Thursday, April 16, 2009

Digital Media and Learning Awards -- 19 projects share $12M

Nineteen projects from around the world were awarded funding today to explore digital media’s ability to help people learn. Administered by HASTAC, winners include a radically affordable $12 TV-computer, a video blogging site for young women in Mumbai, India, and a cutting-edge mobile phone application that lets children conduct digital wildlife spotting and share that information with friends. All projects are fantastic - one of my favorites because it has technology, global scope, climate, and engages children is : DigitalOcean -engages middle and high school students in 200 classrooms around the world in monitoring, analyzing, and sharing information about the declining global fish population that, in its implications for humans and the ecosystem, dwarfs other food issues in our time. DigitalOcean uses multi-disciplinary teams of students, scientists, and new media experts, partnering with Google Ocean, NASA GLOBE, and ePals, to engage the next generation of consumers in a global dialogue on the interrelationships among local human customs, regulatory laws, fishing practices, wildlife management, and the future of the sea. In the young innovators section my favorite (since I worked with ACCI to promote science education) Cellcraft: Addressing a decreasing interest and proficiency in the biological sciences among American teenagers, Cellcraft seeks to engage kids in ways that make biological principles personally meaningful and relevant. Built on the powerful Maxis Spore strategy game engine, Cellcraft will put middle and high school students in control of a cell, tasked with the job of coordinating all of the organelles in order to process food, create new parts, fight off viruses, and grow. During game play, students learn valuable biological information, while also developing organizational, planning, coordination, delegation, and logistical skills. This annual competition- $2 million- is funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and is a good one to track for inspiration.

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