Jill Castek is Associate Professor in the department of Teaching, Learning, and Sociocultural Studies. Dr. Castek has a PhD from the University of Connecticut in Education Psychology emphasizing Cognition and Instruction with a focus on Literacy and Technology. She was a Neag fellow in the New Literacies Research Lab and completed a post-doc at the University of California, Berkeley working with the Learning Design Group at the Lawrence Hall of Science. A former teacher and literacy specialist, Jill has over a decade of experience working to support striving readers and English language learners in the Bay Area of California.
Dr. Castek works collaboratively with multidisciplinary colleagues from across the University of Arizona on Technology Enhanced Language Learning (TELL). She is affiliate faculty with the Second Language Acquisition and Teaching (SLAT) program – an innovative graduate interdisciplinary program that includes over 79 faculty members from 17 academic departments. Dr. Castek is the faculty advisor for Volume 25 of the Arizona Working Papers, a SLAT journal and she serves on the SLAT Executive Committee.
Drawing from theories on literacy and language, as well as research from education, new literacies, and new media scholars, her courses address the intersection of literacy, technology, and learning, specifically the development of literate capacities, both in print and digital forms, in classrooms and beyond them.
Dr. Castek’s research explores the intersection of digital literacies and STEM learning. She co-edits a column in the Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy (JAAL) focused on digital literacies for disciplinary learning. Her work in disciplinary literacies explores how reading, writing, communicating, and collaborating digitally can support language development, knowledge building, and collaboration. She supports efforts to affect digital equity and digital inclusion for all individuals and is active in designing learning environments and implementing supports for diverse learners through partnerships with a range of educational and community-based organizations.
Dr. Castek is the Principal Investigator on an NSF grant focused on Principles for the equitable design of digitally-distributed, studio-based STEM learning environments. This project will bring together a community of collaborators from multiple stakeholder groups including academia, public libraries, museums, community based organizations, non-profits, media makers and distribution channels, and educators within and beyond K-12 schools for a three-day workshop schedule for Feb. 25-28 at Biosphere 2.
She has recently completed a grant from the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) focused on library patrons’ digital problem solving. This research is designed to improve library practices, programs, and services for adult library users—especially economically vulnerable and socially isolated adults, seniors, English learners, and others lacking basic digital literacy skills and builds on a three-year study focused on the digital literacy acquisition process also funded by IMLS.
Prior to joining the faculty at the University of Arizona, Jill was a Research Assistant Professor and Director of the Literacy, Language, and Technology research group at Portland State University. She contributes regularly to the Digital Literacy Acquisition and Equity Research Hub.