Awardees from 2000-2019

The Jan Hawkins Award for Early Career Contributions to Humanistic Research

and Scholarship in Learning Technologies


Justin Reich Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Shirin Vossoughi Northwestern University


Antero Garcia Stanford University


Robb Lindgren  University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign


Paulo Blikstein   Stanford University


Joshua Danish   Indiana University


Thomas Philip   University of California, Los Angeles

Thomas M. Philip studies how digital technologies co-construct possibilities and limitations for teachers and students as they negotiate issues of equity and justice within the context of disciplinary learning. His research situates the push for digital technologies in the classroom within larger reform efforts that often trivialize and attempt to surveil and control the work of teachers. In particular, Thomas examines the distinct racialized dilemmas that emerge in teaching and learning through the incorporation of digital technologies. His work seeks to address the tendency for classroom technologies to reproduce deficit ideologies about students of color when these tools are adopted into learning environments without attention to issues of power. He also troubles calls for data literacy for civic awareness and engagement, which have emerged in response to the “data deluge” in society. Emphasizing the politics of data and technology, Thomas’s research demonstrates, from a racial justice perspective, the importance of opportunities that allow students to become racially literate about data and data-literate about race.


Angela Booker   University of California, Davis

is currently studying ways youth, families, and schools make use of media 
and technology for participation, learning, and community development. She is particularly concerned with addressing barriers that diminish access to public participation among underrepresented and disenfranchised communities. She uses ethnographic and qualitative research designs that draw on artifact analysis, interview, and observation data to examine typical and emerging practices used to engage in distributed contexts where youth and adults work together (and at times, in conflict). In addition she draws on design-based research methods in collaborative ways that involve youth, community partners, educators, and scholars in developing understandings of theory and practice as contexts for participation vary.

Victor R. Lee   Utah State University

Victor R. Lee conducts research and design work involving K-12 students and classrooms with an eye toward supporting student thinking and reasoning around data obtained from students’ own everyday physical activities. Through partnerships with practicing teachers, he co-implements new classroom units in order to gain better insights into both the challenges and opportunities associated with the integration of technologies that have historically been used for fitness and athletic tracking but are being repurposed as tools for students’ mathematical, scientific, and statistical inquiry. He also conducts research on teacher and school district appropriation of online teaching resources, student thinking in clinical interviews and other conversational interactions, and also the use and interpretation of visual representations embedded in science curricula. 


Tobin White   University of California, Davis

Tensions and Dilemmas in Design-Based Research 

Tobin White studies the use of technology in teaching and learning mathematics. He has a particular interest in using mobile computing to support novel approaches to engaging learners with STEM content and practices. Using a design-based research approach, he develops collaborative problem-solving tools and activities in order to investigate intersections between conceptual and social dimensions of learning.


Melissa Sommerfeld Gresalfi  Indiana University

Leveraging technologies to create opportunities to learn

Dr. Gresalfi's presentation will share research findings from projects that situate mathematical problem solving in the interactive digital context of video games. She will discuss how embedding disciplinary content into contexts serves a purpose beyond simply providing “relevance” for disciplinary work. Instead, when well designed, contexts can push back on students’ understanding because considering the usefulness, impact, or significance of particular tools on outcomes can actually shape one’s understanding of how and why a particular concept works. This talk will explore how curricular designs can embed content in contexts in ways that push back on students thinking by providing feedback about their thinking and reasoning, and share findings about student engagement in these contexts.


Erica Rosenfeld Halverson  University of Wisconsin-Madison

Designing for the new literacies:
Artistic production as a model for teaching and learning in the 21st Century

Halverson’s research focuses on how adolescents – particularly marginalized youth – learn to make films and on-line digital narratives about the stories of their lives and how this process impacts identity development and literacy learning. Halverson is building a body of empirical, theoretical and methodological work that describes digital art-making in terms of organizational pedagogy, individual process, individual development, and the role of the product as a multimodal representation of one’s emerging, dynamic identity.  This work leads to insights into the design process and moves toward the innovative approaches to K-12 learning technologies.


Susan Yoon  University of Pennsylvania

Complex Systems, Social Networks and Learning Technologies: Enhancing Access to Knowledge that Gives Rise to New Perspectives and Possibilities

This talk was framed around how Yoon's research aligned with the Jan Hawkins perspective (Bransford, 2003), i.e., focusing on the student's quality of life, equity of interactions, new contexts for learning, and cultural tools for learning. Through her work on participatory simulations, investigating socioscientific issues, social networks, and teacher's online professional development communities, Yoon discussed how system interactions are fueled by complex systems processes and organizations where new system properties emerge from information exchange.  Working in both formal and informal environments, her research investigates student learning, teacher networks, and how innovative STEM educational programs aimed at reform can be sustained and/or scaled. For more detail, visit


Mimi Ito

Networked Publics and Peer-Based Learning

Mimi Ito is a cultural anthropologist who studies youth uptake of new media. Her talk focused on the results of a three-year ethnographic project that investigated how young people in the US are incorporating new media into their everyday lives. This project involved 20 different case studies conducted by 29 researchers and research collaborators looking across diverse contexts in which youth were communicating online and using digital media for creative production and expression. The project identified "genres of participation" for how different youth participate in networked publics that they engage with online, specifically the difference between friendship-driven forms of hanging out and interest-driven forms of geeking out. Low cost digital production tools and traffic in media over the Internet are supporting new forms of peer based creative production, sharing, and learning. With interest-driven engagement, whether it is gaming, sports, or fan fiction, kids connect to peers who share their interests and fuel learning. The study found that social media can be a powerful driver of interest-driven, peer-based learning, but very few kids or educators were taking full advantage of this potential, particularly for academic learning. This talk described key dynamics of peer-based learning that are supported by today's online environments, and how they can be applied to diverse learning goals.


Cynthia Carter  Ching   University of California, Davis

X. Christine Wang   State University of New York at Buffalo 

To See the World in a Shutter Click: A Learner-Centered Approach to Technology in Early Childhood

2007 was the first year that the Hawkins award was given to a collaborative research team.  Ching and Wang's work focuses on the use of technology in early childhood education--in particular educational games and digital photo journals in kindergarten and first grade.  Ching and Wang examined how young children appropriate technologies for the purposes of (1) increasing their agency in the classroom, (2) representing their emerging identities, and (3) exploring their new roles within the world of formal schooling. 


Iris Tabak  Ben Gurion University

Noel Enyedy  University of California, L.A.

One aspect of Noel Enyedy’s work is to use technology to enact culturally relevant mathematics pedagogies that create the conditions where students themselves come to recognize how mathematics is relevant to their lives and their communities.  One such project was the Community Mapping Project where students studied and produced maps of demographic trends and educational outcomes for their own communities using a computerized mapping tool called a Geographic Information System (GIS).  These maps were used to explore quantitative data and became an entry point into formal statistics concepts and techniques as a tool for social science research and community advocacy.


Elizabeth Davis  School of Education, University of Michigan

Betsy Davis has also investigated the use of technology to help students think about science. Working with Marcia Linn and Phillip Bell at UC-Berkeley, she experimented with different forms of scaffolding to help direct student inquiry in science.  This attention to how students think about science led her to think about how science teachers come to develop their expertise.  Her design and research on learning environments for teachers using -- CASES The curriculum Access System for Elementary Science -- is providing valuable insights about how science teacher develop their expertise.

Brian K. Smith  Rhode Island School of Design

Brian Smith is helping students see images and video not as  information to learn but as data to investigate.  This transformation in the way technology is used encourages  students to ask their own questions and then to search multimedia data to create models to test their predictions. He uses Multimedia  digital artifacts--movies of wild animals stalking prey or collections of historical images of the same location over time-- to support learning conversations. He uses these visions to engage students in collaborative inquiry and intellectual discussions. Brian uses technology to effectively help students "do" and "talk" science.


Nichole Pinkard  University of Chicago

Making Culture Visible: Exploring Children's Perceptions of Self Through Their Use of Educational Technology

Reed Stevens  Northwestern University

Learning to see in Technoscience


Marina Umaschi Bers
, Tufts University

Marina Umaschi Bers, PhD, is an associate professor at the Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Development and the Computer Science Department at Tufts University. She heads the Developmental Technologies research group. Her research involves the design and study of innovative learning technologies to promote positive youth development. Dr. Bers received prestigious awards such as the 2005 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). Dr. Bers has conceived, designed and evaluated diverse technological tools ranging from robotics to virtual worlds in after-school programs, museums, hospitals, and schools both in the US and abroad. In the field of early childhood, Dr. Bers teaches seminars on robotics for early childhood educators and consults for toy companies. Her book "Blocks to Robots: Learning with Technology in the Early Childhood Classroom" has been published in 2008 by Teacher's College Press.  Dr. Bers is from Argentina. In 1994 she came to the US and received a Master's degree in Educational Media from Boston University and a Master of Science and PhD from the MIT Media Laboratory. More on Dr. Bers

David Cavallo  MIT


Amy Bruckman  Georgia Institute of Technology

Constructionism and Online Communities

Amy Bruckman is an associate professor in the School of Interactive Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology. She and her students in the Electronic Learning Communities (ELC) research group do research on social computing, particularly for educational applications. She is interested in the ways that we can design online communities to encourage individuals to create and share contentonline, and learn through that process. 


Barry Fishman  University of Michigan

Linking the Learning Sciences to Systemic Reform 

This talk examined why cognitively-oriented technology innovations, designed to foster deep 
thinking and learning, have not become widespread in K-12 schools. The talk focused on creating more scalable and sustainable research products through research designs that focus directly on the demands of school context. The work of the Center for Learning Technologies in Urban Schools (LeTUS) was used to illustrate these arguments. A research article based on this talk was published in The Journal of the Learning Sciences, Volume 13, issue 1.  At the time of his Hawkins Award talk, Fishman was an Assistant Professor, and since 2004 has been an Associate Professor of Learning Technologies in the University of Michigan School of Education and School of Information. His research focuses on video games as model learning environments, technology to support teacher learning, and standards-based systemic school reform.


Xiaodong Lin  Teacher’s College

Ann Bishop   University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign