Meet Cynthia Solomon, EdTech Heroine & Senior Fellow at Constructing Modern Knowledge
There’s chatter from time-to-time within the edtech community about the lack of women in prominent roles. Yet, some of the most important pioneers in the field are ignored, overlooked or marginalized by the very same educators seeking representation and role models.
If Seymour Papert is the “father of educational computing,” then Dr. Cynthia Solomon is its mother. Cynthia was one of the three primary inventors of the Logo programming language for children and she introduced many of the metaphors used to teach programming to children. She is the author of one of the field’s seminal books, Computer Environments for Children: A Reflection on Theories of Learning and Education. How many of you have read this book first published in 1986?
More than 60 years ago, armed with a history degree from Ratcliffe, Cynthia took a job as Dr. Marvin Minsky’s secretary because she wanted to learn how to program computers at a time when that wasn’t an option available for young women. On the side, she taught herself to program in LISP. A few years later, she, Wally Feurzig & Seymour Papert created the first programming language for children, Logo, and started the educational computing revolution. Watch the interview in which Cynthia & Wally recount the birth of Logo.
Cynthia Solomon is also the co-author of Designing Multimedia Environments for Children (with Allison Druin) and Logoworks: Challenging Programs in Logo by Cynthia Solomon, Margaret Minsky and Brian Harvey. In 2019, Dr. Solomon edited the book, Inventive Minds: Marvin Minsky on Education. She recently put the full text of Computer Environments for Children: A Reflection on Theories of Learning and Education and Logoworks… on the Web for free.
We are so blessed to consider Dr. Solomon a friends, colleague, and Senior Fellow at Constructing Modern Knowledge!
The groundbreaking 1971 paper by Cynthia Solomon and Seymour Papert, Twenty Things to Do with a Computer, was the inspiration for the recent all-star collection of essays, Twenty Things to Do with a Computer Forward 50: Future Visions of Education Inspired by Seymour Papert and Cynthia Solomon’s Seminal Work.
A Recognized Pioneer
In 2016, Cynthia Solomon was finally recognized by the National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT) as the recipient of the Pioneer Award. (Read my tribute to Dr. Solomon commemorating this well-deserved recognition.)
We go way back
In 1985, I traveled to MIT for the first time to attend the Logo ’85 international conference. I was 22 years old and had no academic credentials. Memory suggests that the instant I stepped out of my cab, Cynthia Solomon and a handful of other great scholars and educators said, “Hey kid, come to dinner with us.” I’ve been lucky enough to have Cynthia Solomon as a friend, colleague and mentor ever since.
Join the Legends at Constructing Modern Knowledge 2023
Cynthia Solomon will join several of our heroes and sheroes in an Educational Legends panel discussion at the 14th annual Constructing Modern Knowledge institute, July 11-14, 2023. You will not want to miss that riveting conversation or the chance to interact with our other remarkable guest speakers and amazing faculty.