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Colloquium Series: Dr. Melissa Gresalfi

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Recently there has been a lot of enthusiasm for integrating practices of Computer Science into mathematics classrooms. Although the reasons range from the hopeful to the pragmatic, we in fact know very little about how mathematical thinking might productively, or unproductively, connect with Computing. In this talk I will share findings from two rounds of design studies that sought to understand how these content areas, and their associated practices, might intersect, and ultimately, what the two fields have to learn from each other.


Professor Gresalfi’s research considers cognition and social context by examining student learning as a function of participation in activity settings. Following a situative perspective on learning, she has investigated the development of dispositions towards learning in mathematics classrooms by examining how opportunities to learn are constructed in mathematics classrooms, and how, when, and why different students take up those opportunities. Using this lens, Gresalfi has explored the extent to which classroom practices are equitable and examined categories such as race, gender, and previous mathematical experience as they arise in interaction.

Gresalfi’s work on the design of learning environments has focused on transforming learning spaces to focus student activity on matheamtical engagement that involves sense-making, decision-making, and problem solving.  Her projects focus on the role of play and experiementation on supporting learning through videogame design, informal learning, textile design, and computational thinking.

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