Thursday, March 31, 2011

Cupcakian Adventures - DIY Project

Hi everyone!

I am continually inspired by the awesome studio projects that you are doing. I am a guild leader of a large World of Warcraft group. We have a particularly large female gamer base, and this last weekend, we decided to have a virtual girls night. We talked about the project and decided that I should focus baking. But, it gets better! My friend Joan (Waterlilies, H-Malganis) turned me to the website Bake It in a Cake. This site is hilarious! Basically, you take things and bake them into other things, such as Cadbury Eggs in Brownies or Peanut Butter cups in a cupcake! How fun!!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

My timeline

Since everyone is sharing their concept maps, I wanted to share something of mine and get some feedback if you have time. We created a timeline for Constructionism. If you think I should add anything to it, or if the layout does not speak to you, please let me know!

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.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

New Media Literacy_Shively

This week, I decided to try out a new mind mapping tool online (in the spirit of New Media Literacy!) To learn more about this tool, please visit - In short, this was a very easy application to learn and it was super fun! It links your terms to the internet to find the 'best' images, if you so please to post an image within your map - plus so much more - oh! and it allows you to share with your team - so they can add links, too! Lots of fun actions.

Anyway, onward and upward to the connections and explanation of my concept map. Then I will address the guiding questions for the past week: “What is the role of arts, computation and digital creativity in new media? What do the readings have to say in this regard? What have your gleaned from your own experiences in the studio thus far? What might you add to the discussions in the literature?"

All of the readings, aside from Dewey's article - concerned New Media Literacy. Although Dewey is far before New Media, he is the "father of experiential learning" - which New Media Literacy's foundation for learning requires. Thus, his work connects to Piaget and Papert's work concerning constructivism and constructionism, since his work posits that creating art and being an artist is fundamentally based on the experiences an individual carries forth when designing, creating, and critiquing such work. As you can see, Dewey's work influences Piaget and Papert as well as Peppler, Reas & Fry, and Resnick. In fact, you can see that all of the scholars are connected in some way throughout their scholarship.

Peppler's Media Arts study is connected to Reas & Fry due to the Processing language in Scratch. Her study is directly a result of Resnick's scholarship and findings, since he is the "father" of the MIT Computer Clubhouse. Her framework for the study is connected to Papert's work and since Papert's work is informed by Piaget's scholarship, her study is also via association with Papert's scholarship.

Peppler's article argues that Media Arts, such as Scratch products, allow for active learning to occur. I did not read the Resnick article this week, but I have read several of Resnick's work in the past. The map I have created reflects how the computer clubhouse is an environment where constructionism and democratic pedagogy can thrive. Thus, the reason for the results Peppler finds in her study regarding Media Arts. Her study supports that programs such as Scratch is clearly an option for curriculum in the realm of art education.

This is a segway to "What is the role of arts, computation, and digital creativity in new media?" First, the arts provide a foundation for understanding how new media is designed, created and how it is critiqued. Secondly, understanding how computation is the language of new media informs users and designers how to work with the new media. Finally, new media requires designers to be digitally creative in order to stand out among the millions of new media products out there. In order to be digitally creative users must have the opportunity to be immersed in the environment to build a foundation for future learning to occur. Programs, like The Computer Clubhouse, fosters this immersion after-school - providing users an environment that promotes both the art and computation skills needed to exercise digital creativity.

Like the Computer Clubhouse, our studio time allows us to explore new media and to be designers, creators, and critics. I have gleaned a new attitude towards new media and its involvement in education. Instead of being worried that new media is ruining our children's young minds, I can rest that it is part of a sub-culture (Digital Natives) that must be nurtured so that our children can be prepared for living in the 21st century. New Media Literacy is a necessary skill for our children (and adults alike). In addition, this genre of literacy increases the "old media" literacy and numeracy skills, thus it is beneficial to practice these skills in and out of school.

Indirect questions and comments: Just some thoughts about the recent research I have been reading - here and through out the semester.

Although urban and low-income areas need environments like computer clubhouses, I hypothesize that the townships and suburbs also need environments like such. I worry that we assume that middle income and upper income families/schools provide enough support when it concerns the digital age; but I wonder what is happening when most households have two working parents or are subject to divorce - with parents not always available to facilitate positive feedback regarding new media. I worry that our children are being left to the care of "the digital age." It seems that the scholarship we are reading only concerns low-income and urban areas. What are the side effects of the digital age in middle and upper income households when there is not feedback, supervision, facilitation, and/or knowledge of what is occurring (in terms of designing, creating, and criticizing new media) while parents are working? What kind of support do ALL children need in this genre of literacy? Should we reach all income levels concerning the importance of digital literacy? Not everyone reads Fortune or articles based on scholarship. I imagine there are many parents that fear the new media and hold their children back (as a way of protecting their children.)

In addition, I understand that children in middle households/schools may have access to all the digital tools needed to be digitally creative - but having access to the tools without support is quite a different experience than given access to these tools with support. I have noticed that many of the upper income private schools have more facilitated activities in new media, but not as much in the middle income schools/homes. Is there research that is a mix of income areas? (I understand that this might be related to a funding question - shouldn't we be concerned about all children from every background? Or are these studies automatically generalized to all?) Thanks!