Arts Learning in the Digital Age
5. Communities That Can Support Interest-Driven Arts Learning
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COMMUNITIES THAT CAN SUPPORT INTEREST-DRIVEN ARTS LEARNING
One of the major findings to emerge from a survey of today’s participatory culture is that youths are increasingly assuming public roles as artists, performers, designers, editors, and directors of creative products and are sharing their work through social media platforms (Ito et al., 2010). Although prior ethnographic research suggested that little creative design and reflection occurs when young people work alone at home on their computers (Giacquinta, Bauer, & Levin, 1993; Sefton-Green & Buckingham, 1998), well-designed learning environments can encourage youths to explore new kinds of art learning to a greater degree than they would be inclined to do on their own.
As we look across these learning communities, we gain a better sense of the enduring role that institutions such as libraries, museums, community technology centers, and social media networks play in supporting interest-driven arts learning. We break this review into four major categories:
1. Non-formal learning communities operating outside of the school day, which organize projects, programs, and activities in structured but non-compulsory ways.
2. Informal communities where learning happens in a casual or haphazard way. These groups can be in physical spaces such as museums, libraries, or community technology centers or at street fairs or Maker Faire events and are united by the presence of what we call “construction zones.” That is, they have available resources, including tools, materials, and adult mentors, but they lack a...
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