New Conference Promotes Progressive, Inclusive Learning

Connected Learning Summit Takes Place Aug. 1-3 at MIT

June 28, 2018

Progressive and inclusive learning will be the main topic at the inaugural Connected Learning Summit, set to take place Aug. 1-3 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab, 75 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, Mass.

The summit will feature discussions aimed at inspiring educators, game designers, learning scientists and others to promote digital citizenship, equity and access in their deployment of educational games, virtual reality and other digital media in and out of school.

“Digital, networked, interactive technologies offer tremendous promise to expand access to engaged and meaningful learning experiences,” said Mimi Ito, director of the Connected Learning Lab at the University of California, Irvine. “But, this will only happen through alliances between educators, designers, researchers, and change-makers with shared values and vision. The goal of the summit is to support this alliance and community building.”

Among the more than 200 talks, workshops and tech demos to be presented during the event, will be a keynote address, featuring Baratunde Thurston, a comedian, co-founder of Cultivated Wit and the About Race podcast and author of the New York Times bestseller “How To Be Black.” He will be in conversation with Joi Ito, director of the MIT Media Lab.

“You learn by doing. People facing challenges often are not alone so if people want to make more resilient communities, we have to make sure we’re always learning,” Thurston said.

Summit Schedule

The full schedule is available online. Besides the keynote address, the summit includes myriad sessions by leaders in academics, industry and nonprofit organizations; presentations on innovative learning projects and research; interactive workshops on technology research and design, games and other media; a lively “hall of failure,” featuring honest post mortems on projects, programs and products; smart, fast, performative “ignite” sessions; a community showcase evening event for working papers, tech demos, and ideas; and fireside chats with luminaries across fields.

Highlights include:

  • A plenary session, featuring Michelle King, a middle school teacher who will talk about how to create empathetic institutions that remind us of our humanity, how to redesign for equity and social justice in and out of school learning and how to design learning institutions to build connections.
  • A plenary discussion on connected communities, featuring Mimi Ito, director of the University of California Irvine’s Connected Learning Lab, Scot Osterweil, creative director of the Education Arcade and a research director in the MIT Comparative Media Studies/Writing Program, and Constance Steinkuehler, professor of informatics at UCI.
  • An esports symposium about how competitive video games can enrich the academic curriculum.
  • A spotlight on SciGirls CODE, a pilot program that with 16 STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) partners nationwide uses the principles of connected learning to provide 160 girls and their 32 leaders with computational thinking and coding skills.
  • A workshop on the innovative music-making STEAM (STEM + arts and design) projects of the Expressive & Creative Interactive Technologies Center (ExCITe) at Drexel University.
  • A tech showcase, featuring 30 technological wonders advancing learning.
  • A research reception, featuring 40 working papers on topics ranging from creating digital learning games to hip hop music making in the classroom and middle school computer science coaching.


Organizers of the Digital Media and Learning (DML) Conference, the Games+Learning+Society (GLS) Conference and Sandbox Summit joined forces to create the new annual summit.

“The convergence of these three communities — DML, GLS and Sandbox — promises to catalyze the field of learning technologies in a whole new way,” said Steinkuehler, former chair of the GLS Conference.

The summit is being hosted by UCI’s Connected Learning Lab, the UC Humanities Research Institute, MIT Media Lab and MIT Scheller Teacher Education Program.

Registration and Info

Attendee cost is $200-$410. For more information, visit

Media Contact:
Mimi Ko Cruz,