Sinem Siyahhan is an Assistant Professor of Educational Technology, and core faculty member in the Educational Leadership Joint Doctoral Program at California State University San Marcos. She is also the Founding Director of Play2Connect, an initiative that aims to support family learning, communication, and connection through gaming. Before joining CSUSM, Siyahhan worked as an Assistant Research Professor at Arizona State University for three years. She earned her PhD in Learning Sciences with a minor in Inquiry Methodology from Indiana University in 2011.
Siyahhan’s scholarship uses design-based research to understand the affordances of digital media technologies for human-computer interaction, teaching, learning, and social change in the context of formal and informal learning environments. As such, her research considers learning and technology with respect to three interrelated goals: designing online tools to connect and facilitate continuous learning among youth and adults; designing learning experiences around existing technologies with a particular focus on video games to support meaningful social interactions, deep engagement with content, and development of 21st century skills; and understanding how these designs influence individual and collective learning, and how they can be improved to better support academic and social outcomes.
At Indiana University, Siyahhan worked as a Graduate Research Assistant on multiple National Science Foundation and MacArthur Foundation funded research and design projects including Grinding New Lenses (PIs: Melissa Gresalfi, Kylie Peppler, Nicole Pinkard, & Katie Salen) and Quest Atlantis, the 3D online educational game platform (PI: Sasha Barab). She also designed, implemented, and researched Family Quest, a virtual game environment and after school program for families. As an Assistant Research Professor at Arizona State University, she helped create the Games and Impact Undergraduate Certificate Program, and created Families@Play, series of family gaming events held at schools, museums, and libraries to help parents develop strategies to utilize popular commercial video games at home with their children, and use play as a context for strengthening home-school-community connections. Siyahhan also developed and led teacher professional development workshops on how to integrate games into curriculum to support STEAM learning in schools, and continues to do so in North County San Diego.