The overarching theme in my program of research is an examination of how people learn through activity. Learning through activity involves interacting with other people, physical objects, and ideas. Physical objects can range from actual flowers and drawings that label their parts to computer simulations. Similarly, ideas include individual beliefs and preferences, the rules that groups such as classrooms follow, and historically developed concepts that span generations. My research examines how individuals coordinate their actions and ideas within these complex settings, and how this can lead to learning.
A major focus of my work has been examining how young students (5-7 years old) create representations while learning about complex science concepts.
To unpack the process through which individual students engage in and learn through activity, my work is driven by empirical studies that examine:
- The process through which students create and use material representational tools such as drawings, graphs, and computer simulations when they are learning new concepts.
- The reciprocal way in which individual students contribute their own ideas to complex activity systems and appropriate knowledge from those systems.
- The design of new activities and computational tools to support learning while also revealing theoretical and practical insights into how learning occurs.