Gizmo EdTech Lab



Our Team


Dr. Sandra Okita, Founding Director

M.A., Ph.D. Stanford University

B.A., M.A., Ph.D. Keio University, Japan

Dr. Okita's current research interest is focused on the learning partnership between individuals and technology, and how technology intersects with learning and instructional processes. One characteristic of Dr. Okita's work is the use of technological boundary objects as a threshold to learning, instruction, and assessment. Here, Dr. Okita defines boundary objects as computational artifacts where animate and inanimate features overlap between fantasy and reality (i.e. robots, agents in virtual reality environments, mixed-reality). Dr. Okita's interest in boundary objects is due to their strong social component that enables students to build a peer-like relation with technology that reveal new insights to the role of social relationships in learning.

Other interests include designing technology assisted learning/intervention in formal/informal settings, and children's interpretation and conceptual development in relation to technological boundary objects. Theoretical research interest areas include self-other monitoring, learning by teaching, learning by observation and its influence on behavior in the domain of biology, math, and agency.

Teachers College Faculty Profile:






Ed.D Instructional Technology & Media

Elliot attended the University of California, Berkeley and received a  B.A. in Astrophysics with an Education minor. He also has over 10 years of experience teaching high school physics, biology, and mathematics. He comes from the San Francisco Bay Area where he taught in urban public schools as well as spent four years founding a charter school. His current research field is virtual reality and its possible uses in the K-12 classroom



Ed.D Instructional Technology & Media

Nicola earned her B.A. in Media Studies from Pennsylvania State University, and her M.A. degree in Communication and Education from Teachers College. She is now a doctoral student in Instructional Technolgy & Media and her research interests include the use of pedagogical agents and its influence on motivation and agency.




Ed.D Instructional Technology & Media

Eddie graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Communication Management from Shih Hsin University and a Master's degree in International Communications from National Chengchi University. He has 2 years of experience organizing professional development at leading universities in Taiwan and China, focusing on technology integration in teaching. His current research focuses on the impact of cultural and social factors on user's cognition in MOOCs, and using teachable agents to instill students' mindsets and increase their motivation.


M.A. Instructional Technology & Media

Sebastian got his B.A. degree in Psychology from Pontificia Universidad Católica, Chile. He recently received his Masters degree in Instructional Technology & Media from Teachers College, Columbia University. His current research interests focus in using biobehavioral methods to study the cognitive aspects of human-robot interaction, specifically within the realm of social learning.


Yipu Zheng

M.S. Learning Analytics

Yipu earned her B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from University of California, Berkeley. She co-founded the first makerspace for children in Shenzhen, China and has three years of experience developing hands-on curriculum and kits for elementary and middle school students. She is now a master‘s student in Learning Analytics program at Teachers College, Columbia University. Her current research interests focus on utilizing multimodal learning analytics to assess learners’ problem-solving processes and provide formative feedback.