News Article

Georgia Tech University Professor, Bruckman, Wins 2002 Jan Hawkins Award

Friday, April 26, 2002

Amy Bruckman, assistant professor at Georgia Tech University's College of Computing, received the 2002 Jan Hawkins Award for for Early Career Contributions to Humanistic Research and Scholarship in Learning Technologies today in a morning ceremony held during the 83rd Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (AERA) in New Orleans.

Dr. Louis Gomez of Northwestern University, a member of the selection committee, presented the award, created in 2000 to honor the memory of the center's late longtime director, to Bruckman for her research into online communities and education.

Dr. Bruckman's research applies the "constructionist" philosophy of education--learning through design and construction activities on personally meaningful projects--to the design of online communities. The Internet, she asserts, has a unique potential to make constructionist learning scalable and sustainable in real-world settings because it makes it easy to provide social support for learning and teaching. In electronic learning communities, participants can help motivate and support one-another's activities, "thereby scaffolding the project-based learning process."

Dr. Bruckman is the founder of the Electronic Learning Communities (ELC) research group, which investigates ways to shape online communities to enhance the learning experience. Her current projects include AquaMoose 3D, a three-dimensional math learning environment designed to build connections between mathematical and artistic thinking; Palaver Tree Online, an online community that supports kids interviewing elders on the Internet to build up a multimedia archive of oral history; Moose Crossing, a text-based virtual world (or "MUD") designed to help kids to learn reading, writing, and computer programming; and IRC Fran├žais, a project to help students learn French through active conversation with other students using Internet Relay Chat (IRC) as a way to allow students to communicate in real-time text.

In addition to ELC, Dr. Bruckman also founded Georgia Tech College of Computing's Undergraduate Research Opportunities in Computing (UROC) program. She also is a member of the Graphics, Visualization, and Usability (GVU) Center at Georgia Tech. Dr. Bruckman holds a bachelor's degree in physics from Harvard University and a doctorate from the Epistemology and Learning Group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab. Her research is funded by a National Science Foundation CAREER Grant, as well as generous grants from IBM, Intel, Microsoft Research, Neometron, and Ricoh Silicon Valley.

As part of the ceremony, Dr. Bruckman delivered a presentation of her award-winning research work titled "Constructionism and Online Communities."

Amy Bruckman's Home Page