A member of the SUSE faculty since 2000, Dr. Schwartz studies student understanding and representation and the ways that technology can facilitate learning. He works at the intersection of cognitive science, computer science, and education, examining cognition and instruction in individual, cross-cultural, and technological settings. A theme throughout Dr. Schwartz's research is how people's facility for spatial thinking can inform and influence processes of learning, instruction, assessment and problem solving. He finds that new media make it possible to exploit spatial representations and activities in fundamentally new ways, offering an exciting complement to the verbal approaches that dominate educational research and practice.

Academic Appointments

Administrative Appointments

  • Professor of Education, Stanford Graduate School of Education (2000 - Present)
  • Dean, I. James Quillen (2018 - Present)

Boards, Advisory Committees, Professional Organizations

  • Assistant and Associate Professor of Psychology and Human Development, Vanderbilt University (2018 - Present)
  • Programmer & Instructor in Lisp, C, & Assembler, . (2018 - Present)
  • Research Scientist, Learning Technology Center at Vanderbilt (2018 - Present)
  • Teacher of Mathematics, Kitiwanga Day School, Kitiwanga, Kenya (2018 - Present)
  • Teacher of Mathematics, Science, Reading and Language Arts, Kaltag Jr. & Sr. High Schools, Kaltag, AK (2018 - Present)
  • Teacher of Remedial Reading and Writing, John Muir Jr. High, Los Angeles, CA (2018 - Present)

Program Affiliations

  • Symbolic Systems Program

Professional Education

  • PhD, Columbia University, Human Cognition and Learning (1992)
  • MA, Columbia University, Computers and Education (1988)
  • BA, Swarthmore College, Philosophy and Anthropology (1979)
  • Teaching Certificate, University of Southern California (1981)

Current Research and Scholarly Interests

Instructional methods, transfer of learning and assessment, mathematical development, teachable agents, cognition, and cognitive neuroscience.


  • Research on the benefits of informal learning for subsequent school-based instruction


    United States

  • Serving on the National Academy of Sciences committee to write How People Learn II


    United States

  • Designing Contrasting Cases for Inductive Learning (2014 - 2017)

    Principal Investigator, Department of Education Institute of Education Sciences grant, Designing Contrasting Cases for Inductive Learning


    United States

2018-19 Courses

Stanford Advisees

All Publications

  • Prototyping dynamics: sharing multiple designs improves exploration, group rapport, and results Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems Schwartz, D.
  • Learning as coordination: Cognitive psychology and education Handbook of educational psycholog Schwartz, D.
  • The ABCs of how we learn: 26 scientifically proven approaches, how they work, and when to use them Schwartz, D. L., Tsang, J. M., Blair, K. P. WW Norton & Company. 2016
  • Learning to “see” less than nothing: Putting perceptual skills to work for learning numerical structure Cognition and Instruction Tsang, J. M., Blair, K. P., Bofferding, L., Schwartz, D. L. 2015; 33 (2): 154-197
  • Seeking the general explanation: A test of inductive activities for learning and transfer Journal of Research in Science Teaching Shemwell, J. T., Chase, C. C., Schwartz, D. L. 2015; 52 (1): 58-83
  • Posterlet: A game-based assessment of children's choices to seek feedback and to revise Journal of Learning Analytics Cutumisu, M., Blair, K. P., Chin, D. B., Schwartz, D. L. 2015; 2 (1): 49-71
  • Give your ideas some legs: The positive effect of walking on creative thinking. Journal of experimental psychology: learning, memory, and cognition Oppezzo, M., Schwartz, D. L. 2014; 40 (4): 1142
  • Experience and explanation: Using videogames to prepare students for formal instruction in statistics Journal of Science Education and Technology Arena, D. A., Schwartz, D. L. 2014; 23 (4): 538-548
  • Measuring what matters most: Choice-based assessments for the digital age Schwartz, D. L., Arena, D. MIT Press. 2013
  • Learning by teaching human pupils and teachable agents: The importance of recursive feedback Journal of the Learning Sciences Okita, S. Y., Schwartz, D. L. 2013; 22 (3): 375-412
  • How Perception and Culture Give Rise to Abstract Mathematical Concepts in Individuals International handbook of research on conceptual change Blair, K. P., Tsang, I. M., Schwartz, D. L. 2013: 322
  • A behavior change perspective on self-regulated learning with teachable agents International handbook of metacognition and learning technologies Oppezzo, M., Schwartz, D. L. Springer. 2013: 485–500
  • How to build educational neuroscience: Two approaches with concrete instances BJEP Monograph Series II, Number 8-Educational Neuroscience Schwartz, D. L., Blair, K. F., Tsang, J. J. British Psychological Society. 2012: 9–27
  • A value of concrete learning materials in adolescence. The adolescent brain: Learning, reasoning, and decision making Blair, K. P., Schwartz, D. L. American Psychological Association. 2012
  • Practicing versus inventing with contrasting cases: The effects of telling first on learning and transfer. Journal of Educational Psychology Schwartz, D. L., Chase, C. C., Oppezzo, M. A., Chin, D. B. 2011; 103 (4): 759