TEACHER LEARNER & LEADER
I Imagine New Approaches to Learning Science
I am an education researcher interested in understanding how emerging technologies like synthetic biology can be leveraged in ways to encourage learning conditions that are both accessible and equitable. I work with a team of incredibly creative researchers who bring myriad perspectives drawn from the arts and sciences. This affords me insights into the ways academic domains intersect to create innovative outcomes.
AREAS OF RESEARCH
I research and publish in the following categories. These are examples of the type of technologies I think about with respect to learning.
GROWING DESIGNS WITH BIOMAKERLAB IN HIGH SCHOOL CLASSROOMS
Kafai, Yasmin, Orkan Telhan, Karen Hogan, Debora Lui, Emma Anderson, Justice T. Walker, and Sheri Hanna. "Growing Designs with biomakerlab in High School Classrooms." In Proceedings of the 2017 Conference on Interaction Design and Children, pp. 503-508. ACM, 2017.
A Maker Studio Model for High School Classrooms: The Nature and Role of Critique in an Electronic Textiles Design Project.
Litts, B. K., Widman, S. A., Lui, D. A., Walker, J.T., & Kafai, Y. B. (2019). A Maker Studio Model for High School Classrooms: The Nature and Role of Critique in an Electronic Textiles Design Project. Teachers College Record, 121(9), n9.
A Scaled Analysis of How Minecraft Gamers Leverage YouTube Comment Boxes to Participate and Collaborate.
Walker, J.T., Slater, S., & Kafai, Y. (2019, June). A Scaled Analysis of How Minecraft Gamers Leverage YouTube Comment Boxes to Participate and Collaborate. In Lund, K., Niccolai, G. P., Lavoué, E., Gweon, C. H., & Baker, M. (Eds.), A Wide Lens: Combining Embodied, Enactive, Extended, and Embedded Learning in Collaborative Settings, 13th International Conference on Computer Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL) 2019, Volume 1 (pp. 440-447). Lyon, France: International Society of the Learning Sciences. https://repository.isls.org//handle/1/1601.
COLLABORATIVE MAKER ACTIVITIES IN THE CLASSROOM: CASE STUDIES OF HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT PAIRS’ INTERACTIONS IN DESIGNING ELECTRONIC TEXTILES
Lui, Debora, Breanne K. Litts, Sari Widman, Justice T. Walker, and Yasmin B. Kafai. "Collaborative Maker Activities in the Classroom: Case Studies of High School Student Pairs' Interactions in Designing Electronic Textiles." In Proceedings of the 6th Annual Conference on Creativity and Fabrication in Education, pp. 74-77. ACM, 2016.
What I’ve Learned
B.S., ENGLISH LITERATURE/BIOLOGY, UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI
I studied and researched molecular biology. This was complimented with studies in literature where I grew an interest in writers like Langston Hughes and Maya Angelou. During summers, I carried out research with the Leadership Alliance at Brown University and taught math in Cambridge with the Breakthrough Collaborative. Those experiences shaped how I think about science, learning and the arts.
M.S.E., ENGINEERING BIOTECHNOLOGIES, UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA
Studying at Penn helped shape the way I understand cells and how they can be leveraged creatively. This is where I began to think about how engineering principles can be useful in teaching and learning. I took these experiences back to the classroom and began teaching biotechnology courses to better contextualize topics covered in the biology courses I also taught.
GRADUATE AND POST DOCTORAL FELLOW, TEACHING, LEARNING AND TEACHER EDUCATION, UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA
These days I study how emerging technologies (e.g., Synthetic Biology or Electronic Textiles) exist in teaching and learning. I'm fascinated also by the possibilities technology poses in creating more equitable and accessible learning experiences. I use Learning Science and Sociocultural perspectives to inform my research and hope to continue doing so professionally as a professor/leader. This of course is all thanks to my advisor and mentor Yasmin B. Kafai.