Meet Sara Shayesteh

Back to Perspectives

CIRCL perspectives offer a window into the different worlds of various stakeholders in the cyberlearning community — what drives their work, what they need to be successful, and what they think the community should be doing. Share your perspective.


Sara Shayesteh is a high school teacher at South San Francisco Unified School District, and a summer IISME Fellow working with CIRCL.

What drives your work?

I am currently a high school science educator. I am motivated to inspire students about the importance of science education, particularly the significance of being a scientifically informed citizen, and to allow students the space to explore new and different way of thinking. As someone who succeeded in public education myself, I want to give back to the community I grew up in and teach in public education. I have stayed true to this for five years now, and find new motivations each day from my students. I try to motivate them to think about societal needs in the field of science, and innovate new ways to meet these needs, all through the lens of technology.

What is unique about your work?

My work has been heavily influenced by my background, which I believe gives a different approach to my teaching. Majoring in biology, with an emphasis in chemistry, allowed me to understand how interrelated the two fields are. Before coming into the field of education, I worked as an Immunology lab researcher at SRI. SRI allowed me to experience a unique blend of industry and research, and gave me new perspective with which to frame my science curriculum.

What kinds of help or support would you like from cyberlearning community?

Working in a lower income school district, we struggle greatly with bringing effective technology into the classroom. Financial and bureaucratic obstacles make it challenging, at best, to bring in innovative technologies. I would like support in allowing me to be informed in how to make technology more widely accessible to my students. Rather than being required to purchase models, kits, or entire modules, having an easily accessible app would be ideal. For example, just being exposed to some of the new cutting-edge technological innovations introduced at the 2014 Cyberlearning Summit makes me excited about the endless potential that they hold. By giving students exposure to the most up-to-date technologies, they will be more relevant, innovative members of society. I would like to be shown tools on how to best support this. I would love to reach out and help out any researchers wanting to bring cyberlearning into South San Francisco. I am excited to pilot any new technologies, and provide teacher feedback.

How would you like to contribute back to the cyberlearning community?

As an educator, I would like to bring the teacher perspective to the cyberlearning community. There are so many amazing projects going on, especially those funded by NSF, and it’s exciting to think about the potential they have for being used in the classroom. As a technology enthusiast, I would like to offer insight on how to best meet teacher needs, to continue cyberlearning progress by gathering and bringing together professional perspectives, and to help build the bridge of transparency between research and educators in order to improve 21st century education.