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Department of Learning and Performance Systems

Learning, Design, and Technology

The Pennsylvania State University


My research examines the intersection of out-of-school learning, youth culture, and digital media.

I am an Assistant Professor of Learning Sciences in the Department of Learning and Performance Systems at The Pennsylvania State University. I work in the Learning, Design and Technology program.

I study and design informal, media-rich learning settings for youth in order to support innovative teaching and learning. As an effort to disrupt container-like models of teaching and learning, my research responds to the ongoing development of interest-driven learning opportunities for youth within—and beyond—settings like home, libraries, schools, and city streets. Simply put, I believe that youth learn best when they pursue their own interests, when the have the opportunities to work alongside and share that knowledge with supportive peers and adults, and when they have multiple opportunities, across settings, to refine skills valued by a meaningful, and authentic community. With this belief as an anchor, my research to date has explored youth, learning with digital media, in-and-out of schools, including youth learning and composing with mobile devices, youth learning through video gameplay, and youth learning in action sports, like skateboarding and BMX riding.

My current research centers on youth learning in technology-enhanced sports settings.

I am also a recent Teaching and Learning with Technology fellow exploring potential uses for virtual reality for learning, particularly toward fostering environmentally sustainable identities. 





The Pennsylvania State University

Department of Learning and Performance Systems

Learning, Design, and Technology

315 Keller Building
University Park, PA

Research Projects

M3: Mobility | Media | Movement

My current research is anchored in the action sports community. This ethnographic work explores the interest-driven learning surrounding youth skateboarding and biking, especially through their intersections with digital media. I am currently accepting students interested in this area of study. 

Image by Ty Hollett

Image by Ty Hollett

Image by Ty Hollett

Image by Ty Hollett

Image by Ty Hollett

Image by Ty Hollett

Metro: Building Blocks

In my previous research,  I piloted connected learning opportunities for youth at the Metro Public Library through a program I established called Metro: Building Blocks. Interest-powered activity surrounding the video game Minecraft lets teens plan, design, and build Metro's neighborhoods. 

The Studio @ MPL: Learning Lab Design

Prior to starting Metro: Building Blocks at the library, I worked with local youth and architects to design the new learning lab at the Metro Public Library. Integrating music, gaming, making and writing spaces, The Studio at MPL will give teens a chance to explore a variety of forms of learning and connecting through digital media. 



To explore the literacies of youth with mobile devices in school, Christian Ehret and I developed3686. Students created a variety of narratives, ranging from Flat Stanley narratives, to making their school speak through QR code-based tours. 

M3 Lab


M3 Lab

At the M3 lab, we study the intersection of learning with issues related to mobility, media, and movement. Currently, our focus is on learning within the action sports community, including skateboarding and BMX riding, with an explicit focus on the role of digital media (photography and videography) therein. Through ethnographic research, our goal is to explore underlying learning principles at work related to interest-driven pursuits within the action sports community. 



Refereed Journal Articles

Hollett, T., Ehret, C. (2019). The idiocultural sensibilities of spothunting in action sports culture: Affect, desire, change. Mind, Culture, and Activity. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1080/10749039.2019.1612439

Hollett, T. and Hein, RJ*. (2018). Affective atmospheres and skatepark sessions: The spatiotemporal contours of interest. Learning, Culture, and Social Interaction. Advance online publication. doi:10.1016/j.lcsi.2018.12.001

Hostetler, A., Sengupta, P., & Hollett, T. (2018). Unsilencing Critical Conversations in Social-Studies Teacher Education Using Agent-based Modeling. Cognition and Instruction, 36(2), 139-170.

Hollett, T.  (2017). Symbiotic learning partnerships in youth action sports. Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies.  

Hollett, T. & Kalir, J. (2017). Mapping playgrids for learning across space, time, and scale. TechTrends. Advanced online publication. doi: 10.1007/s11528-016-0138-0

Hollett, T. & Ehret, C. (2016). Civic rhythms in an informal, media-rich learning program. Learning, Media & Technology. 

Hollett, T. (2016). Interests-in-motion in an informal, media-rich learning setting. Digital Culture & Education. 

Ehret, C. & Hollett, T. (2016). Affective dimensions of participatory design research in informal learning environments: Placemaking, belonging, and correspondence. Cognition & Instruction.  

Ehret, C., Hollett, T., & Jocius, R. (2016). Movement, meshworks, and new media making: An intra-action analysis of adolescents making a digital book trailer. Journal of Literacy Research.

Hollett, T. & Ehret, C (2014). Bean’s World: (Mine)crafting affective atmospheres for gameplay, learning, and care in a children's hospital. New Media and Society. 

Ehret, C. & Hollett, T. (2014). Embodied Compositionin real virtualities. Adolescents’ literacy practices and felt experiences moving with digital, mobile devices in school. Research in the Teaching of English, 48(4), p. 428-452. 

Ehret, C. & Hollett, T. (2014) (Re)placing school: Fifth-graders’ counter-mobilities while composing with mobile devices in a digital media enrichment class. Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, 57(2), 110-119.

Invited Articles

Leander, KM and Hollett, T. (2017). The embodied rhythms of learning: From learning across settings to learners crossing settings. International Journal of Educational Research. 

Leander, KM. & Hollett, T. (2014). Designing new spaces for literacy learning. Literacy Research Association Yearbook, 62, p. 29-42.

Book Chapters

Hollett, T., Phillips, N.C. & Leander, K.M.  (2017. Digital geographies. In Mills, K.A., Stornaiuolo, A., Smith, A. & Zacher Pandya. Routledge Handbook of Digital Writing and Literacy in Education.

Hollett and Ehret, C. (2017). Relational methodologies for mobile literacies: Intra-action, atmosphere, and rhythm. In Burnett, C., Merchant, G., Simpson, A. and Walsh, M (eds.). Mobile Literacies: The Case of the iPad.

Hollett, T. (2015). Nashville: Building Blocks: A Case Study. In Gordon, E. and Mihailidis, P.  (Eds). The Civic Media Reader. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Hollett, T. & Leander, KM. (2013). Location-based environments and technologies. In Price, S., Jewitt, C., & Brown, B. (Eds.). The Sage Handbook of Digital Technology Research. London: Sage.



Spring 2016/2017

LDT 544: Interaction Analysis

EDTEC 467 (Online): Emerging Web Technologies for Learning

Fall 2015/2016

INSYS 549: Current Topics in Emerging Technologies

Fall 2014

New Media Field Experience

Summer 2014

Spatial Learning (EDUC 3900)

Spring 2014

Learning In and Out of School (with Rogers Hall)

Fall 2013

Human Geography (with Andrew Hostetler)


You can find my most recent CV here