MacArthur Foundation –Strategy — My Response

This is my response to this topic. It was not the full page but enough, I think.
MacArthur Foundation

Digital Media & Learning
Our Strategy

MacArthur is investing in research [Research in education is very problematic. Every kid is an individual, by definition, different. So, a group of individuals cannot be the same. So, any comparison is therefore meaningless. There are too many variables to account for too.] and innovations [Innovation just means something new. New is not necessarily better. I know that advertisers have said new and improved for at least 60 years so that people think new is improved. It usually is just different and not any better.] to reimagine learning for the digital age. [Why do you need to reimagine learning? The Age is irrelevant. Circa 1900 radio was touted as the technology to revolutionize education. Circa 1950 TV was supposed to do the same thing. Obviously neither had much of an influence. Now it is computers.] The goal is to make education more powerful for all students by creating more opportunities for more youth to engage in learning that is relevant to their lives [Relevant to their lives? I never found it necessary to find relevance to my life. I wanted to learn for learning’s sake.] and prepares them for success in school, the workplace, and their community. [This just another thing A Nation at Risk got wrong. We should not be trying to prepare them for success in the workplace nor college. At least, not anymore than we used to. That is, if you did well in high school you went to college and if you did not you went to work.]


Our society is in the midst of a reinvention of how knowledge is created, organized, accessed, and shared that has far-reaching implications for institutions of learning – schools, libraries, museums, and more. [Not for schools and libraries and very little for museums. Traditional books, schools, libraries and museums have NOT lost their need or function.] Digital media offers the promise of a new learning system that acknowledges and nurtures individual talents, skills, and interests. [It offers the promise that is rarely kept. It should not nurture individual talents, skills, and interests. K-12 education should teach the basics— things that are known to be true, mostly tautologies.] The initiative in Digital Media and Learning aims to drive positive change [Most change is change for the bad, for the worse. Change of this nature must be proven and it is the burden of its proponents. Your ilk has never shown its proof of CAI to be cost-effective. It most assuredly has never shown it to be better than traditional education.] in American education that builds on the new modes of learning observed among young people using digital media and related tools. [You sound like you are using the Digital-Native concept was has been proven to be bogus.]


MacArthur has invested in education since 1980, but direct investment in schools met with mixed results and few clear successes. [Exactly, proof was never done in the 1980s and yet it went on anyway.] In the 1990s, we awarded more than $40 million in grants in Chicago, working to develop more skilled teachers and better principals. In 2000, we sought national impact with The Learning Partnership, a $40 million school district reform initiative in Chicago, Minneapolis and Baltimore. Three years into that effort, numerous superintendents had cycled through the three districts with little improvement in students’ educational experiences or performance. [Again, my point exactly.]

In 2004, we decided to consider alternative paths. Instead of focusing on schools and school districts, we turned our attention to how young people were learning outside school. Digital media and the Internet seemed to be sparking new ways of creating, sharing and organizing knowledge. [Yes it is sharing knowledge but most of it is just marketing.]

We decided to investigate this topic. Site visits, a literature review and modest exploratory grants suggested that it would be a promising area to work in. In June 2005, the MacArthur Foundation Board established Digital Media and Learning as a new grantmaking area, which launched in 2006.

Phase 1 (2005–2009). In this phase, we focused on inquiry and raising awareness. We wanted to understand how learning is changing as a result of digital media, and asked: [Again you never asked why use it at all. You still have not proved anything. You see a lemming jumping off a cliff and you being a lemming must follow.]

How are young people changing as a result of their use of digital media? [Not much except maybe less social because they do not spend time playing with kids their own age.]
How are learning environments changing? How should they change in the future? [Again how and not why!]
How are civic and social institutions changing? How should they change in the future? [Not necessary for school.]

The first phase of the work exceeded our expectations. Research we funded received widespread attention; we established a research hub at the University of California, Irvine, which has become a vibrant intellectual center; programs such as YOUmedia Chicago, Quest to Learn, and the Hive learning networks in New York and Chicago generated significant interest from schools, other learning institutions, and government; and MacArthur was acknowledged as a leader in a new field. [Again a new bogus field. It is NOT necessary.] This success persuaded us to launch a second phase in September 2009.

Phase 2 (2009-present).  In this phase, we make a transition from exploration, research and raising awareness to a goal of influence and impact. We hope to demonstrate and test new approaches that will be implemented and change schools and other institutions across the country, and to shape a more supportive policy environment. [The only thing wrong with American Education System are all of the experimentation that proponents do.]

Our Strategic Approach

Phase 2’s theory of change has two elements:

demonstrating a new vision of “connected” learning for today’s youth at specific sites to explore what is possible and pragmatic [All of this experimentation is not very practical. I felt that my education was ‘connected’ enough.]
working with industry, government, education, media, and other foundation partners to support connected learning anyplace, any time– all in the broader context of the network of institutions, organizations, and online spaces that influence learning [What does industry or government know about education. Industry does not even know what it is going to be doing in about 3 years so they do not know what they will need even now. Having industry’s inputs just gives conflicted needs and fads. Media – you mean software for education? Again, not necessary. As a matter of fact, this type of things lead to haves and have nots. This is unethical.]

The premise, that we are in the midst of a knowledge revolution, implies that schools will need new teaching approaches, tools, programs, and metrics for measuring success – and new partners to work with. [NO!!! Your premise is wrong. Your conclusion is non-sequitur. Just because society and in particular business is hooked on technology does NOT mean that education needs to follow suit. The very fact that technology/computers are so prevalent precludes any need to teach it. They will learn it on their own as time goes on.] Our strategy includes:

establishing clear evidence that new approaches to learning are effective [Establishing—no proof yet, as I said.]
designing and developing new learning environments [Not needed!]
forming networks for learning [Not needed either.]
creating a new vision of connected learning that is interest-driven and more motivating, engaging, social, and supported by a constellation of mentors, educators, knowledgeable peers, and parents [A waste of time and money.]
leveraging these steps to make connected learning a normative approach in education. [Connected learning again?]

Just because you can does not mean that you should.

I wish that your ilk would prove it before going into it with both feet.

No need for me to go on!!!

I did not cover the rest of page.


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