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Saturday, October 5 • 11:00am - 12:00pm
Connected Learning Experiences: Understanding Creativity, Materiality, Artistry and Affect in Computing

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Connected Learning Experiences: Understanding Creativity, Materiality, Artistry and Affect in Computing
Deborah A. Fields Utah State University & Yasmin B. Kafai University of Pennsylvania, Organizers

Researchers have only recently started to investigate the phenomenology of learning to code (Sengupta, Dickes, & Farris, 2018). That is, little is known about students’ emotional experiences with the process of learning to code and furthermore, how to design environments that support their affective, creative, and artistic experiences with computing. At the same time, we must not forget to consider depth and rigor in learning to code. Instead, we must consider how to provide and study more holistic coding experiences, incorporating the social, emotional, cognitive, and creative aspects into those experiences.
In this symposium we bring together scholars focusing on four different projects where arts and computing converge. They consider the role of computing in traditional material arts, how students bring in unexpected means of creativity to physical computational domains, and how to facilitate a conscious reflection of emotion in computing through art-making. What does it mean to be creative and expressive in computing? How do we intentionally acknowledge and support students’ development in the creative process of coding? Theresa Jean Tanenbaum of the University of California, Irvine, will draw on her expertise in narrative, play, and digital technology in bringing together the various elements from each presentation into a holistic consideration of learning experiences in computing. The session will be organized with a 5-minute interactive introduction by the organizers, followed by 8-minute presentations by each participant, a synthesis by the discussant, and 15-minutes of Q&A discussion with the audience.

Bending the Matrix: Computing as Artifact Transformation with Fiber Crafts 
Anna Keune, Indiana University, Bloomington; Kylie Peppler, University of California, Irvine

The history of the modern computer is deeply intertwined with the materiality of fiber crafts. The Jacquard loom was a model for the earliest digital computer (Essinger, 2007), programmed by women who reasoned with the machine to pioneer foundational programming routines (Abbate, 2012). Today, women are markedly underrepresented in computation and fiber crafts–with the exception of e-textiles–is often disconnected from computing. This risks to obscure the gendered material history of computing and hinders imagining alternative futures for the who and what of computing. We conducted an artifact analysis of computational concepts in weaving and fabric manipulation, 3d embroidery of fabric, with 12 instructors of undergraduate computer science courses. We iteratively coded transcripts for computational concepts and translated the concepts into pseudo-code. We found that challenging programming concepts (e.g., variables, functions) are required for weaving and fabric manipulation. Across creative textile disciplines, participants engaged with both creative practices and high-level computational thinking. As matrix bending process, fabric manipulation promises a space for material programming that is dissimilar to how we traditionally think of computing. Returning to the historic roots of computing, our work highlights fiber crafts as compelling content for computer science learning. Fiber crafts open up a playspace to imagine new computation that promises powerful insights for the design of tangible manipulatives for computer science learning.

Community-Oriented Reflections through Electronic Textiles
Lindsay Lindberg, University of California, Los Angeles, Deborah A. Fields, Utah State University

Electronic Textile projects (e-textiles) challenge hegemonic notions of gender roles and abstraction in both maker and computer science spaces, and can position students as designers and creators of technology, not just passive receivers (Kafai, Fields, Searle 2014). This arts and computing project explicitly connects students’ lived experiences with e-textile murals, deepening their engagement with the content and their identities, while producing unique artifacts integrating elements of visual art. 26 high school students participated in a 13-week e-textiles unit exploring interaction through the development of e-textile projects designed to represent their community using elements of computer science, visual art, and reflection. Through analyzing interview data, student design notebook entries, artist statements and artifacts, we see evidence of students using computational and craft to represent their communities in creative and unexpected ways—coding music, visual lighting effects, and interaction into their crafted pieces. In addition, students leveraged methods and materials not explicitly required in the project to more accurately express what they valued about their chosen communities. Providing reflective writing prompts created space for students to reflect on their coding content knowledge, identify practices to overcome challenges, and connect their lived experiences beyond school to their classroom experience. Connecting personal experiences to intentionally designed computational crafts may contribute to widening participation in computing.

Restorying Geek Identity: Collaborative Quilts as Ideational Resources to Support the (Re)Imagination of Youth
Mia S. Shaw, James Joshua Coleman, University of Pennsylvania

As computer science (CS) education seeks to research more inclusive learning environments for minoritized youth, we must consider how youths’ identities impact their CS participation. Stereotypes about CS can negatively affect youth’s sense of belonging or fit in the field (Cheryan, Plaut, Davies, & Steele, 2009), while CS classrooms and technologies can reproduce dominant narratives that alienate youth from marginalized identities (Ashcraft, Eger, & Scott, 2017). The “Restorying Computer Science Identities” project sought to broaden participation in computing by creating access for groups who have been historically and systemically shut out of CS. During a month-long workshop in a science museum’s STEM program, 13 youth (the majority of whom identify as of color) imagined new CS connections, stories, and identities, learned programming skills and explored the materiality of paper circuits to design interactive, collaborative quilts that reflected their restories. Using video observations and voice recordings, students’ reflective worksheets, artifacts, and interviews, we see students using computer science skills and digital technologies to restory their CS identities; their perceptions of the process of restorying; and how the imaginative act of restorying pushed against the confines of materiality. Findings for this project include the implications of integrating computer science and critical literacies with youth counter-storytelling and the development of intersectional CS identities, particularly as it connects to research and CS pedagogy.

What it’s Like: Stories about Learning to Code through Art Making 
Maggie Dahn, University of California, Los Angeles, David DeLiema, University of California, Berkeley

Our design-based research study positions art making as a point of departure for surfacing, understanding, and responding to students’ emotional experiences with coding. We focus on debugging, the process of figuring out how to fix broken code, because breakdowns in code elicit strong emotion and awareness of experience. As part of a two-week, project-based computer science summer workshop, we asked fifth through tenth grade students (n=63) to make art about their experiences learning to code through different art projects, including abstract watercolors, narrative painting, and poetry. In our design we capitalized on affordances of art to capture complex emotional experience because feeling is central to art making (Langer, 1953


Theresa Jean Tanenbaum

Assistant Professor, UC Irvine

avatar for Anna Keune

Anna Keune

Graduate Research Assistant, Indiana University
I am a doctoral candidate in Learning Sciences at Indiana University working with Dr. Kylie Peppler in the Creativity Labs. As a new media artist and designer, she leverages her international experiences across four continents to engage in research that spans across art, technology... Read More →

Deborah Fields

Associate Research Professor, Utah State University
Dr. Deborah A. Fields is a Temporary Assistant Professor in Instructional Technology and Learning Sciences at Utah State University and an independent research consultant. Deborah researches children’s connective learning and identity engagement through designing with digital technologies... Read More →

Kylie A Peppler

University of California, Irvine

Lindsay Lindberg

University of California, Los Angeles
avatar for Mia Shaw

Mia Shaw

Research Assistant, University of Pennsylvania - GSE

Josh Coleman

University of Pennsylvania

Maggie Dahn

Postdoctoral Scholar, UC-Irvine

Saturday October 5, 2019 11:00am - 12:00pm PDT
Doheny Beach C/D 311 Peltason Dr., Irvine, CA, 92697