Jump to Main Content
Decrease font size Reset font size Increase font size
Curriculum, Teaching  & Learning
Jim Slotta

phone: (416) 978-0121
email: jim.slotta@utoronto.ca  

Curriculum, Teaching and Learning

Centre for Science, Mathematics and Technology Education

Research Overview

Dr. Jim Slotta is an Associate Professor with the Department for curriculum, Teaching, and Learning and the Centre for Science, Mathematics, and Technology Education at OISE. His research employs technology-enhanced learning environments to investigate cognitive models of learning and instruction. He's developing a new pedagogical model called "Knowledge Community and Inquiry" (KCI), where students in a classroom work together to create a persistent knowledge resource, which then serves as a source of materials and inspiration to subsequent inquiry projects.

Dr. Slotta has been funded under several grants from SSHRC, CFI, and the U.S. National Science Foundation. He strongly advocates the development of open source materials for the learning sciences, and lead the development of the Scalable Architecture for Interactive Learning (SAIL). His research team is currently developing an open source technology framework for smart classroom research called SAIL Smart Space, which will support investigations of a new pedagogical model for knowledge communities and inquiry.

Dr. Slotta is World Technology Award Winner in the category of Education and in 2006 was named a Canada Research Chair in Education and Technology. He writes extensively about the interplay between technology, pedagogy, and community, and has lectured internationally.

Curriculum Vitae


Academic History

BS in physics (high honors) Case Institute of Technology, 1987
MS in cognitive psychology, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, 1989
PhD in cognitive psychology, University of Pittsburgh, 1997

Teaching Overview

Pre-service instruction: Technology, Curriculum and Instruction is an introduction to the role of technology in promoting inquiry and constructivist learning. Teachers work collaboratively, and use technologies themselves to develop a technology-enhanced lesson plan.

Graduate instruction: Knowledge Media and Learning is a doctoral level seminar that is also open to masters students, offered as both CTL 1926 and KMD2003. An affiliated course with the Knowledge Media Design Institute (see http://www.kmdi.utoronto.ca/), this course explores themes in knowledge media including social networking, ubiquitous computing, smart spaces, and layered information systems. Students work together as a "knowledge community" to explore these themes, extending the work of previous cohorts and investigating the latest trends and deep applications of new media.

Representative Publications


Slotta, J. D. & Linn, M. C. (2009). WISE Science: Inquiry and the Internet in the Science Classroom. Teachers College Press.


Peters, V. L., & Slotta, J. D. (2010). Scaffolding knowledge communities in the classroom:  New opportunities in the Web 2.0 era. In M. J. Jacobson & P. Reimann (Eds.), Designs for learning environments of the future: International perspectives from the learning sciences (pp. 205-232). Secaucus, NJ: Springer.

Slotta, J. D. (2010). Evolving the classrooms of the future: The interplay of pedagogy, technology and community. In K. Mäkitalo-Siegl, F. Kaplan, J. Zottmann & F. Fischer(Eds.). Classroom of the Future. Orchestrating collaborative spaces. (215-242). Rotterdam:  Sense.

Krajcik, J., Slotta, J.D., McNeil, K. and Reiser, B. (2008). Designing Learning Environments to Support Students’ Integrated Understanding. In Y. Kali, M. C. Linn, & J. E. Roseman (Eds.), Designing Coherent Science Education. New York: Teachers College Press.

Berge, O. and Slotta, J. (2006). "Learning Technology Standards and Inquiry-Based Learning." In: A. Koohang (Ed). Principles and Practices of the Effective Use of Learning Objects. Informing Science Press.

Linn, M.C. and Slotta, J.D. (2006) When, why and how do students learn from each other? In:  A. O’Donnell, J.L. van der Linden, & C.E. Hmelo (Eds.) Collaborative Learning, Reasoning, and Technology. 2001 Rutgers Invitational Series in Education, Lawrence Erlbaum.

Research Grants and Contracts

2010 – 2013. Co-Principal Investigator: NSF-funded project DRL 1031680. Promoting 21st Century Science: Technology-Enhanced Learning Across Formal and Informal Environments. [U.S. $1.13 Million, with U.S., $305,894 subaward to University of Toronto].
2009 – 2010. Principal Investigator: A role for a technology community within a research field. Canada-California Strategic Innovation Partnership (CCSIP). SSHRC and University of Toronto funded Project #141678 [U.S. $50,000].
2008 – 2012. Principal Investigator: Technology enhanced activities and interactions in the science classroom: pedagogical scripts for knowledge communities. SSHRC grant funded project 410-2008-2125 (CID/NIC 181093). [CAD $123,000].
2008 – 2012. Co-Principal Investigator: Science Created by You. European Union FP7-ICT-2007-1 funded project 212814. [8.5 Million Euros, with no subaward permitted for non-EU countries. Slotta is a full partner in this large collaborative project, however.
2008 – 2013 Co-Principal Investigator: NSF funded project DRL-0733299 Logging Opportunities in Online Programs for Science (LOOPS): Student and Teacher Learning. [US $2.5 Million, with US $314,029 subaward to University of Toronto].
2006 – 2010 Co-Principal Investigator: NSF funded project EEP 0550169. Developing Ontological Schema Training Methods to Help Students Develop Scientifically Accurate Mental Models of Engineering Concepts. [US $750,000, with US $178,211 subaward to University of Toronto].
2006 – 2011 Principal Investigator: CFI funded Canada Research Chair in Information Technology: Technology-Enhanced Collaboration and Inquiry for Science [CAD $332,000]

Honours and Awards

2006. World Technology Award Winner (category of Education).
2006. Canada Research Chair in Education and Technology.
2005. NASA VDC “Most Usable Research Paper” (with Ingo Kollar and Frank Fischer)
2005. Best student paper, CSCL 2005 Proceedings (with Ingo Kollar and Frank Fischer).
2003. IBM Faculty Award for eLearning design
2002. National Association for Interpretation Media Awards contest. First Place (with Andrea Strauss) "Interpretive Program Curriculum"
2001. Learning Software Design Award, University of Minnesota.

Professional Activities

Keynote Addresses:

• Slotta, J. D. (2009). New ways of teaching and learning with technology. KMDI at 13 keynote lecture. Feb 26. University of Toronto.
• Slotta, J.D. (2008). Teaching and learning in technology enhanced classrooms. Invited Theme Presentation to the International Conference on Computers in Education. Oct. 27-31. Taipei, Taiwan.
• Slotta, J. D. (2007). Making better progress in the next ten years: Open source and online community. Keynote address to the Kaleidoscope Alpine Rendez-vous conference.
• Slotta, J.D. (2006). Technology Enhanced Learning Environments: Scaffolding inquiry in the classroom and in the scientific community. Keynote address to the Kaleidoscope Inquiry Workshop. May 29. University of Twente, The Netherlands.

Advisory Boards and Executive Committees:

ASSISTments for Science; NSF DRK12 grant to Janice Gobert; advisory board, (2007 – present).
KMDI CONCERT Academic Working Group, University of Toronto, (2006 – present).
Knowledge Media Design Institute, University of Toronto. Executive Committee, (since 2006).
Project Open Source | Open Access; KMDI; Univ. of Toronto; (committee member since 2005).
Collaborative Reasoning DOE Grant; Richard Anderson, PI; board member, (2003-2006).