Productive collaboration is an integral component of socially constructed
perspectives of learning. Yet effective collaboration is quite challenging and not without its
own risks. Collaboration, both distributed and face-to-face, must be nurtured; technologies can
support or undermine its positive growth in learning communities. In this paper, we present an
exploratory investigation of the types of social interactions that are both productive and nonproductive
in face-to-face informal science learning contexts. We include an analysis of the
ways in which social media technologies can be designed to support more collaborative
The HCIL has a long, rich history of transforming the experience people have with new technologies. From understanding user needs, to developing and evaluating these technologies, the lab's faculty, staff, and students have been leading the way in HCI research and teaching.