Background/Context: New technologies have been largely absent in arts education curriculum even though they offer opportunities to address arts integration, equity, and the technological prerequisites of an increasingly digital age. This paper draws upon the emerging professional field of "media arts" and the ways in which youth use new technologies for communication to design a 21st-century K-12 arts education curriculum. Description of prior research on the subject and/or its intellectual context and/or policy context: Building on sociocultural theories of constructionism as well as Dewey's theories of the arts and aesthetics as a democratic pedagogy, this study draws upon over three years of extensive field study at a digital design studio where underprivileged youth accessed programming environments emphasizing graphics, music, and video. Purpose/Objective/Research Question/Focus of the Study: This study documents what youth learn through media art making in informal settings, the strengths and limitations of capitalizing on youth culture in media art production, and the distinct contributions that media arts education can make to the classroom environment. Research Design: A mixed-methods approach was utilized that analyzed data from participants and professional interviews, an archive of youths' media art, and videotape documentation of youth at work on their projects. Conclusions/Recommendations: Findings point to the ways in which youth engage with technology that encourages active learning and how new types of software can be used to illustrate and encourage this process.
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