I study learning that moves across space and time, with a particular focus on digital media.
I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Learning and Performance Systems at The Pennsylvania State University. I work in the Learning, Technology, and Design program.
My research is mobile. It follows learners across space and time, including through physical and digital venues. With a particular emphasis on digital media, I study how to design and understand contexts, tools, and methods that support innovative teaching and learning that expands across settings. As an effort to disrupt container-like models of teaching and learning, my current research responds to the ongoing development of connected learning opportunities for youth within—and beyond—settings like home, libraries, schools, and city streets. I have explored digital media and technology in the lives of youth through (micro)ethnographic case studies as well as design experiments across both formal and informal settings.
I ask questions about the dynamic processes of learning that extend across contexts, including formal and informal, local and global, embodied and digital. While sociocultural theories of learning and literacy serve as the foundation for my work, theoretical orientations from other venues—from communications to human geography—help me understand issues of space, time, mobility, and embodiment. I ask questions such as: What are the spatiotemporal dynamics of learning settings? What are the rhythms, the tempos, of learning? To what degree do teachers, and researchers, bound and frame when and where learning occurs? And how do research methodologies sustain—or break—those confines? I believe these questions to be especially pressing given the increasing complexity, connectivity, and velocity of learning opportunities for youth.
The Pennsylvania State University
Learning, Design, and Technology
301 Keller Building
University Park, PA
Metro: Building Blocks
My research travels across informal and formal learning settings. Most recently, I have been piloting 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.
Refereed Journal Articles
Ehret, C. & Hollett, T. (2014). Embodied Composition in 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.
Leander, KM. & Hollett, T. (2014). Designing new spaces for literacy learning. Literacy Research Association Yearbook, 62, p. 29-42.
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.