SYMP 325 - Opening new lines: Perspectives into interest, its development and learning

1.3 Learning, knowledge and agency
Symposium (Symp)
9:30 AM, Friday 1 Sep 2017 (2 hours)
This symposium brings together four converging perspectives on interest, interest-driven learning and interest development. Building on a common set of theoretical sources from practice and cultural-historical activity theory as well as recent work in anthropology (Azevedo, 2011; Engeström, 2009; Ingold, 2011), the contributions together seek to dialogue and contrast with the dominant cognitive take on interest. The standard theory (Hidi & Renninger, 2006) regards interest and its development mostly as a psychological disposition to engage with given topic and which, through this engagement, becomes progressively more independent of supportive conditions of its pursue. In contrast, the authors of this symposium highlight the complex social, cultural, material and affective entanglements of interest and how they are constituted and develop in lived practice.

Empirically the contributions demonstrate how research on interest can be successfully conducted in and across different settings. Azevedo’s work draws on in-depth case studies on STEAM engagement from after-school and hobby astronomer’s practices. Hollett’s contribution is based on his recent inquiries into skateboarding and video/photography activities. Lastly, both Hilppö and Ramey will present their respective work from an innovative makerspace and STEAM learning infrastructure (called FUSE) implemented as an in-school science course.

Interest can be a powerful motivator for learning and, vice versa, learning also can influence motivation and fuel interest. Given, for example, the enduring global problems of motivation experienced in formal education contexts the contributions of this symposium represent important conceptual and empirical advances in unpacking these complex issues.
Other Participant
Peabody College
Northwestern University
Northwestern University
University of Texas at Austin
Penn State University

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