DML Conference Features Social Equity Approach to Ed Tech

EVENT: The 7th annual Digital Media and Learning Conference this year features a learner-centered, equity-oriented approach to educational technology.

“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,” said David Theo Goldberg, director of the University of California Humanities Research Institute an executive director of the DML Research Hub, which organizes the annual conference. “The conference aims to bring people together to think through and build on the best ed tech design practices in an effort to promote thoughtful, critical 21st century learning.”

WHEN: All day, Oct. 5-7

WHERE: UC Irvine, Student Center, Doheny Ballroom and Emerald Bay Rooms (bldg. 113, grid E8 on campus map:

WHY: “The conference is the annual event that brings together scholars, educators, and technologists who are exploring how new technologies can best serve the needs of all learners and the public interest,” said Mimi Ito, research director of the DML Hub, co-founder of the Connected Learning Alliance and UC Irvine cultural anthropologist who specializes in learning. “We are focused on a learner-centered and evidence-driven approach to educational technology. We put people first and social equity is immensely important to us.”


speakersOct. 5, all day — Pre-Conference Workshops.” Featuring half- and full-day workshops, topics range from courses in media making, learning analytics, program evaluation, and game design to working sessions focused on delving into cutting edge problems in research and practice.

Oct 6, 9-10:30 a.m. — The keynote address, What is the Intellectual Culture of Games? will be delivered by games and learning expert Constance Steinkuehler. She will discuss the promises and tensions around game-based learning amid the larger context of educational change.

Oct. 6, 3:15-3:45 p.m. — “Slow Meets Social Media: Out of Eden.” Carrie James, of Harvard’s Graduate School of Education, will present Out of Eden Learn, an online global education program that connects youth to take part in shared learning journeys that involve slow looking, listening and storytelling activities, supporting self-exploration and cross-cultural sensitivity and understanding.

Oct. 6, 4-4:30 p.m. — “Deconstructing Disneyland: An Experiment in Theme Park-Based Media Literacy Education.” Brigham Young University students and faculty members — Brent Barson, Chris Bowles, Jeff Parkin and Benjamin Thevenin — will present their mobile app-based alternate reality game that allows Disneyland visitors to critically engage with (while still enjoying) the popular theme park.

Oct. 6, 6 p.m. — Tech Showcase. Education innovators will display the latest in EdTech.

Oct. 6-7, 4:45-5:45 p.m. — Ignite Talks. Hosted by Gardner Campbell, of Virginia Commonwealth University, 18 speakers each will make 5-minute presentations, enlightening conference-goers on exciting and cutting-edge digital media and learning projects. The speakers represent a number of universities and organizations, including UC Irvine, Hamburg University of Technology, MIT, USC, Boston Public Schools and Get Schooled Foundation.

Oct. 7, 9-10:30 a.m. — “Art is What Your Digital Teaching Needs.” Participants in this hands-on workshop will learn about the growing number of free, online opportunities for expanding knowledge and experience in the arts and for supporting their teaching practice to include music and visual art digital resources. The presenters are Jordan Natan Hochenbaum and Deborah Howes. 

Oct. 7, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. — Digital Dreamers,” is the title of a conversation between Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and undocumented immigrant Jose Antonio Vargas and USC’s Henry Jenkins. They will explore race, immigration, gender, American identity and the digital advocacy movement. This event is free and open to the public.

Oct. 7, 3:15-4:15 p.m. — “Identity Making in Online Spaces.” Researchers Alex Cho, Arturo CortezCindy CruzJane Van GalenOlivia GonzalezJose Lizarraga and Susannah Stern will present their studies on the digital practices and experiences of queer youth, first-generation college students and young people of color.

BACKGROUND: The DML Conference is supported by the MacArthur Foundation and organized by the Digital Media and Learning Research Hub and the Connected Learning Alliance, which are part of the University of California Humanities Research Institute based at UC Irvine. It is meant to be an inclusive, international gathering of scholars and practitioners in the digital media and learning field, focused on fostering interdisciplinary and participatory dialog and linking theory, empirical study, policy and practice. About 200 speakers will present 68 panel discussions, talks, workshops and interactive displays during the three-day conference.


MEDIA CONTACT: Mimi Ko Cruz,, (949) 824-4587