Katherine Perkins


Professional Title: 
Director, PhET Interactive Simulations and Associate Professor of Physics
About Me (Bio): 
Katherine Perkins is Director of the PhET Interactive Simulations Project and Associate Professor of Physics (Attendant Rank) at the University of Colorado at Boulder. She also serves as Director of the CU Science Education Initiative (SEI) – an innovative initiative to improve undergraduate science education through department-based efforts where faculty partner with science teaching fellows to define learning goals, integrate research-based teaching strategies, and measure results. Her research focuses on pedagogically-effective design and use of simulations, students’ beliefs about science, and sustainable course reform. She has published over 30 papers related to science education.
Citations of DRK-12 or Related Work (DRK-12 work is denoted by *): 
  • Hensberry, K. K. R., Paul, A. J., Moore, E. B., Podolefsky, N. S. & Perkins, K. K. PhET Interactive Simulations: New Tools to Achieve Common Core Mathematics Standards. in Common Core Mathematics Standards and Implementing Digital Technologies: (ed. Polly, D.) (IGI Global, 2013).*
  • Hensberry, K. K. R., Moore, E. B. & Perkins, K. K. (2015). Effective Student Learning of Fractions with an Interactive Simulation. Journal of Computers in Mathematics and Science Teaching, 34, 273–298.*
  • Roll, I., Butler, D., Yee, N., Welsh, A., Perez, S., Briseno, A., Perkins, K. & Bonn, D. (2018). Understanding the impact of guiding inquiry: The relationship between directive support, student attributes, and transfer of knowledge, attitudes, and behaviours in inquiry learning. Instructional Science, 46, 77–104.
  • Moore, E. B. & Perkins, K. K. (2018). Advances in PhET Interactive Simulations: Interoperable and Accessible. Cyber-Physical Laboratories in Engineering and Science Education. 141–162.*
University of Colorado Boulder

Colorado’s PhET project and Stanford’s AAALab will develop and study learning from interactive simulations designed for middle school science classrooms. Products will include 35 interactive sims with related support materials freely available from the PhET website; new technologies to collect real-time data on student use of sims; and guidelines for the development and use of sims for this age population. The team will also publish research on how students learn from sims.

University of Colorado Boulder

This project brings together leaders in simulation design and accessibility to develop and study interactive science simulations for diverse middle school students including those with sensory, mobility, or learning disabilities. The resulting simulations and research findings will help to address the significant disparity that exists between the achievement in science by students with and without disabilities.

University of Colorado Boulder

For this project, researchers will iteratively develop simulations to include sonifications, non-speech sounds that represent visual information, aimed at enhancing accessibility for all learners, but particularly for those with visual impairments to produce sonified simulations, professional development resources, design guidelines and exemplars, and publications.

University of Colorado Boulder

This project addresses three central challenges: 1) the tendency for students to not engage in real mathematical thinking as they use technologies; 2) the tendency for teachers to not enact pedagogically-effective approaches; and 3) the lack of adoption of effective technologies by teachers due to a variety of barriers. This project will use rich, exploratory, interactive simulations and associated instructional materials as a pathway for making rapid progress and focusing on advancing algebraic thinking in Grades 6-9.