Assistant Professor of Education and Technology
Teachers College, Columbia University
I am currently an assistant professor at Teachers College, Columbia University. My research interests focus on the learning partnership between individuals and technology, and how technology intersects with learning and instructional processes. More specifically, I study how students can learn and build social relationships with technology.
One characteristic in my research is the use of artifacts such as (i.e. robots, agents in virtual reality environments, mixed-reality) as a threshold to learning, instruction, and assessment. These artifacts have a boundary characteristic that is animate/inanimate, and features that overlap between fantasy and reality. Their strong social component enables students to build a peer-like relation with technology. Other theoretical research interests include self-other monitoring, learning by teaching, and learning by observation in the domains of biology, science, and math.
Simply put, I enjoy research. I have always been interested in teasing out the technical features that help children learn, and to design technologies that enhance those features. Whether the technology is simple or sophisticated is of second interest. My emphasis is centered on the human partner, and the causal story behind what influences learning and behavior.
That being said, building expertise in an interdisciplinary field has its challenges. Just positioning yourself in the ambiguous valley between two fields, will not make you a bridge scientist. I have found that a bridge scientist needs to develop responsibilities such as, 1) gain knowledge and expertise to compete in each of the fields, 2) learn to speak the language in each of the fields, and 3) sustain the delivery of influential quality work to elevate the standards, and practice flexibility/adaptation as the interdisciplinary field progresses. I often see students wanting the curriculum to define their interdisciplinary field and training. So far, I find that nothing is clearly defined and no two trainings should be the same. In the end, responsibility seems to be with the researcher to design and gain expertise in the fields they decide to bridge.