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

Lee Martin


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; Engineering Education; The Maker Movement


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

Select Publications

  • Martin, L., & Thomas Murphy, C. (2022). Tinkering in the time of COVID: Lessons from educators’ efforts to facilitate playful tinkering through distance learning. International Journal of Play. https://doi.org/10.1080/21594937.2022.2069350
  • Martin, L., & Wendell, K. (2021). Reflections on Asset-Based Pre-College Engineering Education to Promote Equity: An Introduction to the Special Issue. Journal of Pre-College Engineering Education Research (J-PEER), 10(1), 1-2. https://doi.org/10.7771/2157-9288.1325
  • Martin, L., & Betser, S. (2020). Learning through making: The development of engineering discourse in an out‐of‐school maker club. Journal of Engineering Education, 109(2), 194-212. https://doi.org/10.1002/jee.20311
  • Athanases, S., Sanchez, S., & Martin, L., (2020). Saturate, situate, synthesize: Fostering preservice teachers’ conceptual and practical knowledge for learning to lead class discussion. Teaching and Teacher Education, 88. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tate.2019.102970
  • Linke, B., Martin, L., Garretson, I. (2020). Learning benefits by integrating design, manufacturing, and testing in a course for compressible flow visualizations. International Journal of Mechanical Engineering Education. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F0306419019838279
  • Martin, L., & Dixon, C. D. (2019). A mobile workshop model for equitable making with high school aged youth. Advances in Engineering Education.
  • 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)

Courses Taught at UC Davis

  • EDU 210 – Psychology of School Learning
  • EDU 211 – Sociocultural Learning Theory
  • EDU 292 – Learning in Informal Environments
  • EDU 114 – Quantitative Methods in Educational Research
  • EDU 110 – Educational Psychology: General

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