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Faculty & Research

Karen Brennan

Associate Professor of Education

Karen Brennan

Degree:  Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, (2012); M.A., The University of British Columbia, (2007); B.Ed., The University of British Columbia, (2005); B.S., The University of British Columbia, (2003)
Email:  [javascript protected email address]
Phone:  617.495.4341
Personal Site:   Link to Site
Office:  Longfellow 334
Office Hours Contact:  Email the Faculty Member
Faculty Assistant:  Claire Goggin


Karen Brennan is an associate professor at HGSE, where she directs the Creative Computing Lab, and an affiliate in Computer Science. Her research is primarily concerned with the design of learning experiences in K–12 computer science. She is especially interested in constructionist learning experience design, an approach that cultivates learner agency and community through personalizing, creating, sharing, and reflecting. Her research and design activities are situated in three interconnected thematic areas: (1) investigating how K–12 teachers design learning experiences in computing education, (2) creating support structures for K–12 teachers to develop understandings of constructionist approaches to computing education in the classroom, and (3) studying the development of computational fluency in young learners. Before joining HGSE, Brennan completed her Ph.D. at the MIT Media Lab, where she was a member of the team that develops the Scratch programming environment.

Click here to see a full list of Karen Brennan's courses.

Areas of Expertise
Sponsored Projects


Getting Unstuck: Designing and Evaluating Teacher Resources to Support Conceptual and Creative Fluency with Programming (2019-2022)
National Science Foundation

"Getting Unstuck: Teacher Resources to Support Computational and Creative Fluency in K-12 Classrooms" is an Early Stage Design and Development project proposal addressing the Teaching strand.In this project, we will study how an online professional learning experience for K-12 computer science teachers called Getting Unstuck can be adapted for use by teachers in the classroom. Our goal is to increase teachers' computational and creative fluency with the Scratch programming environment, in the service, ultimately, of cultivating computational and creative fluency with their K-12 students.

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