The power of physical 'stuff' in our digital world | Carol O'Donnell | TEDxFoggyBottom

Digital technology is quickly becoming a central part of our lives. But in our digital world, we cannot lose sight of the importance of tactile experiences in a science classroom. Dr. Carol O’Donnell argues that it’s not about resisting the shift to digital, instead, it is about finding ways for object-driven learning and digital learning to complement one another.

Dr. Carol O’Donnell is the Director of the Smithsonian Science Education Center, which is dedicated to transforming the teaching and learning of science. O’Donnell is responsible for all operational activities, including building awareness for K through 12th-grade science-education reform and overseeing curriculum, professional, and leadership development at the center. Before joining the Smithsonian, O’Donnell worked at the U.S. Department of Education where she oversaw federal investments focused on teaching and learning. O’Donnell began her science-teaching career in Virginia public schools and she currently serves on the part-time faculty of George Washington University’s Physics Department. O’Donnell earned her bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Pittsburgh, her master’s degree in geosciences from Mississippi State University, and doctorate in Curriculum & Instruction from the George Washington University.

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at https://www.ted.com/tedx

About the Author

Dr. Carol O'Donnell



As Director of the Smithsonian Science Education Center (SSEC), Carol is responsible for all operational activities and planning for the unit, including building awareness for P-12 science education reform among State and district leaders; conducting programs that support the professional growth of P-12 teachers and school leaders; and, overseeing all research and curricular resource development, philanthropic development, and administration. With nearly a decade of experience at the U.S. Department of Education and 20+ years of science teaching in K-16 classrooms, Carol has expertise in education policy, professional development, cognition and student learning, curriculum development, and education research.

Carol earned her Bachelor of Science in Education from the University of Pittsburgh, her Master of Science in Geosciences from Mississippi State, and her doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction with a focus on science education from The George Washington University (GWU). Carol began her career as a K-8 teacher and is still in the classroom today, serving on the part-time faculty of GWU's Physics Department. Read more