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Elena Novak, Ph.D.

Learning, Technology and Design Lab Director

I’m an Associate Professor of Educational Technology at Kent State University. My research centers on innovative uses of technology to support learning, teaching, and creativity, primarily in STEM contexts. I’m particularly interested in how affective, cognitive, and motivational variables affect students’ learning experiences in digital environments. My current research projects focus on the integration of learning technologies such as 3D printing, robotics, video games, and simulations in education to provide educators with research-informed guidelines on how to integrate technology in various educational settings. I design curricula, assessments, and tools to support and evaluate students’ learning and creativity. My research was recognized with international awards sponsored by the American Educational Research Association as well as the Association for Educational Communications and Technology.

I earned my Ph.D. in Instructional Systems from Florida State University in 2012. Since then, I have been teaching graduate courses in educational technology, instructional design, and assessment. 

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Shannon Smith, Ph.D.

Shannon Smith received a PhD in Educational Psychology with a concentration in Instructional Technology from Kent State University in 2019. She has been a teacher at New Philadelphia City Schools for more than 20 years; a teacher at Quaker Digital Academy for 17 years where she also served as Instructional Supervisor and Director of Curriculum and Instruction; and she also served as an online adjunct professor at Kent State University.

Dr. Smith has been published in Technological Horizons in Education and has presented in a variety of formats including the Education Elevated Conference (Kent State University), Ohio Literacy Conference, Ohio School Board Association Conference, and the Association of Educational Communications and Technology International Convention. She was selected New Philadelphia City Schools Teacher of the Year and earned the distinction of Master Teacher from the Ohio Department of Education.


Megan Brannon

Hello! Megan Brannon is a Ph.D. candidate in Curriculum and Instruction with a concentration in Educational Technology at Kent State University. She received her Master's degree in Instructional Technology from Kent State in 2013. Prior to her Ph.D. studies, Megan worked in K-12 education as an intervention teacher, general education teacher, and technology educator. Currently, she is the graduate assistant for the Educational Technology program at Kent State where she performs research with professors, administers the SONA research system for the ETEC Department, and teaches the Educational Technology course to undergraduate students. Her dissertation will focus on Design Thinking and Creativity in 3D Printing with Preservice Teachers. Megan is currently a member of AERA and has co-authored several journal articles with her professors, including work on 3D printing for education and coding in the math elementary classroom. She has received over $50,000 in educational classroom grants in her K-12 career as well as applying for a $300,00+ grant recently for a research program on technologies for the


Ilker Soyturk, Ph.D.

Ilker Soyturk earned his Ph.D. in the Research, Measurement & Statistics program at Kent State University in Summer 2021. He received his master’s degree in the same program. Prior to his graduate studies, he worked as a math teacher in public and private schools in Istanbul, Turkey. His research interests include math education in middle and secondary education, educational and psychological test development and refinement, and techniques for making tests short. He particularly focuses on the application of advanced statistical techniques specifically interested in Factor Analysis, Item Response Theory, and Structural Equation Modeling. Ilker Soyturk has attended many national and international conferences in his career including American Educational Research Association (AERA) Conference, Eastern Educational Research Association (EERA) Conference. He is also author of several journal articles with collaboration with his colleagues in high impact journals (i.e.,  Perception, Elementary Education Online, International Journal of Gaming and Computer-Mediated Simulations, Journal of School Counseling, Exceptionality, Behavioral Disorders).  

Research Team

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