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Pea, Roy

Roy Pea
Roy Pea
Academic Title 
Other Titles 

David Jacks Professor of Education and Learning Sciences
Director, H-STAR Institute

Professor of Computer Science (by courtesy)

Contact Information
Program Affiliations 
Research Interests 
Cognitive Development
Cognitive Psychology
Curriculum and Instruction
Design Experiments
Distance Education
Educational Equity
Learning Design
Mathematical Problem-solving
Mathematics Education
Problem-based Learning
Professional / Staff Development
Qualitative Research Methods
Science Education
Small Group Instruction and Interaction
Teacher Education and Certification
Technology in Teaching and Learning
Virtual Classroom

One study I have underway collaboratively with Prof. Shelley Goldman and our students is under the auspices of the NSF funded LIFE Center (see below) - "Family Math Study: Contexts for mathematical practices and problem solving." This study is investigating the ways middle school age learners and their families characterize their engagement in mathematical problem solving in family activities and events. It seeks to identify the common contexts that are relevant to mathematics learning and practice as well as to characterize similarities and differences in family math situations. We are examining the resources family members use for solving problems together, characterizing the structure of these activities, and analyzing the social conditions and arrangements for family-based mathematics practices.

I work with a talented team of staff and graduate students on the DIVER Project, a program of grants and studies that are exploring, developing, and researching new interaction paradigms for digital video-based communications in collaborative research, teacher education, and K-12 education, among other applications (

My research for the past 25 years has centered on how innovations in computing and communications technologies and affiliated socio-cultural practices can influence learning, thinking, and educational systems. My two major lines of research are: (1) developing a new paradigm for everyday networked video interactions for learning and communications (, and (2) investigating how informal and formal learning can be better understood and connected, as Co-PI of the LIFE Center ( funded by the National Science Foundation as one of several large-scale national Science of Learning Centers. Other recent areas of specialization include computer-supported collaborative and on-line communities of learning, uses of digital video for learning research and for teacher learning, innovations in WILD learning (with Wireless Interactive Learning Devices), and inquiry learning using scientific visualizations. My DIVER Project involves developing innovative software and research community uses for digital video analysis and collaboration tools for studying learning and teaching. I have also contributed to building a number of interdisciplinary research centers and complex projects that engage researchers, educators, and industry leaders in collaborative design partnerships for uses of learning technologies. Launched in Fall 2004, in collaboration with colleagues at Stanford, the University of Washington, and at SRI International, I will be devoting significant time over at least the next 5 years to our new $25Mil LIFE Center (Learning in Informal and Formal Environments), one of six NSF-funded Science of Learning Centers awarded as of January 2007. We are seeking in this work to build a science of learning that integrates advances in implicit learning and cognitive neuroscience, informal learning, and formal learning, incorporating interactive technologies and new media.

"Computer-based digital video is finding an increasing role inside the K-12 and higher education classroom. But like the videotapes and filmstrips preceding it, this potentially dynamic medium is still used primarily in a teacher-centered approach in which video is watched by learners, either in a whole-class model, or by individuals playing videoclips on particular curriculum topics. Yet video can also serve as a powerful medium for capturing records of teaching practices for uses in professional development, for analyzing the interactions involved in learning activities and conversations, and for learners to construct videos as expressive artifacts and to interact with video in ways more productive for active engagement in learning. Although digital video capture, editing, and sharing has now become much more accessible and inexpensive. With developments in consumer electronics and streaming media over the World-Wide Web, it is still unusual for teachers to capture video of their teaching for reflective analysis with mentors and peers, for learning researchers to collaboratively analyze teaching and learning videos to deepen our science of learning, or for K-12 students to capture, edit and use video in their own expressions of learning. Today there are too many technical barriers to having such useful activities become more widespread.

My DIVER Project at Stanford has been tackling these problems. We have developed a new paradigm that makes it easy for a user to control a "virtual camera window" with a computer mouse on a computer screen to pan and zoom so as to "point" to the parts of a video that are of interest to the user as the video is playing- then make text annotations about the video being pointed to, and publish them on the web so that others can experience such points-of-view, comment upon them, and produce their own "dives" into the content. Every DIVER user, whether teacher, researcher, or learner, can thus express their unique visual and interpretive point of view on what they believe is happening in a video. We call this "guided noticing," and it provides an important new tool that can be used: (1) for helping teachers and other experts share their expertise in viewing and reflecting on video content with learners, (2) for collaborative learning using video among either students or teachers, (3) for learning researchers to develop deeper explanations of learning and teaching interactions, and (4) for teacher educators and mentors to help guide improvements in a new teachers' practices."

- Edited selection from Pea, R. D. (2006). Video-as-data and digital video manipulation techniques for transforming learning sciences research, education and other cultural practices. In J. Weiss, J. Nolan & P. Trifonas (Eds.), International Handbook of Virtual Learning Environments (pp. 1321-1393). Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishing.

  • NIMH Postdoctoral Fellow (Psycholinguistics), Rockefeller University, 1978-1979
  • D.Phil., Oxon. (Developmental Psychology), Oxford University, Rhodes Scholar, 1978
  • BA (Philosophy and Psychology), Michigan State University, 1974

11th year at Stanford in 2011-2012

Director, Center for Technology in Learning, SRI International (1996-2001)

Co-Founder, Teachscape (1999) and Director on Teachscape's Board (1999 - ongoing)

John Evans Professor of Education and Learning Sciences (1991-1996) and Dean, School of Education and Social Policy, Northwestern University (1992-1996)

Senior Research Scientist, Institute for Research on Learning (1988-1991)

Associate Professor of Educational Communications and Technology, New York University (1986-1988)

Associate Director (1984-1986) and Senior Research Scientist (1981-1986) Center for Children and Technology, Bank Street College of Education

Assistant Professor of Psychology, Clark University (1979-1981)

On sabbatical leave, 2008-2009

  • Teaching the ED-291 doctoral proseminar in Learning Sciences and Technology Design (LSTD) once a year
  • ED-333A: Understanding Learning Environments (with Ray McDermott, Fall 2007)
  • ED-325B: Education Proseminar 2: Learning and Teaching (with Hilda Borko, Winter 2007-2008 - core for all doctoral students)
  • ED-295: Learning and Cognition in Activity in Winter 2006 and Winter 2007
  • ED-298: Online Learning Communities in Winter 2001, 2002, 2003, Spring 2006 and 2007. In Winter 2009, will be offered with new title: "Learning in a Networked World")
  • ED-299X: Visualizations in Learning in Spring 2002, 2003
  • ED-269: Principles of Learning for Teaching (with L. Darling-Hammond, N. Nasir, B. Hilton-Brown). Spring 2004
  • ED-372B: Ethnography of Human Development and Learning (with B. Barron). Spring 2005

Pea, R., & Lindgren, R. (2008, Oct-Dec). Video collaboratories for research and education: an analysis of collaboration design patterns. IEEE Transactions on Learning Technologies, 1(4), 235-247.

Pea, R., with Christine L. Borgman (Chair), Hal Abelson, Lee Dirks, Roberta Johnson, Kenneth R. Koedinger, Marcia C. Linn, Clifford A. Lynch, Diana G. Oblinger, Katie Salen, Marshall S. Smith, Alex Szalay (2008, June 24). Fostering learning in the networked world—the cyberlearning opportunity and challenge: A 21st century agenda for the National Science Foundation (Report of the NSF Task Force on Cyberlearning). Arlington VA: NSF, 62pp. (Downloadable:

Goldman, R., Pea, R. D., Barron, B. & Derry, S. (2007). (Eds.). Video research in the learning sciences. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Pea, R. D. (2006). Video-as-data and digital video manipulation techniques for transforming learning sciences research, education and other cultural practices. To appear in J. Weiss, J. Nolan & P. Trifonas (Eds.), International Handbook of Virtual Learning Environments (pp. 1321-1393). Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishing.

Pea, R. D., & Maldonado, H. (2006). WILD for learning: Interacting through new computing devices anytime, anywhere. In K. Sawyer (Ed.), The Cambridge Handbook of the Learning Sciences (pp. 427-441). New York: Cambridge University Press.

Bransford, J.D., Barron, B., Pea, R., Meltzoff, A., Kuhl, P. Bell, P., Stevens, R., Schwartz, D., Vye, N., Reeves, B., Roschelle, J. & Sabelli, N. (2006). Foundations and opportunities for an interdisciplinary science of learning. In K. Sawyer (Ed.), The Cambridge Handbook of the Learning Sciences (pp. 19-34). New York: Cambridge University Press.

Bransford, J., Vye, N., Stevens, R., Kuhl, P., Schwartz, D., Bell, P., Meltzoff, A., Barron, B., Pea, R., Reeves, B., Roschelle, J., & Sabelli, N. (2006). Learning theories and education: Toward a decade of synergy. In P. Alexander & P. Winne (Eds.), Handbook of educational psychology, 2nd edition (pp. 209-244). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

Pea, R. D. (2004). The social and technological dimensions of "scaffolding" and related theoretical concepts for learning, education and human activity. The Journal of the Learning Sciences, 13(3), 423-451.

Goldman, S., Pea, R., Maldanado, H. and the WILD Team (2004). Emerging social engineering in the wireless classroom. Proceedings of the International Conference on the Learning Sciences, Santa Monica, CA, June 22-26.

Pea, R., Mills, M., Rosen, J., Dauber, K., Effelsberg, W., & Hoffert. E. (2004, Jan-Mar). The DIVER Project: Interactive Digital Video Repurposing. IEEE Multimedia, 11(1), 54-61.

Pea, R., Wulf, W., Elliot, S.W., & Darling, M. (2003, August). (Eds.). Planning for two transformations in education and learning technology (Committee on Improving Learning with Information Technology). Washington, DC: National Academy Press.

Roschelle, J. & Pea, R. D. (2002). A walk on the WILD side: How wireless handhelds may change computer-supported collaborative learning (CSCL). The International Journal of Cognition and Technology, 1(1), 145-168.

How People Learn (co-author, Expanded Edition, 2000), National Academy Press.

Pea, R.D. (2002). Learning science through collaborative visualization over the Internet. In N. Ringertz (Ed.), Nobel Symposium: Virtual museums and public understanding of science and culture. Stockholm, Sweden: Nobel Academy Press.

Roschelle, J., Pea, R., Hoadley, C., Gordin, D., & Means, B. (2001). Changing how and what children learn in school with collaborative cognitive technologies. In M. Shields (Ed.), The Future of Children (Special issue on Children and Computer Technology, published by the David and Lucille Packard Foundation, Los Altos, CA), Volume 10, Issue 2, pp. 76-101.

Serving as lead PI for Stanford's research, training and outreach contributions to our distributed NSF-funded Science of Learning Center known as the LIFE Center (Learning in Informal and Formal Environments,;

Establishing and directing the Stanford Center for Innovations in Learning (, based in Wallenberg Hall at the front of Stanford's Quad;

Co-Founder and Co-Director of Stanford's H-STAR Institute (Human Sciences and Technologies Advanced Research);

Faculty Co-Director with Communication Professor Byron Reeves of Stanford's Media X Program on interactive technology and people (;

Past-President of the International Society of the Learning Sciences, 2004-05 (;

Founding Co-Editor of Cambridge University Press series on "Learning in Doing: Social, Cognitive, and Computational Perspectives" (since 1987), and on Editorial Boards for six journals;

Director for Teachscape, a New York-based company I co-founded in 1999 that provides comprehensive K-12 teacher professional development services incorporating web-based video case studies of standards-based teaching and communities of learners.