The MacArthur Foundation (of Genius Grant renown) and HASTAC are funding a really interesting competition that’s set to launch on December 14th. It’s called Reimagining Learning, and it’s aimed at spurring innovative ideas in participatory education.
The contest has two categories, both open to the public. The 21st Century Learning Lab Designers category fields entries that use digital media to create interactive “learning environments” — especially ideas that facilitate learning through social interactions and group challenges. Another category, Game Changers, encourages entrants to create new learning games for PlayStation’s LittleBigPlanet (!).
The most interesting thing about the competition is its focus on education that emphasizes student interaction. From the MacArthur Foundation:
The competition is designed to promote “participatory learning,” the notion that young people often learn best through sharing and involvement. Participatory learning, as defined by the competition, is a form of learning connected to individual interests and passions, inherently social in nature, and occurring during hands-on, creative activities. Successful learning labs and games will exploit all of these elements.”
Since most education has traditionally relied on a top-down instructional approach (teacher â†’Â student; learn it or else), there is a lot of room to innovate in terms of making learning more interactive. One solution is this very cool emphasis on social and peer-to-peer learning; another is to design learning programs that adapt to individual students.
The next few years will bring a lot of exciting developments in both of these areas, so it’s great to see ideas on the frontiers of education getting some serious (and well-funded) recognition.