Christian Fischer

Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Studies, Learning Technologies

Christian  Fischer, School of Education

Field of Study: PhD Educational Studies - Learning Technologies

Year in Program: 2nd year

Age: 26

Geographic Region: Berlin, Germany

Undergraduate: Ruhr University Bochum, Germany; ETH Zurich, Switzerland

Prior to UM: Just two days before my departure to the U.S., I was handing in my Masters’ thesis at my German university, for both of my Master of Science in Physics and Master of Education degree programs. Packing up all my stuff into three suitcases and arriving in Michigan, I was ready to start my second (and much longer) academic adventure in the U.S., after being a visiting student at UC Berkeley.

Why your program? I have chosen the Educational Studies doctoral program with a concentration in Learning Technologies because it is a rapidly growing cross-disciplinary field with rising potential to tremendously change how education is perceived worldwide. The question is no longer if learning technologies will be implemented in educational settings, but how the implementation will take place. Exploring the transformative role of technology in educational practice is my first area of interest. Secondly, since teachers are seen as a highly influential factor in bringing about this change, I am interested in the ways of increasing teachers’ content knowledge for teaching. Because the teaching occupation is the largest profession in the U.S. with about four million teachers, having a high turnover rate for beginning teachers, and a substantial percentage of teachers practitioning in out-of-field teaching, my focus is not only on pre-service teacher education but also on professional development for in-service teachers.

The best part of SOE so far: I feel grateful to work with and learn from distinguished researchers and educators at the University of Michigan’s School of Education throughout my research and the course work on a daily basis. Especially, I am fortunate to be able to pursue my research interests as part of Professor Barry Fishman’s NSF-funded “Supporting Large Scale Change in Science Education: Understanding Professional Development and Adoption Variation Related to the Revised Advanced Placement Curriculum.” project. I am thankful to experience the collaborative processes working on this large-scale research project with collaborators from educational institutions across the U.S. including the University of Minnesota, the University of Massachusetts Boston, Harvard University, and the College Board.

After graduation: After my graduation I would like to continue on the academic path, doing my share in preparing educators to enable every student achieve adequate 21st century skills, advancing the current mediocre performance of U.S. students on international large-scale comparison studies like PISA, TIMSS, or PIRLS. Although the U.S. education system has unique historic roots with its grassroot movement leading to the existing non-systemic and incoherent character of the current U.S. education system which is driven by local control rather than state or federal governmental influence, I believe that transforming the U.S. education system would also impact most of the education systems in the world due to its ubiquitous nature as a role model for other nations.

Teach me something! Passion. It’s all about passion. Whatever you do, do it with passion. Besides being academically focused, the University of Michigan offers a broad variety of arts, music, cultural, and sport activities in which students can follow their passions. Within my first year of the doctoral program I was a member of the Arts Chorale performing concerts at Hill Auditorium, the fencing club, and proudly serving as the president of the official University of Michigan Squirrel Club. There are so many ways to get connected to this outstanding community and to experience the Michigan Difference. Take advantage of these unique opportunities and GO BLUE!

Fischer’s program of study:
Learning Technologies