Ed tech scholar receives 2017 Jan Hawkins Award by AERA

by the College of Education at Illinois  /   May 3, 2017

Robb LindgrenCurriculum & Instruction scholar Robb Lindgren was the April 29 recipient of the 2017 Jan Hawkins Award for Early Career Contributions for Humanistic Research and Scholarship in Learning Technologies, AERA Division C. Lindgren said the award is special to him because of Jan Hawkins’ collaboration with his doctoral adviser, Roy Pea, prior to Hawkins’ death.

“I was greatly influenced, both directly and indirectly, by her work on how technologies can transform learning, and particularly the ‘humanistic’ perspective she had on educational tech,” Lindgren said of Hawkins.

He added that he is proud to be named among scholars who are his research and scholarship mentors, individuals who inspired him and have produced impactful work that has changed the way society integrates technology into educational environments.

Lindgren has a secondary appointment in the Department of Educational Psychology and is affiliated on campus with the Beckman Institute of Advanced Science and Technology and the National Center for Supercomputing Applications. He co-founded the Digital Environments for Learning, Teaching and Agency program, which is housed in the College of Education, and is the director of the Embodied and Immersive Technologies group at Illinois.

Lindgren is leading  GRASP (GestuRe Augmented Simulations for supporting exPlanations), a National Science Foundation-funded project that focuses on the role gestures play in reasoning about critical science concepts. Additionally, he is the principal investigator on the ELASTICS project, which explores whether embodied learning effects can be extended to crosscutting concepts and can support the transfer of learning across science topics. Both projects are using new digital technologies to create innovative and interactive learning experiences for K-12 students in the Champaign-Urbana area.

Dr. Emma Mercier nominated Lindgren for the award because of the innovative and transformative nature of his research in the learning technologies realm. She said his efforts in testing new designs in both informal and formal learning contexts, his focus on reaching underserved populations and less-represented students in STEM fields, and his work demonstrating that even short interactions with embodied learning environments can increase students’ efficacy in science all made her Curriculum & Instruction colleague a strong candidate for the award.

“Robb’s work is showing the need to create new measures of learning that are aligned with digital environments so that we can better understand the effects of these interventions and the types of learners they are benefitting,” Mercier said.