University of Calgary

Krista Francis

  • Assistant Professor


Dr. Krista Francis, PhD (Calgary) is an assistant professor in Educational Studies in the Learning Sciences, Academic Program Coordinator for the Masters of Education in Design-Based Learning, and the Undergraduate Course Coordinator for STEM Education. Krista’s research focusses on the teaching and learning mathematics with technology. Since 2013, her research has focused on how programming robots can support learning spatial reasoning and mathematics. Krista has organized and lead multiple robotics professional learning workshops for teachers across Alberta and in Ontario. She has also lead workshops in Northern Alberta and Ontario.

Research & Scholarly Activity

Dr. Francis’ design based research focuses on STEM knowledge for teaching, technology integration for learning, and teacher professional learning of teachers. Related to this work is studying and designing learning environments, particularly how teachers and students learn in those environments.

Current Projects:

  • SSHRC Insight Development Grant: The intersection of math, spatial reasoning, and robotics programming: an emergent, multi-faceted study on how children learn through STEM education


University of Calgary

Athabasca University

BSC, Geology
University of Alberta

Professional & Community Affiliations

Dr. Francis’ interest in teacher professional learning of mathematics has lead her to collaborate with University of Calgary Partner Research Schools, including the Calgary Science School and Westmount Charter.  She is a member of National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM), Canadian Mathematics Educators Study Group (CMESG). Canadian Society for the Study of Education (CSSE), ASCD (formerly Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development), AECT – Association for Educational Communications and Technology and American Educational Research Association (AERA).

Select Publications

Francis, K., & Davis, B. (2018). Coding robots as a source of instantiations for arithmetic. Digital Experiences of Mathematics (), 1-16https:/10.1007/s40751-018-0042-7

Francis, K., Bruce, C., Davis, B., Drefs, M., Hallowell, D., Hawes, Z., McGarvey, L., Moss, J., Mulligan, J., Okamoto, Y., Sinclair, N., Whiteley, W., & Woolcott., G., (2017). Multidisciplinary perspectives on a video case of children designing and coding for robotics. CanadianJournal of Science, Mathematics, and Technology Education, 17(3), 165-178.

Francis, K. & Poscente, M. (2016). Building number sense with LegoTMrobots.Teaching Children Mathematics 23(5).

Bruce, C. D., Davis, B., Sinclair, N., Hallowell, D., Drefs, M., Francis, K.,Hawes, Z., McGarvey, L., Moss, J., Mulligan, J., Okamoto, Y., Whiteley, W., & Woolcott, G. (2017). Understanding gaps in research networks: using “spatial reasoning” as a window into the importance of networked educational research. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 95(2)143-161.

Preciado Babb, A.P.,Takeuchi, M, Gereluk, D., Alonso Yáñez G., Francis, K.,Friesen, S. (2016). Pioneering STEM education for pre-service teachers. International Journal of Engineering Pedagogy 6(4), 4-11.

Shanahan, M. C., Burke, C. A., & Francis, K. (2016). Using a boundary object perspective to reconsider the meaning of STEM in a Canadian context. Canadian Journal of Science, Mathematics, and Technology Education16(2). Available:

Francis, K., Khan, S., & Davis, B. (2016). Enactivism, spatial reasoning and coding. Digital Experiences in Mathematics Education 2(1). Available:

Davis, B., Drefs, M., & Francis, K. (2015). A history and analysis of current curriculum. In Spatial reasoning in the early years: Principles, assertions, and speculations (pp. 47-62). New York, NY: Routledge.

Francis, K., & Whitely, W. (2015). Interactions between two dImensions and three dimensions. In B. Davis (Ed.), Spatial reasoning in the early years: Principles, assertions, and speculations (pp. 121–36). New York, NY: Routledge.

Francis, K., Jacobsen, M., & Friesen, S. (2014). The use of graphics to communicate findings of longitudinal data in design-based research.  Journal of Information Technology Education. 13, 233-255. Retrieved from

Khan, S., Francis, K., & Davis, B. (2014). Accumulation of experience in a vast number of cases: enactivism as a fit framework for the study of spatial reasoning in mathematics education. ZDM: The International Journal on Mathematics Education 47(2), 269-279. doi:10.1007/s11858-014-0623-x

Friesen, S., & Francis-Poscente, K. (2014). Teaching and learning mathematics with Math Fair, Lesson Study and Classroom Mentorship. The Mathematics Enthusiast, 11(1), 61–82. Available:

Francis-Poscente, K. & Jacobsen, M. (2013). Synchronous online collaborative professional development for elementary and middle School. International Review of Research in Distance Education 14(3). Available

Pasanen, T. & Francis-Poscente, K. (2013). Catch Billy Miner, Delta-K: Journal of the Mathematics Council of the Alberta Teachers Association 50(3), 39-45.

Francis-Poscente, K. & Davis, B. (2013). Lego Mindstorms™ Professional Development for Elementary Teachers. Proceedings of the 1st Meeting between the National Pedagogical University (Mexico) and the Faculty of Education of the University of Calgary: Design and implementation of teacher professional development programmes focused on promoting mathematical thinking, Mexico City, Mexico.

Francis-Poscente, K & Hohn, T. (2013). Preparing elementary pre-service teachers to teach mathematics with Math Fair. In J.C. Sung (Ed.), Proceedings of ICME-12. Presented at the 12th International Congress on Mathematical Education, Seoul, Korea: ICME. Available:


Photograph of Krista Francis

Curriculum Vitae

Powered by UNITIS. More features.