12349 ED: Digital Media and Culture in Collaborative Learning Spaces

06/12/2015 @ 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM
The Wiltern BC

Organizers: Omar Ruvalcaba, Samuel Abramovich, Cristobal Martinez
Presenters: Omar Ruvalcaba, Samuel Abramovich, Cristobal Martinez, Peter Wardrip, Lisa Brahms
Discussant: James Gee

Our proposed panel explores how cultural values, practices, and identities relate to children’s engagement and learning in collaborative digital media and computer science learning opportunities. Panelists will share findings from four research projects that unpack how digital media learning can be situated within local cultural contexts. Specifically, all studies contribute to examining the implications of digital media learning on collaborative work and learning in diverse communities.

Past research with digital medial learning has largely ignored the diversity of cultural approaches used by children and adults to learn with digital media and technology, whether it be in formal or informal educational contexts. However, it is important to note that we do not use the term ‘culture’ only in reference to race or ethnicity. Instead, we use ‘culture’ to refer to the practices and identities of a community of people that share a history, practices, and values. In our approach we also acknowledge the potential for individual variation within communities of a shared background. he practices and values of a given community will mediate how digital technology is used and created (Bang, Marin, Faber & Suzukovich, 2013).

The four research studies in our proposed panel are studies that look at youth in an Arizona Native American community, a Jewish community in New York, a comparison of Mexican- and European-heritage children in California, and the local oulture of a Makers’ Space in Pittsburg. The first study provides an analysis of several eTextiles artifacts that were designed and constructed by middle school students at a local Arizona Native American community. The second, researchers how digital badges, based on valued community figures, can guide Jewish students’ learning in a supplementary program for religious school instruction. The third, analyzes variance in Mexican and European-heritage children’s (8-10 years) collaboration with a friend while learning to computer program. The final study is a collaboration with the Museum of Pittsburgh’s MAKESHOP provides findings on the learning practices and the practices within the center. The tension between the pervasive view of monolithic maker culture and the need to be inclusive to account for the practices of various cultural groups represented by making in informal learning settings.

Together these studies provide a complex and dynamic view of culture that can help current educators and researchers use the benefits of positive cultural identity along with the advantages of digital media to reach complex learning objectives. Our panelists and discussant will also engage DML attendees in discussing the importance of considering cultural practices and values in Digital Media Learning. Our goal for our panel is to problematize the existing discussion of culture within digital media learning and to spark a conversation regarding culture and digital media learning.

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