Summer 2013 Mentor
Vera Michalchik directs the informal learning practice at SRI’s Center for Technology in Learning and conducts multi-method studies of new educational programs in the United States and abroad, focusing on the social and cultural aspects of learning. Trained in educational psychology and anthropology, for 20 years she has been researching the relationships and differences between learning in and out of school, with an emphasis on social interactions and material experiences that support everyday learning in community, peer-based, and family settings. At SRI, among other projects, she leads the evaluation of NSF’s Informal Science Education program, studies interest-driven learning with the MacArthur-sponsored Connected Learning Research Network, conducts evaluation for worldwide education programs funded by the Intel Foundation, studies youth-centered digital media and making/tinkering programs, researches the development of partnerships between museums and scientists, and examines the nature of outcomes in informal learning settings. From 2006-2009, she served on the NSF-sponsored Committee on Learning Science in Informal Environments at the National Research Council. Vera also does research on new approaches to teacher professional development. She was a co-PI on an NSF-funded chemistry visualization research and development project, ChemSense, and has studied other math and science development projects, including NanoSense, SimCalc, and NetCalc. Vera specializes in observational, ethnographic, and video analytic methods, and has taught graduate courses on qualitative research methods at Stanford.