Dr. Priya Sharma

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Associate Professor of Education, University Park


Current Projects that are accepting students:

  • Patterns of interaction and everyday knowledge sharing in social network environments
  • Enhancing science reasoning in geoscience education using mobile devices, social media, and open content

 

Patterns of interaction and everyday knowledge sharing in social network environments

 

Project Co-Leads: Drs. Susan Land, Priya Sharma

Faculty collaborators: Dr. Brian K. Smith, Rhode Island School of Design

Our research explores how online social networking sites create opportunities for participation and learning that are quite different from those encountered in formal educational settings. Educational researchers have begun to explore how people learn in a range of informal contexts, where free-choice learning is the dominant focus, and which involves participation within social networks of families, hobbyists, or other communities. Broadly characterized as social network sites, online spaces offer individuals the opportunity to learn from interact with others that share similar interests, needs, or goals. We examine how knowledge is shared and how participation is potentially shaped by social or material resources of the space. We focus on data gathered from two different types of social networking sites: (1) public hobby sites (e.g., ESPN Fantasy Sports-Basketball; Runner’s World; CarTalk); and (2) a health social networking site (Type II Diabetes). We are examining how individuals participating in social networks come to better understand and improve their practices through interaction with the online community.

 

Student research roles on these projects

Students identify social networking sites for analysis; transcribe data set from social networking message boards; assist with coding of the content of the discussion posts, using existing and emergent coding schemes.


Future needs: conduct social network analyses; refine coding scheme through additional content analyses of social network posts.

 

Enhancing science reasoning in geoscience education using mobile devices, social media, and open content

 

Project co-lead: Drs. Priya Sharma, Kevin Furlong 

This research explores the use of iPads and other mobile devices in the context of a formal geoscience, undergraduate course. While much research on mobile learning focuses on mobility of learners, use of mobile devices in classrooms can also afford access to timely resources in the context of authentic activities and learning, as well as ways to support group activities and problem solving. In this project, we are first exploring the ways in which students use iPads and iPad apps to engage in task related activities and discussion, with the intention of developing designed activities that support reasoning about geoscience. 

Student research roles:

Students participate in data collection (video ethnography) and assist with analyzing data using Studiocode analysis software using existing and emergent coding themes.