Our Vision

We envision a world where the diverse interests, culture, and assets of young people connect and power education, civic and career opportunities.

Our Team

The Connected Learning Alliance is a network of partners around the world, stewarded by the Connected Learning Lab at UC Irvine and powered by the team at the independent nonprofit Connected Camps. The CLA was originally launched by the Digital Media and Learning Research Hub of the University of California Humanities Research Institute, with support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s Digital Media and Learning initiative.

Our Story

Connected learning was catalyzed by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s Digital Media and Learning Initiative that launched in 2005. It has since expanded to include a wide-ranging network of researchers, educators, innovators and funders, who are part of the Connected Learning Alliance.

Connected Learning Over the Years

  1. 2005

    The MacArthur Foundation makes a series of grants that kick off their initial investments in digital media and learning. These include grants to Henry Jenkins to write a white paper on new media literacy; to Nichole Pinkard to start the Digital Youth Network; and to Peter Lyman, Michael Carter and Mizuko Ito for ethnographic research on youth and digital media.

  2. 2006

    The MacArthur Foundation launches the Digital Media and Learning Initiative, with a $50 million commitment, to explore how digital media changes the way young people learn, socialize, communicate and play.

  3. 2008

    Researchers from the Digital Youth Project publish “Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out: Youth Living and Learning with New Media,” reporting on a three-year ethnographic study of youth digital media engagement and learning. The Digital Youth Project was one of the first projects funded by MacArthur’s DML Initiative.

  4. 2009

    With MacArthur support, four Major DML Initiatives are launched: YOUmedia, a teen digital learning space at Chicago’s Harold Washington Library, is designed in collaboration with the Chicago Public Library, the Digital Youth Network and Carnegie Melon’s Entertainment Technology Center; the New York City Learning Network, later renamed the Hive Learning Network, supports collaboration amongst youth-serving educators in different regions; and the DML Hub at UC Irvine is established to support research and field-building for the emerging DML field.

    Quest to Learn, a new middle school for game-like learning in New York City, opens its doors. This project is co-funded by the MacArthur and Gates foundations.

  5. 2010

    The DML Hub organizes the first Digital Media and Learning Conference, chaired by Henry Jenkins, at UC San Diego.

    The MacArthur Foundation launches the Youth and Participatory Politics Research Network, chaired by Joseph Kahne, to explore the nature and extent of young people’s use of digital communications tools, social media and the Internet as tools to engage in civic and political activities.

  6. 2011

    The MacArthur Foundation launches the Connected Learning Research Network, chaired by Mizuko Ito. It is dedicated to understanding the opportunities and risks for learning, afforded by today’s changing media ecology, as well as building new learning environments that support effective learning and educational equity.

  7. 2012

    The DML initiative adopts connected learning as its core values and design principles and unveils the model at the annual Digital Media and Learning conference in San Francisco.

  8. 2013

    The Connected Learning Research Network sets a vision for the movement for connected learning in the report “Connected Learning: An Agenda for Research and Design.”

  9. 2017

    The Connected Learning Lab is established at the University of California. Founding faculty include director Mimi Ito, Richard Arum, David Goldberg, Katie Salen, Kurt Squire, and Constance Steinkuehler.