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New Creativity Paradigms

Arts Learning in the Digital Age


Kylie Peppler

Commissioned by the Wallace Foundation, this book explores research indicating that youth are learning new ways to engage in the arts on their own time and according to their own interests. Digital technologies, such as production tools and social media, allow youth to create and share their art. Kylie Peppler urges educators and policy makers to take advantage of «arts learning opportunities» and imagine a school setting where young people are driven by their own interests, using tablets, computers, and other devices to produce visual arts, music composition, dance, and design. This book gives educators an understanding of what is happening with current digital technologies and the opportunities that exist to connect to youth practice, and raises questions about why we don’t use these opportunities more frequently.
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Introduction: The Resounding Voice of Youth in A Digital Age


← xvi | 1 → INTRODUCTION


The emergence of digital media in the past decade has enabled what is widely seen as a democratization of knowledge, a movement in which collective intelligence and quick access to information may supplement or even surpass the role of formal education. The ability to merge self-expression and mass communication has given youths who have grown up during this era of transformative technology new ways to create, learn and share— often without the assistance or direction of adults. Perhaps no area has been as influenced by these changes as the arts. With the appeal of music, visual and interactive media to youth culture, the arts have opened new paths to civic participation, learning, and entrepreneurship. Some examples:

“A Place to Express Yourself”

In 2004, 14-year-old Ashley Qualls took her interest in graphic design to the Internet to create, a source for MySpace graphics and Web design tutorials. She described the site as “a place to express yourself.” In addition to layouts and other free graphics, now features a magazine with teen-authored articles and reviews. According to Google Analytics figures, Whateverlife attracts more than 7 million individuals and 60 million page views a month (Salter, 2007).

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