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Mr Garron Hillaire

Professional biography

My background started with working in a variety of technology startup companies in the United States in Seattle, WA.  While working for startups in e-commerce, the music industry, and the legal industry I completed a degree in Mathematics at the University of Washington.  With a rich analytic skillset I decided to seek to contribute to society.

I started to transform my skills toward the service of education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education through a Masters in Technology Innovation and Education.  Upon graduation I joined the nonprofit CAST to participate in research around Universal Design for Learning from the technology department.  During my time at CAST I developed an interest in Learning Analytics and helped to organize events in the Boston area around the topic. 

With experience in working on large scale research projects, a technology background, and an interest in Learning Analytics I recently joined the Open World Learning research project as a PhD student through the Leverhulme Fellowship.

Research interests

I am interested particularly in emotional measurement.  Given that learning is an emotional experience and students need more than just preformance data to improve their learning practice I hope to contribute to the field by exploring approaches to self-regulation using emotion and cognition analytics.

One facet I plan to explore is measurement possibilites.  For example, my initial exploration is around what Natural Language Processing Sentiment Analysis can provide in terms of getting trace data related to the emotions of learners. In determining how valid the measurement is I plan to explore the affordances of existing physiological measurements.  In terms of making this data actionable I see many wonderful design challenges in presenting that data so that is can help learners make decisions to improve their learning practice.

At the early stages of exploring this research question around emotion and cognition analytics for self-regulation I am still researching and refining which aspects of this will be novel contribution and which aspects of this work will rely on the existing body of research.  While I have many ideas to explore in this arena I am charting a course to spend a career doing the exploration.


Teaching interests

I have a variety of experiences with teaching since moving into the education sector.  From work in conferences, classrooms, teacher education, and educating policy makers.  I have a desire to continue to develop my teaching practice and explore where I can make the greatest impact on the educational technology sector.

I have participated in three Learning Analytics Summer Institutes as a workshop co-facilitator around data visualization and have also co-facilitated workshops at the intersection of instructional design and emotion at a course at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.  I have a background in Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and leverage that framework to help guide exploration into complex instructional design questions as well as complex technical implimentations.

In the past I have had the opportunity to provide a guest talk at three courses at the Harvard Graduate School of Education: Universal Design for Learning, Emotion in Development and Learning, & Innovation by Design. The talks covered design perspectives such as iterative design, Universal Design for Learning, & emotional design across topic areas such as reading comprehension, science, and mathematics education.

Another facet of teaching I have participated in as a UDL coach to 1st and 2nd year STEM teachers through the NOYCE fellowship program at Tufts University.  In teacher coaching I had the priviledge of listening to practical problems in the classroom and connect the research concepts I was interacting with at CAST to solve practical problems for urban public school teachers in the Boston area.

I once had the opportunity to provide instruction to 90 United States Congressional Aides on what was possible with technology in education by illustrating the affordances of a Universal Design for Learning implementation on iPads with the educaitonal goal of teaching algebraic reasoning.  The instructional goal was to help inform people making decisions about educaitonal technology policy.