Janet Kolodner

Janet KolodnerJanet Kolodner

Chief Learning Scientist

Janet Kolodner is Chief Learning Scientist at the Concord Consortium and Regents’ Professor Emerita in Computing and Cognitive Science at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Between 2010 and 2014, Janet was on loan to the National Science Foundation, where she founded and co-led the Cyberlearning and Future Learning Technologies program.

Since the mid-1970s, Janet’s research has addressed a wide variety of issues in learning, memory, and problem solving, both in computers and in people. During the 1980s, she pioneered the computer method called case-based reasoning (CBR), which allows a computer to reason and learn from its experiences. Later in the 1990s she used the cognitive model in case-based reasoning to guide the design of science curriculum for middle school. In Learning by Design™ (LBD), students learn science in the context of trying to achieve design challenges. The sequencing of activities in the LBD classroom encourages students to reflect on their designs and science experiences in ways that CBR indicates are appropriate for integrating them well into memory. LBD curriculum units and the LBD approach have been incorporated into the three-year middle school science curriculum called Project-Based Inquiry Science™ (PBIS), used by tens of thousands of students.

Janet and her graduate students also explored how middle schoolers come to think of themselves as competent scientific reasoners. They designed several afterschool programs and software platforms aimed at helping children learn science and develop "scientist" identities. In Kitchen Science Investigators, fifth and sixth graders learn science in the context of cooking. In Hovering Around, they learn about motion, forces, airflow in the context of designing hovercraft.

Janet is founding Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of the Learning Sciences and a founder and first Executive Officer of the International Society for the Learning Sciences (ISLS). Janet earned her B.A. in math and computer science at Brandeis and her M.S. and Ph.D. in computer science at Yale. When not working, Janet enjoys cooking, eating chocolate and lots of different crafts activities.


Contact Information

(978) 405-3212

Location: Concord, MA

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