Photo of Lyons, Leilah

Leilah Lyons

Research Associate Professor

Department of Computer Science

Contact

Building & Room:

1132 SEO

Address:

851 S. Morgan St, MC 152, Chicago, IL, 60607

Office Phone:

(312) 355-1310

Related Sites:

About

Research Interests:

My main area of research interest concerns the design of collaborative, computer-based museum exhibits. As a human-computer interaction researcher interested in facilitating collaborative learning, exhibits provide a unique high-stakes "crucible" for testing the ability of an interaction design to engage learners with the exhibit content and with one another. If you don't get it right, visitors just walk away.

My designs, often developed in collaboration with domain experts, employ emerging interactive technologies selected for their unique affordances to make challenging concepts or phenomena more accessible to novice learners. I use these designs to explore both Human-Computer Interaction and Learning Sciences research questions. I have also worked with mobile devices, both in informal learning contexts (where the mobile devices act as Opportunistic User Interfaces to computer-based exhibits) and in formal contexts.

Projects:

Below is a list of the more established projects I am currently involved in, but I have a number of other projects cooking as well, involving user interface designs resting on technologies as far afield as Augmented Reality, flea power sensors, and mobile GPS. I'll post those here once they simmer down into a thicker broth. They are all in the service of learning, of course, and more often than not, in the service of informal learning.

As you can see by my list of collaborators below (who specialize in, variously, Urban Planning, Biology, Environmental Science, History, Geography, and Zoology), I am fairly content-agnostic - nothing inspires me more than getting introduced to a new fascinating field of human endeavor (perhaps because I can better place myself in the shoes of the learner who will one day be using the software experience we create?). Time allowing, I'm always interested in potential collaborations, so do get in touch if you have an idea you'd like to bat around with me.


Project Title Project Description Collaborator(s) Funding Source(s)

EcoCollage

The College Board's 2009 redesign of the Science College Board Standards for College Success has initiated a redesign of Advanced Placement tests. The new Environmental Science standards include a much stronger emphasis on "systems thinking" than has been seen in the past. We suspect that Agent-Based Models (ABMs), which are used more frequently in Environmental Science than in any other field, could help students better understand the complex interactions of human-natural systems. A limitation of educational ABMs, however, has always been sufficient access to computers - with our project, we are investigating the viability of a paper-based Tangible User Interface ("Paper-to-Parameters") that, in addition to requiring only a computer, webcam, and projector to support whole-class learning activities, may also provide unique benefits for understanding the spatial and scalar relationships between simulation elements.

The project will develop an assessment tool to obtain a picture of prior understandings and attitudes held by learners in different populations (high school, undergraduate, and graduate students and experts); it will conduct an exploratory trial of the Agent-Based learning intervention to investigate the impacts on learners; andit will investigate how selected user interface features facilitate specific spatial and scalar understandings.

 

PI: Leilah Lyons

Co-PIs: Moira Zellner, Emily Minor

Advised by: Tom Moher Jim Pellegrino Susan Goldman

Graduate Assistants: Tia Shelley, Brian Slattery, Chandan Dasgupta

Funded by NSF REESE Award #1020065: Integrated Study of Natural Resources, Human Impact, and Environmental Policy: Making Complex Systems Accessible for Secondary Learners

Award amount: $299,225

Award Duration: August 15 2010 - July 31 2012

CoCensus

Museums play a role in American intellectual life as places for members of the public to gather, learn, and engage in discourse about human experience and knowledge. As cultural and historical research is informed by increasingly complex information, museums can and should support visitor discourse around such complex data. To this end, we will construct a prototype museum exhibit, CoCensus, at the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum, using an innovative combination of an ambient data map display, motion sensing technology, and RFID technology to allow visitors to interact with dynamic visualizations of census data on a local map. E pluribus unum has been a central theme in American history since the founding of the nation, yet themes of identity and difference have dominated societal conflicts for just as long. CoCensus offers a space in which people can reflect together on identity categories such as race and ancestry as imperfect mirrors of the nation, and affords shared exploration of the U.S. Census as a core record of our shared social history.

This innovative design will enable multiple visitors to cooperatively investigate and discuss complex data and the personal dimensions of American identity. This work highlights important issues for designing public educational spaces to support collaborative data visualization, and take steps towards making large digital resources accessible within the social learning milieu of museums.

 

PI: Leilah Lyons

Co-PIs: Josh Radinsky, and Lisa Lee and Lisa Junkin of the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum

Graduate Assistants: Francesco Cafaro, Jessica Roberts, Vikrem Bhagi

Funded by NEH Digital Humanities Start-Up Grant: CoCensus: Collaboration Exploration of Census Data in a Museum

Award amount: $49,999

Award Duration: September 2011 - September 2012

Funded by UIC IPCE Civic Engagement Research Fund Award: CoCensus: Collaborative Exploration of Social Data in Social Spaces

Award amount: $25,000

Award Duration: January 2011 - June 2011

System Simulations for Stakeholders

Local governing bodies are often tasked with turning guidelines for "green" development into actual plans, but how to convert these guidelines into specifc plans is far froma straightforward process, owing to the many ways human actions can interact with natural systems. In this project, we are exploring the potential for facilitated workshops with Agent-Based Models to aid stakeholders in the planning process.

 

PI: Moira Zellner

Co-PIs: Charles Hoch, Andy Johnson, Leilah Lyons, Emily Minor, Josh Radinsky

Graduate Assistants: Ethan Brown, Lissa Domoracki, Carl Kunda, Dan Milz, and Jennifer Weizeorick, and Chandan Dasgupta and Andrew Greenlee in an earlier incarnation

Funded by NSF CI-TEAM: Enhancing Stakeholder Participation in Environmental Planning with Visualization Tools that Support Complex Systems Learning and Spatial Thinking

Award amount: $249,953

Award Duration: September 2011 - August 2013

Funded by UIC Chancellor’s Discovery Fund for Multidisciplinary Research: Participatory Modeling and Planning for Sustainable Water Management in McHenry County (PI: M. Zellner, Co-PIs: L. Lyons, M. Gonzalez)

Award amount: $55,705

Award Duration: May 2011 - May 2013

Climate Literacy Zoo Education Network

The overarching purpose of the Climate Literacy Zoo Education Network is to develop and evaluate a new approach to climate change education that connects zoo visitors to polar animals currently endangered by climate change, leveraging the associative and affective pathways known to dominate decision-making. Utilizing a polar theme, the partnership brings together a strong multidisciplinary team that includes the Chicago Zoological Society of Brookfield, IL, leading a geographically distributed consortium of nine partners.

PI: Alejandro Grajalof the Chicago Zoological Society

Co-PIs and other collaborators: See the project websitefor the whole list

Funded by NSF CCEP Award #1043284: CCEP-I: Climate Literacy Zoo Education Network

Award amount: $1,000,000

Award Duration: September 15 2010 - August 31, 2012

Papers:

An Exploratory Study of Input Modalities for Mobile Devices Used with Museum Exhibits
Full Paper, CHI, Vancouver, Canada · May 7 - 12, 2011

Jimenez, P., & Lyons, L. An Exploratory Study of Input Modalities for Mobile Devices Used with Museum Exhibits. In Proceedings of the 2011 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2011), Vancouver, CA,May 7-12, 2011.

Evaluating the Embodiment Benefits of a Paper-Based TUI for Educational Simulations
Poster, CHI, Vancouver, Canada · May 7 - 12, 2011

Shelley, T., Lyons, L., Minor, E., & Zellner, M. Evaluating the Embodiment Benefits of a Paper-Based TUI for Educational Simulations. In Extended Abstracts of the 2011 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI EA 2011), Vancouver, CA,May 7-12, 2011.

Analyzing the Affordances of Mobile Technologies for Informal Science Learning
Museums & Social Issues ·Spring 2010

Lyons, L., Becker, D., & Roberts, J. “Analyzing the Affordances of Mobile Technologies for Informal Science Learning,” Museums & Social Issues 5(1), 2011, 89-104.

RFID Localization for Tangible and Embodied Multi-User Interaction with Museum Exhibits
Poster, UBICOMP, Copenhagen, Denmark · September 27 - 29, 2010

Cafaro, F., Lyons, L. RFID Localization for Tangible and Embodied Multi-User Interaction with Museum Exhibits. In Proceedings of the 2010 ACM UBICOMP Conference, Copenhagen, Denmark, September 27 - 29, 2010.

Paper to Parameters: Designing Tangible Simulation Input
Poster, UBICOMP, Copenhagen, Denmark · September 27 - 29, 2010

Shelley, T., Lyons, L. Paper to Parameters: Designing Tangible Simulation Input. In Proceedings of the 2010 ACM UBICOMP Conference, Copenhagen, Denmark, September 27 - 29, 2010.

Technologies and Tools to Support Informal Science Learning
Poster Symposia, ICLS, Chicago, IL, USA · June 29 - July 2, 2010

Zimmerman, H. T., Kanter, D. E., Ellenbogen, K., Phipps, M., Lyons, L., Zuiker, S. J., Satwicz, T., Jordan, R., Weible, J., Gamrat, C., & Martell, S. T. Technologies and Tools to Support Informal Science Learning. In Gomez, K., Lyons, L., & Radinsky, J. (Eds.), Learning in the Disciplines: Proceedings of the 9th International Conference of the Learning Sciences (ICLS 2010) - Volume 2, Short Papers, Symposia, and Selected Abstracts. International Society of the Learning Sciences: Chicago IL.

Designing for an Informal Learning Environment: Towards a Participatory Simulation Design Process for Public Policy Planning
Poster, ICLS, Chicago, IL, USA · June 29 - July 2, 2010

Dasgupta, C., Lyons, L., Zellner, M., & Greenlee, A. Designing for an Informal Learning Environment: Towards a Participatory Simulation Design Process for Public Policy Planning. In Gomez, K., Lyons, L., & Radinsky, J. (Eds.), Learning in the Disciplines: Proceedings of the 9th International Conference of the Learning Sciences (ICLS 2010) - Volume 2, Short Papers, Symposia, and Selected Abstracts. International Society of the Learning Sciences: Chicago IL.

Studying Different Methods of Providing Input to a Collaborative Interactive Museum Exhibit Using Mobile Devices
Poster, WMUTE, Kaohsiung, Taiwan · April 12- 16, 2010

Jimenez, P., & Lyons, L. Studying Different Methods of Providing Input to a Collaborative Interactive Museum Exhibit Using Mobile Devices. In Proceedings of 6th IEEE International Conference on Wireless, Mobile and Ubiquitous Technologies in Education (WMUTE 2010), Kaohsiung, Taiwan, April 12- 16, 2010.

Designing Opportunistic User Interfaces to Support a Collaborative Museum Exhibit
Paper, CSCL, Rhodes, Greece · June 8 - June 13, 2009

Lyons, L. Designing Opportunistic User Interfaces to Support a Collaborative Museum Exhibit. In Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Computer Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL2009), Rhodes, Greece, June 8- 13, 2009, (pp. 375-384).

Scaffolding Cooperative Multi-Device Activities in an Informal Learning Environment
Doctoral Consortium Paper, ACM SIG CHI, San Jose, CA, USA · April 28 - May 3, 2007

Lyons, L. Scaffolding Cooperative Multi-Device Activities in an Informal Learning Environment, Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI2007), San Jose, CA, USA, April 28 - May 3, 2007.

MUSHI: A Multi-Device Framework for Collaborative Inquiry Learning
Paper, ICLS, Bloomington, IN, USA · June 27-July 1, 2006

Lyons, L., Lee, J., Quintana, C., and Soloway, E. MUSHI: A Multi-Device Framework for Collaborative Inquiry Learning, Proceedings of the International Conference of the Learning Sciences (ICLS2006), Bloomington, IN, USA, June 27-July 1, 2006.

Enhancing Engineering Outreach with Interactive Game Assessment
Paper, ASEE, Chicago, IL, USA · June 18 - 21, 2006

Lyons, L., and Pasek, Z. Enhancing Engineering Outreach with Interactive Game Assessment, Proceedings of the 2006 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition (ASEE 2006), Chicago, IL, USA, June 18-21, 2006.

Preliminary Evaluation of a Synchronous Co-located Educational Simulation Framework
Work-in-Progress, ACM SIG CHI, Montreal, QC, CAN · April 22 - 27, 2006

Lyons, L., Lee, J., Quintana, C., and Soloway, E. Preliminary Evaluation of a Synchronous Co-located Educational Simulation Framework, Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI2006), Montreal, QC, CAN, April 22-27, 2006.

Addressing Assessment Challenges for a Multi-User Simulation with Handheld Integration (MUSHI)
Poster, IDC, Boulder, CO, USA · June 8 - 10, 2005

Vath, R., Lyons, L., Lee, J., Kawamura, M., Quintana, C., and Soloway, E. Addressing Assessment Challenges for a Multi-User Simulation with Handheld Integration (MUSHI), Poster at the 4th International Conference for Interaction Design and Children (IDC 2005), Boulder, CO, USA, June 8-10, 2005.

MUSHI: Demonstrating A Multi-User Simulation with Handheld Integration
Demo, IDC, Boulder, CO, USA · June 8 - 10, 2005

Lee, J., Lyons, L., Kawamura, M., Quintana, C., Vath, R., and Soloway, E. MUSHI: Demonstrating A Multi-User Simulation with Handheld Integration, Demonstration at the 4th International Conference for Interaction Design and Children (IDC 2005), Boulder, CO, USA, June 8-10, 2005.

Beyond Hits: Gauging Visitor Behavior at an On-line Manufacturing Exhibit
Paper, MOW, Vancouver, BC, CAN · April 13 - 16, 2005

Lyons, L., and Pasek, Z. Beyond Hits: Gauging Visitor Behavior at an On-line Manufacturing Exhibit, Proceedings of Museums and the Web 2005 (MOW2005), Vancouver, BC, CAN, April 13-16, 2005.

Creating an Informal Engineering Education Experience: Interactive Manufacturing Exhibit
Paper, ICEE, Gainesville, FL, USA · October 17-21, 2004

Kaynar, I., Pasek, Z., and Lyons, L. Creating an Informal Engineering Education Experience: Interactive Manufacturing Exhibit, Proceedings of International Conference on Engineering Education (ICEE2004), Gainesville, FL, USA, October 17-21 2004.

Posters:

Evaluating the Embodiment Benefits of a Paper-Based TUI for Educational Simulations
CHI, Vancouver, Canada · May 7 - 12, 2011
Tia Shelley, Leilah Lyons, Emily Minor, and Moira Zellner

This poster presents a proof-of-concept implementation of an RFID-based interaction strategy for the EcoCollage project.

RFID Localization for Tangible and Embodied Multi-User Interaction with Museum Exhibits
UBICOMP, Copenhagen, Denmark · September 27 - 29, 2010
Francesco Cafaro & Leilah Lyons

This poster presents a proof-of-concept implementation of an RFID-based interaction strategy for the CoCensus project.

Paper to Parameters: Designing Tangible Simulation Input
UBICOMP, Copenhagen, Denmark · September 27 - 29, 2010
Tia Shelley & Leilah Lyons

This poster presents a proof-of-concept implementation of the Paper-to-Parameters input strategy for the EcoCollage project.

Mobile devices transforming the museum experience: Opportunistic User Interfaces to exhibits
ICLS 2010, Chicago, IL, USA · June 29 - July 2, 2010
Leilah Lyons

Presented in the Technologies and Tools to Support Informal Science Learning Poster Symposium. This poster presents three studies of Opportunistic User Interfaces (O-UIs) to digital museum exhibits.

Designing for an Informal Learning Environment: Towards a Participatory Simulation Design Process for Public Policy Planning
ICLS 2010, Chicago, IL, USA · June 29 - July 2, 2010
Chandan Dasgupta, Leilah Lyons, Moira Zellner, & Andrew Greenlee

This poster presents preliminary findings from an interview-based study of how urban planning stakeholders respond to the use of simulations in the urban planning process, as part of the Systems Simulations for Stakeholdersproject.

Studying Different Methods of Providing Input to a Collaborative Interactive Museum Exhibit Using Mobile Devices
6th IEEE WMUTE 2010, Kaohsiung, Taiwan · April 12- 16, 2010
Priscilla Jimenez & Leilah Lyons

This poster presents preliminary findings from a study of the impact of different Opportunistic User Interface (O-UI) input modalities on two-dimensional manipulation and small group collaboration.

Enhancing Collabora;ve Solu;on‐Building for Urban Sustainability with Computer Simulations: Water Management in the Chicago Region
Shirley Jackson Poster session on Renewable Energy, Sustainability and Environment, Chicago, IL, USA · February 8, 2010
Moira Zellner & Leilah Lyons

This poster was presented at a poster session to highlight UIC research on renewable energy, sustainability and environment for Shirley Jackson, member of United States President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. The poster presents the concepts underlying the Systems Simulations for Stakeholders project.

Integrated Study of Natural resources, Human Impact, and Environmental Policy: Making complex systems accessible for secondary learners
Shirley Jackson Poster session on Renewable Energy, Sustainability and Environment, Chicago, IL, USA · February 8, 2010
Leilah Lyons, Moira Zellner, & Emily Minor

This poster was presented at a poster session to highlight UIC research on renewable energy, sustainability and environment for Shirley Jackson, member of United States President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. The poster presents the concepts underlying the EcoCollageproject.

Designing for the Cooperative Use of Multi-User, Multi-Device Museum Exhibits
What Research Can Teach Us about Science Learning: A Poster Session, ASTC, Los Angeles, CA, USA · October 16 - 16, 2007
Leilah Lyons

This poster was presented at the Association of Science - Technology Centers, as part of a poster session showcasing recent results from academic research. The poster presents preliminary findings from the study I conducted the summer of 2007 at the Exploratorium in San Francisco.

Scaffolding Cooperative Multi-Device Activities in an Informal Learning Environment
Doctoral Consortium, ACM SIG CHI, San Jose, CA, USA · April 28 - May 3, 2007
Leilah Lyons

This poster was presented as a component of the CHI '07 doctoral consortium, and was an opportunity for me to specify the problem space for encouraging participation in multi-device cooperative learning activities. See Papers for the accompanying short paper.

Preliminary Evaluation of a Synchronous Co-located Educational Simulation Framework
Work-in-Progress, ACM SIG CHI, Montreal, QC, CAN · April 22 - 27, 2006
Leilah Lyons, Joe Lee, Chris Quintana, & Elliot Soloway

This poster summarizes the studies we had performed in lab and classrooms of the MUSHI (Multi-User Simulation with Handeld Integration) framework. See Papers for the accompanying short paper.

Education

Ph.D., University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 2008