Snow Day Learning Lab

Creating and studying educational technologies that are so fun, it feels like a snow day

At the Snow Day Learning Lab we can't get enough of that sweet feeling of waking up in the morning to discover the world is covered in snow. When it's a snow day, all the usual routines and plans go out the window. Play is the goal of the day. Play until you can't feel your fingers or toes.

Snow days mean fun. They mean exploration. They mean high speed sled races, igloo building, and snow ball throwing. Snow days mean making something new. And the exploring and building doesn't happen alone--snow days are about getting the whole neighborhood together to create the biggest fort, the fastest slope, the grandest snow battle, and the most intricate tunnels.

The Snow Day Learning Lab is the research group and design laboratory of Professor Nathan Holbert and is located at Teachers College, Columbia University. Our primary goal is to understand how children make sense of their world through play. To that end we make and study games, toys, and technologies that both offer children opportunities to experience and explore personally interesting phenomena, and further our understanding of cognition. If you're interested in working with me as a student, take a look at the prospective students page.

News

Projects

Links to current and prior Snow Day Learning Lab projects.

PFACS

FACS

The Formative Assessments for Computer Science in NYC project seeks to create a method to measure CS learning through a playful constructionist assessment system that will provide formative feedback to students and teachers.

CS4All Network

CS-NYCE

In the CS-NYCE project we are studying imminent, core questions around the design and implementation of CS curricula in diverse NYC communities.

Bots for Tots

Bots for Tots

As the “maker movement” continues to expand and enter formal education settings, how can we ensure this opporutnity remains open and welcoming to young girls and children from underrepresented communities?

Reimagining Game Design

Reimagining Game Design

Is it possible to design a video game that will fit into youth gaming culture, yet implicitly teach valued science content?

Team

Monica ChanMonica Chan
Doctoral Student
Xiaoxue DuXiaoxue Du
Doctoral Student
Veronika GadowVeronika Gadow
Graduate Student
Yuen Lam LawYuen Lam Law
Doctoral Student
Kyle OliverKyle Oliver
Doctoral Student
Nancy OteroNancy Otero
Research Associate
Karen Kirsch PageKaren Kirsch Page
Doctoral Student
Jackie RomeroJackie Romero
Graduate Student
Adriana Alexia Selman-TroncosoAdriana Alexia Selman-Troncoso
Graduate Student
Sawaros ThanapornsangsuthSawaros Thanapornsangsuth
Doctoral Student
Marleen VilleroyMarleen Villeroy
Doctoral Student
Stephanie YangStephanie Yang
Doctoral Student

Lab Alumni

Brian Bristol
Brian Bristol
Xintong Chen
Xintong Chen
Rocio Elena Conde Fuentes
Rocio Elena Conde Fuentes
Caitlin Davey
Caitlin Davey
John Durko
John Durko
Joan Lee
Joan Lee
Anna Pizarro
Anna Pizarro
Ben Riggs
Ben Riggs
Kayhan Sanyal
Kayhan Sanyal
Fang Yi
Fang Yi

Publications

Refereed Publications

In Progress2017201620152014<2014

In progress

Holbert, N., & Wilensky, U. (accepted, in revision). Thinking with the game: Designing educational games to be objects-to-think-with. Journal of the Learning Sciences.

2017

Soylu, F., Holbert, N., Brady, C., & Wilensky, U. (2017). Embodied perspective taking in learning about complex systems. Journal of Interactive Learning Research, 28(3), 269-303. [PDF][HTML]

Holbert, N., Thanapornsangsuth, S., & Villeroy, M. (2017). Challenges and Tradeoffs When Engaging Young Makers With Constructing for Others. International Journal of Designs for Learning, 8(1). [HTML]

Thanapornsangsuth, S. & Holbert, N. (2017). Bots for Tots: Young girls' perceived versus actual competency in technology and making. In Proceedings of the 16th International Conference on Interaction Design and Children (pp. 458-465). Stanford, CA: ACM. https://doi.org/10.1145/3078072.3084309

Villeroy, M. (2017). CodeStitch: Leveraging analogical encoding in a game space. In Proceedings of the 16th International Conference on Interaction Design and Children (pp. 575-581). Stanford, CA: ACM. https://doi.org/10.1145/3078072.3084327

Yang, S. (2017). Knitting Visualizer: Connecting Craft and Code. In Proceedings of the 2017 Conference on Interaction Design and Children (pp. 705–708). Stanford, CA: ACM. https://doi.org/10.1145/3078072.3091985

2016

Holbert, N. (2016). Leveraging Cultural Values and “Ways of Knowing” to Increase Diversity in Maker Activities. International Journal of Child-Computer Interaction, 9-10, 33-39. [HTML]

Holbert, N. (2016). The powerful ideas of making: Building beyond the curriculum. Journal of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, 5(1), 30. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13731-016-0058-4

Holbert, N. (2016). Bots for Tots: Building inclusive makerspaces by leveraging “ways of knowing.” In Proceedings of the 15th International Conference on Interaction Design and Children (pp. 79–88). Manchester, UK: ACM. https://doi.org/10.1145/2930674.2930718

Holbert, N. (2016). Bots for Tots: Leveraging ‘ways of knowing’ to increase diversity in makerspaces. Proceedings of Constructionism 2016: Bangkok, Thailand. [PDF]

Girvan, C., Holbert, N., Kynigos, C., Hoyles, C., & Noss, R. (2016). Considering approaches to research through the lens of constructionism. Proceedings of Constructionism 2016: Bangkok, Thailand. [PDF]

Thanapornsangsuth, S. (2016). Compassion and empathy through inventions: GoGo Board Toolkit for 7-10 years old. Proceedings of Constructionism 2016: Bangkok, Thailand. [PDF]

Thanapornsangsuth, S., Laitavorn, Y., Phulsuksombati, K., Laochai, U., Assavanop, R., Somsri, S., & Dejatiwongse Na Ayudhya, Q. (2016). Little Builders: Empowering at-risk children by building and design. Proceedings of Constructionism 2016: Bangkok, Thailand. [PDF]

Thanapornsangsuth, S. (2016) Using human-centered design and social inventions to find the purpose in making. Proceedings of Fablearn 2016. Stanford University: Palo Alto, CA. [PDF]

Villeroy. (2016). Sharing as a Means for Reflection: Seeing Differences, Understanding Affordances of Peers' Programming Solutions. In Proceedings of the 11th Workshop in Primary and Secondary Computing Education (WiPSCE '16). Münster, Germany: ACM. [HTML]

Weintrop, D., Holbert, N., Horn, M., & Wilensky, U. (2016). Computational thinking in constructionist video games. International Journal of Game-Based Learning, 6(1), 1–17. [HTML]

2015

Holbert, N., Russ, R., & Davis, P. (2015). The use of cognitive clinical interviews to explore learning from video game play. In C. Steinkuehler & A. Ochsner (Eds.), Proceedings of 11th Annual Games, Learning, and Society Conference. Madison, WI. [PDF]

Thanapornsangsuth, S. FabLearn (2015). Teaching Thai At-Risk Students to Design and Create Technology. Digital Fabrication in Education Conference, Stanford University: Palo Alto, CA. [PDF]

Thanapornsangsuth, S. (2015). Designing Thailand's first math educational animation series for thai elementary students. In Proceedings of the International Conference on Education and e-Learning (EeL). Global Science and Technology Forum: Singapore.[HTML]

2014

Holbert, N., & Wilensky, U. (2014). Constructible Authentic Representations: Designing video games that enable players to utilize knowledge developed in-game to reason about science. Technology, Knowledge and Learning. 19(1-2) 53-79.[HTML]

Brady, C., Holbert, N., Soylu, F., Novak, M., & Wilensky, U. (2014). Sandboxes for model-based inquiry. Journal of Science Education and Technology. 24(2-3), 265-286. [HTML]

Holbert, N., Weintrop, D. & Wilensky, U. (2014). Constructionist Video Games: Creating Educational Video Games that Empower Players to Construct New Knowledge. In N. Holbert & D. Weintrop (Org), N. Holbert (Chair), and Y. Kafai (Discussant), Combining Video Games and Constructionist Design to Support Deep Learning in Play. In J. Poleman, E. Kyza, I. Tabak & K. O'Neill (Eds.), Proceedings of "Learning and Becoming in Practice," the 11th International Conference of the Learning Sciences (ICLS 2014). University of Colorado at Boulder: ISLS. [PDF]

Holbert, N. (2014). Exploring the Particulate Nature of Matter in a Constructionist Video Game. In M. Johnson-Glenberg (Org & Chair), Science Sims and Games: Best Design Practices and Fave Flops. In J. Poleman, E. Kyza, I. Tabak & K. O'Neill (Eds.), Proceedings of "Learning and Becoming in Practice," the 11th International Conference of the Learning Sciences (ICLS 2014). University of Colorado at Boulder: ISLS. [PDF]

<2014

Holbert, N. (2013). Reimagining Game Design (RiGD): Exploring the Design of Constructible Representations for Science Reasoning (Doctoral dissertation). Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois.[PDF]

Holbert, N., & Wilensky, U. (2012). Representational congruence: Connecting video game experiences to the design and use of formal representations. In Kynigos, C., Clayson, J. E., & Yiannoutsou, N. (Ed.), Constructionism Theory, Practice, and Impact: Proceedings of Constructionism 2012. Athens, Greece. [PDF]

Weintrop, D., Holbert, N., Wilensky, U., & Horn, M. (2012). Redefining constructionist video games: Marrying constructionism and video game design. In Kynigos, C., Clayson, J. E., & Yiannoutsou, N. (Ed.), Constructionism Theory, Practice, and Impact: Proceedings of Constructionism 2012: Athens, Greece. [PDF]

Holbert, N. R., & Wilensky, U. (2012). Designing Video Games that Encourage Players to Integrate Formal Representations with Informal Play. In van Aalst, J., Thompson, K., Jacobson, M. J., & Reimann, P. (Eds.) The Future of Learning: Proceedings of the 10th International Conference of the Learning Sciences (ICLS 2012) – Volume 1, Full papers. International Society of the Learning Sciences: Sydney, NSW, Australia. [PDF]

Holbert, N. R., & Wilensky, U. (2011). FormulaT Racing: Designing a game for kinematic exploration and computational thinking. In Steinkuehler, K., Martin, C., Ochsner, A. (Eds.), Proceedings GLS 7.0 Games + Learning + Society Conference. Madison, WI. [PDF]

Holbert, N., Penney, L., & Wilensky, U. (2010). Bringing constructionism to action gameplay. In J. E. Clayson & I. Kalas (Ed.), Constructionism 2010. Paris, France. [PDF]

Holbert, N. R., & Wilensky, U. (2010). FormulaT Racing: Combining gaming culture and intuitive sense of mechanism for video game design. In Gomez, K., Lyons, L., & Radinsky, J. (Eds.) Learning in the Disciplines: Proceedings of the 9th International Conference of the Learning Sciences (ICLS 2010) - Volume 2, Short Papers, Symposia, and Selected Abstracts (pp. 268-269). International Society of the Learning Sciences: Chicago, IL. [PDF]

Holbert, N. (2008). Shooting aliens: The gamer’s guide to thinking. Educational Leadership, 65(5). From http://www.ascd.org