Mizuko Ito is a cultural anthropologist of technology use, examining children and youth’s changing relationships to media and communications and is Professor in Residence and John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Chair in Digital Media and Learning 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, 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. Most recently, she has co-edited and contributed to a book on fan culture, Fandom Unbound: Otaku Culture in a Connected World.
Continuing work on informal learning with new media with the support of the MacArthur Foundation, she is Research Director of the Digital Media and Learning Hub at UC Irvine and Chair of the MacArthur Research Network on Connected Learning. In addition to her current work funded by the MacArthur Foundation, she has been awarded grants by the National Science Foundation, the Spencer Foundation, the Mellon Foundation, Intel Research, the Abe Fellowship Program, and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, and is the recipient of the Jan Hawkins Award for Early Career Contributions to Humanistic Research and Scholarship in Learning Technologies from the American Educational Research Association.