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Dawson, Kara

Professor, Educational Technology
Unified Elementary Education
School of Teaching and Learning

College of Education
University of Florida
G518C Norman Hall
PO Box 117048
Gainesville, FL 32611
Fax: 352-392-9193

Research Biography

Kara Dawson is a Professor of Educational Technology in the School of Teaching and Learning at the University of Florida. She started her career teaching 5th, 6th and 7th grade in Virginia Beach, coaching volleyball and swimming and running numerous after school clubs. She became interested in Educational Technology after attending a professional development workshop on authoring software in 1990. She experimented with using technology in her own classroom and taught technology workshops for the district until she decided to attend doctoral school full-time at the University of Virginia (UVa) in 1994. She completed her doctoral degree in Instructional Technology in 1997 while serving as a Technical Writer for the university’s computing center and an internship supervisor. She worked in a post-doctoral position directing the Center for Technology and Teacher Education at UVa until 1999.

In 1999, she began working at the University of Florida as an Assistant Professor. She served as the Program Coordinator for the Educational Technology program for 10 years and co-developed 5 programs (online M.Ed., Ed.S. and Ed.D. programs and face-to-face MAE and Ph.D. programs). She also works in the Unified Elementary ProTeach program and has supervised the educational technology courses for the program since 1999.

Her scholarship focuses on the ways educational technologies influence teaching and learning within the contexts of K-12 education and online post-secondary environments. She has published over 100 articles in journals such as the Journal of Educational Computing Research, Internet in Higher Education, Journal of Research on Technology in Education, British Journal of Educational Technology, American Journal of Distance Education and the Journal of Distance Education. She has also secured over 3 million dollars in external funding and has been recognized for her research and mentoring accomplishments by the University of Florida. She has also served as the Chair of one of AERA’s largest special interest groups, SIG TACTL (Technology as an Agent of Change in Teaching and Learning) and serves on review boards for numerous journals including Educational Technology Research and Development and Journal of Research on Technology in Education.


  • Ph.D. – University of Virginia, 1997, Instructional Technology
  • M.Ed. – University of Pennsylvania, 1992, Elementary Education
  • B.S. – University of Pennsylvania, 1991, Elementary Education

Key Professional Appointments

  • Professor, Educational Technology, 2013-present
  • Associate Professor, Educational Technology, 2005-2013
  • Assistant Professor, Educational Technology, 1999-2005
  • Post-doctoral position, Curry Center for Technology and Teacher Education, University of Virginia, 1997-1999
  • University Computing Center, University of Virginia, 1995-1997

Activities & Honors

  • 2013-2016 University of Florida Research Professorship
  • 2013-2014 University of Florida Graduate Mentoring and Advising Award
  • 2012 Chair, AERA SIG-TACTL (Technology as an Agent of Change in Teaching and Learning)
  • 2011 College of Education Scholarship of Engagement Award
  • 2009 University of Florida Faculty Enhancement Opportunity
  • 2008 B.O. Professorship Award for Associate Professors
  • 2008 Outstanding Paper Award – Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education


  • Dawson, K., Cavanaugh, C. & Ritzhaupt, A. (2010). The Florida Digital Educator Program: Research and Evaluation of the Title II-D Competitive Enhancing Education through Technology Funds. $1.4M.
  • Cavanaugh, C. & Dawson, K. (2010). Online Medical Education Degree (OnMED): Andragogic Skills for 21st Century Clinical Medical Educators. Florida Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE)/USDOE. $299,342.
  • Dawson, K. & Cavanaugh, C. Exploring science content: Digital strategies for science teaching and learning. Role: Co-Principal Investigator. Funding Agency: Florida Department of Education, Math/ Science Partnership Grants. Funded for July 2007- August 2008. Total funding amount: $127,487.00
  • Hayes, L., Young, D. & Dawson, K. PKY Classrooms of the Future, Today. Florida Department of Education. $749,999.
  • Thompson, L.A., Dawson, K., Ferdig, R., Black, N.P., Saliba, H. & Black, E.W. Using media to bridge medical and educational approaches to healthy lifestyles for children. Submitted to University of Florida’s Faculty Learning Community RFP. $21,000.

Selected Publications

Dawson, K. & Kumar, S. (2014). Analysis of professional practice Ed.D. dissertations in Educational Technology. Tech Trends, 58(4), 62-72.

Dawson, K. (2014). Measuring Information and Communication Technology Literacy using a performance assessment: Validation of the Student Tool for Technology Literacy (ST2L).Computers & Education77, 1-12.

Kumar, S. & Dawson, K. (2014). The impact factor: Measuring student professional growth in online doctoral programs. Tech Trends, 58(4), 89-97.

Dana, N.F., Dawson, K., Wolkenhauer, R., & Krell, D. (2013). Pushing the envelope on what is known about teacher professional development: The virtual school teacher experience. Professional Development in Education, DOI:10.1080/19415257.2012.762417.

Dawson, K., Dana, N.F., Wolkenhauer, R. & Krell, D. (2013). Identifying the priorities and practices of virtual school educators using action research. American Journal of Distance Education, 27(1), 29-39.

Dawson, K., Ritzhaupt, A. D., Liu, F., Rodriguez, P. & Frey, C. (2013). Using TPCK as a lens to study the practices of math and science teachers involved in a year-long technology integration initiative. Journal of Computers in Mathematics and Science Teaching, 32(4), 395-422.

Kennedy, K., Cavanaugh, C., & Dawson, K. (2013). Pre-service teachers’ experience in a virtual school. American Journal of Distance Education, 27(1),

Ritzhaupt, A. D., Liu, F., Dawson, K., & Barron, A. E. (2013). Differences in student information and communication technology literacy based on socio-economic status, ethnicity, and gender: Evidence of a digital divide in Florida schools. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 45(4), 291-307.

Selected Links

University of Florida Educational Technology program