Category Archives: Video

Multimodal Storytelling: Interactive Narratives with Twine

Elliot Pines, Digital Media Artist & Storyteller

Learning through Digital Storytelling

Elliot Pines, Digital Media Artist and Game Designer

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Digital Narratives & Student Publication: Case Study

Natasha Zseder, York University


Learning through Digital Storytelling

What might happen when students take authentic roles as authors, poets, editors, media producers, journalists, comic-makers, and researchers – and then mobilize new media to their own creative and critical purposes? What might happen when students imagine and design their own literary/media landscapes?

In this case-study video, Natasha Zseder explores the educational opportunities of building – from the ground-up – an online literary and media/arts magazine, and examines why situated, student-directed production can engage multiple and complex literacies while connecting with the politics of students’ own lived worlds.

Related: Poetronica

Natasha Zseder, York University


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Exploring Media Literacy & Computational Thinking

A Game Maker Curriculum Study

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Learning through Game Design


Jennifer Jenson York University
Milena Droumeva, Simon Fraser University

While advances in game-based learning are already transforming educative practices globally, with tech giants like Microsoft, Apple and Google taking notice and investing in educational game initiatives, there is a concurrent and critically important development that focuses on ‘game construction’ pedagogy as a vehicle for enhancing computational literacy in middle and high school students. Essentially, game construction-based curriculum takes the central question ‘do children learn from playing games’ to the next stage by asking ‘(what) can children learn from constructing games?’

Founded on Seymour Papert’s constructionist learning model, and developed over nearly two decades, there is compelling evidence that game construction can increase student confidence and build their capacity towards ongoing computing science involvement and other STEM subjects. Our study adds to the growing body of literature on school-based game construction through comprehensive empirical methodology and evidence-based guidelines for curriculum design. There is still debate as to the utility of different software tools for game construction, models of scaffolding knowledge, and evaluation of learning outcomes and knowledge transfer.

In this paper, we present a study we conducted in a classroom environment with three groups of grade 6 students (60+ students) using Game Maker to construct their own games. Based on a quantitative analysis and a qualitative discussion we organize results around several core themes that speak to the field of inquiry: levels of computational literacy based on pre-and post-tests; gender-based attitudes to computing science and programming based on a pre- and post-survey; and the relationship between existing media literacy and performance in programming as part of the game construction curriculum. Significant results include some gender differences in attitudes towards computers and programming with boys demonstrating slightly higher confidence and performance. We discuss the complex reasons potentially contributing to that, particularly against a diverse ecology of overall media use, gameplay experience and access to technology at home. Finally, we theorize game construction as an educational tool that directly engages foundational literacy and numeracy, and connects to wider STEM-oriented learning objectives in ways that can benefit both boys and girls in the classroom.

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Rethinking Modes, Making, and Composition

James Cicatko, Visual & Sound Artist

Learning through Critical Making

In this artist case study, James Cicatko explores practices of extended techniques: adapting tools, accepted methods, and traditional ‘modes’ and bending them to aesthetic purposes other than their established design/purpose or conventional function.

The author also explores how anyone can create and learn music through critical making and DIY compositional practices.

James Cicatko is a visual and soundwork artist located on the West Coast.


Related Video: Serious Comics: Making Cartoons with James Cicatko

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Learning through Situated Production in New Media Ecologies

K. Thumlert, York University

Learning through Critical Making

In this video, we take Laura Pinto’s theorization of critical making and apply it to digital – and very social – spaces where all varieties of informal making and sharing and collaborative learning is going on. In this video presentation, we explore the following questions:

Affordances of Equality: What and how do people learn through self-directed inquiry and creative production? How do the affordances of new media support creative capacity and enable anyone perform/enact complex multimodal literacies? And what can we learn from these ‘unauthorized’ social actors who are just doing it: creating and making and sharing sophisticated cultural products? And how might these young people help us re/think literacy and learning for the 21st Century?

K. Thumlert, York University, Faculty of Education

Related Module Article
Affordances of Equality: Ranciere, Emerging Media & the New Amateur

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Putting the Critical Back into Maker Spaces

Dr. Laura Pinto, University of Ontario Institute of Technology

Learning through Critical Making

This video interrogates the popular maker movement’s ‘state of the actual’ in education with respect to its criticality, problematizing the effects of an uncritical exuberance for educational making. To do so, the video situates maker and production pedagogies philosophically, and discusses how their thrust and emphasis create both hidden and overt curricula that can either cultivate or silence criticality. The video calls attention to how making has abandoned its original, critical roots and the resulting educational, environmental and social implications.

Laura Elizabeth Pinto Laura Elizabeth Pinto is an Associate Professor of education at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology and the recipient of a 2009 Canadian Governor General’s Gold Medal for her academic work. Her critically-oriented research focuses on democracy and social justice in both education policy and practice.

Learning Through Critical Making: Putting the Critical Back into Maker Spaces


CONSTRUCTIONISM: learners co-create new knowledge based on active engagement with raw materials or digital code.

MAKING: a strategy to engage youth in science, technology, engineering, math, arts, and learning as a whole

CRITICAL MAKING: production that necessarily integrates reflective processes – thus emphasizing a certain type of critically-infused process over the production

PRODUCTION PEDAGOGY: learners engage in (multi)literacy, artistic, and/or practical design challenges and aptitudes through the making of authentic artefacts.

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