Podcast: Matthew Berland, “Creative Agency: Making, Learning, and Playing towards Understanding Computational Content”

People often learn complex computational content most easily and deeply when they have “creative agency” – the social network, ability, skills, resources, and support to collaboratively and playfully make creative computational content in feedback-rich environments. This talk will present a lens on how we can create environments where learners are supported in developing creative agency, and how we might assess or evaluate success. Matthew Berland covers his projects in museums, computer science classrooms, after-school clubs, and universities, showing how we can use design-based research, learning analytics, and games to enable creative agency towards more equitable outcomes and better understand how, why, and when people make and learn complex computational content together.

Matthew Berland is an Associate Professor of Design, Informal, and Creative Education in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, spending 2019-2020 as a visiting scholar in CMS/W at MIT. In addition, he is the director of the UW Games Program and the Complex Play Lab and Affiliate Faculty in Computer Sciences, Information Studies, STS, and the Learning Sciences. He uses design-based research and learning analytics to design, create, and study learning environments that support students’ creativity in learning computational literacies, systems literacies, and computer science & engineering content.

Elizabeth Borneman

About Elizabeth Borneman

Elizabeth is a designer, writer, and researcher interested in how art, computation, and communication can combine to strengthen community structures, and enhance learning across learner backgrounds. A Florida native, Elizabeth earned her Bachelor of Science in Neurobiology from Georgetown University. There she led a research team in the Culture and Emotions Lab investigating the campus climate for patterns in students’ belonging and social engagement across university locations and situational contexts. She also spent a semester in Cape Town, South Africa as a field researcher studying plant systems and animals’ optimal foraging, ideal free distribution, and territorial defense behaviors. She most recently worked as a designer and programmer artist in Xaq Pitkow’s Computational Neuroscience lab, where she designed and prototyped interactive graphics and games for teaching and communicating concepts in computational neuroscience and in color vision grounded in visual perception. She’s excited about the power of info-visualization. At MIT, Elizabeth works in the Teaching Systems Lab designing multi-media practice spaces and curriculum for equitable teaching in Computer Science and STEM. Outside of study, Elizabeth likes to go dancing, spend time on the water, and explore outdoors.


Share this Post