Areas of Interest
STEM Learning, Roboticsand
, Computer Science,K-12, Informal, Design
Design, Curricular Integration
TERC ProjectsDesign Dimensions
Debra's research examines STEM learning in
Bernstein is a Senior Researcher at TERC. Her research examines curriculum design, implementation, and learning opportunities arising from the integration of technology design activities into K-12 and informalenvironments
learning settings. Oneline of this work explores approaches that increase CS engagement and learning to broaden participation of diverse and underserved audiences. A second line of work explores youth and professional engagement in design processes. Before joining TERC, Debra worked at the University of Pittsburgh Center for Learning in Out-of-School Environments (UPCLOSE), and for the educational television show Blues Clues. Debra holds an MA in Educational Psychology from Teachers College Columbia University, and a Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh.
current line of her research examines how integrating robotics design into existing STEM coursework can deepen students’ disciplinary learning and engagement, and support the development of CT practices, while exposing a broader population of students to technology and computing. A second line of work examines the opportunities and barriers for visually impaired students to engage with CS and robotics content. A third, evolving line of research examines robotics in early childhood settings, and seeks to understand what goals/need robotics kits are currently being used to serve in school and community organizations.
Recent Publications & Presentations
Robots and Romeo and Juliet: Studying Teacher Integration of Robotics into Middle School Curricula. Paper accepted
and Garibay, C.
Learning and behavior change in a Girl Scout program focused on energy conservation: Saving energy to ‘save the planet.’ Journal for Sustainability Education, 45 (1).
Seeding social norms about energy conservation among Girl Scouts. Applied Environmental Education & Communication, 13(3), 171-182. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/1533015X.2014.961887
J., & Hamner, E. (2012). Building technical knowledge and engagement in robotics: An examination of two out-of-school programs. In B.Barker, G. Nugent, N. Grandgenett, &V.I. Adamchuk (Eds.), Robotics in K-12 Education: A New Technology for Learning (pp. 222‐244). http://www.igi-global.com/chapter/building-technical-knowledge-engagement-robotics/63417
(March, 2012). Exploring the impact of family involvement on youth engagement in a creative robotics workshop. Paper presented at the meeting of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching, Indianapolis, IN.