$2 Million Open Competition Calls for Digital Media Designs in Science, Math, and Technology
This third annual open competition seeks innovators to design new digital media experiences to help young people interact, share, build, tinker and explore in new and innovative ways. This year’s contest, with awards totaling $2 million, focuses on science, technology, engineering and math for students.
“Digital media, including games, are the learning labs of the future and this open competition encourages people to consider creative new ways to use digital media to create learning environments that are engaging, immersive and participatory,” said Connie Yowell, MacArthur’s director of education.
Submissions are invited in two categories: Game Changers, and 21st Century Learning Lab Designers. Proposals will be posted for public comment at three stages and multiple awards will be made in each category, including a People’s Choice Award. Winners will be announced at a high profile event in Spring 2010.
Contestants are encouraged to design games that promote participatory learning, which promotes learning through sharing and involvement. Participatory learning, as defined by the competition, is a form of learning connected to individual interests and passions, inherently social in nature, and occurring during hands-on, creative activities. (See Spotlight’s recent series on participatory learning.)
The 21st Century Learning Lab Designers category is aligned with National Lab Day. Winners will receive awards for learning environments and digital media-based experiences that allow young people to grapple with social challenges through activities based on the social nature, contexts, and ideas of science, technology, engineering and math. Digital media of any type (social networks, games, virtual worlds, mobile devices or others) may be used. Proposals are also encouraged for curricula or other experiences that link or connect to any game. Learning labs may be designed around new games or expand the potential of open source or commercial games.
The Game Changers category focuses on creating new game play experiences designed for either of two existing popular games: Sony’s “LittleBigPlanet” or Entertainment Arts’ “Spore Galactic Adventures.” These games and game expansions should offer young people highly engaging game play experiences that incorporate principles of science, technology, engineering and math.
The competition is funded by a MacArthur grant to the University of California, Irvine, and is administered by the HASTAC, a virtual network of learning institutions. The competition is part of MacArthur’s digital media and learning initiative, which is designed to help determine how digital technologies are changing the way young people learn, play, socialize and participate in civic life. Answers are critical to education and other social institutions that must meet the needs of this and future generations.
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