Karen Carney

Download a resume and c.v. here.

Research: Currently, I am a graduate student in the Learning Sciences Program at at Northwestern University. I am a member of the Qualitative Reasoning Group.  My research is on student learning and use of computational and representational tools in science classrooms.  My dissertation focuses on the design of the Vmodel modeling software for middle school students.  Within this context, I ask three interrelated questions:  What supports are necessary to help students become productive modelers?  How do students appropriate and use a given reprsentational system to organize and understand content knowledge? What is the potential of computational modeling as a tool for student knowledge construction and transfer?

Educational and software design:  I have also worked on several other related projects, including the NASA supported Virtual Solar System project, where I did much of the design and content for the Principles of Operations Manual. In addition, I worked with Chicago Public School teachers on Mars Survival Station, which is a curriculum in development through the Center for Learning Technologies in Urban Schools. In Mars Survival Station, students are put in the role of astronauts or advisors to NASA, and in that role they must decide what plants and animals to put into an "ecodome" in order to support 50 astronauts for a year without having anything starve.

Science education and science learning:  My interest in science education is is born of a long time interest in science, which began at my undergrad alma mater, Oberlin College, where I majored in geology.

Before Northwestern, I was a science teacher at Collegiate School, a K-12 private college-preparatory school for boys in New York City. have also worked in museum education at a small nature center in Connecticut.

To this day, I remain deeply interested in ecological and earth and planetary science. I am also interested in promoting better learning of science, particularly by students in underrepresented or underprivileged populations.

Personal: When I'm not being a graduate student, I have several hobbies. I cook and bake, sail, draw pictures, sing in choruses,  read lots of books, do yoga and play the occasional basketball game. I generally commute by bike, for environmental and health reasons. I have many wonderful friends all over the world.  You know who you are!. I sometimes have an urge to understand the universe and my place in it better. Attending Quaker meeting often helps me with this. I am a member of the ACLU.

More information? Please click here to see my resume which includes a list of my publications and conference talks, some of which are about learning and some of which are about rocks.