Note: The information provided here refers to past Digital Media and Learning Competitions, and is provided for archival and reference purposes only. If you are seeking the current Digital Media and Learning Competition, please navigate to

ABOUT THE 4th Digital Media ANd Learning COMPETITION

Created in 2007, the Digital Media and Learning Competition is designed to find and inspire the most innovative uses of new media in support of connected learning. Connected learning happens in and out of school, in physical places and in online spaces, and is:

  • motivating because it is connected to people's interests and passions; and
  • social in nature because it involves interacting, providing feedback, and sharing with others; and
  • typically occurs during tangible, hands-on, creative activities that are open and discovery-based; and
  • often involves connections among learners, adult mentors, and more advanced peers as teachers.

Projects supported by the Competition explore how digital technologies are changing the way people learn and participate in daily life, through interaction with each other in connected, participatory ways, often involving the production and not just the consumption of knowledge, ideas, designs, and artifacts.

Past Competition awards have recognized individuals, for-profit companies, universities, and community organizations using new media to transform learning.

The Badges for Lifelong Learning Competition, launched in collaboration with the Mozilla Foundation, will focus on badges as a means to inspire learning, confirm accomplishment, or validate the acquisition of knowledge or skills.


The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation launched the Digital Media and Learning initiative in 2006 to help determine how digital technologies are changing the way people, especially young people, learn, play, socialize, and participate in civic life. Answers are critical to developing educational and other social institutions that can meet the needs of this and future generations.

The Digital Media and Learning initiative is marshaling what is already known about the field and seeding innovation for continued growth.

Grant support has been provided to the Digital Media and Learning Competition and to research projects, design studies, pilot programs, and experiments in learning applications, assessment and institutional design, structure and approach.


Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people—especially those with the fewest resources—have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life.

The College Ready Work Team at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has focused its investments on supports for both teachers and students. The Foundation hopes to dramatically increase the number of college-ready students by focusing on what they need and changing the systems and policies that are preventing schools, districts, and states from producing large numbers of college-ready students. The Gates Foundation envisions a future where students learn beyond the bounds of traditional classrooms, where they set their own pace toward college readiness, and get there, at least in part, by pursuing their own interests.

Based in Seattle, Washington, the foundation is led by CEO Jeff Raikes and Co-chair William H. Gates Sr., under the direction of Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett.


HASTAC (the Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Advanced Collaboratory) is an international network of educators and digital visionaries committed to the creative development and critical understanding of new technologies in life, learning, and society. HASTAC is committed to innovative design, participatory learning, and critical thinking.


Mozilla is a global, nonprofit organization dedicated to making the Web better. It emphasizes principle over profit, and believes that the Web is a shared public resource to be cared for, not a commodity to be sold. Mozilla works with a worldwide community to create open source products like Mozilla Firefox, and to innovate for the benefit of the individual and the betterment of the Web. The result is great products built by passionate people and better choices for everyone. As a part of it’s overall commitment to learning on the web, Mozilla Foundation is providing the open badging infrastructure to support all competition badging systems and badges. We hope this infrastructure will extend the value of badges from each issuer across the entire badge ecosystem, making it easy for learners to collect and combine badges across various websites, networks and applications.


California Academy of SciencesThe California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate park will be hosting the 2012 DML Competition finals on February 28th and 29th, when Competition finalists will gather together to develop their projects and pitch them to a panel of expert judges.
The California Academy of Sciences is a world-class scientific and cultural institution to explore, explain and protect the natural world. The Academy houses an aquarium, a planetarium a natural history museum and a 4-story rainforest all under one roof.


The following organizations, corporations, government agencies and departments have committed to provide learning content, programs, or activities and other resources related to their area of interest for which a badge or set of badges can be developed. Collaborators have been pre-screened by HASTAC. They will provide content, programs or activities for Stage 1 and will actively participate in Stage 3 of the Competition.

4H Council Logo American Library Assoiation Corporate for Public Broadcasting Logo Logo
4-H Council

American Library Association 

Corporation for Public Broadcasting  Inside Jobs
Intel Logo Microsoft Logo Partners in Learning Logo Motorola Logo


Microsoft Microsoft Partners in Learning Motorola
NASA Logo National Association of Manufacturers Logo The Manufacturing Institute Logo Time Warner Cable Logo
NASA The National Association
of Manufacturers
The Manufacturing Institute Time Warner Corporation 
Department of Education Logo Department of Energy Logo Department of Labor Logo
Department of Veterans Affairs Logo

U.S. Department of Education

U.S. Department of Energy

U.S. Department of Labor U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs