Laurel.June 2011 crop v2

My passion is 21st century learning.

I am a PhD Candidate in Communication at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. My dissertation examines four educational efforts from the informal learning space, specifically two after-school programs, one summer program, and one in-school elective program. Do learning cultures that support safety, connection, engagement, and empowerment predict participants’ 21st century learning (defined by the National Research Council as learning that cultivates skills across cognitive, intrapersonal, and interpersonal domains)? How does each program negotiate such processes as participatory governance, participatory learning, and playfulness? To what extent do program participants develop proficiency in skills related to digital citizenship? These questions and others like them both drive my general research program and represent the focus of this dissertation.

In my work as an Instructional Design Specialist with the USC Dornsife Joint Educational Project and as a consultant to several non-profits that provide arts programming for youth, I utilize a participatory learning approach; that means that I work alongside participants to collaboratively design, implement, and assess educational experiences. The curricula I co-develop always seek to enrich youths’ social and emotional competence and to leverage analog and digital media.

My principal research interests include:

  • Participatory learning
  • Social and emotional learning
  • New media literacies & traditional media literacy
  • Powerful play
  • Participatory research and assessment

I’m proud to have earned a Bachelor of Science in Social Policy from Northwestern University¬†and a Master of Arts in Child Development from Tufts University.

I’m prouder still of my rich professional experiences, which include working in the federal government, teaching 2- to 25-year-olds both domestically and internationally, and consulting with¬†various media organizations.

I’m proudest that educators in Los Angeles and around the world have worked with me to co-develop learning experiences that continue to make a difference.

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