Adventures at AERA Conference 2014

Just got back from my very first research conference, the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association. It was a whirlwind.


  • Met Lynn Dierking, author of more than a handful of influential books on museum learning, including The Museum Experience, The Museum Experience Revisited, Museums and Families, Learning From Museums, and Lessons Without Limit.
  • Joined a working group roundtable led by several graduate students and faculty members of Teacher’s College, Columbia University who share an interest in social participatory youth co-researcher methodologies (inviting research participants to actually participate in the research that’s about them—an innovative, social-justice oriented approach to qualitative research).
  • Saw my mentor Angela Calabrese Barton deliver a keynote address to the Science Teaching and Learning Special Interest Group (and met a wonderful variety of science education researchers there).
  • Learned about the University of Minnesota’s Bright Stars research project in a symposium chaired by Cassandra Scharber, a program that explored how different educational spaces (a classroom, a library and a community organization) acted as empowering, technology-mediated communities to inspire deep engagement in learning.
  • Heard from Yasmin Kafai, author of Connected Play, about how kids in her project leveraged educational content to gain power and explore new roles in a “virtual play space” (and about how logfile data showed the research team what ethnographic interviews could not reveal).
  • Delivered a poster presentation on John Dewey’s influence on more recent themes in science education research, alongside two longtime Dewey scholars: David Wong from Michigan State and Kevin Pugh from the University of Northern Colorado. The actual poster is pictured below, with a very excited young researcher standing in front…



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