Spread and Scale in the Digital Age: A Memo to the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

December 31st, 2013 | RESEARCH

In this memo, we present a first version of the conceptual framework funded by the John D. and Catherine T. Macarthur Foundation. Our goal is to provide clarity around issues of scale and spread, and to develop a tool that can inform strategic thinking by members of the DML (Digital Media and Learning) community and the broader field. At the heart or the conceptual framework is a typology of conceptions of scale. Our interviews and literature review suggest that there are fundamentally different ways of conceptualizing the goals or outcomes of scale. We identify four: adoption, replication, adaptation, and reinvention. Recognizing the differences among these conceptions is critical, as each implies different conditions that are necessary to encourage spread, and the different strategies to foster it. It is also critical to enabling a more productive and generative discussion as we work together to improve learning opportunities for youth in a wide range of settings.



Team Members

Cynthia Coburn, Author, Northwestern University
Amy Catterson, Author, Northwestern University
Jenni Higgs, Author, Northwestern University
Katie Mertz, Author, Northwestern University
Richard Morel, Author, Northwestern University


Audience: Educators | Teachers | General Public | Museum | ISE Professionals
Discipline: Education and learning science | Social science and psychology | Technology
Resource Type: Policy | Memoranda | Reference Materials
Environment Type: Media and Technology | Websites | Mobile Apps | Online Media