Dr. Sheridan’s research takes a sociocultural perspective on learning, with a particular focus on how this learning is situated in diverse and changing contexts with the advent of new digital technologies. She focuses in particular on creative production with technology and how technology can create innovative contexts of possibility for youth from traditionally underserved groups. She currently directs a study, Making Connections Work, funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services which studies how partnerships between children’s museums, public libraries and community professionals can be used to create new family learning contexts for hands-on making. Together with Dr. Abigail Konopasky, she studies how parents and children co-create and narrate making experiences. For 2012-2016, she co-led a collaborative project, Learning in the Making: Studying and Designing Makerspaces, funded by a National Science Foundation Cyberlearning grant. As Principal Investigator with Dr. Erica Halverson of University of Wisconsin-Madison, they conducted ethnographic studies of makerspaces, emergent spaces involved in creative production that often involve youth and adults combining art, engineering and digital technologies, to understand how these communities emerge, function and evolve to support learning. Building on this ethnographic work, Drs. Halverson and Sheridan, collaborate with the Childrens Museum of Pittsburgh to conduct design experiments in the childrens museum MAKESHOP: pittsburghkids.org/exhibits/makeshop. In her work as Co-Principal Investigator with Dr. Kevin Clark on the National Science Foundation grant, Game Design through Mentoring and Collaboration where youth aged 8-18 from the D.C. area learn computer modeling, animation and game design through a peer mentoring and teaching process, she looks at the learning involved in the integration of art, science and technology, and the social collaborative processes involved in peer mentoring in this context.
George Mason University