APRIL LUEHMANN, PhD
2007 Research Fellow
Margaret Warner Graduate School of
Education and Human Development
University of Rochester
Since joining the faculty at the University of Rochester in 2002, Dr. April Luehmann has been deeply involved in research surrounding inquiry into teacher development and exploring the use of supportive technologies such as social media networking. She designed and serves as project director for Get Real! Science, a teacher preparation and induction program. She has written extensively on blogging and its effectiveness in education reform, including the use of blogging as a transformational tool and insights gained into identity from an urban teacher’s blog.
No stranger to the K-12 classroom experience, April taught for a number of years in Fort Wayne, Indiana after earning her bachelor’s in secondary education from Concordia University. She began her career as a sixth grade math and science teacher in Indiana, taught at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, and served as teacher and science coordinator at the Zion Lutheran School in Illinois before teaching one additional year of ninth grade math in Michigan. She completed her graduate studies at the University of Michigan, earning two master’s degrees and then combining both tracks for her PhD in science education and industrial & operations engineering.
In the Rochester community, April serves on the Rochester Museum & Science Center K-12 Task Force and volunteers for a middle school girls’ program called Science STARS (Students Tackling Authentic & Relevant Science), an after-school inquiry club. April was awarded tenure at Rochester’s Warner School of Education in July 2009.
In her research, April investigates the process of reform in science education by following and tracking the experiences of 18 reform-minded teachers. “Preparing teachers who are committed to reform-based practices is an important aspect of nurturing reform in science education. As these teachers meet the challenges of constraints in the classroom, they often find hurdles and roadblocks to the reform-based identity they had developed.” Her study takes an in-depth, longitudinal look at the perceptions, experiences and commitments of practicing science teachers to investigate their identities and priorities with respect to reform.
Using data that includes weekly blog posts, peer interviews and video debriefs over the course of an academic year, the project examines the impact of context and experience on teachers’ perceptions. The project takes a look at which aspects of reform-based pedagogy are feasible and important, what challenges are most significant and what supports are most effective.
April’s research also considers the effectiveness of three different interventions — personal and professional blogging, collaborative action research, and stimulated recall debriefs — intended to engage and support reform-minded science teachers in their ongoing development by using a video sample of each participant’s (self-identified) reform-based teaching.
Awards and Recognitions
University of Rochester G. Grayson ’58 & Jane W. Curtis Award for Excellence in Teaching (2008); American Association of Curriculum & Teaching’s Distinguished Dissertation Award (2003)
- Luehmann, A.L. & Frink, J. (in press). How can blogging help teachers realize the goals of reform-based science instruction? A Study of Nine Classroom Blogs. Submitted to the Journal of Science Education and Technology.
- Luehmann, A.L. (2008). Blogs’ affordances for identity work: Insights gained from an urban teacher’s blog. The New Educator 4(3) 175-198.
- Luehmann, A.L. (2008). Using blogging in support of teacher professional identity development: A case-study. The Journal of the Learning Sciences 17(3), 287-337.
- Luehmann, A.L. & MacBride, R. (2008). Classroom blogging in the service of student-centered pedagogy: Two high school teachers’ use of blogs. THEN Journal: Technology, Humanities, Education & Narrative Issue 6.
- Luehmann, A.L. & Tinelli, L. (2008). Teacher professional identity development with social networking technologies: Learning reform through blogging. Educational Media International 45(4), 323-333.
- MacBride, R. & Luehmann, A.L. (2008). Capitalizing on emerging technologies. A case study of classroom blogging. Social Science and Mathematics 108(5), 173-183.