Dr. Deborah A. Fields Co-Investigator

Dr. Deborah A. Fields is an Assistant Professor in Instructional Technology and Learning Sciences at Utah State University. She is the co-Principal Investigator on the Kids' DIY Media Project, a SSHRC-funded, cross-sector partnership aimed at identifying and fostering emerging opportunities, as well as addressing challenges, associated with kids' making and sharing their own media content online. 

Deborah researches children’s learning through design with digital technologies in ways that bridge informal and formal learning contexts. In this vein, she has worked on projects related to learning in virtual worlds, identity development across contexts, and data-based inquiry learning in math and science. More recently she has been studying relationships between identity, motivation, and learning through kids’ designing of engaging, computational media in Scratch and tangible craft technologies.

Her work has appeared in journals such as Games & Culture, the International journal of Computer Supported Collaborative Learning, International Journal of Science Education, and Mind, Culture, and Activity, chapters in edited volumes, as well as a recent white paper for the Joan Ganz Cooney Center. Her recent book, Connected Play: Tween Life in a Virtual World(2013), documents kids’ play, learning and identity development in virtual worlds.

In addition to the Kids' DIY Media project, with support of the National Science Foundation, Deborah is leading an investigation of computational thinking in Scratch, a graphical programming environment developed for kids. Using “big” data she and her colleagues are tracking students’ learning and pathways of programming. 

Deborah is a member of the Active Learning Lab at USU and also co-directs the Computational Craft Lab at USU, where she and her colleagues work to connect the new digital fabrication technologies to kids’ interests and creative learning.

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