Welcome to the University of California’s New Digital Media and Learning Research Hub and Website

Today, at the forum on Breakthrough Learning in a Digital Age, being hosted by the Sesame Workshop at Google headquarters, we are announcing the launch of a major new research initiative in digital media and learning (DML) and its associated website. Based at the University of California Humanities Research Institute in Irvine, California, the Digital Media and Learning Research Hub is generously supported by the MacArthur Foundation’s Digital Media and Learning Initiative. The Research Hub, for which I serve as Executive Director and Mimi Ito the Research Director, intersects work promoting and networking collaborative efforts to understand and assess the participatory ways in which digital media are transforming youth learning practices and lifelong learning opportunities.

DMLcentral.net is the public website of the Digital Media and Learning Research Hub. The site, developed by the Research Hub team in collaboration with the wonderfully accommodating Drupal developers at Chapter Three, establishes a forum for spreading knowledge, insights, data, practices, thought leadership, research results, ongoing projects and dialogue in and across the field. We are committed to promoting compelling research collaborations about best participatory learning practices, interventions, applications, programs and their assessments that engage digital media.

Participatory learning is often (though not necessarily) facilitated through digital media because they significantly lower the barriers to production and distribution, invite social engagement and interaction, promote the possibility of contribution, and challenge traditional notions of authority and expertise.

In stressing participatory learning we are committed to comprehending learning connected to learners’ interests and passions. We find the inherently social nature of such learning efforts motivating as a result of the interacting, sharing, and feedback they typically involve. Digital media have proliferated the networking and collaborative possibilities for participatory learning. The Digital Media and Learning Research Hub and DMLcentral.net focus on the the myriad ways in which digital media do and can contribute to effective and expansive participatory learning, on how we can replicate successes and what can be learned from the failures.

We welcome you enthusiastically to DMLcentral.net not simply as passive consumers of the considerable range of content you will find here about digital media and learning. We encourage you equally to join the intellectual-practitioner community as (prospective) contributors to the conversation about this quickly expanding and transforming field. You can do so immediately by adding your voice to commentary on ongoing contributions to the site in thoughtful and creative ways. We are looking to you also to provide feedback, submissions to the bibliography section, and suggestions for additional content to be included as well as issues to be covered on the site.

We very much hope you will join us in this exciting venture to build and advance the field of digital media and learning (DML).

David Theo Goldberg
Executive Director
Digital Media and Learning Research Hub
University of California Humanities Research Institute