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Learning Sciences

The Learning Sciences specialization provides opportunities for educators with backgrounds in science, mathematics, engineering, technology, and the learning sciences to earn a research doctorate in urban education. Present, past and future students include K–12 and college teachers, museum educators, and educators with a primary interest in the science of learning (e.g., with scholarly interests in theoretical and empirical studies on learning of populations with special needs). Graduates from the specialization have been employed in higher education and other professional organizations as science educators, mathematics educators, learning sciences educators, urban educators, and instructional technology educators.

The Learning Sciences specialization has three curriculum focus areas: science, mathematics and technology. Each of these focus areas is connected by the goal of building theoretical frameworks for research and methodology that are enacted with a deep understanding of their epistemological, ontological and axiological underpinnings. Diverse theoretical studies support cutting edge scholarship in the three focus areas, which provide for multidisciplinary research on learning and education in formal and informal contexts, employing theories and methodologies from a range of academic disciplines, including anthropology, sociology, geography, linguistics, narrative inquiry, media studies, cultural studies, communication, critical race theory, and social/cultural psychology. Research and coursework emphasize instructional, technological, social policy innovations, and the design of effective learning and teaching environments that are specific to the interests of students and faculty (e.g., disciplines of interest, special education, lifelong learning). The intersection of formerly separate domains affords new ways of thinking about learning that allow design, cognition and social cognition to affect learning and teaching in formal and informal settings in urban communities.

The Learning Sciences specialization emphasizes the study of knowledge in classrooms and out-of-school settings such as museums, workplaces, families within households, and in the contexts of technologies for learning, teaching, and participation in disciplinary practices. Faculty and students develop research foci that guide the design and development of rich learning environments to support students' development in these areas. Long-term studies in urban communities are conducted with the goal of producing knowledge that can improve urban education and student learning by enhancing learning environments and instructional practices.

Advanced seminar topics and independent study offerings in Learning Sciences include:

  • Learning Sciences teaching and learning
  • Learning Sciences teacher education
  • policy in Learning Sciences education
  • teaching and learning Learning Sciences in out-of-school settings
  • Learning Sciences and sense of place
  • lifelong learning
  • cross-generational, community-based Learning Sciences knowledge

Recent dissertations in Learning Sciences Education

  • Engaging English language learners in cogenerative dialogue
  • Using a museum to educate urban teachers to teach science
  • Improving science fluency during lab activities in urban education
  • Identity, culture, and collaborative teaching and learning activities
  • Using cogenerative dialogue, coteaching and students’ lived experience to transform the teaching and learning experiences of minority students
  • Collaborative approaches to improving GED level mathematics teaching and learning
  • Mathematics education and graduation rates from CUNY community colleges
  • Equity in urban mathematics educationIntegrating technology into the urban high school English curriculum
  • A multi-logical, multi-representational cultural study of urban youth strength
  • Writing and its effects beyond the classroom
  • Achievement, schooling and positive stereotyping of Asian Indian students