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Techno-Vernacular Creativity, Innovation & Learning in Underrepresented Ethnic Communities of Practice


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Presentation for my defense in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Digital Media.

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Techno-Vernacular Creativity, Innovation & Learning in Underrepresented Ethnic Communities of Practice

  1. 1. Techno-Vernacular Creativity, Innovation & Learning in Underrepresented Ethnic Communities of Practice A Dissertation Presented to the Academic Faculty By Nettrice R. Gaskins In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Digital Media Georgia Institute of Technology
  2. 2. Panel Celia Pearce, PhD, Advisor/Chair Georgia Institute of Technology Jacqueline Jones Royster, PhD, Committee Member Georgia Institute of Technology Janet Murray, PhD, Committee Member Georgia Institute of Technology Ron Eglash, PhD, Committee Member Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Alessandra Raengo, PhD, Committee Member Georgia State University
  3. 3. Outline • Introduction • Theoretical Framework & Prior Research • Informal Learning Science Contexts • TVC in Research & Practice • Methodology • Results & Findings • Discussion & Conclusions • Future Work
  5. 5. Definition A vernacular is the native language or dialect of a specific population (see Howell, 1688), as opposed to a language of wider, mainstream or dominant communication. Introduction
  6. 6. Definition Techno-Vernacular Creativity (TVC) refers to cultural art and technology made by underrepresented ethnic groups (UEGs) – Indigenous, or African and Latino Diasporas – for their own entertainment and creative expression. Introduction
  7. 7. Framework for Analysis As a result of… UEGs are able to… Reappropriation redeploy the material and symbolic power of technology Improvisation reconceive of technology that transgresses that technology’s designed function and meaning Conceptual Remixing redesign or produce a new material artifact after the existing form or function has been rejected Nettrice Gaskins Rayvon Fouche Introduction
  8. 8. Introduction contextualize or place something in a new or different context synthesize or see relationships between seemingly unrelated fields syncretize or invent something new by combining elements nobody else thought to put together Redeployment Reconception Re-creation
  9. 9. Reappropriation or the cultural process by which UEGs reclaim artifacts from the dominant culture and environment. Introduction
  10. 10. '...hittin’ switches...' Introduction
  11. 11. Improvisation or the spontaneous and inventive use of materials. Introduction
  12. 12. The cypher is a figure that is based on the naturally occurring circle, or mandala Introduction
  13. 13. Conceptual remixing, tinkering, or making do with whatever is on hand Introduction
  14. 14. Research Question Does Techno-Vernacular Creativity (TVC) within an informal learning environment (ILE) increase interest and intrinsic motivation in ethnic groups who are underrepresented in STEAM? Introduction
  15. 15. Problem Statement While the enrollment of underrepresented minorities in postsecondary schools is increasing and UEGs are more engaged in cultural art and technology, studies show that STEM achievement of UEGs continue to decrease. Introduction
  16. 16. Support for Problem Statement Introduction
  17. 17. Support for Problem Statement Chart from NPR, source data from Pew Internet and American Life Project, refers to mobile devices only. Introduction
  18. 18. Significance of the Problem The purpose of this study was to identify and analyze artworks by practitioners from underrepresented ethnic communities that use STEM concepts; to explore how these works can be harnessed to engage UEGs in STEAM and affect positive learning outcomes. Introduction
  19. 19. STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics. Introduction Concept map by Nettrice Gaskins
  20. 20. Plan of Action For this study, I conducted four workshops to examine the impact of combined research methods with TVC on STEAM learning among UEGs, including: • A professional workshop at Georgia Tech with experts such as artists from groups underrepresented in STEAM • Three workshops: two with 4th and 8th grade students at Drew Charter School and one with 6th-7th grade students at Lithonia Middle School Introduction
  22. 22. Theoretical Framework & Prior Research Techno- Vernacular Creativity Modes Culturally Situated Arts-Based Learning Black Vernacular Techno Creativity [Fouche, Baraka] Vernacular Art/Crafts & Technology [Wahlman, Vlach] Cultural & Social Practices [de Certeau, du Bois] Culturally Situated Design [Eglash et al.] Arts-Based Research [Barone, Eisner] Interest & Motivation Design [Renninger, Keller] Theoretical Framework & Prior Research
  23. 23. Culturally Situated Design Tools Theoretical Framework & Prior Research Cornrow Curves CSDT courtesy of Ron Eglash/RPI
  24. 24. Theoretical Framework & Prior Research Cosmogram courtesy of Duane Deterville; Native American Medicine Wheel; Buddhist mandala
  25. 25. Artwork courtesy of Sanford Biggers. Lotus CSDT courtesy of Ron Eglash/RPI. Theoretical Framework & Prior Research
  26. 26. Theoretical Framework & Prior Research Artwork courtesy of John Biggers (top) and Nontsikelelo Mutiti (bottom).
  27. 27. Theoretical Framework & Prior Research Artwork courtesy of Nontsikelelo Mutiti. Ruka CSDT courtesy of Ron Eglash/RPI.
  29. 29. Contextual Model of Learning Socio-Cultural Context Personal ContextPhysical Context Adapted from Falk, J.H. & Storksdieck, M. (2005) Informal Learning Science Contexts
  30. 30. Informal Learning Contexts Contextualize Syncretize Synthesize Personal Context Sociocultural Context Physical Context Hanging Out Messing Around Geeking Out Asset Building Connection Build Knowledge Apply KnowledgeEngage Assess Conceptual Mapping Interviews Reflection Reflect Falk & Dierking Mimi Ito, et al. Scott, Sheridan & Clark Improvisation/ Reconception Remixing/ Re-creation Reappropriation/ Redeployment Peer & Self Assessment Gaskins/Fouche Informal Science Learning Contexts
  31. 31. Interest & Motivation Design ARCS Model of Motivational Design (Keller) Describes learners’ perceptual arousal and inquiry arousal Uses examples in which learners are familiar such as culture, present knowledge and prior experience Helps learners understand their likelihood for success Helps learners feel rewarded for their effort Attention Relevance Confidence Satisfaction Informal Science Learning Contexts Adapted from Keller, J. M. (2010)
  32. 32. Arts-Based Inquiry Culturally Situated Design Arts-Based Learning Digital Media/ Technology Write/talk about the artist’s culture(s) in this work. Write/talk about what you see in this art. Write/talk about the type technology you used. Write/talk about how this artist’s culture relates to your culture. Write/talk about what comes to your mind when you look at this art. Write/talk about how this technology can be used to create things you like. Write/talk about how you felt about learning this artist’s culture. Write/talk about how well you think you can make this art. Write/talk about how you felt about using the software. Write/talk about what you liked and did not like about the artist’s culture. Write/talk about how this art is similar to other art you like. Write/talk about what you liked and did not like about the software. Attention Relevance Confidence Satisfaction Personal Context Physical Context Socio-Cultural Context Informal Science Learning Contexts
  34. 34. TVC in Research & Practice TVC framed this study toward addressing STEAM, by: • Analyzing TVC in informal learning settings and combining methods as a means for engaging UEGs [Scott, Sheridan & Clark, 2014] • Increasing UEG interest and intrinsic motivation in STEAM; • Bringing A and B together to diminish the separation between TVC and STEAM • Addressing, not only cultural and social issues, but also satisfying the pedagogical demands of curricula [Eglash, et al, 2008] Research & Practice
  35. 35. Remixing Bearden Research & Practice Artwork courtesy of Romare Bearden; Black Odyssey Remixes app developed by SITES
  36. 36. Mapping or diagramming— representing ideas in graphic form—is an important TVC characteristic that uses techniques such as remixing. Research & Practice
  37. 37. “Afrofuturism is way of re-contextualizing and assessing history and imagining the future of the African Diaspora via science, science fiction, technology, sound, architecture, the visual and culinary arts and other more nimble and interpretive modes of research and understanding.” – Sanford Biggers Research & Practice
  38. 38. TVC modes such as remixing have been integrated with the ethos of techno- culture (i.e., afrofuturism) that extends to computing. Mandala CSDT developed with Libby Rodriguez and Ron Eglash/RPI. Artwork by Xenobia Bailey. Research & Practice
  40. 40. Research Methodology Constructivist Grounded Theory [Charmaz] Participatory Action Research [Kindon et al.] Preliminary Observations & Workshop Professional CSABL Workshop STEAM Learning Workshop Culturally Situated Design Arts-Based Research Interest & Motivation Design Black Vernacular Technological Creativity Vernacular Art, Crafts & Technology Cultural & Social Practices Methodology
  41. 41. Professional CSABL Workshop • Two-day workshop at Georgia Tech looked at potential impacts of culturally situated arts-based learning on UEGs • Convened 21 experts in Learning Sciences, Culturally Situated Design, STEM Education, and Art • Quantitative data collection: Tom McKlin developed instruments to assess the outcome of the workshop • Qualitative Data Collection: Seed questions, brainstorming and concept mapping • Data analysis: Pre-post surveys, feedback forms, social network analysis, interviews (external); concept maps
  42. 42. PAR for the CSABL Workshop Phase Action Action Establish relationships and common agenda with stakeholders Reflection On research design and knowledge. Action Build relationships Identify roles and responsibilities Collectively design research processes and instruments Discuss potential outcomes Reflection On research questions and design Action Work together to implement research and collect data Enable participation of all members Reflection Begin to work on feeding research back to participants and plan for feedback on process and findings Action Collectively identify future research and impacts Adapted from Kindon, et al. (2007)
  43. 43. Preliminary Observations & Workshops • Drew Charter School students were 89% African American, 2% Hispanic/Latino with less than 9% White/Other • 100 8th graders made vision maps; 100 4th graders made vision maps and used Bearden Remixes app* • Data collection: 4th & 8th grade math class observations; vision maps, digital collages, arts-based inquiry and group discussion* • Data analysis: Field notes, vision maps Methodology
  44. 44. Personal Meaning Maps Anbiya Smith, “Personal Map of Leimert Park,” July 10, 2013. Courtesy KCET KAOS Network Youth Voices. Layer 1 Layer 2 Methodology
  45. 45. Methodology
  46. 46. Methodology
  47. 47. Middle School Workshop • Lithonia Middle School students were 95% African American, 4% Hispanic/Latino, and 1% White/Other • 35 students made vision maps and used CSDTs and interactive (tangible) media • Students visited Museum of Papermaking for Mapping Place: Africa Beyond Paper • Data collection: Vision maps, CSDT work, arts-based inquiry and group discussion, retrospective pre-post self- assessment, interviews • Data analysis: Rubrics, interviews and questionnaires Methodology
  48. 48. Redeployment Reconception Re-creation Taxonomy Methodology
  49. 49. CSDT Design Rubric Methodology
  50. 50. Interview Categories (Coding) Analytic Interest Expression Choice/Control Interaction Expressions of Affect Toward... Science Technology Art/Mapping Mathematics Methodology
  51. 51. Limitations/Delimitations • This study was limited in terms of its generalizability to the total population of underrepresented ethnic groups. • The independent and dependent variables were measured as subjects’ perceptions, not actual academic performance. • The vision mapping tool tested and adapted for the workshop was based on qualitative studies, so the goal was not to capture large datasets. Methodology
  52. 52. RESULTS Professional Workshop
  53. 53. Qualitative: Professional Workshop CSABL participants created concept maps to brainstorm ideas for culturally situated arts-based digital media applications. Results
  54. 54. Quantitative: Professional Workshop Courtesy of Tom McKlin of the SageFox Consulting Group, LLC . Results
  55. 55. RESULTS Middle School Workshop
  56. 56. NG: What is a map? Student1: A map is anything that is in the area. Student2: A diagram of a certain place. NG: Okay. So show something that is in this particular area. [Several students point to different objects in the room.] NG: What’s a vision map? Student3: Something that you visualize in your mind. Results
  57. 57. Participants explored diagramming, collage and repetition with math concepts such as rotation and translation. Results
  58. 58. Results
  59. 59. Quantitative: Vision Maps Table 1: Extent (Vision Maps) Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent Valid average 6 37.5 37.5 37.5 above average 9 56.3 56.3 93.8 outstanding 1 6.3 6.3 100.0 Total 16 100.0 100.0 Table 2: Breadth (Vision Maps) Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent Valid below average 2 12.5 12.5 12.5 average 8 50.0 50.0 62.5 above average 5 31.3 31.3 93.8 outstanding 1 6.3 6.3 100.0 Total 16 100.0 100.0 62% remixed the design template to create new patterns. 38% used the existing design with no remixing. Half used different ways to remix patterns. Results
  60. 60. Results
  61. 61. Quantitative: CSDTs Table 5: Reappropriation (CSDTs) Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent Valid average 7 87.5 87.5 87.5 above average 1 12.5 12.5 100.0 Total 8 100.0 100.0 Table 6: Improvisation (CSDTs) Frequency Percent Valid Percent Cumulative Percent Valid below average 3 37.5 37.5 37.5 average 1 12.5 12.5 50.0 above average 4 50.0 50.0 100.0 Total 8 100.0 100.0 Half received above average scores in improvisation for remixing blocks and using repetition, rotation, or translation to create their designs. Results
  62. 62. Quantitative Results: Self-Assessment (Attention) Participants were given this statement: There was something interesting in the workshop that got my attention. 75% selected “5=All of the time.” Results
  63. 63. Participants were given this statement: There are examples of how people use math, technology, or art in this workshop. Nearly 44% chose “5=All of the time”. Quantitative Results: Self-Assessment (Relevance) Results
  64. 64. Participants were given this statement: This workshop has things that make me want to ask more questions. 44% of the respondents chose “5=All of the time” . Quantitative Results: Self-Assessment (Confidence) Results
  65. 65. Participants were given this statement: I enjoyed this workshop so much that I would like to know more about this topic. 75% chose “5=All of the time.” Quantitative Results: Self-Assessment (Satisfaction) Results
  66. 66. Qualitative Results: LMS Interviews Expression, and with it Interest, were the most important aspects of the workshop for the middle school participants. Results
  67. 67. Qualitative Results: LMS Interviews Art showed 40% of the coverage in participant comments, with the second biggest area (math) at 21%. Technology (9%) supported math and expression. Results
  68. 68. FINDINGS
  69. 69. Findings: Professional Workshop • By bridging disciplines participants explored how to make STEAM more meaningful for UEGs; and how to link culture to STEAM. • Participants were able to overcome cultural differences, share and exchange knowledge across disciplines in a “quick building of trust.” [McKlin, 2014] • Participants felt they could help decrease stereotypes that prevent UEGs from participating in STEM and increase the motivation of UEGs to participate in STEAM. • The workshop played an important role in influencing individuals and encouraging potential collaboration. Findings
  70. 70. Findings: STEAM Workshop • Exposure to culturally responsive materials are important for underrepresented ethnic learners’ self-concept and self-image. • UEGs needed to see themselves reflected in STEAM as well as the images of the practitioners, themselves. • Access to different tools allowed participants to interact with material forms and effects of technology; and fostered a more “intense, media-centric form of learner engagement.” [Ito, et al., 2008] • Making STEAM more meaningful/cultural led to changes in motivation and knowledge of how STEM is used in art. Findings
  72. 72. Discussion • TVC demonstrates the informal engagement of UEGs in STEAM in ways that are typically not classified as “information technology,” “science,” or “engineering.” • Artistic or creative expression is essential to learning STEAM among UEGs. • As a method for engaging UEGs in STEAM, TVC has implications for future culturally situated arts-based learning interventions and collaborations. • TVC supports several informal learning contexts that builds on characteristics of interest among UEGs as requisite for intrinsic motivation. Discussion & Conclusions
  73. 73. Conclusions • The definition of technology needs to be expanded to include multiethnic and multilingual qualities of culturally diverse groups as they relate to STEAM. • TVC provides culturally situated and culturally responsive learning contexts for UEGs to learn and master tools in innovative ways. • In order for STEAM to be motivating it has to be based on a careful match between different options and the needs, interests, goals, abilities, and cultural backgrounds of the target group. Discussion & Conclusions
  74. 74. Questions Thank you for your time and attention.
  75. 75. References Baraka, A. (1971). Technology & Ethos. In Raise, Race, Rays, Raze: Essays Since 1965. New York: Random House, 157. Barone, T., Eisner, E. (2012). Arts-Based Research. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications. Charmaz, K. (2006). Constructing Grounded Theory: A Practical Guide through Qualitative Analysis. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications Ltd. De Certeau, M. (1984). The Practice of Everyday Life. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. Du Bois, W. E. B. (1989). The soul of black folks. New York: Bantam. (Originally published in 1903). Eglash, R. Bennett, A., O’Donnell, C., Jennings, S., Cintorino, M. (2006) Culturally Situated Design Tools: Ethnocomputing from Field Site to Classroom, in American Anthropologist, Vol. 108, Issue 2, pp. 347–362. Falk, J. H., & Dierking, L. D. (2000). Learning from museums: Visitor experiences and the making of meaning. Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press. Falk, J.H. & Storksdieck, M. (2005). Using the Contextual Model of Learning to understand visitor learning from a science center exhibition. Science Education, 89, 744-778.
  76. 76. References Fouché, R. (2006). Say It Loud, I'm Black and I'm Proud: African Americans, American Artifactual Culture, and Black Vernacular Technological Creativity. American Quarterly 58.3 (2006) 639-661 Ito, M., et al. (2009). Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out: Kids Living and Learning with New Media. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press. Ito, M., et al. (2008). Living and Learning with New Media: Summary of Findings from the Digital Youth Project In The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Reports on Digital Media and Learning. Cambridge: MIT Press. Keller, J. M. (2010). Motivational design for learning and performance: The ARCS model approach. New York, NY: Springer. Kindon, S. Pain, R. & Kesby, M. (2007). Participatory Action Research Approaches and Methods: Connecting People, Participation and Place, New York, NY: Routledge. Renninger, K.A. (2007). Interest and Motivation in Informal Science Learning. Washington, DC: National Research Council. Vlach, J. M. (1976). “The Shotgun House: an African Architectural Legacy: Part I,” Pioneer America, vol.8, no.1-2. Wahlman, M. S. (2001). Signs and Symbols: African Images in African-American Quilts. New York: The Museum of American Folk Art.