Curriculum Vitae

​​

​​EDUCATION:

PhD     Multidisciplinary Sciences, Computer Science, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute 

​(Fall 2014, Defended 11/18/2014).

Dissertation Title:

Ethnocomputing: the Design and Assessment of Culture-Based Learning Software for Math and Computing Education.

Dissertation Committee:

Dr. Ron Eglash, Co-Thesis Adviser

Dr. Mukkai Krishnamoorthy, Co-Thesis Adviser

Dr. Audrey Bennett, Committee Member

Dr. Bruce Piper, Committee Member

Dr. David Spooner, Committee Member​

BS       Computer Science and Mathematics, SUNY Empire State College (2010).

BSBA   Finance, Xavier University (1987).

RESEARCH INTERESTS:

My research interests currently include the intersectionality of culture, class, and cognition with Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education. This interest primarily focuses on Human Computer Interaction (HCI) and technologically mediated learning in and outside of classrooms. My work has centered on ethnocomputing, as cultural artifacts in simulation that seek to teach computer science concepts, and computational thinking. I am also very interested in communities of practice as it relates to what makes an effective learning community, intentional conceptual change, competence and motivation in learning.

RESEARCH EXPERIENCE:

2014 Summer, Accra and Kumasi, Ghana, 6 weeks. Our research with students included a randomized study of a culture-based lesson in logarithmic spirals that resulted in important results for culture-based education (publication forthcoming). Conducted teacher professional development at Kumasi Senior High School, along with student lessons centered on the Culturally Situated Design Tools CSnap application. In the nearby though (relatively) remote village of Ntonso, where the student to computer ratio runs around 100 to 1, we were able to convert the CSnap lessons into a 'CS Unplugged' activity. The unplugged version of CSnap involved creating low cost laminated manipulatives that correspond to the CSnap software, allowing many students to construct programs independent of computer access. During a professional development workshop, the teachers were very enthusiastic about the prospects of encouraging computational thinking in students, using these manipulatives. We also made important progress on using CSnap in the Ghanaian ICT curriculum, working with teacher partners in outlining an ICT textbook based on CSnap.

2014 Hackett Middle School, Albany NY. With Linda Carey and Michael Lachney. "The Use of Knitting to Teach Science, Math and Computer Science."

2013 Hackett Middle School, Albany NY. With Linda Carey and Michael Lachney. "The Kumasi – Albany Connection."

2012 Summer, Kumasi, Ghana. Research on projects including ethnomathematics and computational thinking in the crafts of Kente Cloth weaving and Adinkra stamping. Software testing with the Ayeduase students in Kumasi using the Culturally Situated Design Tools.

2012 Spring, Hackett Middle School, Albany NY. With Linda Carey. "Education is a Better Choice."

2012 Research Assistant, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Culturally Situated Design Tools.

2011 Summer, Kumasi, Ghana. Research on projects including ethnomathematics in the crafts of Adinkra stamping and Kente Cloth weaving. Software testing with the Ayeduase Middle School students in Kumasi.

2011 Research Assistant, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Culturally Situated Design Tools.

2010 Research Assistant, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Culturally Situated Design Tools.

ACADEMIC EXPERIENCE:

2015 Summer, Consultant, Digital preservation project with Kanatsiohareke Mohawk Community, Fonda, NY.

2015 Summer, Tutor, Introduction to Computer Science, using Java.

2015 Spring, Independent Scholar, National Coalition of Independent Scholars (NCIS.org).

2015 March, Consultant, Excelsior College, assessment of exam for college credit “Introduction to Computer Science, using Java”.

2014 Fall, Teaching Assistant, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Introduction to Computer Algorithms.

2014 Spring, Teaching Assistant, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Programming Languages.

2013 Fall, Teaching Assistant, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Programming Languages.

2012 Spring, Teaching Assistant, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Graph Theory.

2012 Fall, Teaching Assistant, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Models of Computation.

OTHER EXPERIENCE:

1992 – 2002 District Manager, RGIS Inventory Specialists, Rochester MI

1988 – 1992 Department Manager, Caldor Department Stores, Norwich CT

​CONFERENCES/PRESENTATIONS:

Babbitt, W., (2014) Ethnocomputing: the Design and Assessment of Culture-Based Learning Software for Math and Computing Education. Dissertation defense, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY.

Babbitt, W., (2012) An analysis of the programmable Culturally Situated Design Tools from an HCI perspective. Presented at the third Annual Symposium on Theory and Research in HCI, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy NY.

Babbitt, W., Lyles D., (2012) Culturally Situated Design Tools: Making Education Smarter. Presented at 2012 GK-12/NSF National Conference, Washington, DC.

Babbitt, W., Lyles D., (2012) Culturally Situated Design Tools: Building learning communities. Presented at 2012 Techno science As Activism Conference, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY.

AWARDS/FELLOWSHIPS:

2014 Grant Recipient, The Albany Fund for Education, Joint with Linda Carey, Michael Lachney. "The Use of Knitting to Teach Science, Math and Computer Science", Hackett Middle School.

2012 Grant Recipient, The Albany Fund for Education, Joint with Linda Carey. "Education is a Better Choice", Hackett Middle School. Community Partners: the Lowe's Toolbox for Education, Barnes & Noble, and RPI Triple Helix Program.

2010 - 2012 NSF/GK-12 3Helix Community Situated Research Fellow, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY

2008 Edyth May Sliffe, Mathematical Association of America, for outstanding teaching of mathematics, Middle School Award.

SERVICE:

2006 – Current   Advisor, Albany Area Math Circle, Albany NY.