BiographyFlorence R Sullivan is an associate professor of Learning Technology in the College of Education at UMass, Amherst. Her research interests include middle school student’s collaborative learning with constructionist-based, computational media including LEGO robotics and Scratch. Past work in this area has focused on aspects of computational thinking including problem solving (Sullivan & Lin, 2012), collaborative creativity (Sullivan, 2011), and systems thinking (Sullivan, 2008). Prof. Sullivan, is especially interested in the role of gender in girls’ experiences in these learning situations. Recent work in this area has examined the role of internalized stereotypes on girls’ attributions of failure in robotics (Sullivan, Keith, & Poza, 2016); the role of playful talk in regulating the work of a mixed gender collaborative group (Sullivan & Wilson, 2015), and the presence and affect of power dynamics in seemingly more equitable learning situations (Sullivan, Keith, & Wilson, 2015). A second strand of Prof. Sullivan’s work revolves around the development of computational means to support microgenetic analysis of problem-solving discussions in robotics learning environments. Prof. Sullivan has received support from the National Science Foundation to develop these computational methods. Her project Microgenetic Learning Analytics (MLA) draws on work in natural language processing, sociocultural learning theory, and learning analytics to conceptualize and develop these computational approaches.
Areas of Research / Professional Expertise
Collaborative Learning with Computational Media
Issues of Gender Equity in STEM
Online Learning and Communication
Microgenetic Learning Analyticcs
Playing guitar, songwriting, tennis, outdoor activities, film, travel.
Published: Mar 05, 2017 by Journal of Research in Technology Education
Authors: Florence R. Sullivan and John Heffernan
This article presents a systematic review of research related to the use of robotics construction kits (RCKs) in P–12 learning in the STEM disciplines for typically developing children. The purpose of this review is to configure primarily qualitative and mixed methods findings from studies meeting our selection and quality criterion to answer the review question: How do robotic construction kits function as computational manipulatives in P–12 STEM education?
Published: Dec 16, 2013 by Journal of the Learning Sciences
Authors: Florence R. Sullivan and Nicholas C. Wilon
This case study examines the role of playful talk in negotiating the “how” of collaborative group work in a 6th-grade science classroom. Here we develop and test a Vygotsky-derived hypothesis that postulates playful talk as a mechanism for identity exploration and group status negotiation.
Published: Oct 01, 2011 by Educational Technology and Society
Authors: Florence R. Sullivan
This paper presents the results of a micro-genetic analysis of the development of a creative solution arrived at by students working collaboratively to solve a robotics problem in a sixth-grade science classroom. Results indicate that four aspects of the enacted curriculum proved important to developing the creative solutions.