Senior Researcher

Debra Bernstein

Program/Areas of Interest

  • STEM Learning
  • Robotics
  • Computer Science
  • Design
  • Curricular Integration


Debra 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 informal learning settings. One 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 computational thinking 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 computer science and robotics content. A third, evolving line of research examines robotics in early childhood settings, and seeks to understand what goals and need robotics kits are currently being used to serve in school and community organizations.


  • University of Pittsburgh, Cognitive Psychology, Ph.D. 2010
  • University of Pittsburgh, Cognitive Psychology, MS 2006
  • Teachers College Columbia University, Cognitive Studies in Education, MA 2002
  • University of Wisconsin Madison, Psychology and Social Welfare, BA 1997


  • AERA
  • ISTE

Highlighted Publications

Bernstein, D., Danahy, E., Puttick, G., Cassidy, M., Wendell, K., & Shaw, F. (June, 2019). Designing Biomimetic Robots:  An Interdisciplinary Middle School Curriculum.  Paper presented at the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Annual Meeting, Philadelphia, PA.

Ludi, S., Bernstein, D., & Mutch-Jones, K. (2018). Enhanced Robotics! Improving Building and Programming Learning Experiences for Students with Visual Impairments. In Proceedings of the 2018 ACM SIGCSE Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education (SIGCSE ’18). ACM, New York, NY, USA

Bernstein, D., Drayton, B., McKenney, S., & Schunn, C. (2016). Designing science curriculum for implementation at scale: Considerations for diverse and resource-limited settings. In C. Looi, J. Polman, U. Cress, & P. Reimann (Eds.) Transforming Learning, Empowering Learners: The International Conference of the Learning Sciences (ICLS) 2016 (pp. 886-889). Singapore: International Society of the Learning Sciences.