Breanne K. Litts is an Assistant Professor in Instructional Technologies and Learning Sciences and director of Learn Explore Design Lab at Utah State University. She investigates how people learn by and collaborate through making, designing, and producing and develops technologies and learning environments to support these interdisciplinary activities. Her scholarly interests combine identity, learning, design, and technology, particularly from a learning sciences perspective. Dr. Litts examines how to leverage place-based storytelling to engage young people in cultural and civic issues as well as computational and technological design practices. Her overarching goal is to democratize disciplinary learning and legitimize making as learning. She collaborates and co-designs with academic, K-12, library, museum, industry, and other community partners. With NSF support (AISL #1623404), Dr. Litts currently works with her co-PI’s and in partnership with American Indian communities to co-design culturally responsive maker activities and spaces and support diverse knowledge systems in disciplinary-based learning environments by leveraging narrative- and place-based approaches.
The proliferation of smartphones provides easy access to augmented reality experiences. In this column, the authors present an approach by which we can provide all young people with equal access to AR, and how we can empower students to be producers, not just consumers. Learn more here.
This article reports on a case study featuring a class of 23 high school students in a STEM class partnered with art students to develop an interactive installation. The authors used the characteristics of studio models from arts, architecture, and engineering education and integrated maker activities.
Through a comparative, in-depth case study of three makerspaces, the authors explore how makerspaces function as learning environments how participants learn and develop through complex design and making practices. Learn more here.
Breanne Litts and her team work with SpyHop Productions and the Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation leverage new technologies, such as augmented reality, to collect and document stories around key historical sites. Projects include an interactive digital component at the new Boa Ogoi Cultural & Interpretive Center at the Bear River Massacre where the Tribe seeks to educate and enlighten visitors about its history. Learn more at https://boaogoi.org/.
In partnership with Dr. Melissa Tehee (Psychology, USU) and her Tohi Lab, Dr. Litts and the LED Lab are working with Edith Bowen Laboratory School (K-6) to investigate how to collaboratively (re)design cross-cultural field experiences for sixth graders to effectively develop culturally competent citizen scholars. The key aim of the project is to cultivate connections across partners, cultures, and disciplines.
The Graduation Game (TGG) is an academic exploration game designed in ARIS. This game has been utilized for two years as an orientation tool for psychology undergraduate students. This game allows students to explore the courses they will take during the first year of their bachelor’s degree situated on the Utah State University Campus.
Culturally Responsive Making: Developing High-Low Tech Maker Activities in Local and Mobile Spaces for Supporting American Indian Youth is a two-year, National Science Foundation (#1623404) funded project in collaboration with Arizona State University and the University of Pennsylvania. The goal of this project is to develop culturally responsive making activities and makerspaces with two Indigenous communities, one in Utah and one in Arizona.
In partnership with the Field Day Lab (David Gagnon) and Videogame Research (Dr. Dennis Ramirez), this project brings together computer, data, and learning designers and scientists to explore how the log data in a mobile development platform can shed light on youths’ learning in making and coding their games. Specifically, we examined ARIS (Augmented Reality and Interactive Storytelling), a narrative-based programming platform for non-programmers made up for a web-based editor and a client-based app.
Safe Passages 4 U is a student-led initiative to improve the campus climate at Utah State University. The Safe Passages team believes that all students have the right to obtain the best education possible on this campus and to feel safe and supported while doing so.
We explore how to support teaching and learning of computational thinking (CT) practices in interdisciplinary, age-appropriate contexts. To prepare youth to be computationally literate in a digital world economy, two key approaches have emerged aiming to make text-based programming more widely applicable, accessible, and age-appropriate.
In this session, participants engaged in a hands-on, tool-focused tutorial to gain tangible experience using ARIS (arisgames.org) as a CSCL tool to teach computational thinking. ARIS is an augmented reality and interactive storytelling platform with which non-programmers can design and develop their own location-based, interactive games or stories (Dikkers, Martin, & Coulter, 2011; Holden, Dikkers, Martin, & Litts, 2015).
Learning about circuitry by connecting a battery, light bulb, and wires is a common activity in many science classrooms. In this paper, we expand students’ learning about circuitry with electronic textiles, which use conductive thread instead of wires and sewable LEDs instead of lightbulbs, by integrating programming sensor inputs and light outputs and examining how the two domains interact.
Through a comparative case study, Sheridan and colleagues explore how makerspaces may function as learning environments. Drawing on field observations, interviews, and analysis of artifacts, videos, and other documents, the authors describe features of three makerspaces and how participants learn and develop through complex design and making practices.