IF Club – Imagine the Future – School of Education & Human Development

IF Club – Imagine the Future


Project Imagine the Future (Project IF) aims to engage middle school students in producing multimedia science fictions through integrated and collaborative learning. The learning goals include developing digital skills, learning STEM practices, forming creative habits of mind, and exploring different careers.

The initial ideas for Project IF were first developed during Spring 2014 when Dr. Ji Shen’s research group developed an online learning system. Another core faculty member, Dr. Blaine Smith, joined the project in Fall 2014 and added a digital literacies perspective. The first pilot of Project IF was conducted as an afterschool SciFi club hosted by Ms. Verma at Ponce de Leon Middle School in Spring 2015. Since Fall 2015, the project is located the University of Miami.


Participating students will engage in a weekend program where they will collaborate in small groups to create a multimedia science fiction. During the creative process, the UM research team will provide support in terms of writing science fictions, technology training (e.g., creating animation), and science lessons related to the fiction topics students choose. Each student will contribute to the project through differentiated roles they select, including being the group’s writer, scientist, or designer. Students will also have opportunities to listen to distinguished guest speakers and visit UM research labs.


Ji Shen

Associate Professor, UM

Dr. Shen’s scholarship focuses on educational technology, interdisciplinary STEM education, innovative assessment, and science education.

Blaine Smith

Assistant Professor, UM

Dr. Smith’s scholarship focuses on digital literacies, multimodal composition, collaborative learning, and English Education.

Shiyan Jiang

Doctoral Student, UM.

Guanhua Chen

Doctoral Student, UM.

Jennifer Augustin

Doctoral Student, UM.

Kristin Watson

Doctoral Student, UM.

Sooyeon Kim

Undergraduate Student, UM.