My research examines the intersection of out-of-school learning, youth culture, and digital media.
I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Learning and Performance Systems at The Pennsylvania State University. I work in the Learning, Technology, and Design program.
I study and design informal, media-rich learning settings for youth in order to support innovative teaching and learning. As an effort to disrupt container-like models of teaching and learning, my research responds to the ongoing development of interest-driven learning opportunities for youth within—and beyond—settings like home, libraries, schools, and city streets. Simply put, I believe that youth learn best when they pursue their own interests, when the have the opportunities to work alongside and share that knowledge with supportive peers and adults, and when they have multiple opportunities, across settings, to refine skills valued by a meaningful, and authentic community. With this belief as an anchor, my research to date has explored youth, learning with digital media, in-and-out of schools, including youth learning and composing with mobile devices, youth learning through video gameplay, and youth learning in action sports, like skateboarding and BMX riding.
I ask questions about the dynamic processes of learning that extend across contexts, including formal and informal, local and global, embodied and digital. While sociocultural theories of learning and literacy serve as the foundation for my work, theoretical orientations from other venues—from communications to human geography—help me understand issues of space, time, mobility, and embodiment. I ask questions such as: What are the spatiotemporal dynamics of learning settings? What are the rhythms, the tempos, of learning? To what degree do teachers, and researchers, bound and frame when and where learning occurs? And how do research methodologies sustain—or break—those confines? I believe these questions to be especially pressing given the increasing complexity, connectivity, and velocity of learning opportunities for youth.
My current research centers on youth learning in technology-enhanced sports settings.
The Pennsylvania State University
Department of Learning and Performance Systems
Learning, Design, and Technology
301 Keller Building
University Park, PA
M3: Mobility | Media | Movement
My current research is anchored in the action sports community. This ethnographic work explores the interest-driven learning surrounding youth skateboarding and biking, especially through their intersections with digital media. I am currently accepting students interested in this area of study.
Metro: Building Blocks
In my previous research, I piloted connected learning opportunities for youth at the Metro Public Library through a program I established called Metro: Building Blocks. Interest-powered activity surrounding the video game Minecraft lets teens plan, design, and build Metro's neighborhoods.
The Studio @ MPL: Learning Lab Design
Prior to starting Metro: Building Blocks at the library, I worked with local youth and architects to design the new learning lab at the Metro Public Library. Integrating music, gaming, making and writing spaces, The Studio at MPL will give teens a chance to explore a variety of forms of learning and connecting through digital media.
To explore the literacies of youth with mobile devices in school, Christian Ehret and I developed3686. Students created a variety of narratives, ranging from Flat Stanley narratives, to making their school speak through QR code-based tours.
At the M3 lab, we study the intersection of learning with issues related to mobility, media, and movement. Currently, our focus is on learning within the action sports community, including skateboarding and BMX riding, with an explicit focus on the role of digital media (photography and videography) therein. Through ethnographic research, our goal is to explore underlying learning principles at work related to interest-driven pursuits within the action sports community.
Refereed Journal Articles
Hollett, T. & Ehret, C. (2016). Civic rhythms in an informal, media-rich learning program. Learning, Media & Technology.
Hollett, T. (2016). Interests-in-motion in an informal, media-rich learning setting. Digital Culture & Education.
Ehret, C. & Hollett, T. (2016). Affective dimensions of participatory design research in informal learning environments: Placemaking, belonging, and correspondence. Cognition & Instruction.
Ehret, C., Hollett, T., & Jocius, R. (2016). Movement, meshworks, and new media making: An intra-action analysis of adolescents making a digital book trailer. Journal of Literacy Research.
Ehret, C. & Hollett, T. (2014). Embodied Compositionin real virtualities. Adolescents’ literacy practices and felt experiences moving with digital, mobile devices in school. Research in the Teaching of English, 48(4), p. 428-452.
Ehret, C. & Hollett, T. (2014) (Re)placing school: Fifth-graders’ counter-mobilities while composing with mobile devices in a digital media enrichment class. Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, 57(2), 110-119.
Leander, KM and Hollett, T. (In review). The embodied rhythms of learning: From learning across settings to learners crossing settings.
Leander, KM. & Hollett, T. (2014). Designing new spaces for literacy learning. Literacy Research Association Yearbook, 62, p. 29-42.
Hollett, T. (2015). Nashville: Building Blocks: A Case Study. In Gordon, E. and Mihailidis, P. (Eds). The Civic Media Reader. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Hollett, T. & Leander, KM. (2013). Location-based environments and technologies. In Price, S., Jewitt, C., & Brown, B. (Eds.). The Sage Handbook of Digital Technology Research. London: Sage.
LDT 544: Interaction Analysis
EDTEC 467 (Online): Emerging Web Technologies for Learning
INSYS 549: Current Topics in Emerging Technologies
New Media Field Experience
Learning In and Out of School (with Rogers Hall)
Human Geography (with Andrew Hostetler)