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Next week: Meet the researcher who believes Minecraft is an educational force of nature

UC-Irvine cultural anthropologist Mimi Ito will be in Philadelphia as part of Drexel ExCITe Center's speaker series.

Mimi Ito is next at Drexel ExCITe's Speaker Learning Innovation Conversation Series. (Courtesy photo)

Wait till you hear from Mizuko (Mimi) Ito before you assume that Minecraft inhibits learning. (She has a post on BoingBoing about it.)

Ito, a professor at the University of California, Irvine, is slated to speak about how technology impacts learning at Drexel ExCITe Center’s Learning Innovation Conversation series on Tuesday, March 21 at 6 p.m.


ExCITe Center Director Youngmoo Kim, who will moderate the talk, emphasizes Ito’s particular background and methodology: “Dr. Ito is trained as an anthropologist, so she brings a unique lens for examining the evolution of cultural practices of games and digital media, and how they impact learning. At a time when parents are concerned about ‘screen time,’ her research tells us that certain practices involving games and media can be effective in unleashing untapped creative potential, learning how to create and integrate in social networks, and even be more engaged in civic life.”

(We just wrote about another researcher’s thoughts on screen time and education here.)

Ito is currently a professor in residence and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Chair in Digital Media and Learning at the University of California, Irvine. Her book Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out: Youth Living and Learning with New Media discusses “interest-driven learning” by using games, social media and digital tools.

She also cofounded Connected Camps, which describes itself as “a global online [Minecraft] community where kids build, code, play, and learn from one another.”

Ito reflects the multidisciplinary approach of the ExCITe Conversations Series, which has also hosted design expert John Maeda. Kim clarified that these talks “are intended for a broad audience, and we hope anyone interested in the future of learning (technology, practices, policy, and more) will join us.”

You can sign up for ExCITE email updates here.

Companies: Drexel University

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