DML Conference 2015: A Call for Equity in Design

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Digital Media and Learning Research Hub Hosts 6th Annual DML Conference June 11-13 in Los Angeles

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We cannot expect social equity in the absence of transformative modes of educational equity. Learning technologies can enable equity or exacerbate inequality, so design is crucial.

The 6th annual Digital Media and Learning Conference, themed “Equity by Design,” calls for learning organizations and institutions to explore ways for youth to engage in meaningful and relevant learning.

“What we’re trying to do with this conference is to reframe the debate over equity and educational technology, moving us from issues of access to broader kinds of conversations,” said Kris D. Gutiérrez, a UC Berkeley professor of language, literacy and culture and this year’s DML Conference chairwoman. “Equity is not just about access. It involves a new social and pedagogical imagination about how youth and people from non-dominant communities can become designers of their own futures. This is a global issue with huge implications for youth across the globe, and we aim to create a national conversation about how we can do our work in more mindful ways that put at the center equity and rich forms of learning that matter to people.”

The June 11-13 conference, supported by the MacArthur Foundation and organized by the Digital Media and Learning Research Hub, will highlight numerous examples of connected learning innovations that stress equity, including: employing Minecraft to teach myriad classroom lessons, expanding access to college through interactive play, exploring STEM through a witty radio program and using digital storytelling to communicate the experiences of underrepresented students, among many others. It will take place at the Sheraton Los Angeles Downtown.

The keynote discussion will feature civil rights advocate Van Jones, founder of four nonprofit organizations engaged in social and environmental justice and a CNN political commentator, and Maria Teresa Kumar, president and CEO of Voto Latino and host of MSNBC’s “Changing America” program. S. Craig Watkins, a professor of radio-television-film at the University of Texas, will moderate the discussion.

“Equity has become a driving economic and civil rights concern,” said David Theo Goldberg, executive director of the DML Research Hub and director of the University of California’s Humanities Research Institute, which houses the Hub. “We cannot expect social equity in the absence of transformative modes of educational equity. Learning technologies can enable equity or exacerbate inequality, so design is crucial. The conference is a timely contribution to the larger social debates currently roiling us, and the keynote conversation will offer an important framing of the defining issues.”

Hundreds of technologists, educators, activists, and researchers from around the world are expected to attend the conference. The final day, June 13, features dozens of presentations and workshops for educators to gain hands-on experience and bring back lessons to their schools, libraries and after-school programs.

More conference information and registration is available at

About the annual Digital Media and Learning Conference
The conference is produced by the Digital Media and Learning Research Hub. Affiliated with the University of California system’s Humanities Research Institute at UC Irvine, the Hub is dedicated to analyzing and interpreting the impact of the Internet and digital media on education and civic engagement. Its primary emphasis is on connected learning and emergent political practices — participatory politics — as well as initiatives such as, make-to-learn, and alternative credentialing (i.e., badges for learning). All its work, including original research, websites, publications, workshops and the conference, is supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

About the MacArthur Foundation
The MacArthur Foundation supports creative people and effective institutions committed to building a more just, verdant and peaceful world. In addition to selecting the MacArthur Fellows, the Foundation works to defend human rights, advance global conservation and security, make cities better places, and understand how technology is affecting children and society.

Media Contact
Mimi Ko Cruz
(949) 824-4587

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