DML Conference Targets Digital Citizenship

DML 2017 logo

EVENT: Civic engagement in a networked world will be the featured discussion at the 8th annual Digital Media and Learning Conference this year.

“At a time when we are increasingly faced with serious social challenges — of living together in dignified ways, of electoral meddling and fake news, of changes in what work we do and how we work, of health care provision, of climate change and climatic challenges, racial aggression and violence — learning with and through others is crucial to our social futures,” said David Theo Goldberg, director of the University of California Humanities Research Institute and executive director of the DML Research Hub, which organizes the annual conference. “The DML Conference this year takes up these questions collectively, looking to develop creative networks, thought leadership, and learning practices critical for advancing digital citizenship.”

WHEN: All day, Oct. 4-6

WHERE: UC Irvine, Student Center (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 and directs the Connected Learning Lab. “Our community is a unique and catalytic blend of innovators working in a wide range of organizations, united by a shared commitment to equity and a learner-centered approach.”


Oct. 4, all day — “Pre-Conference Workshops.” Featuring eight half- and full-day workshops, topics range from preparing teachers for the connected learning ecology to learning analytics, program evaluation, game design and tackling problems in research and practice.

Oct 5, 9 a.m. — The keynote address, will be delivered by danah boyd, a principal researcher at Microsoft Research and the founder of Data & Society. Her research examines the intersection between technology and society. Her talk, titled “Learning All the Wrong Things,” will focus on “the darker sides of networked media engagement: media manipulation, strategic harassment, and youth radicalization.” 

“A decade ago, my collaborators and I imagined a world of participatory culture where young people would be empowered to actively and strategically use technology to engage with the world around them,” boyd said. “Through a mixture of peer learning, self-learning, and formal education, we saw many young people develop sophisticated understandings of how to use social media to their advantage. Yet, not all of the practices that emerged as a result are inherently positive. From the rise of pro-Ana communities to the trolling associated with #Gamergate to the strategic manipulation of media for racist agendas, we’ve seen a form of participatory culture emerge that can be unhealthy, cruel, and socially devastating.”

During her address, she said, “we’ll think through different kinds of interventions — and the unintended consequences of good intentions in a world where the internet mirrors and magnifies the good, bad, and ugly.”

Oct. 5, 12:30 p.m. — Presenting “Contra Deportation: Fighting Injustice With Electronic Civil Disobedience” will be Ricardo Dominguez, a UC San Diego associate professor of visual arts and co-founder of Electronic Disturbance Theater. This event is free and open to the public. 

Dominguez will speak about the virtual sit-in his theater group staged to stop the German government from using commercial airlines to deport undocumented refugees and immigrants, the effect that action had and how activists can learn from it to fight injustice in the United States and abroad today.

Oct. 6, 11 a.m.Henry Jenkins, USC Provost Professor of communication, journalism, cinematic arts and education, will interview Bahraini civil rights activist Esra’a Al-Shafei. Al Shafei has worked as a blogger, a civil rights advocate, and youth leader using networked communications to build platforms which deployed new media tools to amplify the voices of oppressed and underrepresented groups in the Middle East. Jenkins has headed the Media, Activism, and Participatory Politics Research group which has sought to better understand the political lives of American youth, who are seeking to change the world “by any media necessary.”

Their discussion will ask, “do we still believe that networked youth can change the world?” They will compare notes, reflecting on what we know now that we did not know a decade ago, after the Arab Spring, after Occupy, after #blacklivesmatter, and after Trump, about the ways young people may or may not be able to use social media to bring about social change.

SCHEDULE: For details on the more than 60 conference talks and workshops being offered, visit

LIVE-STREAM: The keynote address, the conversation between Jenkins and Al-Shafei and the conference Ignite Talks will be live-streamed at

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 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.


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