LOST Opportunities

Volume 23 of the series Explorations of Educational Purpose pp 99-118


Creating Within and Across Life Spaces: The Role of a Computer Clubhouse in a Child’s Learning Ecology

  • Brigid BarronAffiliated withSchool of Education, Stanford University Email author 
  • , Susie WiseAffiliated Institute of Design, Stanford University
  • , Caitlin K. MartinAffiliated withH-STAR, Stanford University

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The clubhouse environment described above has its origins in concerns about equitable access to tools, people, and ideas that support the development of technological fluency—defined generally as the capacity to express oneself using a broad range of computing tools (Resnick & Rusk, 1996) and to adapt technology to advance one’s own goals. Digital technologies offer children and adolescents rich opportunities to design and create artwork, movies, games, animations, interactive robots, and other artifacts. Online communities that reflect “cultures of participation” (Jenkins, 2006, 2009) allow creators to share their work, receive feedback, and expand their social networks. Informal collaborative relationships develop as learners share knowledge and codevelop interests. It has been suggested that participation in these informal collectives nurtures important twenty-first-century capacities such as collaboration, knowledge of how to build social networks, manage information, direct one’s own learning, engage in design, and capitalize on opportunities for distributed cognition and the building of collective intelligence. Design activities, including information gathering, creative thinking, prototyping, improvisation, and tinkering, are thought to provide potential pathways to these crucial twenty-first-century capacities (Balsamo, 2010).