Screen Shot 2013-10-26 at 11.59.54 PM.png

PROJECTS

Creative Materials: Computational Textiles
A multidisciplinary team composed of computer scientists, arts and computer science educators, and learning scientists from the University of Pennsylvania, MIT and Indiana University will research how to encourage roughly 400 youth (ages 10-18) to creatively engage with computational textiles in afterschool and school settings. Computational textiles—textile artifacts that are computationally generated or that contain embedded computers—can capture youths’ pre-existing interests in new media, fashion, and design while supporting learning and creativity in computer science, arts, design, and engineering.Funding: National Science Foundation 

Creative Code: Scratch
The MIT Media Laboratory and UCLA develop and study Scratch, a networked and media-rich programming environment designed to enhance the development of technological fluency among children ages 8-18. Scratch adds programmability to the media-rich activities that youngsters are increasingly engaged in at both school and home. Scratch allows youth to be no longer simply consumers of such media but producers as well, creating their own animations, art, and music in the process of learning the basic components of programming, such as conditionals and loops. Scratch is available free of charge at: www.scratch.mit.edu Funding: National Science Foundation

Community Design Studios: Computer Clubhouse
Computer Clubhouse is a network of after-school learning centers for youth from low-income communities. Currently with over 100 sites in 14 countries and over 20,000 youth members, the Computer Clubhouse offers children a place to learn and socialize with the latest media-rich software. We are studying how Clubhouse youth (ages 10-18) become creative designers, act as mentors to each other, and participate in the growing online community. Funding: National Science Foundation and UCLA Community Partnerships

Digital Tween Project: Coming of Age Online
Virtual worlds have become primary meeting spaces for youth of all ages in recent years. This project presents the findings of the first comprehensive study combining surveys, observation, and commentary on tweens’ their interactions around flirting and dating – ‘coming of age online’. Our investigations took place in a virtual world called Whyville.net, which currently has 4.2 million registered players between the ages of 8-18 years.  Surveying hundreds of tweens and teens about their online relationships, communications with their parents, and information seeking behaviors regarding flirting and dating, we coupled these responses with case studies of online interactions. Funding: MacArthur Foundation and National Science Foundation.

Digital Tween Project: The World of Whyville
Whyville.net is not only one of the leading virtual worlds geared for youth ages 8-18, but a remarkably popular site where youth can learn the elements of basic science through a variety of online games. Our investigations focused on how tweens learn to p the practicies and norms of  to play in virtual worlds  two aspects: How do children chose to spend their time at Whyville and how they do they become engaged in science on Whyville? We were particularly interested in two events: the annual outbreak of a virtual epidemic, called Whypox, and related vaccine sales and trades. Our observations captured players’ interactions online and offline in classrooms and afterschool clubs. Funding: National Science Foundation

Classroom Design Studio: Peer Pedagogy
In this project, we analyze a series of ‘learning science by design’ projects over the course of five years. Elementary fourth and fifth grade students worked in teams designing and implementing software that teaches younger students in their school about a specific science topic. Teams were composed of students experienced in the project task and those new to the activity. We observed and analyzed how fourth grade youngsters talked about science, how they prepared their software programs, and their capacity to work collaboratively based on prior participation in the program as third graders. . We compared two classrooms taught by the same teacher differing in one aspect: the composition of experienced and inexperienced members in a team. The third and last phase was to evaluate the long-term impact of learning through design and how students who participated in this project for four years came to understand their own learning experience and performance. Funding: National Science Foundation

Moral Kompass in Digital World

Given the ever-changing face of the Internet and computers, in general, computer and Internet new social and technical problems arise on almost a daily basis, and there is a prevailing mood of uncertainty regarding how to apply rules and standards.  What can be legitimately copied and repurposed from the Internet, given the plethora of information is available through the public domain? These issues of fair use, copyright, and intellectual property are not only a challenge to adults but  also appear in classrooms, as computers play an increasingly prominent role in children’s education. This set of research studies investigates how children, pre- and in-service teachers, parents, and school administrators judge appropriate uses of the computer and Internet, understand each other’s moral reasoning, and deal with everyday issues involving ethical uses of the computer and Internet that occur on a daily basis in the classroom. Sponsor: UCLA Academic Senate