Karen Wohlwend Research Collection


Karen Wohlwend is a literacy professor who studies young children's play, across early childhood classrooms, digital cultures, and media imaginaries. Through play, even very young children can collaborate to create their own pretend scenarios--whether in doll play in the house corner, Lego building in the block center, video games, or animation and filmmaking apps. My research reconceptualizes young children’s play as an embodied literacy that produces action texts made with moving bodies or animated avatars, which is so much more meaningful and dynamic than print on a page or screen. Taking a critical sociocultural perspective, I study play in playrooms, classrooms, museums, and makerspaces, and develop methodologies for looking closely at the ways players interact with toys, popular media, video games, YouTube, Twitter, and other social networks.

Current research projects include:

  • Literacy Playshop: Critical media literacy through play and filmmaking with media toys, toyhacking, and popular media in PK-16 classrooms
  • Literacy, media, and STEM learning in first person video with toys in a Doc McStuffins museum exhibit (with Dr. Adam Maltese)
  • Design Playshop: Embodied literacies across sciences and arts in e-textile makerspaces (with Dr. Kylie Peppler)

Recent Submissions

View more