Peppler researches the intersection of arts, computational technologies and interest-driven learning. In addition to serving as the Director of the Creativity Labs, she is the Chief Learning Officer at Collective Shift/LRNG, the former lead of the MacArthur Foundation’s Make-to-Learn initiative, and an advisor to the Connected Learning Research Network. Peppler was on the original NSF-sponsored Scratch team during the initial design and early study of the Scratch platform.
Sedas, who is advised by Peppler, is specializing in Teaching, Learning, and Educational Improvement (TLEI). His research interests include design literacy, design-based learning, STEM + arts & design education, critical design literacy, connected learning, out-of-school learning environments, STEAM for underrepresented populations, and STEAM learning in museums and public libraries.
The maker movement advocates hands-on making with emerging technologies because of its value for promoting innovative and personally meaningful transdisciplinary learning. Educational research has focused on settings that primarily serve youth from dominant groups, yet we know surprisingly little about making among minoritized youth and the kinds of resources that support their making. This study sought to better understand the extent to which maker practices are present in the lives of minoritized youth and the network of resources that support their engagement. In this study, we analyzed survey responses of 52 youth from an urban, under-resourced community in Chicago and conducted an inductive thematic analysis of 20 interviews through a model of connected learning. Findings showed these youth participated in a diverse range of interest-driven, low-tech maker activities in their own homes more often than in school, after school programs, or through online resources and communities (i.e., YouTube, Internet, social media). Many youths displayed different levels of participation with intergenerational support, as parents and extended family members supported youth in their hands-on making. This work opens up pathways for fostering connected learning opportunities within minoritized communities by building on existing learning experiences within home settings and supportive relationships.