JSB Symposium: Mimi Ito

"Connected Learning"

November 7, 2012

As educators, parents, and learners, we are struggling to adapt to the new realities of a world of social media and free-flowing information. How can we best guide, mentor, teach and coach young people in an era of abundant information and social connection? Today's digital, networked, and interactive media ecology offers new opportunities to pursue meaningful, demand-driven, and socially connected learning, but only the most activated digital learners are taking advantage of this potential. Our strategies for supporting young people's learning were honed in an era where communication centered on face-to-face interaction and experts controlled the flow of knowledge.

This talk described connected learning environments that effectively support what John Seely Brown has called "entrepreneurial learning," and considered some of the new kinds of learning pathways and relationships that can make these forms of learning scalable and accessible.

Mizuko "Mimi" Ito is a cultural anthropologist of technology use, examining children and youth’s changing relationships to media and communications and is Professor in Residence at the University of California, Irvine, with appointments in the University of California Humanities Research Institute, the Department of Anthropology, and the Department of Informatics. Her work on educational software appears in Engineering Play: A Cultural History of Children's Software.

In Japan, her research has focused on mobile and -portable technologies, and she co-edited a book on that topic with Daisuke Okabe and Misa Matsuda, Personal, Portable, Pedestrian: Mobile Phones in Japanese Life.  She has led a three-year collaborative ethnographic study, funded by the MacArthur Foundation, examining youth new media practices in the US, and focusing on gaming, digital media production, and Internet use. The findings of this project are reported in Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out: Youth Living and Learning with New Media.

Continuing this work on informal learning with new media with the support of the MacArthur Foundation, she is the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Chair in Digital Media and Learning and Research Director of the Digital Media and Learning Hub at UC Irvine.

She is a Professor in Residence at the UC Humanities Research Institute, and has appointments at the Department of Informatics and the Department of Anthropology.

Her book on anime fandom, Fandom Unbound: Otaku Culture in a Connected World, was just released by Yale University Press.

Her web site is http://www.itofisher.com/mito.