Email: aloparev [at] wellesley [dot] edu
My name is Anna Loparev, and I work with Orit Shaer as a postdoctoral researcher at the Wellesley College Human-Computer Interaction Lab. My research focuses on the intersection of collaboration, education, and video games. In particular, I am interested in how we can use cutting-edge technologies to supported educational collaborative play. If you would like a copy of my CV, please contact me.
A. Loparev, A. Sullivan, C. Verish, L. Westendorf, J. Davis, M. Flemings, M. Bers, and O. Shaer. BacToMars: A Collaborative Educational Video Game for Teaching Biological Engineering. In Proceedings of Foundations of Digital Interactive Games (FDG) 2017. Extended abstract, poster.
A. Loparev, A. Sullivan, C. Verish, L. Westendorf, J. Davis, M. Flemings, M. Bers, and O. Shaer. BacToMars: Creative Engagement with Bio-Design for Children. In Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Interaction Design and Children (IDC) 2017. Extended abstract, poster.
A. Loparev, L. Westendorf, M. Flemings, J. Cho, R. Littrell, A. Scholze, and O. Shaer. BacPack: Exploring the Role of Tangibles in a Museum Exhibit for Bio-Design. In Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Tangible, Embedded, and Embodied Interactions (TEI) 2017. Full paper, oral presentation.
A. Loparev, L. Westendorf, M. Flemings, J. Cho, R. Littrell, A. Scholze, and O. Shaer. BacPack for New Frontiers: A Tangible Tabletop Museum Exhibit Exploring Synthetic Biology. In Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Interactive Surfaces and Spaces (ISS) 2016. Demonstration.
A. Loparev. 2016. The impact of collaborative scaffolding in educational video games on the collaborative support skills of middle school students. Ph.D. Dissertation. University of Rochester. ProQuest Publication Number: 10109909.
A. Loparev and C.A. Egert. Scaffolding in educational video games: An approach to teaching collaborative support skills. In Proceedings of the IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference (FIE) 2015. Work-in-Progress Track: Short paper, oral presentation.
A. Loparev and C.A. Egert. Toward an effective approach to collaboration education: A taxonomy for game design. In Proceedings of the IEEE Games, Entertainment, and Media Conference (IEEE GEM) 2015. Game Studies and Education Track: Short paper, oral presentation.
A. Loparev, W.S. Lasecki, K.I. Murray and J.P. Bigham. Introducing Shared Character Control to Existing Video Games. In Proceedings of Foundations of Digital Interactive Games (FDG) 2014. Atypical Controls Track: Full paper, oral presentation.
Most of my postdoctoral work has centered on TangiBac, a project in which I explore the potential of reality-based interfaces as a tool to engage young children in biological engineering.
During my first year as a postdoc, I worked with Lauren Westendorf and Orit Shaer of the Wellesley College Human-Computer Interaction Lab, in collaboration with Romie Littrell and Anja Scholze of the Tech Museum of Innovation, to develop a multi-touch interactive tabletop activity called BacPack, which teaches children about bacteria. I developed new behaviors within the software and implemented new content.
I am now working with Orit Shaer, along with Marina Bers and Amanda Sullivan of Tufts University's DevTech Research Group, on a desktop game inspired by BacPack called BacToMars, which will be incorporated into a classroom curriculum.
In my thesis, I explored the impact of collaborative scaffolding in educational video games on helping behaviors in the middle school classroom. Because the concept of collaboration is not well defined, I first developed a taxonomy based on over 25 existing studies and surveys from a wide range of disciplines and with sectionerse target demographics. From this taxonomy, I identified two types of helping for my evaluation: performing part of a task for someone (direct helping) and providing guidance (indirect helping). For my study, I modified an existing educational video game, making the game collaborative and incorporating text-based scaffolding for helping behaviors with statements like "I should help create the path." and "Discussing how to get past these obstacles might not be a bad idea." After analyzing data from trials I ran at local middle schools and afterschool programs, I found no impact on helping behaviors. However, the scaffolding had a surprisingly negative effect on attitudes toward collaboration, highlighting the need to explore this phenomenon in more detail.
During my second and third years at the University of Rochester, I worked with Walter Lasecki, Kyle Murray, and Jeff Bigham on WeGame, a system that turns any single-player game into a multiplayer experience. I designed and ran user trials to compare methods of combining inputs, and I explored the types of dynamics such a setup entails.
During my first and second years at the University of Rochester, I worked on creating a model of how blind users use screen readers to experience the web. The goal was to explore the differences among blind users, as well as to use the model for evaluation in future projects.
During my first year at the University of Rochester, I created a developer hub for WebAnywhere, an internet-based screen reader that can be accessed from any computer. This hub included documentation on all files and classes, along with tutorials and a section on frequently asked questions.
Summer 2013 through Summer 2014, I interned at Second Avenue Learning as a learning analyst. While there, I contributed to on-site and off-site user testing sessions, produced content for educators and parents, developed new company protocols for design documentation, and designed TARGETS, an augmented reality card game that teaches chemistry. I also created preliminary designs for future units of Martha Madison, a collaborative game series that teaches middle school students about various science topics.
During my undergraduate career, I worked at the Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab first as the QA lead for Sc-rum'pet and later as the designer on Waker and Woosh. Waker and Woosh are games that teach middle school and high school students about displacement and velocity in a non-direct way. They were used to research the effects of narrative on enjoyment and knowledge retention. I also briefly worked as a designer/programmer on an early internal prototype of Symon.
Fall 2016 and Spring 2017 I taught the Fundamental Algorithms course at Wellesley College. Spring 2016 I taught the Computer Science and the Internet course. I have also done several guest lectures in the school's Human-Computer Interaction course, including a lecture on video games and HCI, as well as a workshop on UX design for games that I also ran with the general public through Boston Playcrafting.
Spring 2013 I designed and taught the introductory HCI course at the University of Rochester. Later, during spring 2014, I did a guest lecture on HCI and video games in a similar course.
Twice I worked as a teaching assistant for the University of Rochester's web programming course. I was also the head TA of the introduction to computer programming and the web course. All of these positions entailed teaching the course when the professor was away.