I’m interested in lots of things, but my main current research is on "laptops and literacy". Specifically, a team of us at UCI have been doing case study research in a number of schools in Maine and California where all the students in one or more classes (usually in one or more grade levels) have been provided laptop computers for one-to-one computing throughout the school day, with wireless Internet access, and to take home as well.
It’s a fascinating context because a lot of things that were predicted about technology in schools, but could never take place, do seem to take place in the laptop classroom. It doesn’t mean that they are a magic bullet, but they facilitate uses of technology in ways that are just not feasible in situations when 4-5 kids are sharing each computer.
Some of the issues we’re looking at include the changing nature of reading in one-to-one computing environments, the types of writing tasks kids carry out and the types of feedback they get, the nature of "information literacy" and research in the laptop classroom, approaches to developing media literacy, the effect of social context on how laptops are used, etc.
I like it when I find unexpected things. One thing that fascinates me right now is Automated Writing Evaluation software (usually via online Web services), which is being used in one of the school districts we’re working on. More about that later….