Inquiry Group Participants
Project Director for ITEST Learning Resource Center
Education Development Center, Inc.
Siobhan Bredin is Project Director of the U.S. National Science Foundation-funded ITEST (Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers) Learning Resource Center at Education Development Center (EDC), which is designed to encourage young people - especially girls, African-Americans, Hispanics, Latinos, Native Americans and others historically under-represented in science - to pursue careers in the science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) fields.
Siobhan's work at EDC has included the U.S. Department of Education's Information Technology Career Cluster Initiative - convening and collaborating with an industry advisory consortium and with high school and community college pilot sites to plan for, develop, test and implement a national IT Career Cluster Model, enabling increased numbers of students to access high potential careers in the IT field. Additionally, she assisted U.S. Department of Health and Human Services-funded Head Start early childhood programs in planning for and managing technology use to support strategic goals. Siobhan leads a team at EDC that contributes to the National Girls Collaborative Project, which is designed to strengthen the capacity, impact, and sustainability of girl-serving STEM programs. She serves as a Steering Committee member of the International Taskforce on Women and ICTs (ITF).
Before joining EDC, Siobhan held positions at several software and Internet companies as a training specialist and product manager. She has eight years experience in early childhood education; as a teacher, curriculum developer, and creator of new programs. Siobhan holds a Bachelor's degree in Psychology from Wellesley College and a Master's degree in Education from Lesley College.
- Inquiry Website: NSF ITEST Learning Resource Center
Associate Professor of Business Administration
Katz Graduate School of Business at University of Pittsburgh
Brian S. Butler is an Assistant Professor of Business Administration in the Katz Graduate School of Business at University of Pittsburgh. His research interests include the development and modeling of online communities, the interplay of power and information technology in organizations, and the role of rhetorical communication in organizational activity. He received his Ph.D. in Information systems from Carnegie Mellon University.
His research focuses on examining and modeling the use information technologies, such as knowledge management systems, Intranets, and e-mail in complex social contexts. The aim is to develop theories, models, and frameworks which allow us to better understand how the use of IT affects social behaviors and structures. This general interest is reflected in the following streams of my research (publications, presentation materials, and working papers are available for each research stream): the dynamics of social structures (in both traditional settings and online environments), organizational power based models of the adoption and impact of new technologies in organizations, changing interorganizational relationships in electronic commerce design–based theories of rhetoric and communication, IS Research Methods and Approaches.
Becky Carroll has worked for Inverness Research since 1990. Her work has involved studies of K-12 mathematics and science education, as well as studies of exhibition and program development in the informal science field. In the informal learning field, her areas of interest include studies of collaboratives and networks, programs for youth, exhibition development projects, and professional development for museum professionals. In the formal learning field, she has participated in studies of mathematics and science program improvements and teacher professional development. Past and current projects in the informal domain include studies of the TEAMS collaborative; YouthALIVE!; Community Science Workshops; and the Precollege Science Collaborative and ITEST grant programs at the American Museum of Natural History; exhibit development projects at the North Carolina Museum of Life and Science and the Exploratorium; as well as the TexNET and Playful Invention and Exploration networks. On the formal side, projects include the Rapid City Math Science Partnership, the Appalachian Math Science Partnership, the Wyoming Middle School Mathematics Initiative, the Gilbert Systemic Science Plan, and the Appalachian Rural Systemic Initiative.
How do children first learn about academic disciplines? Long before they encounter science, history, math, or art in school, children begin developing a wealth of informal knowledge about each topic. In science, for example, children are actively developing various aspects of scientific thinking, including nascent scientific reasoning skills, naive theories for scientific domains, knowledge of interesting science factoids, knowledge about famous scientific narratives, and even some early ideas about what different kinds of scientists do in their professional work. As this everyday scientific literacy develops, children are simultaneously developing a sense of identity as individuals who are more or less interested in science and more or less motivated to engage in science-related activities.
Kevin's research explores the development of this early scientific literacy. He is particularly interested in the ways that parents explain science to their children. Explanations include talk about causal relations, analogies, and scientific principles. He focuses on explanations because prior research shows that when children, undergraduates, or professional scientists focus on building explanations during scientific thinking, they develop more coherent theories, they are better at interpreting evidence, and they are better at transferring knowledge to solve new problems. In addition, children's developing explanations for the causal and relational structure of their everyday environments are thought to be core mechanisms in creating and organizing their naive theories. Thus, to the extent that parents help children build explanations about science during informal science activities, they may facilitate children's scientific problem solving skills as well as aid them in constructing and revising naive theories about scie
- Inquiry website: http://informalscience.org
Catherine's research explores the development of scientific knowledge as it occurs in environments where people freely choose to engage and to learn. More specifically, her research is organized around questions related to the development and practice of scientific observation of biological phenomena in botanical gardens and other real world settings. Her research is motivated by an interest in supporting stronger connections between authentic scientific practice and learners' experiences in out-of-school learning environments.
This work is informed by 15 years of professional experience as a museum educator and leader. In this capacity, she explored: the design of environments and programs that engage children and families in playful and scientific encounters with plants and natural environments; how families interact as children and families learn science; and children's perceptions of plants and gardens. More recently, as a co-PI she has informed and shaped the development of InformalScience.org through front-end research, user studies, creation of new content, and development of relationships with researchers, evaluators, and practitioners.
- Inquiry website: http://informalscience.org
Joni Falk, Ed.M., is Co–Director of the Center for School Reform at TERC. The center is currently engaged in multiple projects all aimed at improving math and science education K–16. These include initiatives related to electronic learning communities, science curriculum development, research studies on technology infusion, diversity in the STEM pipeline, and Lesson Study as a vehicle for improving inclusion in science.
Joni is currently the Principal Investigator of "MSPnet" the electronic learning community that supports NSF's Math and Science Partnership Program (NSF HER-0335334). She is also Co–PI of two research projects that are studying the effects of technology infusion on science teaching and learning. These are "Researching Science in the Wireless High School" (NSF/TPC 0455795) and "Infusing Web-based Digital Resources into the Middle School Science Classroom: Strategies and Challenges" (NSF/NSDL 0333632).
Her past work has centered on the creation and facilitation of on–line learning communities to support large scale systemic reform initiatives aimed at improving math and science. These have included LSC–Net created for NSF's Local Systemic Change program, and TEECH: Teacher Enhancement Electronic Community Hall, one of the earliest electronic learning communities for professional development. She has facilitated virtual conferences related to sustainability of STEM reform efforts and has researched strategies and obstacles to sustainability of these efforts.
Joni has a particular interest in science inquiry at the middle school level. She was Principal Investigator of "Eyes to the Future" (NSF/HRD 9906153) an NSF funded tele–mentoring project that connects middle school girls with high school role models and women scientists and also of a research project "The Inquiry–based Classroom in Context," a research project studying the gap between teachers' practice and policy mandates" (NSF/ REC 9804929).
- Inquiry website: http://mspnet.mspnet.org/
Falk, J., Lee, S-Y., and B. Drayton (2005) MSPnet: Nested communities interacting online. Presented at MSP Evalation Summit, Sept. 2005. [PDF]
- other publications: http://mspnet.mspnet.org/index.cfm/showcase_member/user_id-269
Coalition for Science After School
Jason Freeman became the Director of the Coalition for Science After School in April 2006. He is headquartered at the Lawrence Hall of Science at UC Berkeley. Jason holds a Master’s in Public Policy from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and is an alumnus of Teach for America.
As director of the Coalition, Jason has overseen a membership building and outreach effort, which includes professional development, communication, and networking for after-school and informal science institutions. In collaboration with the Afterschool Alliance, he developed a policy brief on STEM learning in after–school. He is overseeing a series of communities of practice to build knowledge in support of the growing after-school science field and to connect research with practice.
Previously, Jason served as an Education Specialist in the Informal Education Division at NASA Headquarters. Jason joined NASA as a Presidential Management Fellow, a program that included significant training and rotation opportunities. Among his projects were efforts connected to community partnerships for extracurricular opportunities, hands-on science education through design challenges, and promoting learning through new media, such as electronic gaming.
Jason's background is in K-12 education. He taught 5th/6th grade math in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas for three years and then worked for a year at the Wright Center for Science Education at Tufts University. He has experience building extracurricular and extended-day programs at public and charter schools.
Assistant Professor, College of Education, Information Sciences & Technology
Penn State University
Dr. Chris Hoadley is an associate professor of Education and of Information Sciences and Technology at Penn State University. He designs, builds, and studies ways for computers to enhance collaboration and learning. Hoadley has degrees in cognitive science, computer science, and education from MIT and the University of California at Berkeley, and currently his research focuses on collaborative technologies and computer support for cooperative learning (CSCL). Other interests include research on and through design, systems for supporting social capital and distributed intelligence (especially for educational reform), the role of informatics and digital libraries in education, the psychology of computer programming, and science and engineering education. Hoadley is the Director of dolcelab, the Laboratory for Design Of Learning, Collaboration & Experience. He is affiliated with the Penn State Center for Human-Computer Interaction and the American Center for the Study of Distance Education. Hoadley previously chaired the American Educational Research Association's Special Interest Group for Education in Science and Technology, and served as the first President of the International Society for the Learning Sciences.
Previously, Dr. Hoadley was a research scientist at the Center for Technology in Learning at SRI International and a consulting assistant professor in the Learning, Design, and Technology program at Stanford University. Hoadley was the Director of the Center for Innovative Learning Technologies Knowledge Network for four years. He founded and leads the Design–Based Research Collective, funded by the Spencer Foundation.
- Inquiry website: Center for Innovative Learning Technologies
- Relevant Publications
Hoadley, C., & Kilner, P. G. (2005). Using technology to transform communities of practice into knowledge-building communities. SIGGROUP Bulletin, 25(1), 31-40. [PDF]
Hoadley, C. M. & Pea, R. D. (2002) Finding the ties that bind: Tools in support of a knowledge-building community. In K. A. Renninger and W. Shumar (Eds.), Building virtual communities: Learning and change in cyberspace (pp. 321-354). New York, NY: Cambridge University Press. [PDF]
Hoadley, C.M., Murray, G., Osipovich, A., Raman, V. (1998-2002) Center for Innovative Learning Technologies Knowledge Network (CILTKN) World Wide Web-based knowledge management portal and online community, supporting approximately 10,000 users.
Randi Korn & Associates
Randi Korn has worked with museums for more than two decades. Before starting her own museum evaluation research consulting business in 1989, she worked as an exhibition designer, interpretive planner, and evaluator in a variety of museums including art, science, and natural history museums, as well as a botanical garden.
Randi has an undergraduate degree in design and was originally trained as an exhibit designer. Later, while pursuing her graduate degree in museum studies, she focused on two passions: educational research methodology and exhibition evaluation. She brought these two passions together when she founded Randi Korn & Associates, Inc. Randi has a strong and diverse background in exhibition design, research and evaluation methods, knowledge of the museum visitor experience, and an understanding that museums strive to make a difference in their communities. With these abilities, she helps museums clarify their core purposes and align their practices and resources to support these core purposes and thereby function as integrated, purposeful organizations.
- publications: http://www.randikorn.com/resources/works.php
Karen Knutson is Associate Director of UPCLOSE (University of Pittsburgh Center for Learning in Out of School Environments). She also serves as the Director of Research and Evaluation at the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh. She has a background in art history and art education (curriculum studies). Her interests include understanding visitor learning and organizational practices in museums, and the ways in which academic disciplines are designed and enacted in informal learning environments. Currently, she is working with several art, children's, and natural history museums on studies of learning in programs and exhibits. She is a board member of the Visitor Studies Association. Prior to her work at UPCLOSE, Knutson was the project manager of the Museum Learning Collaborative, a large-scale museum learning study (funded by IMLS, NSF, NEA, and NEH). One of the deliverables for this grant was a well-used web database of annotated research studies — www.museumlearning.com.
Senior Research Associate
Louw is a co-PI on InformalScience.org [NSF/DRL#0610348] an online community and capacity building web infrastructure project; The City as Learning Lab: Understanding Technology Empowerment [NSF/DRL0#741685] and Neighborhood Networks [Intel] a related project which seeks to engage community residents around local issues using emerging network and robotic technologies. In 2003, Louw completed a Master's in Interaction Design from Carnegie Mellon University where she explored rhetoric, design and human-computer interaction approaches to the conceptualization, development and use of information technologies in informal learning experiences.
Louw brings 15 years of experience in creative project management, science communication and the design of informal learning experiences to the center. Her production and design experience spans a range of educational media including broadcast television, multimedia exhibits, websites, and online learning communities. As a staff producer at the WGBH Science Unit she produced several NOVA documentaries, web content and an online game. While at the Chedd-Angier Production Company she wrote, edited and directed numerous interactive multimedia projects for museums and science-technology centers. Before joining UPCLOSE, Louw worked at the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh as a project developer, NSF grant writer and advisor for the Mr. Rogers' How People Make Things traveling exhibit.
- Inquiry website: http://informalscience.org
Director for Research, Publications, and Exhibitions
Association of Science & Technology Centers
Wendy Pollock is responsible for research services, knowledge networks, and online communities for the Association of Science-Technology Centers. She provides editorial direction for the bimonthly news journal ASTC Dimensions and oversees development of ASTC's web sites, including ExhibitFiles.org and ASTC Connect, an online learning and resource center for the science museum field. She has been involved in a variety of professional development activities, including the 199196 New Science Centers Support Program and is currently PI of the NSF-funded Center for Advancement of Informal Science Education (CAISE).
- Inquiry website: ExhibitFiles
- NSF/ISE award: DRL# 0638981 | Informal Science Education Resource Center
Creative Director, Center for Technology Innovation
Lawrence Hall of Science, UC Berkeley
Darrell Porcello, PhD, is the Associate Director for the Educational Technology unit of the Lawrence Hall of Science. Dr. Porcello has overseen the development of computer kiosks for exhibits and designed a variety of interactive multimedia educational activities for web sites and instructional materials. Presently he is designing the multimedia components for two new NSF-funded media projects, one on the societal and ethical implications of nanotechnology and another focused on bringing math activities to Spanish–speaking internet users. Dr. Porcello received his PhD in Neuroscience from Stanford University
Mary Ann STEINER
Mary Ann is currently a graduate researcher in the University of Pittsburgh's Center for Learning in Informal Environments, focusing on how science and technology rich local resources can best be tapped by community audiences to support rich learning environments. She recently completed a rotation as a program officer for the National Science Foundation's Informal Science Education Program and before that spent 18 years at the Science Museum of Minnesota developing and implementing the museum's Youth Science Center and community engagement program.
She has been an active member of Youth ALIVE! and Midwest Youth ALIVE! and has collaborated with the Irish Museum Association and Public Achievement 's museum based youth programs in Ireland and Northern Ireland.
Carey is an independent evaluator and consultant focusing on museum exhibitions and programs. The mission of Tisdal Constuling is provide services that support informal learning environments in engaging, enlighting, and empowering visitors. She believes that visitor center thinking is at the heart of good design, development, evaluation, and research. Today, informal learning environments offer examples of the "best" of what learning is about—satisfying, ongoing engagement with our world throughout a lifetime.