MIT Media Lab, E14-633
The ability to create, design, and express oneself with technology is an important fluency for full participation and engagement in today’s digitally mediated society. Social support can play a major role in engaging and deepening what young people can learn and do with technology. In particular, parents can play many roles, such as being collaborators, resource providers, and co-learners with their children.
In this dissertation, Roque explores the possibilities of engaging children and their families as computational creators — providing opportunities and support to enable them to create things they care about with computing, to see themselves as creators, and to imagine the ways they can shape their world. Roque especially focuses on families with limited access to resources and social support around computing. Roque describes the design of a community-based outreach program called Family Creative Learning, which invites children, their families, and other families in their community to create and learn together using creative technologies. Roque uses a qualitative approach to document the complex and diverse learning experiences of families. Through studies of family participation, Roque examines how children and their parents supported one another and how the Family Creative Learning environment, activities, tools, and facilitation supported families in their development as computational creators. As families built projects, they also built perspectives in how they saw themselves, each other, and computing — developing identities as computational creators.
Often, outreach programs in computing engage the individual learner, leaving it up to youth to explain and advocate for their interests in computing. This dissertation explores how we can strengthen the social support around a child by engaging their peers, families, and community as learning partners — widening children’s network of support as they pursue pathways into computing.
Host/Chair: Mitchel Resnick