Faculty

John Stetson chats about a project idea with 3-time participant, Kate Tabor

One of the most rewarding aspects of Constructing Modern Knowledge is the ability to work with some of the world’s leading educational technology experts on personal project development.

Artemis Papert assists with Turtle Art programming

Cynthia Solomon, Brian Silverman, Gary Stager, Brian C. Smith, Dan Lynn Watt, Molly Lynn Watt, Sylvia Martinez, Claudia Urrea, and Brian Smith have unrivaled experience and expertise teaching and learning with computers. Cynthia was one of the three people responsible for creating the Logo programming language over forty years ago and Brian Silverman is a master learner who has created many of the world’s most popular construction environments for learning since the late 1970s. This firepower is in addition to the amazing guest speakers featured at CMK 2015!

Sylvia Martinez assists Generation YES founder Dennis Harper

Faculty

Cynthia Solomon, Ed.D.– 9th year
Senior Fellow: Constructing Modern Knowledge
Dr. Solomon directed the creation of educational materials for the One Laptop Per Child Foundation. Before that she was the Technology Integration Coordinator at Monsignor Haddad Middle School in Needham, MA and before that taught at Milton Academy for seven years. She is a pioneer in the fields of artificial intelligence, computer science and educational computing. 40 years ago while at Bolt, Beranek & Newman, Cynthia, along with Seymour Papert and Wally Feurzig created the first programming language for children, Logo.She was Vice President of R&D for Logo Computer Systems, Inc. when Apple Logo was developed and was the Director of the prestigious Atari Cambridge Research Laboratory. Dr. Solomon has maintained a long relationship with the MIT Media Lab and the One Laptop Per Child Foundation in addition to her teaching, consulting and scholarship.

Her doctoral research at Harvard led to the publication of the critical book, Computer Environments for Children: A Reflection on Theories of Learning and Education. Cynthia Solomon is also the co-author of Designing Multimedia Environments for Children, with Allison Drum.Cynthia Solomon’s archive of classic videos about learning and computers, Logothings, may be found here.Dr. Solomon is the Constructing Modern Knowledge Senior Fellow.

Jose Valente dingbat José Armando Valente, Ph.D. – 1st year
José Armando Valente is a Professor at the Multimedia Department of the Art Institute at the State University of Campinas (Universidade Estadual de Campinas – UNICAMP) in Brazil, teaching graduate and undergraduate students on topics related to programming, and the development of digital narratives and games as a way of thinking about the use of different media in learning situations.As co-founder and researcher at the Nucleus of Informatics Applied to Education, (Núcleo de Informática Aplicada à Educação – NIED) he has been instrumental in the advancement of technology in the Brazilian educational system for the past 30 years. Most recently he coordinated projects using 1:1 laptops in elementary and secondary public schools, studying specifically how to integrate these technologies with the development of curriculum activities.

Valente is Coordinator of the Management Group on Educational Technologies (Grupo Gestor de Tecnologias Educacionais – GGTE), which supports the integration of technologies into graduate and undergraduate courses at UNICAMP, with the objective of promoting pedagogical approaches based on active learning.

Valente is also a Collaborating Professor in the Graduate Program in Education: Curriculum, at the São Paulo Pontific Catholic University (Pontifícia Universidade Católica de São Paulo – PUC/SP), where he develops research and projects related to the integration of technologies and curriculum.

Valente earned a M.S. degree in Computer Science at UNICAMP, a M.S. in the Interdisciplinary Science and Education Program at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and a PhD from the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Division for Study and Research in Education, at MIT. As a doctoral student, he had Seymour Papert as his advisor, and he used Logo with cerebral palsied children as a means to understand their intellectual development and to help them to acquire new academic knowledge.

Brian Silverman– 7th year
Artemis Papert – 7th year
Since the late 1970s, Brian Silverman has been involved in the invention of software learning environments for children. His work includes dozens of Logo versions (including LogoWriter & MicroWorlds), Scratch, Turtle Art, LEGO robotics and the PicoCricket.An incomparable presenter, Brian is a Consulting Scientist to the MIT Media Lab, a brilliant mathematician, computer scientist and master tinkerer. He once even built a tic-tac-toe playing computer out of TinkerToys.Recently, Brian’s computer archeology “hobby” has garnered quite a bit of attention:

His article, “What I Did On My Three Summer Vacations,” will help you understand why Brian is an idispensible part of Constructing Modern Knowledge!

Anne Valente dingbat  Ann Berger Valente, Ph.D. – 1st year
Ann Berger Valente has been working with technology in education since the early 1980’s as educator and researcher in the constructionist tradition. She has extensive experience in the use of digital technologies as developmentally appropriate tools for learning in special needs and regular classroom environments.

She worked for nine years as the technology coordinator at a progressive elementary and middle school (PreK – grade 9) in Brazil. Recently, she was a research fellow in a study on the exploration of scientific inquiry in elementary school 1:1 computing classrooms. This was a participatory research project in which researchers assisted teachers as they developed technology infused experiments based on student generated hypotheses.

For the past 10 years, she has been leading the Monitoring and Evaluation of educational programs, products, and policies. Among these projects was the pilot test for LEGO Education of the low-cost WeDo robotics kit designed for the “$100” laptops, aligning this prototype to instructional objectives in a Brazilian classroom setting.

She also conducted a nationwide study for UNESCO and the Brazilian Ministry of Education regarding State Secretariats of Education’s policies for the promotion of digital technologies in the state public school systems. As a follow-up of the Ministry’s national pilot project for 1:1 computing, reaching classrooms from the interior of the Amazon to urban centers in São Paulo, the study documented and analyzed the range of implementation strategies, obstacles, and solutions across these diverse settings.

Ann has a BA in Early Childhood Education from the Tufts University, an Ed.M. in Educational Technology from the Harvard School of Education, and a Ph.D. in Medical Sciences – Neurology from the University of Campinas in São Paulo, Brazil.

molly watt dingbat
dan watt dingbat

 

Dan and Molly Lynn Watt – 3rd year

Molly and Dan, former classroom teachers, pioneered teaching Logo to teachers and promoting educational uses of computers for collaborative and constructivist learning. During the 1980s and 1990s they wrote several Logo books, each wrote a featured monthly column and many articles.

They usually worked as a team, lecturing, and leading teacher workshops and courses throughout the US and Canada, and in China, Australia, Italy and Bermuda. From 1984 – 1989 they co-founded and led The Logo Institute in various locations as graduate professional development for educators by immersion into hands-on group projects. Molly and Dan’s book, Teaching With Logo: Building Blocks for Learning (Addison-Wesley, 1986), demonstrates this approach. From 1987 to 1991 they created and led The Logo Action Research Collaborative (LARC), funded by the National Science Foundation to train and support teachers using Logo with their students in collaborative action research to enhance and document the learning of students having fun with Logo.

The work of LARC was presented at many national and regional conferences, and published in a NECC monograph, New Paradigms in Classroom Research on Logo Learning, (ISTE 1993).The Watts’ approach to action research was documented in the chapter, “Doing Research, Taking Action and Changing Practice with Collaborative Support”, in the book, Diagnostic Teaching, Teacher’s College Press, 1999.

After earning a Ph.D. in engineering Dan worked with Seymour Papert and the MIT Logo Group where he led seminal research in educational computing, notably the Brookline Logo Project in the 1970s. His book, Learning With Logo, (Byte Books, McGraw-Hill, 1983-1985) was the first comprehensive Logo book for non-computer scientists. It including programmed activities ripe for expansion and debugging strategies and explanations for teachers and students. It sold more than 100,000 copies and was translated into Chinese, Spanish, Italian, German and Hebrew.Dan’s long career in education starting in the sixties featured constructivist approaches to math and science education many funded by the NSF.

He was a software and curriculum designer for Math and More, a computer enhanced math curriculum for grades K-8, published by IBM in the US and Canada; Principal investigator for Technology Enhanced Learning of Geometry in Elementary Schools; and math consultant and curriculum author for several units of the University of Alaska’s Mathematics in a Cultural Context: Lessons Learned from Yup’ik Eskimo Elders. For the past two years Dan has supported The Young People’s Project (YPP) in developing an after-school Scratch curriculum. YPP, an inner-city math enrichment program, is an outgrowth of Robert Moses’ Algebra Project.

Molly likes to teach by listening and reflecting. She was a trial teacher for many NFS-funded math and science projects in her classroom, including Logo during its development. She insisted that computers were a tool for everyone, and slowly went about making good use of her black Apple in 1980 and her Radio Shack TRS-80 for messaging and filing stories via the telephone. Her workbook series for elementary students, Welcome to Logo! (D.C. Heath 1986), was translated into Spanish. She led components of on-line action research as professional development for many federally funded projects in educational reform: The ATLAS project, NCIP, US State Systemic Initiative, Pain Management Leadership Teams in hospitals and Best Schools Leadership Teams. She was an Associate Professor of Education at Antioch New England Graduate School.

The day after the towers fell, Sept 12, 2011, she resigned and has worked as a poet ever since. She is widely published and gives many readings each year. Her second book of poem, On Wings of Song—A Journey into the Civil Rights Era will be released by Ibbestson Street Press in July.Molly and Dan are life-long constructivists and activists working for civil rights, peace and schools where everyone can be involved learning together.

For the past decade they teach in the Harvard Institute for Learning in Retirement (HILR) courses on The Civil Rights Movement, nonviolent revolutions, Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger and writing. They are among the co-founders and developers of Cambridge Co-Housing, a 16-year adventure in collaborative community living with a focus on reducing our environmental footprint. And they sing and play every week in a ukulele band and will lead a Ukulele Festival in New Hampshire in August.

Sylvia Martinez– 9th year
Sylvia Martinez is a veteran of interactive entertainment and educational software industries, with over a decade of design and publishing experience. She is currently President of Constructing Modern Knowledge Press. Prior to that, she was President of Generation YES for nearly a decade, Sylvia oversaw product development, design and programming as Vice President of Development for Encore Software, a publisher of game and educational software on PC, Internet and console platforms.Sylvia was also involved in the company’s Internet initiatives, including Math.com, the award-winning web site that provides math help to students worldwide.For seven previous years, Sylvia was an executive producer at Davidson & Associates/Knowledge Adventure, a leading educational software developer.She designed, developed and launched dozens of software titles including Math Blaster: Algebra, Math Blaster: Geometry and Maurice Ashley Teaches Chess. In addition, she was responsible for Educast – the first Internet service for teachers that provided teachers with free news, information and classroom resources.Before Davidson & Associates, Martinez spent six years at Magnavox Research Labs, where she developed high-frequency receiver systems and navigation software for GPS satellites.

Sylvia has been a featured speaker at national education technology conferences in areas ranging from the use of the Internet in schools, Web 2.0 technologies, student leadership, project-based and inquiry-based learning with technology and gender issues in science, math, engineering and technology (STEM) education.

She holds a Master’s in Educational Technology from Pepperdine University , and a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of California, Los Angeles. Read Sylvia’s popular blog here.Sylvia is the co-author of Invent To Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom.

Ben Leduc-mills dingbat Ben Leduc-Mills .– 1st year
Ben Leduc-Mills is currently a contractor working within Google’s Advanced Technologies and Projects group (ATAP), where he works on next generation wearable devices doing things he mostly can’t talk about (yet). Formerly a researcher in the education department at SparkFun Electronics where he investigated strategies to infuse learning spaces with more hands-on activities centered around electronics, Arduino, Processing, IoT, Scratch, and more.He received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Colorado, Boulder, where he worked under Michael Eisenberg in the Craft Technology Lab, building ’embodied fabrication’ tools aimed at getting children involved in designing objects for 3D printing.

Prior to Colorado worked at Eyebeam, a premier art and technology center, and earned his Master’s degree from NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP).Ben has taught, presented, and published at numerous academic conferences, Maker Faires, hackerspaces, universities, and other informal learning spaces on building and teaching constructivist technologies to children and incorporating it into learning spaces of all shapes and sizes.

Brian C. Smith– 7th year
Brian C. Smith is ICT Facilitator at Hong Kong International School before that he was an Instructional Technology Specialist for the Monroe #1 Board of Cooperative Educational Services in the Rochester, New York area. His 15+ years in education have taught him a most important aspect about learning, to enjoy it.Believing that play can be a sophisticated way of learning, Brian has been creating and promoting Math and Inventor’s Playshops teaching both students and educators the power of learning through creative computing. Of particular interest lately has been the DIY phenomenon and the use of Arduino prototyping platform for creating interesting interactive objects and solving problems.

Brian was also a NYSCATE Board Director and has helped plan, organize and coordinate numerous conferences and events, including a Constructivist Celebration at the National Museum of Play.

Read more about our amazing guest speakers!