Technology, Knowledge and Learning

, Volume 23, Issue 2, pp 247–271 | Cite as

Coding to Create: A Subtext of Decisions as Early Adolescents Design Digital Media

  • Julia Hagge
Original research


Full participation in the twenty-first century requires the skills, strategies, and dispositions necessary to adapt to changing technologies influencing all aspects of life. Online programming communities provide a space for youth to create, collaborate, and share as they engage in computational participation. A recent development in the digital composition practices of youth is the use of coding to create digital media. This article reports on a descriptive case study focused on five early adolescents engaged in Scratch, an online programming community. In what ways do early adolescents make decisions in the design of digital media as they engage in programming-as-writing? The data collected included participant created digital media products, interviews, and observations. Based upon a content analysis of the digital media products and an inductive analysis of the interviews and observations data, participants demonstrated decisions connected to the design of projects created, decisions focused on the function of projects, and decisions connected with meaning. A typography represents the decisions made by participants as they created projects in Scratch. The participant experiences in Scratch are representative of a shift in the literacy practices of youth toward the creation of digital media within virtual social places as they engage in computational participation.


Coding Programming Computational participation Literacy Design Digital media 


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Teaching and LearningThe Ohio State University at MarionMarionUSA

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