BRIDGING LEARNING IN URBAN EXTENDED SPACES
This is a collaboration funded by the National Science Foundation among learning sciences researchers at Vanderbilt's Peabody college, exhibit designers and curators at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, librarians developing new sites for youth activity and learning at the Nashville Public Library, and interaction and technology designers from a growing creative community located in Nashville, TN.
Working with youth and youth mentors at the museum and library, this project proposes to link these sites as key nodes in a developing, urban youth learning “hive” similar to efforts in other US cities like Chicago, New York City, and Pittsburgh. Our vision of a hive explicitly will encourage the movement between inside (archival) and outside spaces (historical places in the city), the layering together of virtual representations (e.g., archival imagery and sound) with contemporary physical locations to make places for learning, and the creation of multi-vocal historical interpretations of events and places in a city that remains at the center of a vibrant cultural form (American Roots Music). Through these processes we will develop an information infrastructure that supports learning about the Music City and its history as a form of personally edited experience with archival material and the built environment of the city.
The hive infrastructure we envision would allow youth (or others) to layer data and stories onto the built environment of the city and its active urban geography. Youth will be positioned as participants in and also as producers of the city through new practices of place making. Youth participation in the proposed activities will enhance opportunities in library and museum spaces for learning about the conceptual domains of history and the arts, information design, digital curatorship, spatial analysis and modeling, and new forms of digital-spatial story telling.
The studies we are pursuing bring together two new concepts from a learning sciences perspective. The first reframes “place-based education” as a more active process of place making but also asks how movement between information spaces (archival collections) and the physical spaces they document can be used to create new learning activities in the built environment of the city. The second concept explores how to bring existing practices of professional curation (e.g., preserving, indexing, and exhibiting museum collections) together with emerging practices of youth curation (e.g., managing and sharing personally relevant information using social media tools) to create new opportunities for learning. By designing and studying environments for making and sharing DSSLs—mesh-like structures that gather together diverse information to create a personal perspective on activity in the city—we will develop new ways to support youth engagement and learning with the history of the city while also learning about locative media, information architecture, and information design.