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Rogers Hall

Professor, Department of Teaching and Learning

Research Area

STEM education; studies of change in conceptual and representational practices; learning in/out of school; project-based pedagogy and classroom environments; interactional studies of language, embodied action (including gesture), and inscription; design research on space, learning and mobility.

Short Biography

Rogers Hall is Professor and Chair in the Department of Teaching and Learning, Vanderbilt University. His research concerns learning and teaching in STEM conceptual practices, comparative studies of embodied action in these practices, and the organization and development of representational practices more generally. Hall completed his Ph.D. in Information and Computer Science at the University of California, Irvine, then taught for ten years at UC Berkeley before joining the Vanderbilt faculty. He will be a visiting scholar at the University of Colorado, Boulder during Fall 2017 and at the University of Washington, Seattle during Spring 2018 (sabbatical leave). Hall has been a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in Behavioral Sciences (Stanford University, 2007-2008), the UC Humanities Research Institute (2001), and the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science (1999). He has also been a NAE/Spencer Foundation and McDonnell foundation postdoctoral fellow (1996-1997).

Selected publications include “Learning a part together: Ensemble learning and infrastructure in a competitive high school marching band” (Instructional Science, to appear, with J. Ma), “Changing concepts in activity: Descriptive and design studies of consequential learning in conceptual practices” (Educational Psychologist, 2015, with S. Jurow), “Counter-mapping the neighborhood on bicycles: Mobilizing youth to reimagine the city” (Technology, Knowledge and Learning, 2013, with K. Taylor), “Talk and conceptual change at work” (Mind, Culture and Activity, 2012, with I. Horn), “Modalities of engagement in mathematical activity and learning (Journal of the Learning Sciences, 2012, with R. Nemirovsky), and “Conducting video research in the learning sciences” (Journal of the Learning Sciences, 2010, with S. Derry and colleagues).


The Bridging Learning in Urban Extended Settings (BLUES) Project began in 2013 as a partnership between the Space, Learning and Mobility (SLaM) Lab at Vanderbilt and archivists and exhibit designers at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum and Special Collections at the Nashville Public Library. We develop and study tools and experimental teaching in which young people (high school students and young adults) used archival material in libraries and museums to create “digital spatial story lines (DSSLs)”—tour-like structures carried on smart phones that bridged historical media (photographs, news articles, and music) from archives onto the city neighborhoods documented in those archives. The project focused on historical relations between American Roots music and social activism in the Music City (Nashville, TN). By creating and sharing DSSLs, young adults learned about digital mapping, how information is structured in archival collections, and how to use archival collections to create and share forms of public history.

The Spatial Learning and Mobility (SLaM) Lab is a group of Vanderbilt faculty and graduate students who study relations between personal mobility and learning. Current SLaM faculty members include Rogers Hall and Andy Hostetler (Department of Teaching and Learning, Peabody College), Dave Owens (Owen Graduate School of Management; Engineering), and Doug Fisher (Computer Science and Engineering). SLaM graduate student members include Ben Shapiro, Jennifer Kahn, Lauren Vogelstein, and Helen Collins.

With Katie Taylor (University of Washington, Seattle) and Ananda Marin (University of California, Los Angeles), Hall is hosting an NSF-sponsored “capacity building” workshop on the Vanderbilt campus during Summer 2017. This workshop will produce and support a web portal with tools, methods, concepts for studies of new genre of “learning on the move” (e.g., youth mapping their neighborhoods and advocating for new, youth-centered development projects). The web site should go public late summer.

Hall and students also conduct design research on embodied mathematical activity and learning, with a particular focus on changing the scale and modalities through which young people learn about the mathematics of space and motion. This work builds on a multi-year project with colleagues at San Diego State University (Ricardo Nemirovsky) and the University of Wisconsin at Madison (Martha Alibali and Mitch Nathan; see In a project with Lauren Vogelstein, we are studying how people make sense of ensemble performance in the opening/closing ceremonies of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. These studies are to support continuing design studies of ensemble learning environments in mathematics. Queries about these projects from other investigators and prospective doctoral students are welcome.

Courses Taught

Learning and Instruction (introductory pro-seminar in Learning and Design M.Ed. program)
Learning In-and-Out of School (elective in graduate learning sciences programs)
Introduction to Qualitative Research Methods (introduction to a two-course research methods sequence)
Learning and the Interaction Order (advanced course for two-course research methods sequence, focusing on studies of talk-in-interaction)