Cassie Quigley - Publications


Herro, D., Quigley, C.F., Plank, H., Owens, A. (2020). Understanding Students' Peer Interactions During Making Activities Designed to Promote Computational Thinking. Journal of Education Research. Accepted.

The rise of makerspaces in K-12 education in the last decade is largely attributed to the potential for making to positively impact student outcomes, including design-thinking, creativity, STEM and social skills (Cohen, 2017). Although the ‘makerspace’ as a physical space in schools has gained popularity in recent years, Halverson and Sheridan (2014) aptly suggest that there is a “broad range of spaces and places” (p. 498) where making can occur including libraries, museums, non-profits, university, community and classroom settings. They point to digital and physical tools that are used to promote learning-by-doing, which include 3-D printers, robots, wearable electronics, Legos, Play-doh, cloth and a host of other items and materials.

Researchers and educators point to several reasons that makerspaces and making activities should be included in K-12 settings. Making is considered more inclusive and appealing to diverse groups of learners when compared to traditional STEM education offerings, bolstering efforts to promote it as a gateway to STEM careers in some K-12 schools (Blikstein, 2013). Work done in makerspaces is thought to foster students’ autonomy as well as collaborative and soft skills (Sheridan et al., 2014). Oliver (2016) argues that making is community-oriented and collaborative by nature and he suggests that teachers model meaningful peer interactions and exchanges between students to assist them in developing their ability to construct knowledge. Making activities have also been closely connected to honing computational thinking (CT) skills (decomposing problems, debugging, abstraction, iterating etc.) through opportunities to program robots, create apps or games, design or engineer solutions and revise a vast array of prototypes (Martin, 2015; Richard & Giri, 2019). Computational thinking has been a driving force in K-12 education in the last decade as it is considered an important skill for everyone because of the applied benefits in a variety of domains and professions (Wing 2006). As such, the intersection of CT and making is a current topic of interest by researchers wishing to better understand youth practices in order to direct effective pedagogy (Wagh, Gravel and Raymond, 2017). Less widely studied are students’ peer interactions during making activities that might lead to productive CT and collaboration practices. Our research is aimed at addressing that need, thus our research questions are: 1) How proficient are students at interacting with peers and communicating when collaboratively solving problems during making activities that promote computational thinking? 2) What are students’ perspectives regarding their peer interactions when collaboratively solving problems during making activities that promote computational thinking?

Quigley, C.F., Herro, D., King, E., and Plank, H. (2020) STEAM Designed and Enacted: Understanding the Process of Design and Implementation of STEAM Curriculum in an Elementary School. Journal of Science and Technology Education. In press.

Educators are now moving classroom instructional objectives away from what content do we need to know towards how can we support learners in the process of inquiry. Consequently, an increasing number of schools have revamped their curricula to support students. One such example of modified curricula is the rising trend of STEAM Education. However, limited research exists on STEAM teaching practices. The purpose of this study is to understand the ways in which elementary teachers can both design and enact STEAM teaching practices in order to define specific curricular supports for STEAM education. Our key findings were 1) teachers who designed relevant problems provided instructional pathways aligned to the STEAM conceptual model, and 2) teacher facilitation promoted both inquiry and authentic tasks- two strategies often difficult for teachers. This research demonstrates the importance of teachers designing STEAM curriculum using problem-based units in ways that promote student inquiry. The data demonstrates this as critical to enact discipline integration, teacher-facilitation, and authentic tasks.

Quigley, C.F., Herro, D., Shekell, C., Cian, H., & Jacques, L (2019) Connected Learning in STEAM Classrooms: Opportunities for Engaging Youth in Science and Math Classrooms. International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education.
STEAM education evolved to address the critical demand for creative transdisciplinary teaching that was under-realized in STEM programs. However, this novel concept has not been clearly conceptualized; this is likely attributed to the lack of a grounding theory to frame STEAM. We propose using connected learning theory to examine a previously developed STEAM conceptual model. This work explores the potential of connected learning theory to understand specific STEAM instructional practices. Using observations of 43 middle-grade teachers from 14 schools enacting STEAM practices in their classrooms, we examined what connected learning looked like in STEAM classrooms and how the STEAM conceptual model could be enhanced by analyzing implementation practices through the principles of connected learning. The qualitative data analysis of observations, video recorded data, and debriefing sessions with teachers after the observations included two rounds of analysis. This found significant overlap in ideas of connected learning and STEAM, notably a shared emphasis on design, collaboration, and contextualized learning. More
Jacques, L., Cian, H., Herro, D., & Quigley, C.F. (2019) The Impact of Questioning Techniques on STEAM Instruction. Action in Teacher Education.
In STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) instruction, inquiry and authentic problem solving connect the disciplines to encourage higher-order thinking and increase student engagement. For instruction to be successful in facilitating meaningful student thinking about authentic problems, however, the instructor needs to use strong questioning techniques. This study explored what questioning techniques teachers use as they enact STEAM instruction in their classrooms. Eight middle school teachers who had designed authentic STEAM lessons were observed and scored on a rubric reflecting various components of STEAM instruction as they implemented their lessons. Then transcripts from these lessons were coded to identify the types of questions teachers asked. These questions were identified as inquiry-based or non-inquiry-based using Llewellyn’s categories of inquiry-based questions. Findings show that teachers who scored lower on the rubric asked inquiry-based questions no more than 50% of the time, while teachers who scored higher on the rubric asked inquiry-based questions more than 70% of the time. More
Quigley, C. F., Beeman-Cadwallader, N., & Carter, I. S. (2019). Re-imaging and re-constructing cross-cultural research through critical personal narratives: an examination into fault lines. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 32(2), 167-187.
Herro, D., Quigley, C., & Cian, H. (2018). The Challenges of STEAM Instruction: Lessons from the Field. Action in Teacher Education, 1-19.
Herro, D., Quigley, C., & Jacques, L. A. (2018). Examining technology integration in middle school STEAM units. Technology, Pedagogy and Education, 27(4), 485-498.


Baker, A., Bennett, A., Herro, D. & Quigley, C. (2020). Elementary Student Perspectives of a STEAM-based Makerspace: Connections to Real-World Contexts. In . Gary H. Marks & . Denise Schmidt-Crawford (Eds.), Proceedings of Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference (pp. 1261-1265). Online: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE). Retrieved April 21, 2020 from


Quigley, C. F., & Herro, D. (2019). An Educator's Guide to STEAM: Engaging Students Using Real-World Problems. Teachers College Press. New York, NY

Book Chapters

Quigley, C. F., Herro, D., & Baker, A. (2019). Moving Toward Transdisciplinary Instruction: A Longitudinal Examination of STEAM Teaching Practices. In STEAM Education (pp. 143-164). Springer, Cham.
Cassie Quigley


University of Pittsburgh
5517 Wesley W. Posvar Hall
230 South Bouquet Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15260