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MacArthur Announces STEM Digital Learning Contest

A new contest will award $2 million in an open competition for digital learning approaches that promise to transform math and science education, according to an announcement today by the John D. And Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Timed to coincide with President Obama's press conference today to launch the "Educate to Innovate" initiative, the contest is part of the Chicago-based foundation's $50 million digital media and learning initiative.

The competition seeks to fuel participatory learning by challenging participants to design digital media that give students opportunities to create, interact, share, and explore technologies.

"Digital media, including games, are the learning labs of the future and this open competition encourages people to consider creative new ways to use digital media to create learning environments that are engaging, immersive and participatory," Connie Yowell, MacArthur's director of education, said in a statement. "This competition will help ensure that the new and highly engaging approaches to science, technology, engineering, and math find their way into schools, libraries, museums, and other spaces for learning."

Awards will be made in two categories: 21st-century Learning Lab Designers and Game Changers. The Game Changers competition—sponsored by Sony Computer Entertainment America in cooperation with the Entertainment Software Association and the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation—will reward the best applications for the PlayStation video game LittleBigPlanet.

The administration's "Educate to Innovate" initiative is a push to encourage the nation's students to excel in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, through public and private partnerships, in another effort to move the United States closer to the top of the international rankings for achievement in those subjects and fields.

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