My work centers on how to design transformational learning environments that combine interactive physical spaces, digital information, and collaboration between learners to envision the future of learning both in and out of schools. More broadly, this work focuses on collaborative learning and knowledge communities, and aims to understand how children develop STEM and computational literacies when engaged in technology-enhanced learning.
My research has pioneered a combination of tangible, embodied, and immersive technologies that support students’ engagement in science, engineering, and computational practices. This work has shown how the interplay between physical space, technology, and data representations can provide learners with unique opportunities to set their own learning goals and collaborate with peers. These findings have had important implications for understanding open-ended exploratory collaboration. Using a blend of learning analytics and human computer interaction approaches, I am charting exciting new pathways for supporting student collaboration and teacher facilitation in complex, immersive, and exploratory learning.
I also investigate how to support teachers’ real-time orchestration of learning. I have developed interventions that draw teachers more deeply into the learning process as active facilitators. Using data mining and intelligent software agents, I have designed supports that help teachers understand the state of the class at the individual, small group, and whole class levels; to orchestrate the flow of activities; and to know where and when they are needed at critical moments in students’ learning. With a focus on tablet and mobile applications, I am working to push the boundaries of design for real-time supports across formal and informal environments.
Prior to joining UIUC, I was a learning research scientist with the App Inventor team at MIT’s Center for Mobile Learning. I earned my PhD in Curriculum, Teaching, and Learning (OISE) and my Masters from the Faculty of information (iSchool) at the University of Toronto. Prior to joining MIT, I was a post-doctoral scholar at the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery and the Complex Play Lab at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. I also serve on the technology committees for the International Society of the Learning Sciences (ISLS) and the Network of Academic Programs in the Learning Sciences (NAPLeS) and am a founding organizer of the New England Learning Scientists organization.
I’m also an avid tinkerer, builder, and maker – often working with Arduino and other tangible and embodied technologies to investigate their impact in both education and our everyday lives.