Rising Stars 2020:

Anna Keune

Postdoctoral Researcher

University of California, Irvine

PhD '20 Indiana University, Bloomington

Areas of Interest

  • Education
  • Human-Computer Interaction


Fabric-based computing: Materials as non-neutral drivers of computer science learning


Fiber crafts occupy a vital position in the history of technology innovation and present a promising space for broadening participation in computer science education, which continues to face lopsided participation. However, it remains unclear how materials drive what computing can become and how it is learned with the risk to miss computational approaches that could broaden the what, how, and who of computing. Fusing constructionist and posthuman perspectives on learning, this qualitative study analyzes the computational learning processes that are produced by the materiality of two fiber crafts, weaving and manipulating fabric, in the context of a middle-school fiber crafts course. The findings show that fiber crafts can be contexts for youth to perform computational concepts (i.e., variables, conditionals, functions) as well as how computational learning is directed by the materials of the computation. Weaving called for increased regularity and performance of automation. Sewing moved 3D modeling into a physical space and supported speculations about different computational playing fields as youth sewed together nodes on a grid and distorted the fabric matrix. These findings presented that the materials used for STEM learning are non-neutral and active players of what youth learn computationally and need to be considered in design for equitable learning.


Anna Keune is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California, Irvine within the Creativity Labs and the Connected Learning Lab. With a background in design of learning technology across international schools of thought, her work as a learning scientist is committed to building bridges across learning and design by advancing design for learning and theoretical explanations of how people learn in school and out-of-school settings. The aim of this intersection is to identify and counter implicit deficit notions within science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education, especially for girls and women. To do this, Anna investigates the role materials play in STEM learning and material-participatory approaches to educational technology design with the aim to broaden the what, the how, and the who of STEM.

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