Digital Learning

Combining science and design to understand the nature of digital learning while developing creative and tested solutions and practices.

The goal of the Digital Learning Initiative is to transform digital learning for children and adults.  We will produce fundamentally new ways of learning virtually, create more precise and effective educational tools for learners with diverse needs, and expand access to quality educational resources that go beyond instructional models that emphasize factual and procedural recall.

Working with public and private partners in education, technology and industry, we’ll find better ways to ensure that digital learning solutions are based on a collaborative discovery and design process. We will help build a world that includes robust virtual learning options that effectively address the significance of informal learning, build knowledge, create community, advance careers, and enrich lives so that when confronted with a new crisis that threatens to disrupt learning, we are ready.

Here are the projects that will help achieve our goal.

Virtual Field Trips

Developing tools and learner-centered frameworks to create and co-experience navigable worlds via immersive, 360-degree photos and videos. Digital field trips offer unique affordances to expand access to locales, capture sense of place, and foreground agency within an experiential learning environment.

Project leads

Bio photo of Kristen Pilner Blair
Kristen Pilner Blair

Director of Research, Digital Learning

Bio photo of Dan Schwartz
Dan Schwartz

I. James Quillen Dean and Nomellini & Olivier Professor of Educational Technology

Bio photo of Ryan Petterson
Ryan Petterson

School of Earth, Energy, and Environmental Sciences

Clinical Experiences – Teacher Preparation

Addressing educators problems of practice and learning experiences lost during remote instruction, and connecting teacher candidates with rich resources to support learning about in-person teaching while studying remotely.

Project leads

Bio photo of Heidi Chang
Heidi Chang

Graduate School of Education

Bio photo of Sarah Levine
Sarah Levine

Graduate School of Education

Bio photo of Karin Forssell
Karin Forssell


Remote hands-on skills lab for high school STEM courses using virtual reality

Working collaboratively with five underserved Bay Area high schools, we aim to introduce hands-on skills labs in their STEM courses using remote affordable VR format.

Project lead

Bio photo of Sakti Srivastava
Sakti Srivastava


Dogbot: A robotic companion for emotion regulation and stress management for K-12 students during remote learning

The emotional wellbeing of students is one of the most difficult yet crucial parts of education, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Project lead

Bio photo of Pablo Paredes
Pablo Paredes

Clinical Assistant Professor

Leveraging social media approaches to capture, share, and inspire maker pedagogy

This project looks to develop a new approach for teachers to produce and share online “feeds” of innovative maker pedagogy in San Mateo County.

Project lead

Bio photo of Victor Lee
Victor Lee

Associate Professor

Community Centers

Community Centers have been trying to maintain engagement during the COVID-19 crisis through online community building. They have seen benefits for those who otherwise have trouble with access to live events. Yet they have also experienced drawbacks such as “Zoom fatigue,” intermittent WiFi, privacy issues, and difficulties creating meaningful connection in online spaces.

Project leads

Bio photo of Shelley Goldman
Shelley Goldman

Graduate School of Education

Bio photo of Keith Bowen
Keith Bowen

Graduate School of Education

Creative practices for online teaching and learning of music and digital arts

Develop innovative strategies and dissemination of pedagogical practices involved with
remote teaching for musical collaborations

Project lead

Bio photo of Chris Chafe
Chris Chafe

Duca Family Professor