Faculty Profile EMPHASIS AREA: LMS, MTH. Adaptive Expertise; Learning and Cognition; Learning in Informal Settings; Mathematics Education

Lee Martin

Associate Professor and Chancellor's Fellow

Portrait of Lee Martin

“When young people are interested in the things they are working with, when they feel like their activities align with their sense of themselves and their possible futures, and when they feel connected to the community they are working within, tremendous amounts of learning can occur. (Martin, 2015)

Lee Martin is the principal investigator for the Beta Lab research group. He studies people’s efforts to enhance their own learning environments, with a particular focus on mathematical thinking and learning. In everyday settings, he looks at the varied ways in which people assemble social, material, and intellectual resources for problem solving and learning. In school settings, he looks to find ways in which schools might better prepare students to be more resourceful and flexible in fostering their own learning.

Research Interests

Adaptive Expertise; Learning and Cognition; Learning in Informal Settings; Mathematics Education; The Maker Movement


  • Ph.D., Education – Stanford University
  • B.A.S., Mathematics and Linguistics, University of California, Davis

Honors and Awards

  • Chair, Learning Sciences Special Interest Group (SIG) for the Amercian Educational Research Association (2012)
  • Most Inspirational, 7th Annual Games+Learning+Society Conference poster session (2011)
  • Most Shocking Unexpected Results, 7th Annual Games+Learning+Society Conference poster session (2011)
  • Travel Fellowship, 33rd Carnegie Symposium on Cognition: Thinking with Data (2004)

Select Publications

  • Sakkal, A., & Martin, L. (2019). Learning to rock: The role of prior experience and explicit instruction on learning and transfer in a music videogame.Computers & Education, 128, 389-397.
  • Martin, L., Dixon, C. D., & Betser, S. (2018). Iterative design toward equity: Youth repertoires of practice in a high school maker space. Equity and Excellence in Education, 51(1), 36-47.
  • Dixon, C., & Martin, L. (2017). Make to Relate: Analyzing Narratives of Community Practice. Cognition and Instruction, 35(2), 103-124.
  • Martin, L., & Dixon, C. (2016). Making as a pathway to engineering and design. In K. Peppler, E. Halverson, & Y. Kafai (Eds.), Makeology: Makers as Learners (Volume 2) (pp. 183-195). New York: Routledge.
  • Martin, L. (2015). The promise of the Maker Movement for education. Journal of Pre-College Engineering Education Research (J-PEER), 5(1), 30-39. http://dx.doi.org/10.7771/2157-9288.1099
  • Martin, L., & Schwartz, D. L. (2014). A pragmatic perspective on visual representation and creative thinking. Visual Studies, 29(1), 80-93.
  • Martin, L., & Gourley-Delaney, P. (2014). Students’ images of mathematics. Instructional Science, 42(2), 595-614. DOI 10.1007/s11251-013-9293-2.
  • Martin, L., & Schwartz, D. (2013). Conceptual innovation and transfer. In S. Vosniadou (Ed.), International Handbook of Research on Conceptual Change, 2nd edition (pp. 447-465). New York: Routledge. (link to book).
  • Esmonde, I., Blair, K. P., Goldman, S., Martin, L., Jimenez, O., & Pea, R. (2013). Math I Am: What we learn from stories that people tell about math in their lives. In B. Bevan, P. Bell, R. Stevens & A. Razfar (Eds.), LOST opportunities: Learning in out of school time (pp. 7-27). Netherlands: Springer. (link , preprint)
  • Martin, L. (2012). Connection, translation, off-loading, and monitoring: A framework for characterizing the pedagogical functions of educational technologies. Technology, Knowledge and Learning. doi: 10.1007/s10758-012-9193-6. (link)
  • White, T., Booker, A., Carter Ching, C., & Martin, L. (2012). Integrating digital and mathematical practices across contexts: A manifesto for mobile learning. International Journal of Learning and Media 3(3), 7-13. (link)
  • Martin, L., & Goldman, S. (2010). Family inheritance: Parallel practices of financial responsibility in families. In Lin, L., Varenne, H., and Gordon, E. W., (Eds.) Educating comprehensively: Varieties of educational experiences. Lewiston, NY: The Edwin Mellen Press. (link)
  • Pea, R. D., & Martin, L. (2010). Values that occasion and guide mathematics in the family. To appear in K. O’Connor & W. R. Penuel (Eds.), Research on learning as a human science. New York: Teachers College Press. (link , preprint)
  • Martin L. & Schwartz, D. L. (2009). Prospective adaptation in the use of external representations. Cognition and Instruction, 24(7), 1-31. (link , preprint)
  • Martin, L. Goldman S. & Jimenez, O. (2009). The tanda: A practice at the intersection of mathematics, culture, and financial goals. Mind, Culture & Activity, 16(4), 1-14. (link)
  • Current Activities and Service
  • Co-Chair FabLearn
  • Member, American Educational Research Association (AERA)
  • Member, International Society Of the Learning Sciences

Courses Taught at UC Davis

  • EDU 210 – Psychology of School Learning
  • EDU 292 – Learning in Informal Environments
  • EDU 114 – Quantitative Methods in Educational Research
  • EDU 110 – Educational Psychology: General

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