MacArthur initiative on Digital Media and Learning

Earlier this year, Brad DeLong suggested that he should get rich and then give a large grant to me to do a study. I’m all for Brad getting rich and I happily await the day including the check he’ll send my way as a result. However, in the meantime, it’s good to know that there are some other sources of potential funding for work on information technologies.

Yesterday, the MacArthur Foundation announced a new initiative in Digital Media and Learning. They have committed $50 million dollars over five years to this. I was fortunate to be one of the recipients of a research grant. My project will be a look at young people’s uses of the Internet with particular focus on their skills and participation. I will also be conducting a training intervention (on participants randomly assigned to the control versus the experimental group) to see if we can create a program that helps people improve their online abilities (in such domains as efficiency in content navigation and evaluating the credibility of information).

Generally speaking, the goal of this initiative is to gain a better understanding of how young people are using digital media in their everyday lives and how various types of learning are taking place outside of the classroom through the use of such media. MacArthur has also launched a blog to discuss related projects.

The press conference was simulcast in Second Life and some participants captured a few screenshots, including ones from Teen Second Life.

As you can imagine, I’m super excited about all this and so will likely be blogging about related issues in the future (hah, not that I haven’t already).

4 Responses to “MacArthur initiative on Digital Media and Learning”

  1. Lois Says:

    Absolutely outstanding! Eszter you’re making all the rest of us look like slackers. LOL

  2. Katie Says:

    Hey Eszter! Congrats on the grant! I originally logged in today to say “nice quote” in the latest issue of Women’s Health magazine. I get the magazine so it was a fun surprise to see you mentioned.

    I’ve been exploring Second Life a bit, mostly as a group guest thru NMC, so sat in on a presentation this weekend at the virtual campus. Definitely a new and interesting medium!

    Hope all’s well with you –

    Katie (Smith ’96)

  3. scott Says:

    Rock out! What does ‘various types of learning are taking place outside of the classroom through the use of such media’ mean, exactly? I’m reminded of the recent call by the Federation of American Scientists to do research into the educational promise of computer games. I think it’s a terrific idea.

  4. eszter Says:

    Thanks.:) The various types of learning refers to precisely that type. In fact, they have given grants for developing games.