October 19, 2006

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MacArthur Foundation Announcement on Digital Media and Learning

I am just back from New York where the MacArthur Foundation announced that they will be committing $50 million over the next five years to the field of digital media and learning. My grant with Peter Lyman and Michael Carter was one of MacArthur’s first exploratory grants in this area. We are almost mid-way through our ethnographic study of what young people are doing with digital technology. It’s very exciting to see the foundation making this commitment to ongoing support of this area. I’m also looking forward to working with a growing number of complementary projects that we hope will make our ethnographic work relevant in a wide variety of areas including quantitative studies, media literacy programs, and game design.

In the announcement today, I was particularly heartened by what Jonathan Fanton, president of the MacArthur Foundation, had to say about some of the goals of this expanded grant making in this area. He noted the priorities we have already been pursuing to look at learning both inside and outside of the classroom, and at activities that are widely distributed in youth culture. But he also mentioned that the foundation will be looking to support international projects in this arena, something that has not been an element of this initiative thus far. My own sense, particularly because I do transnational research between Japan and the US, is that this international dimension is absolutely critical understanding how digital technologies are transforming young people’s cultural worlds. The distinctiveness of uses in different national contexts, as well as the ways in which digital technology is enabling culture flows that exceed national boundaries is something we really need to understand.

The MacArthur web site on this new initiative is here and the blog is here. The webcast from today's event is here.

Posted by Mizuko Ito at October 19, 2006 9:03 PM

1- Sreenath Dixit

Dear Mimi,
Glad to know your good work in ICTs. I stumbled upon your work while I was searching for opportunities for postdoc research in the US. I am a development professional (agricultural extesnion) working on ICT use among rural women and youth for livelihood enhancement in the drought-prone parts of India.I have over 15 years experience working in development communication in rural India. I just finished a project on this aspect. You may like to know more about it from www.vasat.org. While searching I found your annoucement for post-doc positions in one of your blogs. Are they still open? If not, are there any opportunities arising in the near future? I would be interested to pursue such an opportunity. I shall be grateful for your help in providing me leads.

In fact I was impressed by the commitment of Macarthur Foundation for digital media and learning. One of the areas we stressed in our VASAT project was development of digital content for training rural youth in better livelihood options. In the course of our study we found that ICT skills gave special soical status to village youth and women which needs to be channelized for positively for larger social good.

ICTs in rural India hold tremendous opportunities. It is a very fertile area of research. I would be happy to collaborate with your institute for developing and working on a trans national project involving India, US and Japan.

Thanks for your attention. I await your response.

Sreenath Dixit
sreenathd at yahoo.com;
sdixit at crida.ernet.in

This is fantastic news! CONGRATULATIONS!!!

I am very excited to hear that this initiative is going forward! It's importance is boundless.

I look forward to seeing more of the work that Peter, Michael, you, and the entire team at Berkeley have been doing.

Thank you for all your work in this area!

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