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Theodore Chao, critical mathematics educator.

Professionally, Theodore Chao is an associate professor of Mathematics Education in the Department of Teaching and Learning at The Ohio State University. He researches the ways mathematics engages children to fully position themselves as mathematical humans through technology. He also research ways that mathematics oppresses children, teachers, and communities along lines of race, gender, socioeconomic status, and ability. Currently, he is the Principal Investigator of an National Science Foundation CAREER research grant to explore how children can use Digital Storytelling to craft their own mathematical narratives that showcase the rich mathematics that exists within their communities and families. Dr. Chao is always looking for ways to build, use, and hack technology to engage children to better share their mathematical thinking so the adults around them can recognize their mathematical brilliance.

Dr. Chao also work beyond mathematics education and his role as a professor. Check out the Radical Cram School web series he produced or his twitter feed to learn more about him.

Here’s some technical language about his academic work:


Professionally, Theodore Chao is an associate professor of Mathematics Education in the Department of Teaching and Learning at The Ohio State University. His research agenda involves engaging all students and teachers regardless of social identity (race, gender, socioeconomic status, etc.) to fully see themselves as mathematical humans, particularly through technology. He uses Digital Storytelling and Photovoice as vehicles for mathematics teachers and students of color to create narratives that connect their mathematics identities with their community and family identities. He also builds technology for children to share their mathematical strategies, opening up windows for peers, teachers, and family members to recognize the brilliance of their mathematical thinking.


Dr. Chao has published in journals such as Investigations in Mathematics LearningRace, Ethnicity, and Education, and Teaching Children Mathematics. Dr. Chao is currently Principal Investigator of a NSF CAREER research project exploring the ways children in urban emergent communities use Digital Mathematics Storytelling to share rich mathematical knowledge from their communities and families.


At The Ohio State University, Dr. Chao has taught courses such as Elementary Mathematics MethodsA Critical History of STEM Education, and Mobile App Development in STEM Education. Dr. Chao has also led Professional Development seminars for Columbus City Schools centering on listening and responding to children’s mathematical thinking.


Dr. Chao is currently an associate editor for Theory Into Practice (TIP), and just stepped off the editorial panel of Mathematics Teacher Educator (MTE), the steering committee of the North American Chapter of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education (PME-NA), and the organial team for the Free Minds, Free People (FMFP) conference.  

A Box link to Theodore Chao’s current Curriculum Vitae.