Meeting Summary: MacArthur Foundation forum on video games and learning

Yesterday I went to the MacArthur Foundation’s first regional
symposium on their Digital Learning initiative. It was the place to be and be seen…most of the “big” names in games and
learning were there and there was one local media outlet.  The opening montage was great (you should be
able to see it on the webcast.)

The head of the foundation, Jonathan Fanton, gave an
overview of the digital learning initiative which encompasses three goals. Here is how I interpret those goals:

  1. ethnographic
         (exploring what kids are doing) 
  2. Educational
         (how can kids get better at using digital media
  3. implications
         for institutions (what do schools need to do)

MacArthur is interested in gathering “Solid Research” in the

United States

and will eventually move international. Credibility
of information also seemed to be a common thread.

Then Connie Yowell, presented the panelists- Sasha Barab, Nichole
and David Williamson Shaffer .

One thing that frustrated me was the panelists continually
saying that “computers are important” and still “revolutionary.” These clichés seem
so overused and I wonder when we will move beyond that and get to the “meat” of
the research.

I really enjoyed Nichole Pinkard and will have to dig
further into her work. (this is a good
place to start – http:\\ Her
stance and the stance of her school is that students need to create media.

I have to mention that there were difficulties getting a
video to run…why does this ALWAYS happen??

There was an open discussion forum…and then a swanky

All in all, I think this initiative is extremely exciting, their
focus is not solely on video games…it overlaps in a lot of areas (web 2.0,
digital literacy, collaboration) that I am interested in, so hopefully they
will open up grant opportunities not only to large institutions, but to
individuals as well!

Further info


update 2/12: webcast available here

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