Over the past few years, I have fondly become a researcher. My interests lie in Information Access, Human Computer Interaction, and the research and development of culturally relevant technology that supports learning.
1. Information Access –> Intelligent Tutors –> Learning Opportunities
More specifically, I am interested in (instructional) information organization, information scaffolding, and specific modes of information presentation – all with the goal of improving student learning. One area of learning technology research used to accomplish this goal is intelligent tutors or virtual instructors. I believe combining the above concepts with the cognitive processes and activities involved in learning (i.e. reading, writing, speaking, researching, creating, etc.) create and provide ‘learning opportunities.’
A huge part of my research interests overall, involves how to discover, create, and implement rigorous ‘learning opportunities’ within formal and informal settings (e.g. classroom, neighborhoods, homes), specifically for African-American learners. Currently, my focus in this area involves elementary school students and their acquisition of primary and secondary reading skills with the use of technology (e.g. intelligent tutoring systems). This will hopefully become the topic of my dissertation.
2. Human Computer Interaction (HCI)
The above is a huge component of why I’m interested in Human Computer Interaction. Here, I explore how children create, interact with, and use technology to engage in collaborative and individualized learning and self-expression. I am also interested in what new technologies can be created to support this interaction and improve learning performance and outcomes. In this area, I am currently working with high school students in Washington, DC to explore what’s possible with the creation of mobile applications for android phones. This year-long project is called Youth APPLab and is sponsored by the MacArthur Foundation’s Digital Media & Learning Competition.
3. Culturally Relevant Technology
Identity representation and cultural relevancy in educational/learning technology are also interests of mine and combine many of the above concepts as well.
I have several additional projects in the making that deal with mobile learning applications, robotics, learning games, and animation.
I will most likely spend the rest of my research career investigating new ideas in this space and I welcome the journey!