2008 Digital Media and Learning Competition Winners

The open competition provides funding ranging from $30,000 - $238,000 for awards in Innovation and Knowledge Networking.  The awards for Innovation are larger and support entrepreneurs using games, mobile phones or social networks.  The awards for Knowledge Networking support communicators circulating best practices and ideas in digital media and learning.


Black Cloud Environmental Studies Gaming
Greg Niemeyer, UC Berkeley Center for New Media, Berkeley, CA
Black Cloud is an environmental studies game that mixes the physical with the virtual to engage high school students in Los Angeles and Cairo Egypt.  Teams role-play as either real estate developers or environmentalists using actual air quality sensors hidden through the city to monitor neighborhood pollution.  Their goal is to select good sites for either additional development or conservation. Combining scientific data with human experiences, students collaborate, share and analyze their findings, including working cross-culturally between cities.   

Todd Presner, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA
Based on digital models of real cities, “HyperCities” is a web-based learning platform that connects geographical locations with stories of the people and who live there and those who have lived there in the past. Through collaboration between universities and community partners in Los Angeles, Lima, Berlin, and Rome, HyperCities will develop and offer a participatory, open-ended learning environment grounded in space and time, place and history, memory and social interaction, oral history and digital media.

MILLEE: Mobile and Immersive Learning for Literacy in Emerging Economies
John Canny/University of California – Berkeley, Berkeley, CA
Mobile and Immersive Learning for Literacy in Emerging Economies, a project to be conducted in rural India, promotes literacy through language-learning games on mobile phones—the "PCs of the developing world."  MILLEE’s mobile phone games are designed to create rich storytelling environments that enable language learning.

Mobile Musical Networks
Daniel Trueman, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ
Mobile Musical Networks will build an expressive mobile musical laboratory for exploring new ways of making music with laptops and local-area-networks. Students will collaborate in designing these technologies.  In the process, they will learn about a variety of subjects, including musical acoustics, networking, instrument design, human-computer interfacing, procedural programming, signal processing, and musical aesthetics.

Sustainable South Bronx Fab Lab
Miquela Craytor, Sustainable South Bronx, Bronx, NY
The Sustainable South Bronx Fab Lab project is a laboratory that allows people to turn digital models into real world constructions of plastic, metal, wood and more.  Part of a broader MIT-led initiative, this particular project will apply the principles of personal fabrication to learning about urban sustainability.   The project will examine connections between virtual and physical spaces, collaborative design, and the potential for impact within the South Bronx.

Virtual Conflict Resolution: Turning Swords to Ploughshares  
Timothy Lenoir, Duke University, Raleigh-Durham, NC
Virtual Conflict Resolution is a digital humanitarian assistance game that creates a learning environment for young people studying public policy and international relations.  The game will be developed by repurposing an existing military simulation into a tool for humanitarian training.  Learning within the game will focus on leadership skills, cultural awareness, problem solving, and adaptive thinking —all of which are necessary to coordinate international humanitarian assistance for natural disaster relief.

YouthActionNet Marketplace
Ashok Regmi, International Youth Foundation, Baltimore, MD
The YouthActionNet Marketplace is a dynamic digital networking platform for young leaders to engage in social entrepreneurship and address critical social problems. Young social entrepreneurs can link to a global community of innovators to share, collaborate, customize, and evaluate information and ideas, and showcase them to a general public searching for new ways to address old issues.


Always With You: Experiment in Hand-held Philanthropy
Leba Haber Rubinoff, Interactive Filmmaking, Brooklyn, CA
The Always With You network will connect young African social entrepreneurs with young North American professionals.  Using mobile phone technology, which is now widespread, this network will facilitate both micro-funding and the exchange of professional advice to projects in Africa that promote public benefit. A website will share the project’s successes, lessons learned, and new ideas for scaling toward future collaborative and transnational youth partnerships.

Critical Commons
Steve Anderson, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
Critical Commons is a blogging, social networking and tagging platform specially designed to promote the ‘fair use’ of copyrighted material in support of learning.  The project will engage and organize academic communities to articulate their needs, models and ethical principles of fair use. The project aims to promote a strong, legally viable and expanding conception of fair use, especially in support of learning.

Fractor: Act on Facts
Benjamin Robison, Ardesco, Inc., Long Island City, NY
Fractor is a web application that matches news stories with opportunities for social activism and community service. 'Facts' and 'Acts' are organized on a single, intuitive page where every news story is linked to real-world actions that users can pursue. Fractor gives news readers the tools to 'act on facts,' connecting them to a world of dynamic social involvement and activism.

Let the Games Begin: A 101 Workshop for Social Issue Game Designers
Suzanne Seggerman, Games for Change, New York, NY
The Let the Games Begin workshop is a soup-to-nuts tutorial on the fundamentals of social issue games.  Appealing to those who are new to designing learning games but passionate about social issues, the workshop will feature leading experts on topics including game design, fundraising, evaluation, youth participation, distribution, and press strategies.  The workshop will be held in conjunction with the 2008 Games for Change Festival, and will be extended for the rest of the year through an online community dedicated to learning about social games. 
Networking Grassroots Knowledge Globally
Victoria Dunning, The Global Fund for Children, Washington, DC
Networking Grassroots Knowledge Globally, a project of the Global Fund for Children, is a new community and “information commons” that will include blogs, video clips, sound slides, podcasts, and photographs to help share innovative practices for helping marginalized and vulnerable children. The commons will allow grassroots practitioners and marginalized young people to harness and share new models for learning, organizing, and communicating around the world.

FollowTheMoney.org: Networking Civic Engagement
Edwin Bender, FollowTheMoney.org, Helena, MT
FollowTheMoney.org: Networking Civic Engagement, a project of the Institute on Money in State Politics, is an online interactive site and users' guide that supports civics research by young people and promotes their understanding of—and engagement with—electoral politics and legislative activities. Teacher and student collaborators will guide development and testing of this interactive site for networking youth civic engagement.

Ohmwork: Networking Homebrew Science
Laura Allen/Vision Ed. Inc., New York, NY
Ohmwork is a new social network and podcast site where young people can become inventive and passionate about science by sharing their do-it-yourself (DIY) science projects. They can also contribute to one another's projects, customize the site, and collaborate as part of their collective digital learning. Developed by Vision Education, Ohmwork aspires to become an online network for DIY science. 

The Virtual World Educators Network
Barry Joseph, Global Kids, Inc., New York, NY
The Virtual World Educators Network will be developed to serve as an online hub to promote the use of virtual worlds as rich learning environments. The participating community will share best practices, encourage dialogue, provide access to the leading research, provide podcast interviews with community leaders, and feature the latest news on learning in virtual worlds.

Self-Advocacy Online
Jerry Smith, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN
Self-Advocacy Online is an educational and networking website for teens and adults with intellectual and cognitive disabilities, targeted at those who participate in organized self-advocacy groups.  In supporting greater networking, peer exchange, collaboration, and communication to a general public, Self Advocacy Online will extend the reach of and interaction among people with disabilities so that they can more effectively speak up for themselves and make their own decisions.

Social Media Virtual Classroom
Howard Rheingold, Stanford University, Mill Valley, CA
The Social Media Virtual Classroom will develop an online community for teachers and students to collaborate and contribute ideas for teaching and learning about the psychological, interpersonal, and social issues related to participatory media. This digital learning space will both feature and analyze the use of blogs, wikis, chat, instant messaging, microblogging, forums, social bookmarking and instructional screencasts for teachers and students.