Monday, March 28, 2011

Maria's concept map on Media Arts

"The field of media arts presents many unique opportunities for educators and researchers wanting to encourage active learning, make the schooling curriculum relevant to youths’ out-of-school interests, and teach youth how to communicate through a variety of multimodal discourses" (Peppler, 2010, pp. 29-30).
This week I worked on making my concept map even more complex. A new layer of connections contributes with information on creating with media arts and tools in order to give answers to the question "what is the role of arts, computation and digital creativity in new media"? I focus on Peppler's work on media arts, on Reas's tools and on Dewey's ideas, as well as on Sefton Green's creativity ideas. I also draw from my own experiences with my studio projects so far.

You can view an enlarged picture of the concept map HERE.

The role of the arts, computation and digital creativity is important for new media. Peppler's paper showed that impact at the Computer Clubhouse in Los Angeles. As an example, that study highlights the importance that freedom in creativity can have in the ways new media are explored, used and also in the ways they convey messages. It seems that this freedom allows experimentation and exploration within the areas of new media, and people learn through alternative ways of using tools. She promotes the ideas around learning in and out of school, and new media being the diode to such creative learning practices. Scratch is a tool that allows for experiential, experimental and active creation and learning.

Dewey was a great advocate of experiential learning and viewed the arts as an experience through which we grow our identities and knowledge. Along those lines, Reas and Peppler both reinforce this argument with their work. Reas proposes new ways of communicating with the computer, related to programming languages and authoring tools. He proposes Processing, an open source software that allow users to create easily.

Our understanding of new media derived through the ways they are used in daily life. We all design with new media, we share our creations and reflect on them. Creativity is key to how designs are reflected, and how they are being taken up by the audience. The Scratch community is a context where designs are evaluated. Designers publish that work and the community views, engages with the design, rates it, etc. This becomes a process of reflection, as members view and understand the elements that a project has that make it such.

For our designs studios, this is another opportunity for exploration, experimentation and active learning. We take the initiative to give flesh and bones to our idea, and then we share it with the community. I personally learned a lot about the role of new media for learning, as well as about the affordances that new media provide for creative expression and learning. For example, atmosphir was one of the tools that make the greatest impression to me. It is dynamic, and powerful tool that allowed me to experiment with an idea I had, develop it and share it. Whether one is a digital native or a digital immigrant, people can use them in the same ways. Literacy in new media becomes significant in such cases of authoring and digital production.


  1. Maria,
    I'm not sure I have any questions - I just have to say your essay is so fluid! Your map is outstanding - I really like how it has evolved. I may have to keep a copy of it for myself. I wish I could think of a question, but I just can't at this time. -Kate S.

  2. Maria,

    I think that the continuously created map is a great idea. In doing a concept map this way, are you finding it more difficult than when you did it with just one or two maps?

    I wonder about your statement, "We all design with new media, we share our creations and reflect on them." I would argue that reflection is a part of art (and everything) that comes when you are ready to engage the work and think critically about it. Some people produce just to create but reflection is an added task that some people do not choose to engage.

    Is reflection a necessary component for creation? On a superficial level, I would say yes. I think with time, though, honing the reflection skills helps us produce deeper and more meaningful artifacts.

    What do you think? Am I too far off?

  3. Charlene,

    I find that adding to that existing concept map helps me understand the relationships between the concepts better. I don't find it more difficult, in fact i find it more productive and challenging in the sense that I am trying to make as many meaningful connections on that map as possible. If I was to create one concept map each time, it would be a lot harder to understand the value of each concept in relation to the field.

    Yes, I think that even kids, when they design, and share their creations, they reflect on them. Even a child can say "i like it", which is a very primary level of reflection, and we go through that process, sometimes unconsciously, when we make decisions about our creations. I think that whether we engage or not into such reflection processes is something we choose to, based on our needs, priorities and interests.

  4. I did something similar for Kylie's class, too. At times, it would frustrate me to try to link everything together, make it perfect...eventually I just got past it. I would zone out and just work, and it would come together. It would not always be pretty but it was something that I loved because of the process.

    Can you guide reflection on the design process? Is this something that we have to come naturally? I think it is like meditating or first it is very difficult for me to focus, and then after some practice, I am able to do it more and more.

  5. I like your metaphor with yoga :) Not sure if it is exactly like that, but it makes sense. Unconsciously, i think everyone reflects, at least at a very low level. Then, it is something we develop as we interact with people and they give us feedback. In the case of media and online communities, this is something that gets cultivated through the participation in the online cultures. :)

  6. @Maria - Nice quote ;) Great summaries of the readings too. I also like your connections to the studio time -- happy to hear that your ventures into atmosphir have been productive. I think that often times we don't have time in our learning process to explore something new. When it comes to learning about new media, this can be so detrimental really as we end up reading more about new media than experiencing new media (when it should really be the other way around). As the discussions have developed, the reflection time is really key as there is SO much that is out there, not all of it is great for learning. Thanks for bringing so many of the course themes together in your post!