LTGR Ep. #7 – Exploring MacArthur: Digital Media and Learning

Susan and Dan discuss their explorations of the MacArthur Foundation Digital Media and Learning project, a huge initiative to explore and create a field of study and practice around digital media.

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Show Notes:
Susan and Dan discuss their explorations on the MacArthur Foundation project, a huge initiative to explore the field of digital media (to create a field of study and practice). There is a group of authors who will be writing 6 volumes on the topic, and giving grants to institutions working on the practice side.

The foundation web site can be found here.

The open forum site can be found here. The forum is a place where the authors are able to post a synopsis of the chapter they’re writing and asking others to dialogue on the topic.

A few of the major themes are gaming, the use of digital media and school environments and colorblindness.

Dan first looked at the issue of gaming. “How do people get into gaming” is an example of a question they have explored. A gender difference (no surprise to Susan). Also looked at ethnic differences, which led to considerations of who has access to technology, leisure time, and so on. Gaming is good for learning but people don’t know how to design activities using games.

Good links to games in this site! Program ideas, also. This might be inspiring.

Susan read the forum related to Moral Panics. That topic dealt with whether our children are safe with technology. Do we tell children not to go on the Internet or do we teach them to do it safely? What do we know and how are we responding and reacting? Yes, they talk about DOPA.

Susan also read the forum on what educators would do with digital media (if they could). Opportunities for modeling safe practices. From that came a wonderful posting that Dan read to listeners related to how the author would teach by using certain freely available tools.

Get involved in seeing the frameworks and models! Pay attention.

Dan and Susan would like listeners to share what they’re doing with using digital media. You can respond to them at or talk to us in LearningTimes. Or call us at 1-800-609-9006 x8055 (US and Canada) or 678-255-2174 x8055 (outside US and Canada).

8 thoughts on “LTGR Ep. #7 – Exploring MacArthur: Digital Media and Learning”

  1. Hello, I heard your ad on NPR. This looks like a very big initiative. I am interested from your site from an academic perspective. Do you have any plans to put the podcast in a feed where I can automatically receive new episodes via iTunes or another podcather program?

  2. Hi Brian and thank you for commenting! Yes, the MacArthur Digital Media and Learning IS a huge initiative and we look forward to the future scholarship. In addition to listening to Dan and I (on a variety of topics, not just MacArthur), you might enjoy their blog, called Spotlight [blogging the field of digital media and learning] at I’ve been kind of surprised they are not producing their own podcast with this, but maybe that is in the works … or I just haven’t found it.

    Jonathan gave you the iTunes link, so we hope you’ll join us often!


  3. Susan: I attended a seminar yesterday where the speaker was discussing the fact that our children cannot do two things at one time. For example they cannot text message, listen to Itunes and instant message and learn. Is this comment accurate?

    Perhaps students cannot learn as well when they do these verious tasks all at the same time. I believe that as these tasks are taking place with our children at a younger and younger age and that the brain will eventually be re-wired to accomodate multi tasking including learning.

    What does your research show regarding this problem that we have in the college classroom?

    Thanks for any insite you can provide.

  4. Marjorie, I would take issue with what the speaker said. I think there is plenty of evidence that today’s children ARE able to accomodate more inputs better than older learners and that they have been conditioned to do so through gaming and other forms of digital media. Once of my favorite pieces that explains this (much better than I could) is Chris Dede’s piece “Planning for Neomillennial Learning Styles” at

    I also think neuroscience has shown that when exposed to digital media, something elastic happens. Check out Marc Prensky’s piece at,%20Digital%20Immigrants%20-%20Part2.pdf

    Of course we can’t generalize, which explains why my 8 year old tells me to stop talking while she’s reading 🙂 but a lot has changed since I was a student. Just because I can’t type and have an iPod going simultaneously doesn’t mean others can’t.

    To me, the trick is to figure out how to accomodate these shifting learning styles and learner characteristics while still working with MY chrystalized brain! LOL


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