Cooney Center Represents at the 2014 Digital Media and Learning Conference

by Anna Ly
February 25, 2014

DML2014This year, the Joan Ganz Cooney Center will be a part of not just one, but two sessions at the Digital Media and Learning Conference, an annual event supported by the MacArthur Foundation and organized by the Digital Media and Learning Research Hub. The conference, which takes place March 6-8th, 2014 in Boston, brings together scholars and practitioners who aim to foster interdisciplinary and participatory dialog while linking theory, empirical study, policy, and practice. This year is focused on the theme “Connecting Practices.” Appropriately, the two sessions that we will be participating in are:

Creating Youth Builders – Promoting a New Game Design Ecosystem to Engage Hard-to-Reach Youth in Learning
March 7, 4-5pm

In recent years, game-based learning has emerged as a promising area of innovation in making STEM content, critical skills, and systems thinking more engaging for America’s youth (e.g., Klopfer et al, 2009). Furthermore, the research suggests that creating video games can be a highly engaging way for youth to learn STEM skills (e.g., Roberston & Howells, 2008). Despite these findings, the process of engaging non-dominant youth is difficult. Organized by Industry Fellow Anna Ly, this session will assemble some of the promising and scalable practices that have already engaged thousands of youth globally and in the U.S. in game design. Participants include:

  • Kimberly Bryant, the Founder of Black Girls CODE, a nonprofit organization that strives to provide young and pre-teen girls of color opportunities to learn skills in technology and programming
  • Jennifer Groff, a graduate researcher at the MIT Media Lab and the VP of Learning for the Learning Games Network, a non-profit which focuses on the leading edge of educational game design
  • Ricarose Roque, a PhD student with the Scratch Team at the MIT Media Lab. Her research explores how to design technology-based learning environments that support intergenerational, creative learning, particularly for underrepresented youth in computing
  • Leshell Hatley, the Founder and Executive Director of Uplift, Inc., which guides K-12 students, especially students of color, through innovative educational experiences in STEAM+CS, teaching them to solve everyday problems
  • Brianna Igbinosun, a high school student who won the Best Scratch High School Game in the 2013 National STEM Video Game Challenge

Anna will engage the panelists with the audience members in a conversation about how we can refine and learn from existing models to work towards creating game design software and environments that engage and propel underserved youth on new pathways for learning.

Developing STEM Literacy Through Gameplay and Game Design
Mar 8, 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM

In this session, participants will learn how game literacy and STEM literacy are supporting one another in museums, universities, and after school programs, and through commercial products. Presenters will discuss the broader issue of teaching STEM content and practices through game-based learning. They will also showcase examples of games made by youth and for youth to help attendees understand the value of engaging youth in game design itself, and how game design can scaffold scientific reasoning and design skills. Panelists include Anna Ly, who will be demoing Elemental, a video game for children ages 7-11 that improves “number sense,” or a person’s innate ability for number estimation. Joining her are:

  • Barry Joseph, Associate Director for Digital Learning, American Museum of Natural History
  • Kevin Miklasz, Director of Digital Learning, Iridescent
  • Gary Goldberger, President, FableVision
  • Scot Osterweil, Creative Director, Learning Games Network & MIT Education Arcade
  • Rik Panganiban, Senior Manager of Digital Learning, California Academy of Sciences
  • Edge Quintanilla, Digital Learning Specialist, The Field Museum

To find out more, head over to the DML site here: http://dml2014.dmlhub.net/schedule/. Register today to attend these sessions along with many other fantastic panels!