I am an Assistant Professor of Learning Sciences, and of Computer Science at the University of Illinois at Chicago in UIC’s College of Engineering. My research sits at the nexus of learning sciences and human-computer interaction disciplines with a focus on long-term interactions and developing interest in STEM. In this work, I design and assess educational technologies by utilizing human-centered methods and interaction modeling in HCI, and on interest, motivation and social-cultural learning perspectives in the learning sciences. These technologies are designed for social connection-making with learners to support learning and interest through long-term engagement, in ways that seamlessly integrate into existing educational activities in classrooms, informal learning environments, and at home.
My current research focuses on designing learning companion robots to work with children while they read at home and while learning science in formal and informal settings. These companion robots “talk” to children while they read augmented books or participate in science activities by providing comments tailored to their interests and ability. The goal of each child-robot interaction is to build social connections, provide comprehension support, and promote interest in reading and STEM learning.