Transforming science education through research-driven innovation

Colin Dixon


Research Scientist

Colin Dixon is a researcher and educator focussed on science learning across settings Colin joined BSCS in 2021 and has recently been engaged in participatory design and research with teachers, museum educators, and HCI designers around computer science and technology education. He strives to understand and co-create science learning experiences that are equitable, inclusive and centered around what young people want to do in their worlds. 

Colin received a B.S. from Northwestern University and Ph.D. in Learning & Mind Sciences from the UC Davis School of Education, where he worked with Drs. Lee Martin, Heidi Ballard, Emily Harris, Sagit Betser and others. This work included collaboration with community science organizations, as well as research practice partnership development with the BetaLab mobile makerspace. This work brought Colin into denim studios, living rooms, school makerspaces and other places of invention, connection, and joy.

Colin brings more than 20 years of experience as an educator in classrooms and community-based learning environments. He is also an olive farmer,  and unskilled carpenter.

Google Scholar

Selected Publications

Dixon, C., Harris, E., and Ballard. H. (in press) Identities in Action: Identity & Agency in Youth Community & Citizen Science. In L. Archer & H. Holmegaard (Eds.), Science Identities: Theory, method and research.

Hardy, L., Dixon, C., Doren, S. V., and Hsi, S. (2021). How the data got their dots: Helping students understand where data come from. The Science Teacher.

Harris, E, Dixon, C., Ballard, H., and Bird, E. (2020) For science and self: Youth relationships to data in community and citizen science. Journal of the Learning Sciences. DOI: 10.1080/10508406.2019.1693379

Hardy, L., Dixon, C., and Hsi, S. (2019) From data collectors to data producers: examining shifts in students’ relationship to data. Journal of the Learning Sciences. DOI: 10.1080/10508406.2019.1678164

Martin, L., and Dixon, C. (2019). A mobile workshop model for equitable making with high school aged youth. Advances in Engineering Education.

Martin, L., Dixon, C. and Betser, S. (2018) Iterative Design toward Equity: Youth Repertoires of Practice in a High School Maker Space, Equity & Excellence in Education, 51:1, 36-47. DOI: 10.1080/10665684.2018.1436997

Dixon, C. and Martin, L. (2017). Make to Relate: Narratives Of, and As, Community Practice. Cognition & Instruction, 35(2). DOI: 10.1080/07370008.2017.1282484

Martin, L. and Dixon, C. (2016). Making as a pathway to engineering and design. In Kylie Peppler, Erica Halverson, and Yasmin Kafai (Eds.), Makeology (Vol. 2). New York: Routledge. DOI: 10.4324/9781315726496

Ballard, H.L., Dixon, C. and Harris, E. (2016). Youth-Focused Citizen Science: Examining the Role of Environmental Science Learning and Agency for Conservation. Biological Conservation, 208. DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2016.05.024