[Air-L] DML2011 Call for Proposals "Designing Learning Futures"

Alex Halavais alex at halavais.net
Tue Sep 14 08:16:25 PDT 2010

Please circulate (apologies for cross-postings)

digital media and learning conference 2011

The Digital Media and Learning Conference is an annual event supported
by the MacArthur Foundation and organized by the Digital Media and
Learning Research Hub <http://dmlcentral.net/about/what-all-about>  at
University of California, Irvine. The conference is meant to be an
inclusive, international and annual gathering of scholars and
practitioners in the field, focused on fostering interdisciplinary and
participatory dialog and linking theory, empirical study, policy, and

The second conference will be held between March 3-5, 2011 at the
Hilton Long Beach Conference and Meeting Center in Long Beach,
California. The theme will be "Designing Learning Futures”. The
Conference Chair will be Katie Salen. The conference committee
includes Kimberly Austin, danah boyd, Sheryl Grant, Mark Surman,
Trebor Scholz and S. Craig Watkins. Keynote presentations will be
given by Alice Taylor and Muki Hansteen-Izora. We are also planning a
book exhibit and technology demos.

To stay up-to-date on the conference, please check our website
http://dmlcentral.net/conference2011, follow #DML2011 on twitter
and/or join the Digital Media and Learning mailing list

call for proposals: designing learning futures

In the twenty-first century a profound shift is underway. Digital
media are central in almost every aspect of daily life, most notably
in how we learn, communicate, reflect, (co-) produce, consume, create
identities, share knowledge, and understand political issues.
Corresponding with this increasing accessibility of digital and
networked tools, we see new forms of public and private collectives
which serve as seedbeds for user-driven innovation, the prevalence of
many-to-many distribution models and the large-scale online
aggregation of information and culture. This increased access to
information, knowledge, and platforms has prompted new learning
ecologies that possess the potential to support the kinds of situated,
learner-driven, socially inflected, participatory learning
opportunities we know are possible today.

Alongside transforming how we create, access, and use knowledge, these
changes raise a series of socio-technical concerns regarding the
tools, technologies, and policies that underpin digital media
practices and their related learning opportunities. These issues
operate on both macro and micro levels. They range from processes and
protocols shaping the flow and tracking of data in social network
sites like Facebook or MySpace to reward and reputation systems in
multiplayer online games, collaborative DIY communities like
Instructable.com or deviantART, as well as to emergent problematic
practices like sexting and cyberbullying. These are, in short,
concerns that give shape to both formal and informal learning
ecologies and learning experiences. Developing an understanding of the
impact of digital media experiences on learning, civic engagement, and
professional and ethical development requires that we consider the
implications of the design frameworks, institutional configurations,
social practices, and research methodologies at play in our connected

As Bruno Latour notes, “New innovation will be absolutely necessary if
we are to adequately represent the conflicting natures of all the
things that are to be designed.” Understanding the role of innovation
in light of past and present digital media practices is thus central
to imagining and designing learning futures. To this end, the
conference will focus upon themes of understanding the types of
processes, methods, collaborations, and institutional models required
for innovation. We are also concerned with gaining insight into the
roles contradicting stakeholders (disciplines, institutions,
economies, etc.) may play. This includes designers of social network
sites, games, or mobile applications and learning environments such as
afterschool programs, schools and other sites of learning. It also
includes social scientists studying youth engagement in interest or
friendship-driven communities, those involved in developing profiles
of participants in intergenerational learning environments,
practitioners looking to help integrate technology into learning
environments, researchers studying the intersection of learning and
socio-technical practices, and policy makers seeking to shape the
future of connected learning, to name but a few possible participant

>From these diverse perspectives, we seek to address the following questions:

1.     What are the central concerns shaping learning within
peer-based, participatory, open ecologies? What are the new
collectives (including hybrid public institutional models) that are
emerging in today's open learning ecologies? How is learning happening
in user-innovation communities? How does remix, mentorship, sharing,
and exchange occur? How do issues such as cyberbullying, problematic
content, and privacy shape participation in these ecologies? How is
diversity shaping learning constituencies? What forms of identities
become possible? What are the relationships between different
stakeholders, such as learner-centered partnerships and collaborations
between teachers, administrators, students, institutions, policy
makers, researchers, and designers? What are the design-driven
pedagogies and learning models we should explore? What is the role of
embedded assessment in understanding learning? How do we understand
flow and engagement?

2.    What is the knowledge base required of designers, researchers,
and practitioners working on peer-based, participatory, open learning
ecologies today? What is missing? What new forms of knowledge need to
be developed? What existing frameworks need to be rethought?

3.   What core socio-technical practices are shaping (or have the
potential to shape) the future of learning? What practices may be
impeding innovation or getting in the way of learning? How can and
should knowledge about practices shape policy, design, and
implementation of innovations?

We seek to support collective inquiry into the infrastructures and
practices key to digital media and learning, whether research
practices, learning protocols, assessment schemes, game design, or the
creation of participatory undertakings. This conversation welcomes
those engaged in developing a critical understanding of the design and
broader socio-technical concerns shaping learning futures, as well as
in other well articulated issues key to comprehending the impact and
possibilities of digital media for learning. All participants are
encouraged to reflect on the implications of their work for social
practice—to consider the impact of their own practice or research
findings on how things are currently done or could be done

about the workshop and panel proposals

We welcome workshops and panels along four themes: Youth, Digital
Media and Empowerment; Emerging Platforms and Policies; New
Collectives and Digital Media and Participatory Learning. The themes
have been conceptualized by key members of the conference committee.
All proposed panels and workshops will be collectively evaluated by
the conference committee.

Youth, Digital Media, and Empowerment

This strand focuses specifically on young people’s participation in
the digital media world. Youth participatory practices are influenced
by a variety of social and contextual factors including distinct
youth-driven interests and learning ecologies, adult mentoring,
institutional infrastructures, creative partnerships, and cultural
diversity. We are especially interested in panels, papers, and
workshops that explore how new media technologies are leveraged to
promote youth health and well-being, youth media production, and
dynamic expressions of civic engagement. Moreover, what kinds of
institutional infrastructures lead to programs and interventions that
empower young voices, fortify social and knowledge networks, and
develop the digital media skills and competencies that invigorate
young critical citizens? Also, how are creative partnerships,
programmatic initiatives, and the widespread diffusion of social and
mobile media platforms challenging the “participation gap?” How are
socially stigmatized and marginal youth populations embracing social
media to build networks for personal enrichment, communal empowerment,
and social change? Finally, workshops and panels that discuss the art
and science of interdisciplinary collaboration, design innovation, and
programming offer the opportunity for vibrant discussion, planning and

Emerging Platforms and Policies

The rise of Web2.0 has introduced numerous platforms into everyday
life, from social network sites like MySpace and Facebook to
media-sharing services like YouTube and uStream to blogging and
microblogging tools like Tumblr and Twitter. These platforms have been
leveraged by people of all ages to build community, share ideas,
collaborate, and hang out. While many of these platforms were designed
to enable “user-generated content,” there are often conflicts between
what designers intend and what participants actually do on each site.
In short, these platforms were not designed for the kinds of learning
that often transpires on these sites. The goal of this track is to
explore the tensions between the design of emerging platforms and the
practices that unfold on them, with specific attention given to the
policy challenges that emerge. How does the technology respond
practice and how do users repurpose technology? Who gets to set the
community norms and how are these norms negotiated? How are values—
like privacy, safety, and transparency—embedded in the technology and
how does this shape socio-technical practices? What happens when
conflicts emerge between the users and the creators? How does the
tension between technical design and personal practices configure
these spaces?

New Collectives

The last 10 years have seen the rise of organizations and institutions
that mash-up mission, market and mass participation. Organizations
like Wikipedia, Mozilla and Creative Commons have shown that this
hybrid model can shift whole industries—increasing how knowledge is
shared and spread, promoting the wide adoption of web standards,
making legally-backed knowledge sharing easy and widespread. Many have
proclaimed that these new collectives can also transform education and
learning for the better. The track will explore the ways that
innovators in the learning world might tap into the power of these
hybrid organizational models. We’ll ask questions like: What makes new
collectives tick? Where are they getting traction in the world of
learning? Where are they getting stuck? Can they challenge traditional
approaches to accreditation, assessment and content creation in
education? Or even shift the terrain of learning and education as a

Digital Media and Learning

We welcome submissions that address ongoing or innovative directions
in research and practice relating to digital media and learning.

Workshop and Panel Formats

This year we will be accepting proposals in three formats: panels,
workshops and ignite talks. Panels bring together in discussion four
participants representing a range of ideas and projects. Panels are
scheduled for 90 minutes and should include a mix of individuals
working in areas of research, theory, and practice. Workshops provide
an opportunity for hands-on exploration and/or problem solving. They
can be organized around a core challenge that participants come
together to work on or around a tool, platform, or concept. Workshops
are scheduled for 120 minutes and should be highly participatory.
Finally, we welcome Ignite Talks. In an ignite talk the speaker gets 5
minutes to speak on a subject that might spark debate or conversation
within the DML community. The format is specific: talks are given
using 20 slides where each slide must automatically progress after 15

The DML2011 Conference proposal system will open on October 15, 2010
and full proposals will be due on November 1, 2010. Panel Abstracts
should cover the theme, format (e.g. discussion, interactive,
presentations), how the session addresses the theme of the conference
and/or subtheme in up to 400 words. List of participants,
affiliations, emails and titles of talks/presentations (if applicable)
should also be included.

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