ArticlePDF Available

Learner-generated designs in participatory culture: What they are and how they are shaping learning


This paper discusses the special issue on learner-generated designs in participatory culture. We suggest that learner-generated designs represented as artifacts in the making, identity negotiation, and mediated discourse point strongly to social identification. People learn tacitly not only from their environment across different contexts of learning, but also from the social interactions that support learning and are shaped by the practices in which they are situated in. The individual and collectives transform each other in the interactions they participate in.
Please note that this is an uncorrected manuscript of:
Kim, B., Tan, L., & Bielaczyc, K. (2015). Learner-generated designs in participatory culture: what they are
and how they are shaping learning. Interactive Learning Environments, 23(5), 545555.
Learner-Generated Designs in Participatory Culture: !
What They Are and How They Are Shaping Learning
Beaumie Kim
Werklund School of Education
University of Calgary, Canada
Lynde Tan
School of Education
University of Western Sydney, Australia
Katerine Bielaczyc
Hiatt Center for Urban Education
Clark University, U.S.A.
Interactive Learning Environments (ILE) journal represents strong scholarly work on
giving learners control of their own learning (e.g., Volume 23, Issue 1, 2015) with the use
of innovative learning technologies (e.g., Volume 23, Issue 2, 2015). We believe that
positioning learners as active meaning makers is changing the landscape of what we may
call interactive learning environments. ILE is concerned with “all aspects of the design
and use of interactive learning environments in the broadest sense” (ILE, n.d.). In this
special issue, we purport to interrogate and further our understanding of the commonly-
cited term, design, specifically learner-generated designs. This issue brings together
scholars from multiple disciplines, including learning sciences, literacy studies, science
education, digital media, and pedagogy, to examine the notion of learner-generated
designs in both formal and informal learning environments. Multidisciplinary
perspectives provide ways of understanding how learners take hold of their culture of
learning, shaping it to be more participatory, communicative, collaborative and digital. !
Throughout the special issue, the authors suggest an emergent culture of learning that
engages learners in reifying their knowledge and identity through artifacts and discourse.
This is the common thread weaving through each paper’s examination of learner-
generated designs. We argue that learner-generated designs provide opportunities for
learners to bring in their objects or ideas of significance to engage in pedagogic discourse
with their peers and teachers or mentors. Learner-generated designs focus the discourse
on the learners’ ways of being, doing, and knowing, identity and embodied experiences
of artifacts in different domains of their lives. In this editorial commentary, we draw on
the authors’ research to elucidate the notion of learner-generated designs. !
The individual contributions showcase empirical analyses of learners’ artifacts of
learning and group discourse to examine learner-generated designs and their practices of
participating in both online and offline learning environments. Their research questions
address how their pedagogical designs bring out learners’ agency as well as what
learners’ designs mean in their contexts. Drawing on Engle and colleagues’ (2011) notion
of expansive framing, Zuiker and Wright (2015, this issue) connect gardening practices
with scientific practices, which relocate science learning in the everyday setting of the
school garden. Other authors attend to young people’s digital media productions such as
online writing in a classroom social network site and Storywiki (Schwartz, 2015, this
issue), making music videos using Scratch (Fields, Vasudevan & Kafai, 2015, this issue),
and social networking and designing games as part of the Digital Youth Network (Gomez
and Lee, 2015, this issue). !
We believe that the papers in this special issue point to the important areas of research for
the readership of ILE. Schwartz (this issue) draws on Moll and colleagues’ (2013) work
on the funds of knowledge to provide marginalized adolescents with opportunities to
generate what Jacobs-Fantauzzi (2006) terms as inventos to connect adolescents’ writing
to their lifeworlds. Fields and colleagues (2015, this issue) propose the concept of nested
collectives in promoting collective agency in programming, which emerge from their
work as well as from the literature on collaborative and participatory design (e.g., Enyedy
& Mukhopadhyay, 2007; Magnifico, 2010; Sawyer, 2012). Deriving their research
predominantly from Brown’s (2006) seminal work in the new learning environments and
situated cognition (such as Brown, Collins & Duguid, 1989), Gomez and Lee (2015, this
issue) purport to design learning environments that veer away from the traditional Initial-
Response-Evaluation classroom discourse to one that is situated in social interactions
between the mentors and novice experts. Hod and Ben-Zvi (2015, this issue) use the
notion of learning communities (Bielaczyc & Collins, 1999), which has been researched
in K-12 school settings, to foster collective responsibility over participants’ collaborative
learning norms in higher education.!
Learners’ design activities and participatory ways of knowing have great potential to
drive innovative interactive learning environments: learning is interest-driven,
motivating, and engaging, and its outcomes are meaningful to the individuals and the
communities they associate themselves with. We discuss how the authors characterize
and advocate for learner-generated designs and how they have transformed the learners’
practices of designing and learning into participatory ways of doing. !
Defining Learner-Generated Designs!
Children’s understanding of new concepts or of self has been associated with their acts of
designing (i.e., creating, inventing, constructing and expressing with and through various
symbolic and physical means). Drawing on the work of Jean Piaget, Seymour Papert
(1980) suggested “microworldsas a powerful playspace for children to develop an
understanding of new concepts. In computer-based microworlds, children construct their
own worlds with objects to think with (e.g., turtles in Logo programming environment),
and develop complex understanding (e.g., Newtonian physics). Pea and Gomez (1992),
more than two decades ago in an ILE article, similarly advocated learners and teachers to
be interactive multimedia composers for developing deeper understanding of knowledge.
They argued for the use of distributed multimedia learning environments (DMLE), which
extended communication, community, and resources, thus teaching and learning, beyond
the classroom using computer networks.
In terms of developing understanding of self, there are researchers who draw on the work
of John Dewey to advocate children’s creative expressions and identity development
through arts and media production (e.g., Grace & Tobin, 2002; Greene, 1995). They have
paid attention to children’s need to express and imagine in their own pleasurable ways,
and thus offering visions and possibilities for their own learning and development.!
Nevertheless, the assumption that creative designs and playful learning are appropriate
for childhood only should be challenged. Resnick (2007) specifically asserts that a
kindergarten approach to learning (i.e., imagining, creating, sharing, and modifying
inventions) which promotes learners’ abilities as creative thinkers, should extend to all
ages of learners. Increasingly in recent literacy research, young people’s digital literacies
in community-based creative inventions, Do-It-Yourself (DIY) interest-based projects
and Maker Faires have intensified educators’ gaze into learner-generated designs and
participatory culture of learning. !
The studies in this special issue illuminate learners’ engagement in various types of
design activities, and their growth in knowledge and as participants in communities. Like
the studies we have cited earlier, the authors in this issue have also included learners’
designs as creative inventions. We, however, use the term with some trepidation because
this is a term that is widely used in educational research but seldom explained in writing.
While recent research and practice have increasingly paid more attention to the term,
design, in their pedagogical interventions (e.g., design thinking, design-based learning),
not many have pointed to possible ways of understanding what this term entails in
research. We attempt to offer an expansive notion of this term, based on the research
work published in this issue. We discuss design as artifacts in the making, as identity
negotiation, and as mediated discourse. !
Design as artifacts in the making!
This special issue offers a common understanding that design can be understood as
artifacts in the making. What is important is not the quality of the final products created
by learners but the emphasis on “the coming together of materiality and embodied
humans engaged in particular activities” (Boivin, 2008, p. 167). Artifacts are designed by
embodied values, choices that may be influenced by social and cultural interactions,
including media, family, friends, mentors and peers and the material properties of the
learning tools or resources. The material properties of learners’ artifacts and embodied
intentions shape the emergent culture of learning and hence, the learning environments
they are co-constructing. !
What is worth designing and how learner designs are culturally and socially relevant to
their immediate contexts as well as to the larger communities of scientists, programmers,
media producers are closely attended to by the authors of this special issue. For instance,
in Fields et al.'s (this issue) work, learners created music video mash-ups using Scratch to
learn established programming concepts and processes. The authors argue for the
importance by having students choose the music and supporting authentic practices of
programmers. They also observed the development of nested collectives as the students
collaboratively engaged in multi-layered programming and refinement, leading to a more
participatory way of designing while ensuring individual development of programming
capabilities. !
Similarly, Zuiker and Wright’s (this issue) work supports learner engagement in authentic
science learning using cyber-physical systems of gardening, contextualized in their
everyday setting of a school garden. Gardening, situated in the warm and dry location of
the school, challenged learners to consider various conditions affecting the plants and to
engage in an iterative design and modification process in creating their garden plots. The
authors’ connected gardening framework paved the way for the mediation of learners’
collective design process through the cyber-physical system of gardening. !
Design as identity negotiation !
Merchant and Carrington (2009) argue, “the very process of becoming literate involves
taking up new positions and becoming a different sort of person” (p. 63). Nonetheless,
the construction of identities is contentious and this may be problematic when there is
tension between individual agency and authoritative structures within formal schooling
(Willett et al., 2005). Schwartz’s (this issue) work with the Latino students is a case in
point. In her study, she shifted traditional writing instruction that privileged teacher’s
authoritative voice to a more multi-discursive and multimodal literacy practice with
digital media. Schwartz built upon the richness and complexity of learners’ funds of
knowledge and treated home background and media practices not as a deficit; rather, but
as an asset that shaped deep levels of identity (Street, 2005). In Schwartz’s work, the
students made use of their identities to create narratives of the self in their digital media
productions and showed that they knew how to mobilise their identities as resources for
their digital compositions in a classroom social network and StoryWiki. !
Citing Brown and Duguid, Greenhow and Robelia (2009) claim that social learning
becomes meaningful when learning involves “developing a social identity that shapes
what people come to know, feel and do and how they make sense of their experiences”
(p. 1136). Like Schwartz, other authors of this special issue also demonstrate that identity
in learning is a negotiated experience where “[w]e define who we are by the ways we
experience our selves through participation, as well as by the ways we and others reify
ourselves” (Wenger, 2008, p. 105). Students in Zuiker and Wright’s (this issue) study
participated in connected gardening activities, where they learned to make decisions
about their school garden based on evidence and to negotiate appropriate ways of
handling plants in the garden, and thus their becoming of responsible scientists cum
gardeners continue to be reified. High School students in Fields and colleauges’ (this
issue) study participated in Scratch workshop (Collab Camp), through which they also
took part in the design challenge hosted by and its massive online
community. Within the collective of a team, students negotiated their roles and designs,
supported each other as programmers and creative designers, and tackled programming
challenges. At the same time, the interactions within the larger collectives including
interns, mentors, the instructional team, and the Scratch community, who represented
different levels of programmers and designers and helped them engage in iterative
modifications for improving their work and identify themselves with the community.
Their work demonstrates Wenger’s (2008) argument that there is identity in practice as
young learners learn the “way of being in the world” (p. 106) when they participate in
authentic science communities.!
Design as mediated discourse !
Identity is highly situated in the social practices, and discourse plays a significant role:
practices are represented in discourse and discourse plays a role in structuring practice
(Gee, 2012; Scollon, 2002). When we understand design as mediated discourse, we pay
attention to how the social actors in a learning environment, namely, learners, mentors
and instructors, construct dialectical and purposeful interactions using objects, resources
or learning tools that are meaningful to their evolving identities. Particularly worthy of
discussions is how learners’ talk accomplishes and creates the social practices of an
expert in media production and game design in Gomez and Lee’s (this issue) work in the
Digital Youth Network. Their work attends to the ways in which learners progressively
position themselves into particular expert roles as they interact with their mentors and
peers, resulting in “interactionally situated cognition” (Wortham, 2001 as cited in Gomez
and Lee, this issue). Their work emphasizes the importance of positioning learners in
situated practices and discursive construction of knowledge. !
Bakhtin (1986) uses the term ideological becoming to describe how people develop ways
of viewing the world. He also argues that ideological becoming occurs through the
mediated means of and within ideological environments (ibid). We draw on this
argument to understand how mentors, instructors and learners navigate interactions to
become and think like an expert, and how such mediated discourse itself becomes a locus
for design. Discourse mediated by social actors and their artifacts may guide ideological
becoming of learners in diverse contexts. A negotiation of ideological becoming is
expected when there are struggles to assimilate dissenting ideological viewpoints. Hod
and Ben-Zvi’s study (this issue) demonstrates a context of learners in a graduate school
engaging in designing of their group norms. The group of adult learners assumed that the
instructor held the responsibilities to make changes when natural conflict and difficulties
arose as they engaged in prolonged collaboration. This started to change through
reflective discussions in both the face-to-face setting and on the wiki in the process of
designing norms for becoming a community of learners. The students started to see
themselves as independent selves who had agency in making change in their collective
learning process, shifting from the ideological world of teacher-dominant curriculum to
their ideological becoming of a learning community. The fourth grade students’
engagement in negotiation of new class norms around the garden plot and plant
ownership in Zuiker and Wright’s (this issue) study also demonstrates such shift from
teacher-dominant governance, where young students were inclined to report their peers’
faults, to shared ownership of class norms.!
Learner-generated designs represented as artifacts in the making, identity negotiation, and
mediated discourse in this special issue point strongly to social identification. The papers
in this special issue emphasize that people not only learn tacitly from their environment
across different contexts of learning but also from the social interactions that support
learning and are shaped by the practices in which they are situated in. The key arguments
made by the authors in this issue resonate with Wortham’s (2004) argument that “all
learning necessarily involves social identification” (p. 731), where social identification
refers to the “process through which individuals and groups become identified as publicly
recognized categories of people” (p. 716). The individual and collectives transform each
other in the interactions they participate in. !
Put differently, learning and identity are inseparable. In challenging the assumption that
an interest of the self can be separated from the acts of the self, Dewey (1916) asked
readers to recognize that “[t]he self is not something ready-made, but something in
continuous formation through choice of action” (p.336). The artifacts created by learners
are not just the products of their co-constructed knowledge with others, but are reflective
of the shared practices of their affinity groups (Gee, 2005) and ways of being and
becoming. Learner-generated designs embody choices and formation of the self and the
selves in the course of the designing, be it a competent designer, a programmer, or a
responsible member of a community, and implicate their future choices of actions. !
Participatory Ways of Designing in an Emerging Culture of Learning!
With the aim of promoting learner-generated designs, the authors of this issue are shifting
from the traditional way of teaching and learning to allow the learners to take hold of
their learning environments through tinkering, experimenting, and creating media
products and other artifacts collaboratively (Jenkins, Clinton, Purushotma, Robinson, &
Weigel, 2007; Resnick, 2007) or what Thomas and Brown (2011) would identify as the
new culture of learning. We prefer to use the emerging culture of learning, rather than
new culture of learning although our use of the term does not contradict Thomas and
Brown’s notion of how people learn in participation. The word new is problematic as
being new is context-specific and may not be shared across contexts. !
We begin with the comparison between the conservative way of learning and an
emerging culture of learning that is evident in all five papers (see Table 1). We do not see
the two paradigms of learning as discrete and polarized ends. Nonetheless, for the
purpose of contrasting the two paradigms of learning, we represent them in the form of a
comparison table. !
Table 1. Comparison between conservative way of learning and emerging culture of
Conservative Way of
Emerging Culture of Learning!
Assumption of
learning !
Transmissive model!
(Learning by acquisition)!
Participatory Model!
(Learning by doing)!
Focus on learner !
Individual (independent
Individual in the collective
(collaborative learning;
opportunistic collaboration)!
Learning trajectory!
Pre-determined !
Learner-defined !
Technology use!
To learn content !
(Push model of providing
To learn about, to learn to do
and to be !
(Pull model of using resources)!
Sfard’s (1998) seminal article discusses acquisition versus participation metaphors and
rightly cautions researchers about choosing just one side of the continuum and neglecting
the significance of the other in learning. For decades, schooling has been structured based
on the assumption that learning is a direct transfer of knowledge from the teacher (the
sage) to the students (the novice). The model of learning is often described as learning by
acquisition whereby the learner “absorbs” all the information learnt from the teacher. The
focus on the individual learner is rooted in a learning environment that centres on testing
and ranking students in a norm-referenced assessment environment (Bransford, Brown,
Cocking, & Donovan, 2000). In contrast, participatory learning emphasizes belonging,
learning by doing and communicating within communities (e.g., Lave & Wenger, 1991)
whose shared practices are overlooked in a transmissive model of learning. !
Educational researchers are observing how the personal and the collectives are
intertwined to allow one to perform a certain identity and learn within a collective with
digital media, i.e. “a group of people who generally share values and beliefs about the
world and their place in it, who value participation over belonging and who engage in a
set of shared practices” (Thomas & Brown, 2011, pp. 56- 57). The contemporary notion
of participatory learning model now focuses not only on individual’s achievement but
also its contribution to the collective goals, as demonstrated by the authors of this special
issue. The essence emphasized by the authors in this special issue is less on learning to
belong, which we argue is the key thrust in the community of practice (e.g., Lave &
Wenger, 1991), but more on belonging to learn, which we think are more representative
of how young people are coming together online in a collective (Thomas & Brown,
2011). The focus on individual learner in collective is most explicitly designed and
scaffolded in Fields et al.’s (this issue) work on nested collectives. In their study, the
collaborative programming task involved layers of participating in a Collab challenge of
the international Scratch community, while also successfully learning and becoming good
Scratch programmers individually. !
Several authors of this issue shared how young people participate in DIY media creation
through social learning where their “understanding of concepts and processes is
constructed socially in conversations about the matters in question” and “through
grounded [and situated] interactions, especially with others, around problems or actions”
(Brown and Adler as cited in Lankshear & Knobel, 2010, p. 19). This is the essence of
participatory learning emphasized in this special issue. A notion of learning by doing, a
learning model described by Schank, Berman, and Macpherson (1999) is evident across
all five papers. While doing the tasks of an expert and exchanging knowledge valuable to
a community are essential in learning by doing, the role of discourse in supporting
learners’ becoming and being expert-like cannot be undermined. Gomez and Lee (this
issue) correctly point out the importance of situated cognition and the role interactional
positioning plays to drive high cognitive challenges and suggest “talking into being”
(Heritage, 1984) is necessary when learners begin to think about becoming an expert and
participate in a discourse community similar to the experts’.
The same salient way of learning is also observed in other papers whereby the main aim
is to enculturate learners into expert practices through learner-generated designs. When
learners are enculturated into expert practices, this does not mean that there are pre-
determined methods for them to achieve the intended learning goals. Although the
mentors, teachers or instructors may need to design pedagogical interventions, these
designs are intended to facilitate learner-generated designs where the process of creating
involves learning expert practices. In Hod and Ben-Zvi’s (this issue) study, for example,
asking students to participate collaboratively did not spontaneously create a learning
community. Countering the students’ demands for the intervention into the groups’
conflicts, the instructor continued reframing questions in order for students to come up
with their own solutions. This led the students to (re)create, (re)formulate and refine
collective norms in their Wiki and own both problems and solutions. !
The learner’s own resources and identities as well as the teacher’s initial conjectures of
possible learning process constantly evolve throughout the process (cf., Cobb & Bowers,
1999; Dreier, 2003). From the situative perspective, learning progresses “along the
trajectories of participation and growth of identity” (Greeno, 1997, p.9). Learners in
Zuiker and Wright’s (this issue) study modified their garden plots in multiple iterations,
in which learners, together with the teacher, examined the evidence (e.g., soil moisture
and sun exposure data) and argued for the changes in watering the plants. How the
learners went through the iterative process of generating garden plots was not pre-
conceived, but situated in the context of gardening process. The knowledge was socially
constructed and shaped by the learners’ participation in a collective. Similarly, the focus
on learner trajectory was also evident Schwartz’s (this issue) study when the adolescents
drew on their funds of knowledge to advance their personal and academic goals through
writing in the social media. The outcome exceeded the previous expectation of a 5-
paragraph essay and motivated the learners to write authentically and meaningfully.
Fields et al.’s (this issue) study also focused on learner trajectory whereby the studio
model of design led to the development of thinking beyond computation and facilitated
the emergence of nested collectives. Learner trajectories in these examples are dependent
on individuals’ goals and interests, which are constructed jointly with others in a
community; it is therefore learner-defined, individually and collectively, in the
participatory learning process.
Similar points can be made by observing how technology is used in the papers. A
predominant theme among the papers is the use of technology to do what experts do in
practice, rather than using technology for content mastery in a didactic manner. With
authentic problems and meaningful contexts of technology use, the learners in the
research studies featured in this special issue are adopting roles that prepare them to be
more skilful problem solvers, networked collaborators and meaning makers. It is evident
that technology use is accompanied by new ethos of learning and literacies across the
papers, which is more participatory, collaborative, distributed in nature (Lankshear and
Knobel, 2007). Hagel and Brown (2005) describe this transition as moving from push
model of consuming resources to pull model of using resources (i.e., networked creators).
They suggest that pull models are “designed to accelerate capacity building by
participants, helping them to learn as well as innovate, by pursuing trajectories of
learning that are tailored to their specific needs” (Hagel & Brown, 2005, p.4). In push
models, the classroom is considered as an insular knowledge space whereas in pull
models, we argue that the classroom becomes a node in the network of knowledge
spaces. This aspect of technology use is observed in all papers when learners participate
in nested collectives (Fields et al., this issue) or Digital Youth Network (Gomez & Lee,
this issue), create digital media using their funds of knowledge as assets for learning
(Schwartz, this issue), use social learning networks such as Wiki to create new norms to
reframe their classroom discourse (Hod & Ben-Zvi, this issue), and engaged in scientific
practices and problem-solving situated in gardening practices using technology (Zuiker &
Wright, this issue). !
Conclusions: Looking Forward!
In this special issue, we have made some important assumptions. First, we assume that
educators increasingly value students’ voices and perspectives in today’s digital learning
environments. From an educator’s perspective, design requires systematic yet creative
applications of principles and methods (Masterman, 2013). The focus on learner-
generated designs envisages a new approach to education, which places its premium on
learner-defined contexts, their culture of learning and agency. This focus has been clearly
explained by the authors of this special issue. Elsewhere, educational researchers argue
for a progressive informant design approach to understand learners’ ideas and cultural
models and to eventually give them more critical design roles when designing an
interactive learning environment (e.g., Kim, Tan, & Kim, 2013). Second, we assume that
learners participate and shape their own lifeworlds using digital media. This digital
generation’s agency, identity, and voice are often embodied and represented in various
artifacts and practices they create in the participatory culture. The notions of learning and
education associated with teachers, classroom, and the school boundary are being
challenged by the thriving opportunities that surround people across all ages. Third, we
assume that technology, among many purposes, is used pervasively to (re)create and
share user-generated content in ways that blur the boundary between consumption and
production. The exponentially growing use of digital media, such as games, social
networking sites, digital videos, wikis, and blogs, is changing the way we interact with
others and society as well as the way we learn.
Drawing on the authors’ research and our own work (e.g., Bielaczyc & Ow, 2014; Tan &
Kim, 2015; Wang, Kim, Lee, & Kim, 2014), we would like to conclude this special issue
by suggesting the following principles!for! learning within the context of designing in
1) Position learners as active members of epistemic communities;!
2) Capitalize learners’ funds of knowledge as resources for learning;!
3) Situate learners in authentic practices;!
4) Create public learning artifacts for progressive knowledge construction; and!
5) Encourage technology use for learning about content, creating artifacts, and
becoming a member in a participatory learning community. !
We, the authors and editors, equivocally support that the focus on learner-generated
designs defensibly lead to exploration of newer pedagogies and deeper learning that
creates greater propensity for learners to direct their own learning in an ever-changing
world. The editors have been advocates of learners’ ideas and designs as we believe that
they are the core enterprise for growth. The authors of this special issue express similar
conviction in their papers. !
We acknowledge that there may be perceivably irreconcilable tensions when educators
push for learner-generated designs into formal school practices of learning. We are also
cognizant that many questions remain unanswered. One such question includes, if we
need to design for participatory cultures, what aspects of participation we should design
without compromising learner agency. The authors in this special issue have made efforts
to account for the complexity of interest-driven designs and participation, which is
intricately connected to the expansive notion of learner-generated designs. We
acknowledge that all the research presented in this special issue is highly situated in their
contexts of practice and the papers were written at a particular time and place.
Nonetheless, by bringing together these papers as a special issue in ILE, we aim to
elucidate the notion of learner-generated designs and how it can be actualised in the
participatory culture of learning. We hope that further research and scholarship in this
area will build on the work presented in this issue.
Bakhtin, M. M. (1986). Speech Genres and Other Late Essays. (C. Emerson & M.
Holquist, Eds., V. W. McGee, Trans.) (Second Printing edition). Austin:
University of Texas Press.
Bielaczyc, K., & Ow, J. (2014). Multi-player epistemic games: Guiding the enactment of
classroom knowledge-building communities. International Journal of Computer-
Supported Collaborative Learning, 9(1), 33–62.
Boivin, N. (2008). Material Cultures, Material Minds. Cambridge, MA, USA:
Cambridge University Press.
Bransford, J. D., Brown, A. L., Cocking, R. R., & Donovan, S. (2000). How people
learn: Brain, mind, experience, and school (expanded edition). Washington, DC:
National Academy Press.
Cobb, P., & Bowers, J. (1999). Cognitive and Situated Learning Perspectives in Theory
and Practice. Educational Researcher, 28(2), 4–15.
Dewey, J. (1916). Democracy and education: An introduction to the philosophy of
education. Courier Corporation.
Dreier, O. (2003). Learning in personal trajectories of participation. Theoretical
Psychology: Critical Contributions, 20–29.
Gee, J. P. (2005). Semiotic Social Spaces and Affinity Spaces: From The Age of
Mythology to Today's Schools. In D. Barton & K. Tusting (Eds.), Beyond
communities of practice: Language, power and social context (pp. 214–232).
Cambridge, MA, USA: Cambridge University Press.!
Gee, J. P. (2012). Social linguistics and literacies: Ideology in discourses (4th ed.). Oxon,
OX: Routledge.
Goodyear, P., & Carvalho, L. (2013). The analysis of complex learning environments. In
H. Beetham & S. Rhona (Eds.), Rethinking Pedagogy for a Digital Age:
Designing for 21st Century Learning (2nd Edition) (pp. 49–63). Florence, KY,
USA: Routledge.
Grace, D. J., & Tobin, J. (2002). Pleasure, Creativity, and the Carnivalesque in Children’s
Video Production. In L. Bresler & C. M. Thompson (Eds.), The Arts in Children’s
Lives (pp. 195–214). Springer Netherlands.
Greene, M. (1995). Releasing the Imagination: Essays on Education, the Arts, and Social
Change. Wiley.
Greenhow, C., & Robelia, B. (2009). Old Communication, New Literacies: Social
Network Sites as Social Learning Resources. Journal of Computer-Mediated
Communication, 14(4), 1130–1161.
Greeno, J. G. (1997). Response: On Claims That Answer the Wrong Questions.
Educational Researcher, 26(1), 5.
Hagel, J., & Brown, J. S. (2005). From push to pull. Sign.
Heritage, J. (1984). Garfinkel and ethnomethodology. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall.!
Jenkins, H., Clinton, K., Purushotma, R., Robinson, A. J., & Weigel, M. (2007).
Confronting the challenges of participatory culture: Media education for the 21st
Century. Chicago, IL: MacArthur Foundation.
Kim, B., Tan, L., & Kim, M. S. (2013). The affordances of informant design in
educational game development. International Journal of Arts and Technology,
6(3), 215–228.
Lankshear, C., & Knobel, M. (2007). Sampling the "new" in new literacies. In M. Knobel
& C. Lankshear (Eds.), A New Literacies Sampler (pp. 1-24). New York, NY:
Peter Lang.!
Masterman, L. (2013). The challenge of teachers’ design practice. In H. Beetham & S.
Rhona (Eds.), Rethinking Pedagogy for a Digital Age: Designing for 21st
Century Learning (2nd Edition) (pp. 64–77). Florence, KY, USA: Routledge.
Merchant, G., & Carrington, V. (2009). Literacy and identity. Literacy, 43(2), 63-64.!
Papert, S. (1980). Mindstorms: Children, computers, and powerful ideas. New York, NY,
USA: Basic Books.
Pea, R. D., & Gomez, L. M. (1992). Distributed Multimedia Learning Environments:
Why and How? Interactive Learning Environments, 2(2), 73–109.
Resnick, M. (2007). All I really need to know (about creative thinking) I learned (by
studying how children learn) in kindergarten. In Proceedings of the 6th ACM
SIGCHI conference on Creativity & cognition (pp. 1–6). New York, NY,
Schank, R. C., Berman, T. R., & Macpherson, K. A. (1999). Learning by doing. In C. M.
Reigeluth (Ed.), Instructional-design Theories and Models: A New Paradigm of
Instructional Theory (Vol. 2, pp. 161–181). Mahwah, NJ, USA: Lawrence
Scollon, R. (2002). Mediated Discourse: The Nexus of Practice. London, UK: Routledge.
Sfard, A. (1998). On Two Metaphors for Learning and the Dangers of Choosing Just
One. Educational Researcher, 27(2), 4–13.
Street, B. (2005). Introduction: New literacy studies and literacies across educational
contexts. In B. Street (Ed.), Literacies across educational contexts: Mediating
learning and teaching (pp. 1-21). Phildelphia, PA: Caslon.!
Tan, L., & Kim, B. (2015). Learning by doing in the digital media age. In T.-B. Lin, V.
Chen, & C. S. Chai (Eds.), New Media and Learning in the 21st Century: A
Socio-cultural perspective (pp. 181–197). Singapore: Springer.
Thomas, D., & Brown, J. S. (2011). A new culture of learning: Cultivating the
imagination for a world of constant change. Lexington, KY: CreateSpace.
Wang, X., Kim, B., Lee, J. W. Y., & Kim, M. S. (2014). Encouraging and being
encouraged: Development of an epistemic community and teacher professional
growth in a Singapore classroom. Teaching and Teacher Education, 44, 12–24.
Wenger, E. (2008). Identity in practice. In K. Hall, P. Murphy, & J. Soler (Eds.),
Pedagogy and Practice: Culture and Identities (pp. 105–114). Los Angeles, CA:
Willett, R. (2009). Young people's video productions as new sites of learning. In V.
Carrington & M. Robinson (Eds.), Digital literacies: Social learning and
classroom practices (pp. 13-26). London, England: Sage.!
Wortham, S. (2004). The interdependence of social identification and learning. American
Educational Research Journal, 41(3), 715-750.!
... Collaboration and scaffolding in Virtual Learning Communities (VLCs) are associated with terms of negotiation, which raise conflicts. These terms appear in the dialogue forms learning communities (Kim et al. 2015). In the Hod et al. (2018) study of revisiting learning communities, a potent major theme across learning community scholarship is that the individual and the community are in constant negotiation. ...
... Engaging students in shared, public efforts involving argumentation and explanation construction can lead to social discomfort. Kim et al. (2015) suggest an emergent culture of learning that engages learners in reifying their knowledge and identity through the artifacts and the discourse, as being participants in communities. They conclude that the mediated discourse in this special issue points strongly to social identification. ...
Full-text available
Research analysis usually focuses on terms of negotiation –argument, conflict, agreement, disagreement- as indications of collaborative learning. The reported research suggests that the latter can also exist in terms of prompting and inspiring and in terms of negotiation. To that purpose, a study of computer supported collaborative learning has taken place in a Virtual Learning Community (VLC), in the frame of an authentic educational activity. Analysis of discourse and artifacts was conducted. The nature of the dialogues in the reported VLC seems to be a special form of discourse addressing community context, mainly characterized by prompting and inspiring while less of negotiation and conflicts. Furthermore, the suggested rethinking can be the shift to the kind of discourse that researchers are seeking for, as the form of changing in VLCs.
... Learners' design exploration embraces participatory ways of knowing, which is necessary for inculcating learners' interests, motivation and engagement in an innovative learning environment (Kim, Tan, & Bielaczyc, 2015). By adding game design to a GBL pedagogy, we engage learners in an iterative idea exploration that invites purposeful ambiguity in the learning process. ...
In this chapter, we conceptualize design thinking by examining two dominant discourses, which we call descriptive and prescriptive perspectives. The descriptive perspective aims to understand the way designers think and work but has been criticized for its absence of a clear definition of design thinking. On the other hand, the prescriptive perspective considers design thinking as a method to innovate and create value. The prescriptive design thinking perspective has been criticized for presenting a simplistic vision of design, which people without any previous training, knowledge, and skills in relevant disciplines may use out of context. This chapter attempts to provide a look “inside the box” by re-conceptualizing design thinking, not as a “doer method” but a cognitive process with a long research tradition. We argue for a synthesis of both perspectives in teaching and learning practices. In doing so, we present a pedagogical approach grounded in game-based learning to mediate an integrative perspective to design thinking, using an example from a higher education business class.KeywordsDesign-thinkingDesign cognitionGame-based learningIntegrative design-thinkingBusiness studies
... Studies have supported structuring students' collaboration based on their interests and expertise towards shared design goals. Collaborative design practices engage learners in exploring new ways of knowing, doing, and being through discourse and creating shared artifacts (Kim, Tan, & Bielaczyc, 2015). We specifically argue for collaborative game design practices, as shared but open-ended tasks that correspond to our design framework. ...
... Learner-generated designs (e.g., through game-making) provide an atmosphere to bring out students' goals and ideas and let students discuss with their peers and teachers (Kim et al., 2015). Game-making allows students to collaborate and meaning-make with others in learning settings (Wake et al., 2018). ...
Full-text available
Digital games offer opportunities for students and teachers through designing, coding, and playing. The maker movement via digital games in education has become popular. Although the maker movement is challenging to accomplish in the classroom environment, digital game-making, which is digital game development under the maker movement approach, produced favorable results among students in formal education. This paper reviews digital games, learning through digital games, digital game-making, theories behind game-making, what digital game-making is for, the importance of helping teachers to get ready for making, and digital game-making in class practices. Digital game-making is for (a) supporting various identity developments, (b) increasing digital literacy, and (c) embracing object-to-think-with. Preparing teachers for digital game-making integration enables teachers to (a) use game-making as a means for Technological, Pedagogical, and Content Knowledge, (b) get more confident and empowered, and (c) form learning communities. Teachers’ roles while digital game-making in classrooms are a) managing collaboration and communication, (b) assessing learning, and (c) scaffolding.
... Our approach aimed to limit the vast creative design possibilities that we observed in previous studies on students' board game designs (Civil, 2002;Kim & Bastani, 2017). While engaging learners in design practices can create opportunities for meaningful disciplinary discourse and identity expression (Kim et al., 2015), learners could be deflected from the discipline of mathematics (Civil, 2002). In redesigning games, learners play a board game selected based on its features, with the shared goal of changing its various elements. ...
In this article, we discuss embodied mathematical practices in the context of learners’ board game (re)design activities. By focusing on redesigning a board game as a pedagogical approach, rather than designing one from scratch, we intended to limit the vast creative design possibilities and engage learners more deeply with the discipline of mathematics. We conducted a design-based research project in a culturally and linguistically diverse Canadian school. Our video analysis identified embodied discourses wherein a student with limited English language proficiency came to be a designer of a board game, while meaningfully engaging in mathematics learning. Our findings demonstrate how the conversations between a newly arrived immigrant student and the teacher in the process of redesigning an existing board game helped the student fully participate in the classroom practice, maximizing the available cultural and linguistic resources.
... Learners make numerous decisions while designing games to create these meanings while responding to the unexpected consequences and engaging in emergent goals and problems. Through this process, learners may develop unique relationships with the designed artifacts (i.e., their own games) and the knowledge they explored (Kafai, 2006;Kim, 2018;Kim & Reeves, 2007;Kim, Tan, & Bielaczyc, 2015). Many game designers would argue that any game play or design would require and resemble mathematical thinking exhibited in everyday practices. ...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Recent research shows that game design approach supports students' interestdriven learning while engaging them in systems thinking. On the other hand, there is very little research on how the materiality of tabletop games engage learners differently. In this study, grade 3 and 4 learners went through the process of playing and redesigning an existing tabletop game called, Triominos. It was conducted in a STEM learning classroom in a western Canadian school. Each group considered what they could change in the original game, and created a unique game that explored various shapes mathematically. We collected ethnographic data, including video recordings of the classroom, photos of students' in-progress and final games. We discuss three groups' materializing their ideas into playable game pieces, using different shapes (i.e., triangles, squares, and rhombuses). The findings demonstrate how learners encounter mathematics and pursue their own mathematical problems, forming assemblages of mathematical and game-making practices.
... Learners engagement in a participatory game design project can take the forms of seeking inspiration from beyond the classroom or learning from peers (Baradaran Rahimi & Kim, 2019;B. Kim et al., 2015). In redesigning games, the inspirations may come from a game that learners play and be used for changing mechanics, dynamics, and aesthetics of another game. For instance, adding bonus tiles to a matching game, wherein having bonus tiles is not defined, alters the mechanics of matching as a bonus tile may be played with any tile and at ...
Full-text available
Background Play is an important part of the childhood. The learning potential of playing and creating non-digital games, like tabletop games, however, has not been fully explored. Aim The study discussed in this paper identified a range of activities through which learners redesigned a mathematics-oriented tabletop game to develop their ideas and competencies in an integrated STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) class. Method Third and fourth graders worked as teams to make changes on Triominos over a period of six weeks. Considering what could be changed from the original game, each group provided a different design for Triominos to accommodate the changes introduced. We gathered data through weekly observations of two classes (about 45 learners, ranging from age eight to ten) in a west-Canada school. In this paper, we present the works of three groups of three teammates. Results We found that any change made by learners not only influenced mechanics, dynamics, and aesthetics of the game but also helped engage learners, encourage unconventional ideas, promote learning, and solve problems. Based on our findings, we suggest redesigning games facilitated learners deepen their understanding of mathematical concepts as part of a designed game system in STEM classes.
... Parallel to becoming aware of the need to foster a technological learning culture, it would be wise to carefully attend to the capacity they have of designing lessons in which the students are involved and that prepare them for this 21st century [63,64]. This new learning culture is, as indicated by Kim, Tan and Bielaczyc [65], collaborative, participative, and fundamentally defined by the students themselves. Consequently, ICTs consist of a considerably larger field than the mere acquisition of technical knowledge. ...
Full-text available
To consider that some quality teaching-learning processes in the Higher Education is practically unthinkable without the use of technology, especially because of its impact in developing the necessary skills and abilities for the 21st century. (1) Background: One of the initial steps to successfully approach this challenge is to analyze how university professors consider that ICTs can contribute to developing skills and abilities in their students. In this regard, their perceptions are one of the factors that will limit the use they make of these tools. (2) Method: For this reason, a quantitative research has been designed in which 345 university professors have participated for different branches of knowledge of one Spanish university. (3) Results: Among the most relevant results, we can highlight that the professors recognize the potentials of the ICTs and consider they have a positive effect on learning and development of 21st century skills in their students. These benefits are seen in different fields like communication, collaboration, and critical thinking, among others. Likewise, the importance of the technology culture teaching role is outstanding. (4) Conclusions: Finally, the need for integration of ICTs in a pedagogical model in which professor training in digital skills acquires relevance is shown.
Knowledge Building Communities (KBCs) are principled-based, interactive learning environments designed to scaffold higher levels of student agency and the formulation of goals and questions stemming from students’ knowledge-building needs. The design of KBCs is guided by a set of 12 principles that have been examined across hundreds of studies. Although five studies have investigated students’ perspectives of knowledge building, none have analyzed their views with the primary aim of refining the current set of principles. Positioning students’ perspectives on KBCs based on their experiences can help democratize the KBC research process if they are embedded into a clear methodological approach that can persuasively contribute to an advancing body of knowledge. In this article, we report on findings from a qualitative analysis that compared participants’ views of the KBC approach with the elaborations that currently appear in the existing formulations of the complete set of KBC design principles. Our findings indicate that there is a great degree of overlap between participants’ perceptions and the existing elaborations, but also point to extensions and one new principle. We offer a preliminary model that can help refine the current KBC design principles, as well as suggest future work that can continue advancing them.
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This paper explores how some elementary students' pursuits of their interests led to different social and disciplinary engagements while redesigning tabletop games, namely Inversé and Triominos. Using the ethnographic data collected over two years, we chose and compared two tabletop game design projects. We investigated their design changes and conversations that indicated their learning and design process. Our findings indicate that these two groups found the opportunities or openings to connect their designs with their interests through teacher's questioning or in the process of co-defining the design tasks. We argue that providing design constraints, such as redesigning certain aspects of existing games, may provide opportunities for learners to create continuity between the school disciplines and their personal interests.
Full-text available
There is a general agreement that adolescents are not only using a wide range of digital media but also developing a new culture of learning as they use it. Drawing on two separate studies on adolescent digital literacy practices, this chapter expounds on the commonly cited term, learning by doing. We argue that learning by doing is integral to the adolescents’ school and everyday lives. The arguments put forward in this chapter are drawn from a social view of literacy to understand adolescents’ use of digital media in and out of school. Using an ethnographic perspective to researching adolescents’ literacy practices, this chapter provides illustrative ethnographic accounts of how learning by doing is enacted in adolescents’ school and out-of-school literacy practices. We hope that the ethnographic accounts are able to inform educators on the emerging culture of learning in adolescents’ digital literacy practices and open up new vistas for redesigning learning environments that are more relevant to adolescents’ lifeworlds in the digital media age.
Full-text available
This article is a sequel to the conversation on learning initiated by the editors of Educational Researcher in volume 25, number 4. The author’s first aim is to elicit the metaphors for learning that guide our work as learners, teachers, and researchers. Two such metaphors are identified: the acquisition metaphor and the participation metaphor. Subsequently, their entailments are discussed and evaluated. Although some of the implications are deemed desirable and others are regarded as harmful, the article neither speaks against a particular metaphor nor tries to make a case for the other. Rather, these interpretations and applications of the metaphors undergo critical evaluation. In the end, the question of theoretical unification of the research on learning is addressed, wherein the purpose is to show how too great a devotion to one particular metaphor can lead to theoretical distortions and to undesirable practices.
This anthology explores school and library partnership as sociocultural and intercultural practices and community building. A key component of this approach is the recognition of literacy as a social practice that involves exactly such social partnerships, rather than seeing literacy as an asocial skill. I will elaborate on literacy as social practices and point towards its application in the context of “School and library partnership”.
This chapter presents two case examples of how students negotiate transnational lives in response to rapidly changing social and political circumstances within their communities. These examples are used to illustrate how these circumstances, clearly aversive ones, can influence the nature of the funds of knowledge generated by families and students, and the possibilities they pose for learning in classrooms and other settings. As both examples illustrate, there is a strong sense of vulnerability in these students, as they attempt to decipher their realities or take action in response to the constraints of living and studying in Arizona, with its foreclosed opportunities for higher education. The goal, ultimately, would be that of understanding, indeed, of theorizing, the production of knowledge and expertise related to coping with the complexities of diverse lifeworlds, be it of families, children, or teachers.