The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the nonprofit that last year earmarked $50 million toward the study of kids and digital media, said Tuesday that it will set aside some of that money for an innovation competition.
The Chicago-based foundation plans to award as much as $2 million for ideas and technologies related to digital media and learning. The contest has two categories: innovation in new digital environments for informal learning, with prizes of $100,000 or $250,000; and networking in education, with awards worth as much as $75,000.
"We do not yet know how much people are changing because of digital media, but we hope that this competition will help support the most innovative thinking about learning, the formation of ethical judgments, peer mentoring, creativity, and civic participation, all of which are increasingly conducted online," MacArthur Foundation President Jonathan Fanton said in a statement.
The Humanities, Arts, Science and Technology Advanced Collaboratory (HASTAC), a network of educators based partially at Duke University, will administer the competition. Cathy Davidson, co-founder of HASTAC, said that kids' social lives and education are increasingly intertwined, and educators need to catch up quickly.
"We are already teaching a generation of students who do not remember a time before they were online," Davidson said. "These students bring fascinating new skills to our classrooms, but they also bring an urgent need for critical thinking about the digital world they have inherited and are shaping."
Applications are due Oct. 15, and the winners will be announced in January 2008.