Re-imagining Children's Computing As Performance Art: Theoretical and Empirical Explorations in Children’s Learning of Physics via Aesthetic Computing

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Historians of science and cognitive scientists have shown that aesthetics and imagistic reasoning, in addition to (or in some cases, as opposed to) propositional logic, often drive scientific, engineering, and mathematical discoveries and inventions. Aesthetics implies not just choice of pleasing visualizations, but also choice of a thema (e.g., continuity or discontinuity), or choice of mathematical frameworks, or both. Imagistic reasoning indicates mental representations that go beyond the logical and propositional, i.e., representations that are perceptual or imagistic in form. In this paper, we investigate how children in elementary grades can develop mathematical narratives of physical phenomena through different forms of computing that leverage their intuitive competencies of aesthetics and imagistic reasoning. Specifically, we focus on the following forms of computing: agent-based modeling (ABM), performance computing (PC), and art-based coding (ABC). In ABM, the term “agent” indicates an individual computational object or actor which carries out actions based on simple rules (e.g., moving forward, changing directions), and these rules can be designed or controlled by the user. In performance computing, the student uses their body as a signifier, designing and conducting their performance, he or she makes explicit the underlying computational rules. In art-based coding, the user generates computer code by gesture drawing and creative mark making. Pertaining to each form of computation, we present an in-depth case study that illustrates how children use these forms of computation to model physical phenomena such as electrical conduction and Newtonian mechanics. Our analysis makes explicit the role of aesthetics and imagistic reasoning in the development of children’s understandings of these phenomena, and overall, our paper thus presents an argument for re-imagining children's computing as performance art.

Keywords: Visual Programming, Gesture Drawing, Mark Making
Stream: Other
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.

Prof. Pratim Sengupta

Assistant Professor, Vanderbilt University
Nashville, TN, USA

I am a professor in the Learning Sciences and Science Education PhD programs at Vanderbilt University, where I direct the Mind, Matter and Media Lab. My research is focused on designing new learning technologies for young children (e.g., visual programming platforms, computer models, and modeling tools).

Prof. Amelia Winger-Bearskin

Assistant Professor, Vanderbilt University
Nashville, TN, USA

Amelia Winger-Bearskin is a video and performance artist who works in the area of human interactivity and shared intimate experiences. She is an assistant professor of time-based media arts at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. She was in the group show Art in the Age of the Internet at the Chelsea Art Museum in 2007 and was a featured video and performance artist at Basel in Miami, Scope at the Lincoln Center, and other art fairs consistently since 2007 as an artist at large for the perpetual art machine [PAM]. She has performed at the 10th Annual Open Art Performance Art festival in Beijing, China, the Performance Art Network PANAsia '09 in Seoul, South Korea, the Tama Tupada 2010 Media and Performance festival in the Philippines, just returned from a month in Sao Paulo Brazil where she performed as the first American performance artist to be invited to the Verbo Performance Art Festival, and was part of an international scholar exchange sponsored by University of Sao Paulo and Vanderbilt University VIO and Art Department.

Ref: X12P0003