Patricia Schank - Digital Promise

Patricia Schank

“I like to learn by questioning assumptions and intuitions. Would I prefer something to be true? Am I mostly looking for evidence to confirm it? It helps to brainstorm alternatives, invite other perspectives, and make predictions and test them. If I’m lucky, I’ll learn something surprising. Surprise makes information memorable, and leads to more lasting revision of beliefs and preferences.”

Dr. Schank specializes in the development of learning environments using best practices and findings from user-centered design, software development, and learning sciences research. In her previous role as a computer and cognitive scientist at SRI International’s Center for Technology in Learning, she led the design and development of online communities for educators and researchers, workspaces to support collaborative learning, software and curriculum to help students visualize nanoscale phenomena, online tools to support evidence-based assessment design, and interactive assessments to measure science learning. Patti has received funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and co-authored more than 40 publications on the design, evaluation, and implementation of learning technology. She has an M.S. in computer science and a Ph.D. in education from the University of California at Berkeley, where her dissertation work focused on modeling and promoting scientific reasoning through an integration of theory-based cognitive simulations, experimental studies, and instructional curricula. You can reach Patti at

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