Joe Polman is Associate Dean for Research in the School of Education and Professor of Educational Psychology & Learning Sciences. He was previously on the faculty of the University of Missouri-St. Louis, where he was Professor, Chair of the Division of Teaching and Learning, and Associate Director of the E. Desmond Lee Technology and Learning Center. He is an Executive Editor of Cognition and Instruction , and serves on the editorial boards of Journal of the Learning Sciences and Journal of Research in Science Teaching. He has been an active contributor to the learning sciences community over the past 20 years, and was program co-chair of the 2014 International Conference of the Learning Sciences (ICLS) hosted by CU-Boulder.
Dr. Polman is interested in how people learn science and history through inquiry and with the support of technology, both in community-based out-of-school programs and in schools. His research uses sociocultural lenses to focus on learning and identity development as young people participate in media construction related to their lives and communities. He seeks to identify and make accessible to young people practices from the disciplines that they can find meaningful and transformative in their lives on an ongoing basis. In particular, an important goal of his research is to inform the design of learning environments that involve young people with powerful tools for democratic participation, in order to better prepare them as citizens.
Over the years, his research and development has received generous support from the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Education, the Spencer Foundation, and the McDonnell Foundation. He is currently working on an NSF-funded research project aimed at developing and refining learning environments that involve young people in authentic data journalism focused on science and technology topics of their choice.