June 2, 2014

Research and Projects


Connected Camps

At SXSW2015, I launched a benefit corporation, Connected Camps with co-founders Tara Tiger Brown and Katie Salen. Connected Camps offers social, creative, hands-on online learning experiences, accessible to kids in all walks of life. Our current focus is on building learning communities and experiences in Minecraft.

Connected Learning Alliance

In 2014, with the support of the MacArthur Foundation, I helped launch the Connected Learning Alliance, dedicated to realizing a world where all young people have equitable access to learning opportunities that are social, participatory, driven by personal needs and interests, and oriented toward educational, civic and economic opportunity

Connected Learning Research Network

I chair a MacArthur Foundation research network on Connected Learning with an interdisciplinary group of researchers seeking to study and design for connected learning environments. My Leveling Up team has been focused on case studies of digitally networked youth interest groups that support connected learning.

The Digital Media and Learning Hub

After moving to UC Irvine in 2008, the focus of my work has been on developing a research hub for the field of digital media and learning, supported by the MacArthur Foundation. In addition to developing some new research initiatives in this area, I have been supporting the development of a communication and networking hub, which includes the website, dmlcentral.net, an annual conference, and other field-building activities.

Digital Youth

In 2008, I completed a project on Kids' Informal Learning with Digital Media together with my co-PIs Peter Lyman and Michael Carter. The project was funded by the MacArthur Foundation, and involved three years of basic ethnographic research on how kids engage with and play with new media in their everyday lives. Some recent press coverage on this work is here. The results of the project are encapsulated in the report, Living and Learning with New Media: Summary of Findings from the Digital Youth Project, and the book Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out: Kids Living and Learning with New Media.

DIY Video

I have been part of the planning of a series of events, 24/7: A DIY Video Summit, that showcases current developments in digital video production, focusing on amateur production, remix, and Internet distibution. Our first event was in 2008.

Keitai and Portable Computing

I worked for many years with Daisuke Okabe and a research group at Docomo House at Keio University Shonan Fujisawa Campus, studying the everyday pratices of portable technology use in Japan. Our research appears in a book we co-edited with Misa Matsuda, Personal Portable Pedestrian: Mobile Phones in Japanese Life. Our current work focuses on visual communication and on mobile kits. We're collaborating with Intel's People and Practices Group for the mobile kit work.

Otaku and Amateur Cultural Production

My other area of research is on how kids engage with, remix, and remake anime related popular cultures. I have a book forthcoming from Yale University Press, Fandom Unbound: Otaku Culture in a Connected World. One article on anime music videos is in a First Monday special issue.

Networked Publics

In 2006-2007, while at the (now defunct) Annenberg Center at USC, I was part of a research group on Networked Publics, exploring what came to be known popularly as Web 2.0 or the social web. The results of this collaborative research group was published in a book edited by Kazys Varnelis, Networked Publics.

Children's Software

My doctoral work in Education and Anthropology looked at the production and consumption of children's software. I did field work at the Fifth Dimension After-School Clubs on how kids played with educational games, and I interviewed children's software producers. My Education dissertation focused on the content of the games and play. My Anthropology dissertation analyzed "multimedia genres" of edutainment, entertainment, and authoring, that cross- cut production, distribution, marketing, and play. This work has been published as the book Engineering Play: A Cultural History of Children's Software.

Japanese Interculturalism

As my childhood was spent split between both Japan and the US, Japanese interculturalism and Japan/US relations is a personal as well as professional topic of interest. My junior high and high school yearswere spent at Nishimachi International School and the American School in Japan. As a personal project, I have been working since 1999 on establishing an online community (now a multi-author blog) for Japanese interculturals, chanpon.org

Broadening Access: An Ethnography of SeniorNet

In 1998 and 1999, I conducted an ethnographic study with SeniorNet, a national network of computer using seniors. Fellow researchers: Annette Adler, Charlotte Linde, Elizabeth Mynatt, and Vicki O'Day. Research conducted atThe Institute for Research on Learning(IRL), The Broadening Access Research Project Page reports on the result of this study.

Posted by Mizuko Ito at June 2, 2014 10:27 AM