Education 122 (Winter 2007)

Children, Learning & Material Culture



Instructor: Jon Wagner  <>

Teaching Assistant: Amy Huang





Sess #1

Jan 3

Children, learning and material culture:  theoretical perspectives; environments, materials, media, and frames; case studies and inquiries.



Schools & Communities





Jan 8


Teaching, learning, materials and activities


Herndon, How to survive in your native land, Part I



Jan 10


Children & adults; folk culture & institutional culture

Herndon, How to survive, Part II

Schwartzman, The anthropological study of childrenŐs play.


Form web project teams

Jan 15


-----No Class -----




Jan 17


Play and work; ritual and routine

Herndon, How to survive, Part III

Miller, Ends, means & galumphing





Jan 22

Education & schooling; socialization and development; theories of learning and childhood

Hubbard, Notes from the underground: Unofficial literacy in one sixth-grade.

Resnick, Learning in school and out

*Stevenson & Chen, Literacy acquisition in Peru, Asia and the US.




Homes, Media & Markets





Jan 24

Changes in family boundaries & consumer culture; media production & consumption; parent & child roles, etc.


Seiter, CH-1, ChildrenŐs desires/mothersŐ dilemmas: The social contexts of consumption

Seiter, CH-2, buying happiness, buying success: Toy advertising to parents




Jan 29

Material improvements & family dynamics; mass media & economic inequality; the conservative and subversive functions of media


Seiter, CH-3, The real power of commercials: questioning the terms of debate

Seiter, CH-4, Utopia or discrimination? Commercials for kids

*Zelizer, Kids and commerce


Web project work plans & oral reports due

In-class review


Jan 31

Children & adults; images & text; fantasy & reality; conflict & harmony; gender, age and authority


Seiter, CH-5, Toy-based videos for girls: My little pony

Seiter, CH-6 Action TV for boys: Slimer and the real ghostbusters




Feb 5

The house as local and global, personal and public

Seiter, CH-7 Toys ŇrÓ Us: Marketing to children and parents

Edwards, ChildrenŐs play in cross-cultural perspective


Mid-term exam




Work, Play & Learning




Feb 7



deMarrais, et al. Meaning in mud: YupŐik Eskimo girls at play.

Maynard & Greenfield: Children, material culture & weaving

Saxe: Candy-selling and math learning

Wagner: Beyond the body in a box: Visualizing contexts of childrenŐs action

QQ&C #1 due


Feb 12





Topic due –

 Individual term paper


Feb 14



Perkins, The fingertip effect: How information-processing technology shapes thinking

*Sherman, Perils of the princess: Gender and genre in video games

*Wolf, Inventing space: Toward a taxonomy of on- and off-screen space in video games



Web prep review

Feb 19


------ No Class -----




Feb 21


No Assigned Reading

Computer lab




Feb 26


No Assigned Reading

Group project

web site finished 



Materials & Identity




Feb 28


Kasten, Medicine men, Bethlehem & Pac Man

Mahiri, African American males & learning

Fisherkeller, Everyday learning about identities



QQ&C #2 due

Updates on term projects


Mar 5



OŐConnor, Is anorexia a post-modern asceticism?

Dundes, Bloody Mary in the mirror




Mar 7



Salazar, Public schools, private foods

Mechling, DonŐt play with your food


Individual term paper due


Mar 12


Marcus & Moore, Children and their environments

Rasmussen, Places for children, childrenŐs places

*Martinello, Play-grounds for learning



Mar 14




In-class final exam Part I


 Mar 20




FINAL EXAM: Part II (take home)


Due 3:30 pm