The Digital Media and Learning Competition was designed to find and inspire the most novel uses of new media in support of connected learning. Over the years, the Competition has awarded $13 million to more than 100 projects — including games, mobile phone applications, virtual worlds, social networks, and digital badge platforms — that explore how technologies are changing the way people learn and participate in daily life.
The following provides an overview of DML Competition activities:
Seven winning projects in the Innovation category and 10 projects in Knowledge-Networking were awarded $2 million in 2008. The Knowledge-Networking Awards were given to proven communicators, those already networking with others and dedicated to digital learning through blogs, social networking, social bookmarking, podcasting, world-building environments, and other online communities.
The second Competition (2009) awarded a total of $2 million to 19 projects representing two categories: Innovations in Participatory Learning and Young Innovators (for applicants aged 18-25). The Innovations in Participatory Learning awards were given to designers of new learning environments, including major adaptations of existing models of gaming, world building, social networking or other virtual environments, and the development of entirely new programs. The Young Innovators awards were given to forward-thinking, conceptually exciting and original participatory learning projects, where young innovators (age 18-25) were able to bring their most visionary ideas from the “garage” stage to implementation.
$1.8 million was awarded to 19 projects; 10 projects won Learning Lab awards, ranging from $30,000 to $200,000, and 9 projects received awards ranging from $5,000 to $50,000 in the Game Changers category. In collaboration with President Obama’s Educate to Innovate initiative and National Lab Day, the third Competition (2010) challenged designers, inventors, entrepreneurs, and researchers to create learning labs for the 21st century, digital environments that promote building and tinkering in new ways. Game Changers awards were given for creative game levels designed with LittleBigPlanet™ or Spore™ Galactic Adventures.
More than 30 innovative badge systems and 10 research studies were funded through a $5 million grant, between 2012 and 2013. The fourth Competition, the Badges for Lifelong Learning Competition, invited individuals and organizations to create badges — digital tools that identify and validate the rich array of skills, knowledge, accomplishments, and competencies for 21st-century learners.
Sixteen museums, libraries and out-of-school organizations were awarded a total of $150,000 through the Project:Connect Summer Youth Programming Competition to support single or multi-day participatory and hands-on learning experiences (labs, hackathons, pop-up events) held at U.S.-based organizations throughout the summer of 2013.
The Voto Latino Innovators Challenge was created to get Millennials, especially Latino Millennials, thinking about technology both as an innovative change agent and as a potential career.
The 6th Digital Media and Learning Competition — Playlists for Learning — awarded development grants of 9 months, ranging from $25,000 to $125,000. Winning teams designed connected learning playlists that provide viable alternatives to traditional learning pathways while scaling experiences and content to diverse local and digital audiences.