Dr Anton Puvirajah

Assistant Professor

Profile

Dr. Anton Puvirajah is an Assistant Professor of STEM Education. Prior to joining the Faculty of Education, he held academic appointments at Georgia State University and Kennesaw State University. He has also been a high-school science teacher both in the United States, and in Canada.

Dr. Puvirajah earned his PhD in Teacher Education with a concentration in Science Education from Wayne State University, in Detroit, Michigan. He has extensive research and teaching experience related to STEM education. At Wayne State University, he taught life science, physical science, and teaching methods courses to graduate and undergraduate students in elementary, middle, and high school teacher certification programs. At Kennesaw State and Georgia State Universities, he has taught various face-to-face and online courses in the teacher certification, graduate professional, graduate research intensive programs. At Western, he teaches courses in the graduate research intensive programs (PhD & MA), graduate professional programs (EdD & MPEd), and in the teacher education/certification program (BEd).

Expertise Areas

Research

Dr. Puvirajah has an active and well-developed research and outreach programs in teacher education and STEM learning that align with his interest in examining how teachers and science learners use Discourses to explore, negotiate, and develop their respective roles and identities within a community of practice. Specifically, within the STEM learning context, he studies Discourses that are enhanced through the use of technological tools and occurring in informal settings.

Current Work

A Reciprocal Model for Teaching and Learning Computational Competencies: Connecting Pre-Service Teachers and Urban Latino Youth

Funded by the National Science Foundation, this project aims to advance efforts of the Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers program to better understand and promote practices that increase student motivations and capacities to pursue careers in fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) by engaging students and teachers in authentic computational tasks associated with real-world challenges. The after-school program will engage urban Latino middle school and high school students in activities aimed at developing computational competencies and promoting interests in pursuing computer science related studies and careers.

Teacher Reflection and Critical Incident Reflection

Using discourse analysis, this project focuses on investigating the use of video and critical incident reflection for teacher transformative learning and the use of schema-based framework for analyzing science teachers’ video enhanced reflection. Moreover, capitalizing on the advances in computing, graphics, and mobile technologies, the project also focuses on studying the affordances of virtual worlds for developing communities of practice among novice teachers.

Examining Newly Arrived Students’ Engagement in Out of School Learning Experiences in Computational Thinking

This project aims to systematically investigate newly arrived students’ previous science learning experience in formal and informal settings, create an informal learning experience (e.g., maker-spaces, robotic, coding academy) for newly arrived students, and examine the informal learning context for inclusive science learning opportunities for newly-arrived students. The goal of this project to understand how informal learning spaces may create inclusive and engaging science learning opportunities for newly arrived students. The science learning opportunities may create space for peer-to-peer mentoring, skills building, and to work with industry/scientists and create alternative pathways for science learning.

Other Research Interests

Research with STEM Learners

Dr. Puvirajah’s ongoing research in Discourse and communities of practice (CoPs) with STEM learners focuses on the contextual differences between formal and informal science learning spaces and the types of Discourses and CoPs that these spaces create. More specifically, he scrutinizes the impact of informal, free choice learning contexts on community building that leads to learning science processes, skills, and content knowledge. For example, in a study of an out-of-school robotics community, using critical discourse analysis, he focused on the interplay of the informal context and language to gain insights into the mediation and manifestation of power among students and teacher mentors (Puvirajah, Verma, & Webb, 2012). Within this community, he has also studied the participants’ use of social language to facilitate practices that neared cultural traditions of a scientific community and the linguistic and social interactions among the participants as they attempted to create a third space to practice science through the intersection of school scripts and personal scripts (Verma, Puvirajah, & Webb, 2015).

Research with STEM Teachers

Dr. Puvirajah’s research focuses on how teachers’ technology enabled reflective practices help develop a sense of belonging within a teacher community of practice. Using discourse analysis, he has studied the use of video and critical incident reflection for teacher transformative learning (Calandra & Puvirajah, 2011; Criswell, Calandra, Puvirajah, & Brantley-Dias, 2015) and the use of schema-based framework for analyzing science teachers’ video enhanced reflection (Calandra, Sun, & Puvirajah, 2014). Moreover, he is capitalizing on the advances in computing, graphics, and mobile technologies to be among the first to study virtual worlds for developing a community of practice among novice teachers. In his work with virtual worlds and novice teachers, he has studied the affordances of purposefully designed virtual world experiences for novice science teacher development (Puvirajah & Calandra, 2012), novice science teacher virtual worlds experiences as an intermediate step between formal methods classes and real life field experiences (Calandra & Puvirajah, 2014), novice science teacher embodiment in virtual worlds, and novice science teacher identity exploration, negotiation, and development in virtual worlds (Puvirajah & Calandra, 2015).

Recent Publications

Refereed Journal Articles

Puvirajah, A. & Calandra, B. (2015). Embodied experiences in virtual worlds role-play as a conduit for novice teacher identity exploration: A case study. Identity: An International Journal of Theory and Research. 15(1), 23-47.

Criswell, B., Calandra, B., Puvirajah, A., & Brantley-Dias, L. (2015). A new lens for seeing tensegrity in science teacher reflections. Cultural Studies of Science Education.

Verma, G., Puvirajah, A., & Webb*, P. (2015). Enacting acts of authentication in a robotics competition: An interpretivist study. Journal of Research in Science Teaching. 52 (3), 268-295.

Calandra, B & Puvirajah, A. (2014). Teacher practice in multi user virtual environments: A fourth space. Tech Trends. 58 (6), 29-35.

Puvirajah, A., Verma, G., Li, H., & Martin-Hansen, L. (2014). Influence of a science focused after school program on underrepresented high school students’ science attitudes and trajectory: A survey validation study. International Journal Science Education, Part B, 5 (3), 250 – 270.

Calandra, B., Sun*, Y. & Puvirajah, A. (2014). A new perspective on teachers’ video-aided reflection. Journal of Digital Learning in Teacher Education, 30 (3), 104-109.

Puvirajah, A., Verma, G., & Webb*, H. (2012). Examining the mediation of power in a collaborative community: Engaging in informal science as authentic practice. Cultural Studies of Science Education, 7 (2), 375-408

Calandra, B., & Puvirajah, A. (2011). Using digital video to promote teachers’ transformative learning. Educational Technology, 51 (2), 33-36.

Ebenezer, J., & Puvirajah, A. (2005). WebCT dialogues on particle theory of matter: Presumptive reasoning schemes. Educational Research and Evaluation, 11 (6), 561-590.

Ebenezer, J., Lugo, F., Beirnacka, B., & Puvirajah, A. (2003). Community building through electronic discussion boards: Pre-service teachers’ reflective dialogues on science teaching. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 12 (4), 397-411.

Refereed Book Chapters

Puvirajah, A. (In press). Waves.  In P. Rillero & S. Eddis (Eds.), Mastering the Science Content of the NES General Science Exam. Anthem, AZ: Independent Variable Press.

Puvirajah, A. (In press). Energy.  In P. Rillero & S. Eddis (Eds.), Mastering the Science Content of the NES General Science Exam. Anthem, AZ: Independent Variable Press.

Puvirajah, A., Martin-Hansen, L., & Verma, G. (2012). Creating a pipeline to STEM careers through service learning: The AFT program. In R. E. Yager (Ed.), Exemplary Science for Building Interest in STEM Careers. Arlington, Virginia: National Science Teachers Association.

Puvirajah, A. (2012). The wave phenomenon. In C. Wilson (Ed.), Passing the State Science Proficiency Tests: Essential Content for Elementary and Middle School Teachers. Lanham, MD: University Press of America.

Refereed Abstracts and Proceedings

Verma, G., Puvirajah, A., & Martin-Hansen, L. (2013). Recruiting minority students into STEM through experiences in being a teacher. In Nagarjuna G., Jamakhandi, A. & Sam, E.M., (Eds.). Proceedings of epiSTEME 5-- International Conference to Review Research on Science, Technology and Mathematics Education, (pp. 343-350). India: Cinnamon Teal Publishing.

Puvirajah, A. & Calandra, B. (2012). Why use designed experiences in MUVEs in teacher education? A rationale and example. In P. Resta (Ed.). Proceedings of Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference, (pp. 2604-2608). Chesapeake, VA: AACE.

Webb*, H., Puvirajah, A., & Verma, G. (2011). Examining discourse in a high school robotic club. In S. Chunawala & M. Kharatmal (Eds.). Proceedings of epiSTEME 4 -- International Conference to Review Research on Science, Technology and Mathematics Education, (pp. 309 – 313). India: Macmillan.

Ebenezer, J., & Puvirajah, A. (2003). WebCT dialogues on particle theory of matter: Presumptive reasoning in students’ argumentation. Proceedings of the Sixth International Conference on Computer Based Learning in Science. Nicosia, Cyprus.

Ebenezer, J.V., Beirnacka, B., & Puvirajah, A. (2002). Electronic discussion boards: Pre-service teachers’ reflective dialogues on science teaching. Abstracts of the 2002 International Organization of Science and Technology Education Conference. Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Teaching and Supervision

Graduate Student Supervision

Ph.D. Supervisor

  • Timothy Maley, Ph.D. (2014, Georgia State University) [Virtual Learning Program Specialist at Fulton County Schools]
    • Dissertation: Investigating the effects of delivering content based on a waves learning progression on learning outcomes in an online physics unit for high school students
  • Donna Barrett-Williams, Ph.D. (2014, Georgia State University) – awarded outstanding science education Ph.D. student [STEM Director at Fulton County Schools]
    • Dissertation: The influence of a K-5 science endorsement of the professional knowledge bases of elementary teachers

Ph.D. Committee Member

  • Patricia Dunac (2015, Georgia State University)
  • Umamaheswari Subramaniam (2014, Georgia State University)
  • Yuleu Sun (2012, Georgia State University)

Post-Graduate Education Specialist Degree Supervision (All at Georgia State University)

  • Keelan Seabolt, 2012
  • Lacey Anderson, 2011
  • Stephanie Cooper, 2011
  • Latasha Lampkin, 2011
  • Nikki Jackson-Turner, 2011
  • Thomas Nagy, 2011
  • Jane Gilbert, 2010
  • Malaika Jordan, 2010
  • Ryan Sweeney, 2010
  • Lashanda Whitworth, 2010
  • Jamaya Hamilton, 2009
  • Katrina Ford, 2009
  • Jennifer Forsyth, 2009

M.A. Supervisor

  • Yu Song (current)

University Teaching

Courses Taught at The University of Western Ontario

  • EDUC 5178 Curriculum and Pedagogy in Elementary Science and Technology (Undergraduate)
  • EDUC 5202 Curriculum and Pedagogy in Intermediate/Senior Biology (Undergraduate)
  • EDUC 5205 Curriculum and Pedagogy in Intermediate/Senior Chemistry (Undergraduate)
  • EDUC 5221 Curriculum and Pedagogy in Intermediate/Senior Physics (Undergraduate)
  • EDUC 9678 Diverse Traditions: Approaches to Educational Research (Graduate)

Courses Taught at Kennesaw State University

  • CHEM 1212 General Chemistry II
  • CHEM 1212L General Chemistry II Lab
  • EDSM 1101 Inquiry Approaches to Teaching

Courses Developed at Georgia State University

  • EDSC 4470 Concepts and Methods in Middle Childhood Science (Undergraduate)
  • EDSC 3250 Topics in Middle Grades Science (Undergraduate)
  • EDSC 9870 Advanced Research Seminar in Science Education (Graduate)

Courses Taught at Georgia State University

  • EDSC 3250 Topics in Middle Grades Science (Undergraduate – 2 sections)
  • EDSC 4470 Concepts and Methods in Middle Childhood Science (Undergraduate – 3 sections)
  • EDSC 6550 Principles of Science Instruction (Graduate – 2 sections)
  • EDSC 7550 Theory and Pedagogy in Science Instruction (Graduate – 2 sections)
  • EDSC 8400 Strategies in Science Instruction (Graduate – 3 sections)
  • EDSC 8430 The Nature of Science (Graduate – 2 sections)
  • EDSC 8600 Science in the School Curriculum (Graduate – 1 section)
  • EDSC 9870 Advanced Research Seminar in Science Education (Graduate – 2 sections)
  • EDCI 6600 Introduction to Secondary Teaching (Graduate – 2 sections)
  • EDCI 7540 Theory/Pedagogy in Middle Childhood Mathematics/Science (Graduate – 1 section)
  • EDCI 7660 Practicum I (Graduate – 5 sections)
  • EDCI 7670 Practicum II (Graduate – 4 sections)
  • EDCI 7680 Practicum III (Graduate – 4 sections)
  • EDCI 9900 Critique of Education Research (Graduate – 1 section)
  • ECE 3606 Science and Inquiry in Early Childhood Education (Undergraduate – 4 sections)

Courses Taught at Wayne State University

  • SCE 5010 Life Sciences for Elementary/Middle School Teachers (Graduate – 2 sections)
  • SCE 5020 Physical Sciences for Elementary/Middle School Teachers (Graduate – 8 sections)
  • SCE 5060 Methods and Materials in Secondary School Science (Graduate – 1 section)
  • ELE 3500 Teaching Science: Preprimary – 9 (Undergraduate – 7 sections)
  • ELE 6500 Science Curriculum: Preprimary – 9 (Graduate – 1 section)