Officials representing nonprofit John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation announced a public competition that will award $2 million in funding as a way to recognize leaders, communicators, and innovators shaping the field of digital media and learning.
The competition is part of the foundation's larger $50 million grant the organization set aside late last year
, which is designed to be dispersed over five years to help examine the impact of technology on children and the ways in which they learn, both inside and outside the classroom.
The competition is open to anyone, and will present awards in two separate categories. Innovation Awards will support learning entrepreneurs and builders of new digital environments for informal learning, with winners receiving $250,000 or $100,000 cash prizes.
Additionally, Knowledge Networking Awards will support communicators in connecting, mobilizing, circulating or translating new ideas around digital media and learning. Winners of this achievement will receive a $30,000 base award and up to $75,000.
In addition, award winners will also receive special consultation support on everything from technology development to management training, and they will also be invited to showcase their work at an upcoming conference that will include venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, educators and policy makers seeking the best ideas about digital learning.
To administer the competition, the MacArthur Foundation has partnered with the Humanities, Arts, Science and Technology Advanced Collaboratory (HASTAC), a network of educators and digital innovators founded by the University of California Humanities Research Institute and the John Hope Franklin Center at Duke University. Applications will be judged by an expert panel of scholars, educators, entrepreneurs, journalists, and other digital media specialists.
“An open competition is an excellent way to identify and inspire new ideas about learning in an increasingly digital world,” MacArthur Foundation president Jonathan Fanton said. “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.”
Applications are due October 15, 2007 and prizewinners will be announced in January. For more information on the competition, including how to enter and the answers to other frequently asked questions, visit the official competition website