September 12, 2016

Technology meets Learning Research - MIT Sea Grant Seminar Friday September 16th at 11:00

MIT Sea Grant Seminar
Friday September 16th
E38- 3rd floor conference room

The Cyberlab: Technology meets Learning Research

Will automating data collection of human subjects change the learning research field? Dr. Shawn Rowe and Mark Farley, with Oregon Sea Grant and Oregon State University, have instrumented the Hatfield Marine Science Center with a suite of observation tools to conduct learning research in a new way. Oregon Sea Grant is nationally recognized for its work in Free-Choice Learning research - the study of how people learn in informal settings. Join us for a look at the Cyberlab’ s capabilities, its research, and the challenges of the creating, hosting and mining a big learning research dataset. They will also share the tribulations and triumphs they have experienced along the iterative road of building observation technologies into public spaces.

Shawn Rowe's background is applied linguistics (that is, studying how humans learn languages) and developmental psychology in education, specifically the cultural historical activity theory of Vygotsky. Most of his work is with museums, both history museums and science museums looking at family group interactions and at how exhibitions are structured to support or undermine certain kinds of learning. His Sea Grant Extension position combines academic work on free-choice learning with practice-based research in the OSU Hatfield Marine Science Visitor Center. He also works closely with graduate students in the Free-Choice Science Learning Ph.D. and M. S. programs as well as in the Environmental Sciences and Marine Resource Management programs at OSU.

Mark Farley is a programmer and technical wizard by training, Mark has worn several Sea Grant hats, from developing multi-media pps and exhibitry to managing our public Visitor Center at the Hatfield Marine Science Center. Mark is currently in charge of interactive exhibit design, testing, implementation and evaluation for our Free-Choice Learning Lab at the HMSC.

The seminar is open to the public. Please pass this announcement along to interested parties. MIT Building E38 is located at 292 Main St. Cambridge, MA 02139. Questions can be sent to


Marine Science Day at the Hatfield Marine Science Center. (Photo by Pat Kight/Oregon Sea Grant)