Jason  Chen

Gerdelman Family Term Distinguished Associate Professor

Office: 3058
Phone: (757)221-6201
Email: [[jachen]]
Website: {{http://wmpeople.wm.edu/site/page/jachen/home,W&M personal website}}, {{https://works.bepress.com/jasonchen/,W&M Publish website}}
Areas of Expertise: Academic Motivation, Academic Engagement, Science Education, Nature of Science, Immersive Virtual Environments, Educational Technology, STEM Education


Jason A. Chen is the Gerdelman Family Term Distinguished Associate Professor of Educational at the William & Mary School of Education. The questions that drive his research have to do with the variety of ways innovative technologies can be used as a tool for motivation, engagement, and learning. Rather than assuming that technology is inherently motivating for students (it's not!), Jason is interested in understanding how to design learning environments (especially digital ones) to direct people’s motivation toward difficult learning tasks.

Selected Projects:
Mixed-Reality Simulations for Geosciences: Since 2017, with the help of a National Science Foundation grant, we have begun to explore the affordances of using mixed-reality learning environments in combination with intensive training to teach university faculty how to disrupt pernicious prejudices that impede efforts to diversify our STEM classrooms and fields of study. Designing and deploying these mixed-reality simulations has involved an interdisciplinary team of geoscientists, social scientists, and a Silicon Valley tech company.

PurpleState—Virtual Internships for Civic Engagement: Since Summer of 2019, with funding from the Institute of Education Sciences (from the federal Department of Education), I am collaborating with scholars from University of Wisconsin-Madison to design virtual simulations that will promote high school students’ civic skills. Many young people lack skills for informed citizenship, including the ability to read critically, and comprehend and evaluate political information, especially when accessed through social media. This intervention project is designed to target those skills directly.


Ph.D. in Educational Studies (Educational Psychology specialization), Emory University, 2010
M.A.T. in Secondary Science Education, Emory University, 2004
B.S. in Biology, Emory University, 1999

Activities and Honors

PurpleState 2.0: Investigating the impact of a virtual internship on argumentative reading and writing in civic education. Institute of Education Sciences, Special Topics—Social Studies, Goal 2, 2019 to 2022 ($299,387 out of $1.4M total budget). Funded. Role: Co-PI (Jeremy Stoddard lead PI).

GeoDES: Geoscience Diversity Experiential Simulations. National Science Foundation, Geoscience Opportunities for Leadership in Diversity (GOLD), 2017 to 2019 ($196,007 out of $400,000 total budget). Role: Principal Investigator. Funded.

Gerdelman Family Term Distinguished Associate Professor of Education, William & Mary, 2018-2021.

Plumeri Award for Faculty Excellence, William & Mary, 2018.

Selected Publications

Kier, M. W., Chen, J. A. (2019). Kindling the fire: Fueling preservice science teachers’ interest to teach in high-needs schools. Science Education, 103(4), 875-899.

Stoddard, J., & Chen, J. A. (2018). The impact of political identity, grouping, and discussion on young people’s views of political documentaries. Learning, Media and Technology, 43(4), 418-433.

Chen, J. A., Star, J. R., Dede, C., & Tutwiler, M. S. (2018). Technology-rich activities: One type does not motivate all. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 54, 153–170.

Chen, J. A., Tutwiler, M. S. (2017). Implicit theories and self-efficacy: Testing alternative social cognitive models to science motivation. Zeitschrift fur Psychologie, 225, 127-136. doi: 10.1027/2151-2604/a000289

Chen, J. A., Tutwiler, M. S., Metcalf, S. J., Kamarainen, A. M., Grotzer, T. A., Dede, C. J. (2016). A multi-user virtual environment to support students’ self-efficacy and interest in science: A latent growth model analysis. Learning and Instruction, 41, 11-22. doi: 10.1016/j.learninstruc.2015.09.007

Chen, J. A., & Metcalf, S. J., Tutwiler, M. S. (2014). Motivation and beliefs about the nature of scientific knowledge within an immersive virtual ecosystems environment. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 39, 112-123.

Chen, J. A., & Usher, E. L. (2013). Profiles of the sources of self-efficacy among middle and high school science students. Learning and Individual Differences, 24, 11-21.

Chen, J. A. (2012). Implicit theories of ability, epistemic beliefs, and science motivation: A person-centered approach. Learning and Individual Differences, 22, 724-735.