Rebecca CoberI am a PhD Candidate in the department of Curriculum, Teaching, & Learning at the University of Toronto. I have been a member of the Encore lab since 2011. I work with a team of researchers and technologists to design a digital note-tool for elementary science curricula called Common Knowledge (CK). We have implemented various iterations of CK in several science curricula including WallCology (where students investigate a digital ecosystem that is embedded within their classroom walls), Neighbourhood Safari (where students investigate patterns of animal behaviour using motion-activated cameras), and inquiry of Astronomy topics.

My thesis topic concerns the role of student-generated visual representations for collective inquiry. My doctoral thesis study seeks to provide elementary students with opportunities to “select, produce, and productively use representations and even to design completely new representations” (diSessa & Sherin, 2000, p. 386) as part of their own scientific practice.The focus of my study will be on how these visual artifacts allow students to express their emerging ideas and theories about the phenomena that they are investigating and how these artifacts are used by the classroom knowledge community to advance collective understanding of the phenomena that they observe in their classroom.

Before beginning my work as a researcher with the Encore lab I was a classroom teacher. For several years I taught high school visual arts and then nearly all subjects in Grade six. I also have a background in fine arts (painting, drawing, sculpture) and graphic design. Other research interests include teachers as designers of educational technologies, the role of embodied interactions for learning, and tangible technologies to support novel forms of social interactions.