for Media Art Making


Doctoral Dissertation: Kylie Peppler

Dissertation Chair: Dr. Yasmin Kafai

While new technologies have been largely absent in arts education curriculum, they offer opportunities to address arts integration, equity, and the technological prerequisites of an increasingly digital age.

Peppler’s dissertation work draws upon the emerging professional field of “media arts” and the ways that youth use Scratch and other new technologies for communication as a way to design a 21st century K-12 arts education curriculum. Building on sociocultural theories of constructionism as well as Dewey’s theories of the arts and aesthetics as a democratic pedagogy, this work draws upon over three years of extensive field study at a Computer Clubhouse in Los Angeles where non-dominant youth accessed programming environments emphasizing graphic, music and video.

This study documents what youth learn through media art making in informal settings, as well as the strengths and limitations of capitalizing on youth culture in media art production and the distinct contributions that media arts education can make to the classroom environment. Findings point to the ways in which youth engage with technology that encourages active learning, and how new types of software can be used to illustrate and encourage this process.

Support for this project came from the Spencer Foundation and the National Science Foundation.

Other Related Projects

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Uncovering Literacies, Disrupting Stereotypes

Post-Doctoral Study: Kylie Peppler

Post-doctoral supervisor: Dr. Mark Warschauer

Educators and researchers in the field of literacy are expanding on traditional notions of literacy to include decoding, evaluating, and producing electronic media. Yet many youth enrolled in special education courses are seen as lacking the skills and competencies for creative production in new media because they may not possess the ability to read and write in a traditional sense. However, prior research has revealed that such marginalized and preliterate youth are avid consumers and producers of media arts texts.

This study examined this phenomenon to document, describe, and analyze the media arts practices of youth with disabilities within the context of schools participating in the one-to-one laptop initiative, contrasting their abilities with the common (mis)perceptions of these youth as being preliterate or even illiterate within today’s educational system. Aspects of new literacy studies, social theories of literacy, and constructionist learning guided the methodology and interpretation in this study. Media arts practices and the ways in which youth with disabilities make sense of new media are currently not well understood but have the potential to teach us about learning and literacy in the age of multimedia.

Support for this Postdoctoral Fellowship came from the Office of the President, University of California.

Representative Publications