School of Education professor honored with Governor’s Award for Tomorrow’s Leaders

Kylie Peppler recognized for applying academic work to community improvement

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A member of the Indiana University School of Education faculty received a 2009 Governor’s Award for Tomorrow’s Leaders in a ceremony in Indianapolis.  Assistant Professor Kylie Peppler received the honor in a ceremony at the Indiana Statehouse on Tuesday, December 15.

The Governor’s Award for Tomorrow’s Leaders is presented by the Office of the Governor of Indiana and the Indiana Humanities Council. The award criteria note the award is an initiative to “bring attention to excellence and achievement among a broad, diverse group of young leaders in Indiana.”
Peppler has proven a productive member of the School of Education faculty since her appointment in January 2008, earning 7 grants, publishing 6 scholarly articles, and co-editing a book published this year. That book, The Computer Clubhouse:  Constructionism and Creativity in Youth Communities, focuses on her work with media arts as a tool to help improve literacy and learning for young people. The book examines Computer Clubhouse, an international after school program designed to provide the latest in computer technology to underserved youth. Since arriving in Indiana, Peppler has worked with the Bloomington Boys and Girls Club to create a similar media arts program. In this program, youth are introduced to a visual computer programming and design tool that allows them to create anything from a short animated story to a music video. Children use not only their imagination, but literacy and computer skills, to create a unique expression of self which can then be shared worldwide on the Internet.

“These tools allow youth to speak their minds, and to share their media arts products for the whole world to see,” Joyce Alexander, chair of the Department of Counseling and Educational Psychology, wrote in the letter nominating Peppler for the award. “These opportunities allow children to view their possible selves and potential skills in a whole new way outside of the traditional school subjects. I believe this program makes a positive impact on our community and on our children.”

governors awards “I’m delighted that Kylie has been selected to receive this honor” said Gerardo Gonzalez, Dean of the IU School of Education.  “She has already distinguished herself as a gifted scholar in her young career.  Her work certainly exemplifies the excellence and achievement characteristic of young leaders who make a difference.”

Peppler began her work with media arts as a graduate student in Los Angeles while completing her PhD at UCLA. Working with a Computer Clubhouse chapter there, she found ways that media arts can open new avenues for creative literacy to non-traditional and disadvantaged learners. “I think in doing that design work they’re doing everything from complex problem solving to computer science; they’re learning how to program,” Peppler said about the students engaging media arts. “A lot of kids are even learning about how to market their ideas. Some of the kids have used the internet to post either their availability for work for hire or to showcase their portfolios so they can get recognition.”

Her work is also connecting students from the Bloomington Boys and Girls Club to peers on the other side of the world. She has started a project with Bar-Ilan University in Israel that involves connecting Israeli elementary school students with counterparts in Indiana to promote cross-cultural awareness. Besides corresponding with each other, the students will coordinate on a project to compose music.

The recipients of the Governor’s Award for Tomorrow’s Leaders are selected by a jury of Indiana leaders. In addition to the award and recognition at the ceremony and reception that follows, Peppler receives a $1,000 scholarship that can be used toward continuing education or as a charitable donation.

See the Indiana Humanities Council release on the awards here.