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Stephen T. Kerr

I'm Steve Kerr, Professor of Education at the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington. I teach in the Program in Educational Communication and Technology (in the Area of Curriculum and Instruction) and the Program in Learning Sciences (an interdisciplinary program), both in the College of Education. I have a strong collateral interest in Russian education, and have an adjunct appointment in the Program in Russian, East European, and Central Asian Studies (REECAS).

My work on technology and education focuses heavily on the ways in which new technological systems affect the social and organizational life of schools and educational institutions. Some sample papers are available here -- for example, "Visions of Sugarplums" (introductory chapter for Technology and the Future of Schooling   -- 95th NSSE Yearbook, Pt. II) discusses what technogies in education are "good for," and what sorts of "affordances and constraints" they offer.

I'm currently very interested in how learning experiences can best be designed for on-line environments, what the particular advantages of those settings may be, and how to improve the sense of "presence" that individuals feel when they are interacting on-line. These issues have special relevance to preparing teachers, and to fostering their ability to interact professionally and improve their practice in collaborative, on-line settings. I'm currrently experimenting with some of these possibilities with parts of our own teacher education program at the UW.

How technology affects our ways of perceiving the world and our common social existence is a broader statement of these interests. Thus, the value we place on technology generally, the predictions we make for what it may be "good for," the ways its use unexpectedly shifts our ways of thinking and acting -- all these are of interest to me. I also see a number of significant challenges for us as we seek to incorporate technology into our common social and political life. Some of these I explored in a chapter, "Toward a Sociology of Educational Technology" for the Handbook of Research on Educational Technology  (David Jonassen, Editor; Macmillan, 1996).

I also have a further strong interest in graphic forms of communication of various kinds, including strictly instructional materials, but also extending to the ways graphics facilitate new perceptions of reality, influence mass behavior, and mirror developments in culture and society.

In my work on education in Russia, I have been principally concerned to try to demonstrate and document the emerging structure of new and independent organizations working to change the centralized and ideologized patterns which were typical of Soviet schools. I have found it useful to track individuals and organizations as I have worked in Russia over the past decade, and the resulting database now holds upwards of 3000 individuals, groups, and institutions. Some samples from this database -- leaders and prominent figures in recent Russian educational reform -- are included here. Some other sites relevant to Russian education are also noted. For further information, contact me!

I teach a number of courses; you can access some materials for them from here.

For the pruriently curious, I also attach here a copy of my vita.

Steve Kerr