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Hi, I'm Monica

Doctoral Candidate:

Instructional Technology & Media

Teachers College, Columbia University

Maker Education | Learning Sciences | Design-Based Research

My passion is in education technology, makerspaces and K-12 STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Mathematics) & Computer Science education. I believe in the power of Constructionist learning, and drive my research efforts into creating inclusive and diverse spaces for all children to learn in ways that are authentic and meaningful to them.

My dissertation focuses on formative assessment practices in maker education. At TC, I'm in the Instructional Technology & Media doctoral program, and am a proud member of the Snow Day Learning Lab, directed by Professor Nathan Holbert. I'm also a collaborator at the Transformative Learning Technologies Lab that Professor Paulo Blikstein leads. 

Earlier in 2021, I completed my MS in Applied Statistics at TC. Previously, I completed my BS in Mechanical Engineering and MA in Learning Design & Technology, both at Stanford University. I am currently based in the cosmopolitan metropolis - New York City.

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A Little More About Me

AI in Education | AI Literacy

I'm from the beautiful island city Singapore (pictured here). Apart from my doctoral studies, I served as a member of the AI for Education workgroup at Singapore's National Institute of Education (NIE), Nanyang Technological University (NTU).

At NIE, I explored interdisciplinary themes to contribute to Singapore's AI vision, such as AI for blended learning, adaptability, social-emotional learning, bilingualism, and ethical concerns. Additionally, I assisted researchers in forming partnerships with government agencies (such as A*STAR), higher education institutions (SUTD / NUS / SMU) and industry collaborators.

I am also a Young NUS Fellow at the National University of Singapore Department of Communication and New Media (2021-22), and a recipient of Singapore's Tan Kah Kee Foundation Tan Ean Kiam Scholarship for Social Sciences (2019-20).

Home: About Me

My Research

Image by Headway

The CoCreator App: Artifact Documentation & Feedback


This is my dissertation study, where I use qualitative design-based research methods to explore how elementary school students engage in formative assessment practices in maker education, in Singapore's local urban context. I introduced the CoCreator App, a prototype that assists students in maker project documentation, and investigated how students and educators receive and provide feedback for learning.

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Make with Data


This NSF-funded project was a collaboration between Teachers College and Columbia's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. The project empowered high school students and their teachers to construct solutions to personally meaningful community challenges using NYC Open Data. We studied how framing STEM practices as a way of contributing to one’s community might increase interest in and shift identity towards STEM fields.

3D Printing

Maker Portfolios


This was a qualitative research study on how mixed-age K-5 students at a microschool in NYC documented and reflected on their makerspace projects through a mobile online portfolio throughout an academic year. We examined how students interacted with the portfolio interface and its features, and analyzed their online and offline interactions involving their maker-oriented work.


BrainWaves Neuroscience


BrainWaves was conceived at New York University, where researchers and educators created an EEG-based high school neuroscience curriculum and teacher training program. This was an effort to bring lab-based science research into NYC public schools. We investigated student, teacher and mentor-participants' experiences from the BrainWaves program through interviews, school observations and surveys.

Home: Research

Selected Publications

Chan, M. M. (2020, October). Towards Student-Driven Formative Assessment Practices across School and Afterschool Makerspaces. In Proceedings of FabLearn 2020. ACM.

Chan, M. M., & Holbert, N. (2019, March). Exploring modalities of reflection using social online portfolios for maker-oriented project-based learning. In Proceedings of FabLearn 2019 (pp. 172-175). ACM.

Chan, M. M., & Blikstein, P. (2018). Exploring Problem-Based Learning for Middle School Design and Engineering Education in Digital Fabrication Laboratories. Interdisciplinary Journal of Problem-Based Learning, 12(2), 7.

Home: Publications

Selected Posters & Presentations

Chan, M. M. (2022, April). Developing the CoCreator App: Scaffolding Brainstorming, Reflection and Documentation in Maker Education in Singapore. American Education Research Association (AERA) 2022, San Diego, CA USA.

Chan, M. M., Lan, C. & Jochum, R. (2019, March). Of Imagination and Self-Expression: Fusing Creative Technologies with Project-Based Learning. FabLearn 2019 Educator Track, New York, NY USA.

Chan, M. M., & Blikstein, P. (2017, April). Math + Making: Exploring Digital Fabrication to Improve Mathematics Education in Middle School FabLabs. American Education Research Association (AERA) 2017, San Antonio, TX USA.

Home: Publications

Notable EdTech Industry Projects

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Writing a Compendium on Intelligent Tutoring Systems and Language Literacy


I worked with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Amira Learning to prepare a research foundations compendium geared towards superintendents and practitioners. Content included theoretical framework and prior research studies related to intelligent tutoring systems, English language literacy and assessment, and dyslexia screening. Read the compendium here.

Developing Scoring Algorithms for the Amplify Science Modeling Tool


I interned on the Data Science team at Amplify Education, a publishing firm that produces K-8 curriculum and assessment for English, Science and Math. In collaboration with researchers at UC Berkeley's Lawrence Hall of Science, my team and I developed 

automated scoring algorithms for the Amplify Science Modeling Tool feature, by using decision tree and deep learning classifiers.

Designing for Brazilian Public & Special Education


I was selected as an EdTech Design Fellow sponsored by Columbia Entrepreneurship and Brazil's Lemann Foundation. During this project, I visited São Paulo to conduct user research and prototype testing during public school observations. On my team, I led the UX research and design process, and developed an interface prototype catered for special education teachers.

Home: Research

My Teaching (Higher Education)

Home: Research
Image by Nick Morrison

MSTU 4133: Cognition & Computers

Instructor: Teachers College (Fall '20)

My course introduced graduate students to theories of cognitive sciences from the fields of experimental psychology, artificial intelligence, and anthropology. In this course (taught virtually), I challenged students to consolidate the variety of scholarly ideas surrounding cognition into a concept map, and students analyze an existing educational intervention using the theories of cognition for their final deliverable.

My Teaching (K-12 Education)

Would you like to learn more about my teaching experiences?

Home: Research
Image by Noah Buscher

Ethics of Artificial Intelligence;
Data Science & Social Good;
The Science of Sustainability 

Columbia Double Discovery Center (2020-2022)

As a Teaching Fellow at Columbia DDC, I taught 3 afterschool STEM courses, where I developed project-based curricula and submitted progress reports for my 9-12th grade students. I challenged them with college-level readings and assignments to prepare them for their next step after high school.

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Home: News & Resources

Academic Reviews

Journal Reviews

Learning: Research and Practice Journal: Reviewer

Journal of Science Education & Technology: Reviewer

Conference Organization

Learning Sciences Graduate Student Conference (LSGSC) 2021: Submissions & Reviews Committee Member

Center for Integrative Research in Computing and Learning Sciences (CIRCLS) Convening 2021: Submissions Sub-Committee Member

Teachers College Academic Festival 2020: Judge for Full Papers

Conference Reviews

Interaction Design for Children Conference (IDC) 2021: Works-in-Progress Reviewer

American Education Research Association (AERA) 2021: SIG Learning Sciences Reviewer

FabLearn NYC 2020: Workshop Reviewer

International Conference of the Learning Sciences (ICLS) 2020: Paper & Symposium Reviewer

American Education Research Association (AERA) 2020: SIG Learning Sciences Reviewer

FabLearn Asia 2020: Full Paper Reviewer

Connected Learning Summit (CLS) 2019: Short Paper Reviewer

Teachers College Academic Festival 2019: Full Paper Reviewer

Contact Me

If you'd like to collaborate or learn more about my projects, please reach out!

Teachers College, Columbia University

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