Stephen Petrina

Scarfe 2331


Academic Journalist & Commentator


University of Maryland, 1994, PhD
University of Maryland, 1990, MA


Stephen Petrina is a Professor (MTSE) in the Department of Curriculum and Pedagogy at the University of British Columbia. He specializes in Media and Technology Studies (MTS), Science and Technology Studies (STS), Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics education (STEM), Design and Technology Education (D&T), and of course Curriculum Studies. He is a Fellow in the Institute for Public Education BC.

For over a decade, Stephen and an amazing team of colleagues & graduate researchers have been focusing on how we learn media & technology across the lifespan. HWL focuses especially on how children, youth, and adults innovate in classrooms, labs, workshops, makerspaces, virtual spaces, home spaces, and workplaces. As a team of environmental activists, we also research learning by ecodesign and natural spaces.

Stephen has recently published in the Journal of Military History, Vitae Scholasticae: The Journal of Educational Biography, European Journal of STEM Education, Hacking Education in a Digital Age, Critique in Design and Technology Education, and British Journal of Educational Technology. Recent chapters have been published in Pedagogy for Technology Education, the Handbook of Mobile Teaching and Learning, and the Handbook of Research on Teaching with Virtual Environments and AI.

At this time (March 2021), he is focusing on philosophy of media & technology for children & youth. Stephen’s expertise includes the philosophy of research, as opposed to methodology.

Awarded $2.43m in competitive research grants and contracts to date, three current grants are indicative of funding awards, most of which support graduate research assistants and underwrite infrastructure: (SSHRC IG, “HWL” @ $371,406; SSHRC IDG, “Critique of M&T” @ $40,033; Mitacs, “Case Study Scenarios and Videos for Intercultural Competence Acquisition” @ $165,000). Stephen is a member of the Cool Tools cluster for climate change education  ($1m+).

He has authored or co-authored 140+ publications, including 45 Refereed articles and 50+ chapters and proceedings.

Stephen has supervised 138 graduate students to completion, including 14 Ph.D. students, and is current Supervisor and Committee Member for 10 doctoral and masters students. He has also served as Supervisor of 9 Postdoctoral students and mentor to a range of faculty members. Students within and graduating from the Media & Technology Studies program excel in scholarly productivity and career transitions.

Courses include philosophy of media and technology, video ethnography, media studies, design-based learning, doctoral seminars, and research methodologies.

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Selected Publications

For downloads, see

Petrina, S. & Ross, E. W. (2021). Higher racism: The case of the University of British Columbia— on the wrong side of history but right side of optics. Workplace, 32, 12-25.

Petrina, S. & Zhao, J. J. (2021). 3D Virtual learning environment for acquisition of cultural competence: Experiences of instructional designers. In G. Panconesi & M. Guida (Eds.), Handbook of research on teaching with virtual environments and AI (pp. 17-42). Hershey, PA: IGI.

Petrina, S. (2021). Designerly ways, means, and ends: From STEM to STEAM to STEAMD. In STEM in Education 2020/2021 proceedings (pp. xx-xx). Vancouver, BC: EDCP.

MacDowell, P. & Petrina, S. (2021). Philosophy of technology for children and youth II. In STEM in Education 2020/2021 proceedings (pp. xx-xx). Vancouver, BC: EDCP.

Forde, K. & Petrina, S. (2021). Design of the preservice teacher’s digital self. In STEM in Education 2020/2021 proceedings (pp. xx-xx). Vancouver, BC: EDCP.

Petrina, S., Alam, M., & Feng, F. (2021). SOUL (slow online & ubiquitous learning): Analysis and regulation of instructional time. In STEM in Education 2020/2021 proceedings (pp. xx-xx). Vancouver, BC.

Petrina, S. (2020). Philosophy of technology for children and youth. In P. J. Williams & D. Barlex, (Eds.), Pedagogy for technology education in secondary schools (pp. 311-323). Dordrecht, NL: Springer.

Ralph, R. & Petrina, S. (2019/2020). Mobile devices for preschool-aged children. In Y. A. Zhang & D. Cristol (Eds.), Handbook of mobile teaching and learning (pp. 809-824). Berlin, GE: Springer.

Ralph, R., Pennefather, P., Code, J., & Petrina, S. (2020). Too many apps to choose from: Using rubrics to select mobile apps for preschool. In S. Papadakis, & M. Kalogiannakis (Eds.), Mobile learning applications in early childhood education (pp. 20-38). Hershey, PA: IGI Global.

Petrina, S. (2019). “The best known couple” in educational psychology: Luella W. Cole, Sidney L. Pressey, and the limits of auto/biography, 1918-1933. Vitae Scholasticae: The Journal of Educational Biography. 30 pp.

Petrina, S. (2019). “Scientific Ammunition to Fire at Congress:” Intelligence, reparations and the US Army Air Forces, 1944-1947. Journal of Military History, 83(3), 795-829.

Petrina, S. (2019). Review of Our Germans: Project Paperclip and the National Security State. Journal of Military History, 83(3), 951-952.

Ralph, R. & Petrina, S. (2018). Social learning with mobile devices in preschool classrooms. European Journal of STEM Education, 3(2b), 1-15.

Lee, Y.-L. & Petrina, S. (2018). Hacking minds: Curriculum mentis, noosphere, internet, matrix, web. In N. Ng-A-Fook, S. Pratt, B. Smith, & L. Radford (Eds.), Hacking education in a digital age: Teacher education, curriculum, and literacies (pp. 15-36). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing Inc.

Petrina, S. (2017). Critique of technology. In P. J. Williams & K. Stables (Eds.), Critique in design and technology education (pp. 31-49). Dordrecht, NL: Springer.

Petrina, S. (2017). From crit to social critique. In M. J. de Vries (Ed.), International handbook of technology education (pp. 39-50). Dordrecht, NL: Springer.

Wang, Y., Petrina, S. & Feng, F. (2017). Designing VILLAGE (Virtual Immersive Language Learning Environment): Immersion and presence. British Journal of Educational Technology, 48(2), 431-450.

Petrina, S., Mathison, S. & Ross, E. W. (2015). Threat convergence: The new academic work, bullying, mobbing and freedom. Workplace, 24, 58-69.

Petrina, S. & Ross, E. W. (2014). Critical university studies: Workplace, milestones, crossroads, respect, truth. Workplace, 23, 62-71.

Petrina, S. (2014). Postliterate machineries. In J. Dakers (Ed.), New frontiers in technological literacy: Breaking with the past (pp. 29-43). New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Wang, Y. & Petrina, S. (2013). Using learning analytics to understand the design of an intelligent language tutor – Chatbot Lucy. International Journal of Advanced Computer Science and Applications, 4(11), 124-131.

Clark, P., Gleason, M. & Petrina, S. (2012). Preschools for science: The Child Study Centre at the University of British Columbia, 1960-1997. History of Education Quarterly, 52(1): 29-61. *Awarded the Canadian History of Education Association’s 2012 Founders’ Prize

Petrina, S. (2012). The New Critiquette and Old Scholactivism: A Petit Critique of Academic Manners, Managers, Matters, and Freedom. Workplace: A Journal for Academic Labor, 20, 17-57.

Petrina, S. (2010). Design and engineering cognition. In P. A. Reed & J. LaPorte (Eds.), Research in technology education. Reston, VA: Council on Technology Teacher Education.

Petrina, S. & Rusnak, P. (2010). Technology. In C. Kridel (Ed.), Encyclopedia of curriculum studies (pp. 876-878). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Park, H., Khan, S. & Petrina, S. (2009). ICT in science education: A quasi-experimental study of achievement, attitudes toward science, and career aspirations of Korean middle school students. International Journal of Science Education, 31(8), 993-1012.

Petrina, S. (2008). Medical liberty: Drugless healers confront allopathic doctors, 1910-1931. Journal of Medical Humanities. 29(4), 205-230.

Petrina, S., Feng, F. & Kim, J. (2008). Researching cognition and technology: How we learn across the lifespan. International Journal of Technology and Design Education, 18(4), 375-396.

Guo, R. X., Dobson, T. & Petrina, S. (2008). Digital natives, digital immigrants: An analysis of age and ICT competency in teacher education. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 38(3), 235-254.

Nashon, S., Nielson, W. & Petrina, S. (2008). Whatever happened to STS? Preservice physics teachers and the history of quantum mechanics. Science & Education, 17, 387-401.

Petrina, S., Bartosh, O., Guo, R. & Stanley-Wilson, L. (2008). ICT literacies and policies in teacher education: A survey of preservice teachers at the University of British Columbia, 2001-2004. In T. Di Petta (Ed.), The Emperor’s new computer (pp. 89-109). Amsterdam: Sense.

Petrina, S. & Weir, L. (2008). Commercializing academic freedom: R&D, technology transfer, patents, and copyrights. In S. Krishna (Ed.), Technology transfer: Intellectual property rights (pp. 76-88). Hyderabad, India: Amicus Books, ICFAI University Press. (Reprint of article).

Petrina, S. (2007). Advanced teaching methods for the technology classroom. Hershey: Information Sciences, International.

James, K. & Petrina, S. (2007). After-lifelong learning: A eulogium. Taboo, 10(2), 5-23.

Petrina, S. & Guo, R. (2007). Developing a large-scale assessment of technological literacy. In M. Hoepfl & M. Lindstrom (Eds.), Assessment of technology education (pp. 157-180). New York: Glencoe-McGraw Hill.

Brennan, K., Feng, F., Hall, L. & Petrina, S. (2007). On the complexity of technology and the technology of complexity. In. B. Davis (Ed.), Proceedings of the Fourth Complexity Science and Educational Research conference, 47-73.

Petrina, S. (2007). 2020 vision: On the politics of technology. In D. Barlex (Ed.), Design & technology– For the next generation (pp. 32-41). London: Nuffield Foundation.

Petrina, S. (2006). C&I high. Journal of Curriculum and Pedagogy, 3(2), 125-147.

Petrina, S. (2006). The medicalization of education: A historiographic synthesis. History of Education Quarterly, 46(1), 503-532.

Students Supervised

Courses Taught

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