. But


Reimagining Learning

Monday, March 08, 2010

students sitting at desks working on computers Teaching and education in America has been a very hot subject in the news. In recent days, there have been lengthy pieces on “building a better teacher,”  the ripple effects of a Rhode Island school board’s decision to fire the entire faculty of a poorly performing school and President Obama’s remarks, and the results of a large survey of teachers. So, I wanted to bring attention to a new effort coming out of the office of our friend, Jim Shelton, at the U.S. Department of Education. It’s a new web 2.0 site on Ed.gov called The