Bermudian educator, researcher and author Dr. Katie Davis has been awarded over $1 million dollars in funding for two research initiatives that support her pioneering work into the effect that digital media has on the development of young people.
Dr. Davis, an assistant professor at the University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, has been awarded a $759,000 grant from the National Science Foundation [NSF] to fund research in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics [STEM] subjects and, separately, a $385,000 grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services [IMLS] to build librarians’ capacity to incorporate digital media into their work with youth.
The NSF’s prestigious Faculty Early Career Development [CAREER] award will provide Dr. Davis with funding over five years to investigate how networked technologies can be leveraged to develop learners’ identities and connect their STEM learning across informal and formal contexts.
The project, “Digital Badges for STEM Education,” will develop and implement a digital badge system to recognize and reward the skills and achievements of a diverse group of high school students participating in a science-based afterschool program at Seattle’s Pacific Science Center.
This work aims to develop strong STEM identities among students who are currently underrepresented in STEM subject areas and encourage these students to pursue future STEM learning and career opportunities.
The research findings will be used to develop educational outreach initiatives that support other formal and informal learning institutions in their use of digital badges to support STEM learning.
Dr. Davis’ second research project, ConnectedLib, teams faculty members from library and information programs at the University of Washington and University of Maryland with public library partners to build librarians’ capacity to incorporate digital media into their work with young people.
The project will support public librarians serving teens and, indirectly, young adult patrons who stand to benefit from librarians’ transformed practices.