photo of david gerritsen

David Gerritsen (that's me) is a PhD student at the Human-Computer Interaction Institute in the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University.

I'm also a fellow in the Program in Interdisciplinary Education Research (PIER). That's a group of PhD students who align their various methodological interests in order to build creative and rigorous education research. Most of this work is in grades K – 12, but the majority of work I do happens to involve university students.

Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) is generally thought of as the academic and practical intersection of design, psychology, and computer science. I come mostly from a behavioral science background, and I try to apply social frameworks to improve what we understand about how people learn to teach, and then design technologies that can help people learn to teach.

Some of the questions I'm currently researching include

  • What do university students currently do when they teach other university students (like in labs and recitations), and how can technology help them get better at it?
  • How do novices learn to ask their students productive, thought-provoking questions?
  • How can technology help you increase student engagement and participation in class?
  • What do K – 12 teachers know about their students' reasoning, and how do they use it to orchestrate class discussion?
  • How can we use computers to make professional development for teachers more personal, efficient, and fun?

To answer these questions I use a mix of qualitative and quantitative research methods. I'm particularly fond of design-based research, live observations of classrooms, interviews and surveys, video/audio analysis, and sensor data.

My dissertation work will involve building a research system that gathers background information (like sound, motion, etc.) and correlate it to meaningful events in the classroom. From this data I will create visualizations and training modules that give people a new perspective on their behaviors, new insight on their environment, and a wider array of strategies to get them through pedagogical challenges.

My undergraduate education was in psychology, with an emphasis in math and statistics. As a graduate student I have also become interested in anthropology and design. Now I look for ways to mix methods in order to perform research that informs us about the world, and helps us to envision a better one.

If you want to talk, gmail is easiest: davidalso.

Updated: March 31, 2017