Creative Coding: Programming for Personal Expression


Peppler, K., & Kafai, Y. (2009). Creative coding: Programming for personal expression. Published in the proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Computer Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL), Rhodes, Greece.


“Media Arts within primary and secondary education is a relatively new avenue of research. Within the context of the arts classroom, rarely is learning to program emphasized despite its importance for creative expression in a digital medium. We present outcomes from an extensive field study at a digital studio where youth accessed programming environments emphasizing graphic, music and video. Learning the language of creative coding is essential to expression in a digital medium — one with increasing importance for youth and society at large. Here, we argue that it’s not just in the viewing or playing of digital media but also in the constructive — or coding — experience through which connections to art can be established.”

Author Keywords

Art, design, digital art, education, education design, and media art.

My One Sentence Summary

An analysis of a single project created in Scratch appears to indicate kids can learn how to create media arts expressions despite little experience with coding.

Some of My Lingering Questions/Thoughts

  • Not only might coding providing opportunities for arts educators to explore coding and CS, but CS educators to explore the arts.

  • When does/n't the creation of a product or expression demonstrate understanding?

    • How much of a creative expression is the result of understanding and how much of it is the result of experimentation and happy accidents?

    • What are some approaches that can be taken along the way to focus on understanding throughout a process rather than assessment of the product itself?