University of Calgary

Pratim Sengupta

  • Professor

Currently Teaching

Not currently teaching any courses.


Dr. Sengupta is a Full Professor of Learning Sciences and has also served as Research Chair of STEM Education. He completed his PhD in Learning Sciences at Northwestern University (2009). Prior to coming to the University of Calgary, Dr. Sengupta was a professor at Vanderbilt University's Peabody College, where he co-founded and chaired the Learning Sciences PhD program. He is the recipient of the NSF CAREER Award (2012) for his research on developing agent-based programming languages and integrating computational modeling in K12 science and math classrooms, a  Paul D. Fleck Award from the Banff Center for Arts and Creativity for his work on public computing, and a Fellow of the International Society for Design and Development in Education. He moved to the University of Calgary in Fall 2015 as one half of a dual-career hire along with his partner, Dr. Pallavi Banerjee, who is a professor in the Sociology department. Prior to his career in the Learning Sciences, Dr. Sengupta attended Presidency College, Kolkata (India), the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur (India) and Northwestern University  (USA), where he received his underdauate and graduate degrees in Physics.

Research & Scholarly Activity

Research Overview

  • My work is at the intersection of complexity, computing, science education and social justice.
  • Issues of social justice are central to every project that I am currently engaged in. This work happens in partnership with my colleague Dr. Marie-Claire Shanahan, with whom I co-direct all my current projects, and PhD students, with whom we work very closely.
  • A big part of my work since 2016 has been developing a new form of computational learning environments called public computing (jointly with Dr. Shanahan). This work stands at the intersection of critical scholarship on social justice, art, educational computing, and public education. (See links below, and read more:
  • I began my research career designing computational models and programming platforms for K-12 science and mathematics classrooms. This work has taken on phenomenological and critical phenomenological positions that are fundamentally focused on voicing, dialogicality and heterogeneity (as opposed to reductive views of computational thinking). Read more:
  • I spend a lot of time actually designing technologies and technological spaces along with my students and collaborators.

Learn more about my research:

Public Computing Installations


PhD, Learning Sciences, 2009
Northwestern University

MS, Physics, 2003
Northwestern University

MSc., Solid State Physics, 2000 
Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur

Professional & Community Affiliations

Executive Editor, Cognition and Instruction

Senior Editor, Oxford Research Encyclopedia in Education

Selected Publications

Sengupta, P., Dickes, A., & Farris, A. V. (Forthcoming, 2020). Voicing Code in STEM: A Dialogical Imagination. MIT Press: Cambridge, MA. 

Sengupta, P., Shanahan, M.-C., & Kim, B. (2019). Critical, Transdisciplinary and Embodied Approaches for STEM Education. Springer: New York, NY. 

Sengupta, P., Dickes, A., & Farris, A.V. (2018). Toward a Phenomenology of Computational Thinking in STEM. In: Khine, M.S. (Ed.): Computational Thinking in STEMResearch Highlights., pp 49 – 72. Springer: New York.

Hostetler, A, Sengupta, P, & Hollett, T. (2018). Unsilencing Critical Conversations in Social-Studies Teacher Education using Agent-based Modeling. Cognition & Instruction, 36(2), 139 – 170. (Sengupta and Hostetler are equal co-authors).

Sengupta, P. & Shanahan, M.-C. (2017). Boundary Play and Pivots in Public Computation: New Directions in Integrated STEM Education. International Journal of Engineering Education, 33 (3), pp. 1124–1134.

Sengupta, P., Krinks, K., & Clark, D. B. (2015). Learning to Deflect: Conceptual Change in Physics through Use of Digital Games. Journal of the Learning Sciences. 24 (2), 638 – 674.  

Farris, A.V., & Sengupta, P. (2016). Democratizing Children’s Computation: Learning Computational Science as Aesthetic Experience. Educational Theory, 66 (1-2), 279–296. (Farris and Sengupta are equal co-authors). 

Sengupta, P., Dickes, A.C., Farris, A.V., Karan, A., & Martin, D. (2015). Programming in K12 science classrooms. Communications of the ACM, 58(11), 33-35.

Sengupta, P., & Wilensky, U. (2009). Learning electricity with NIELS: Thinking with electrons and thinking in levels. International Journal of Computers for Mathematical Learning, 14(1), 21-50. 

Sengupta, P., Kinnebrew, J., Basu, S., Biswas, G., and Clark, D. (2013). Integrating Computational Thinking with K12 Science Education Using Agent-Based Computation: A Theoretical Framework. Education & Information Technologies, 18(2), 351-380.


  • Fellow, International Society for Design and Development in Education (ISDDE)
  • Paul D. Fleck Award, Banff Center for Arts and Creativity, 2019 (jointly with Dr. Marie-Claire Shanahan and Dylan Paré)
  • Best Paper Award, 4th International Conference for STEM in Education 
  • NSF CAREER Award, 2012
  • Best paper selections: IDC 2012; CSEDU 2013; CSEDU 2014
  • Northwestern University – Dissertation Year Fellowship, 2008
  • K.L. Chopra Award for “Best Final Year Research Project” (all departments), IIT Kharagpur, 2000
  • Institute Proficiency Award, Best Final Year Research Project, Department of Physics and Metereology, IIT Kharagpur, 2000

Doctoral Students


Dr. Amy Farris, Assistant Professor, Penn State University, USA

Dr. Amanda Dickes, Postdoctoral Research Associate, Harvard University, USA

Dr. Kara Krinks, Assistant Professor, Lipscomb University, USA 


Dylan Pare'

Marilu Lam Herrera

Michael Cutler

Stephanie Hladik

Basak Helvaci

Jordan Kidney



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