Faculty and Staff


Dr. David Cavallo

David Cavallo is a Research Scientist and Director of the Future of Learning Group at the MIT Media Laboratory. He completed his Ph.D. in December 1999 under the direction of Professor Seymour Papert. His thesis work describes an educational intervention in Thailand, named Project Lighthouse, and points towards the importance of emergent design in the reform of large-scale, complex, dynamic environments. His work focuses on the design and implementation of reforms of learning environments and educational systems, and the role technology can play in this change process. He also works on the design of new technologies for learning through design, expression, and construction. His current work includes projects for large-scale educational reform in Brasil, including a project where children design their city of the future. He also is collaborating with the UN Food and Agriculture Organization on a project for technology and learning for sustainable development, with a pilot effort in Senegal.
Prior to MIT, Cavallo led the design and implementation of medical informatics as part of a reform of health care delivery and management at the Harvard University Health Services. Prior to that he was a principal and consulting software engineer at Digital Equipment Corporation's Artificial Intelligence Technology Center. He led enterprise architecture and implementation efforts for using technology to produce change in the processes and operations of major companies by focusing on learning. He designed and built numerous knowledge-based systems for industry. Most notable among these was a set of intelligent microworlds for training air traffic controllers. He founded and led the Advanced Technology group for Digital's Latin American and Caribbean Region. He also holds a Master of Science degree from the MIT Media Laboratory and a Bachelor's of Science degree in Computer Science from Rutgers University. He has advised numerous heads of state and ministries of education on the adoption of advanced technologies for learning and the reform of educational institutions.

e-mail: cavallo@media.mit.edu
homepage: http://web.media.mit.edu/~cavallo/



Prof. Seymour Papert

Seymour Papert is a mathematician, one of the early pioneers of Artificial Intelligence and internationally recognized as the seminal thinker about how computers can change learning. Papert was born and educated in South Africa where he participated actively in the anti-apartheid movement. From 1954-58 he pursued mathematical research at the universities of Cambridge and Paris. He worked with Jean Piaget at the University of Geneva from 1959-63 and it was this collaboration that led him to consider using mathematics in the service of understanding how children think and learn. In the early 60' s Papert came to MIT where, with Marvin Minsky he founded the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and co-authored their seminal work Perceptrons (1970) Dr. Papert is the inventor of the Logo computer language, the first and most important effort to give children control over new technology. He is the author of The Connected Family: Bridging the Digital Generation Gap (1996); Mindstorms: Children Computers and Powerful Ideas (1980) and the Children's Machine: Rethinking School in the Age of the Computer (1992) as well as numerous articles about mathematics, Artificial Intelligence, education, learning and thinking. In 1985 he was one of the founders of the Media Arts and Sciences Program and the MIT Media Laboratory and in 1988 he was named LEGO Professor of Learning Research, a chair created for him. His advice on technology-based educational methods has been sought internationally by governments and government agencies in Africa, Latin America, Europe and Asia. In United States he is often called to testify before Presidential commissions and Congressional committees. he frequently speaks at meetings of school boards, School Board Associations, academic conferences and other gatherings concerned with the future of schooling. His work on education has been recognized by many awards including The Computerworld Smithsonian Award; The Marconi International Fellowship Award and the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Software Publishers Association.

e-mail: papert@media.mit.edu
homepage: http://www.media.mit.edu/~papert



Jacqueline Karaaslanian

Group Manager

Jacqueline Karaaslanian was born in Yerevan, Armenia, and received her education in France, specializing in foreign languages. She joined the Centre Mondial in Paris at its inception in 1981 as the project administrator for the Chief Scientist Seymour Papert, and she has worked with Papert and his scientific team ever since, developing pioneering education and technology projects around the world. In 1983 she joined the founding team of the Media Lab at MIT. She works at the Media Lab as a group manager and director of special projects for the Future of Learning Group. Jacqueline's focus is to evolve, elaborate, and propagate new models of learning, in various cultural settings, that fit the needs of the digital age.

e-mail: jk@media.mit.edu



Graduate Students


Arnan (Roger) Sipitakiat

Graduate student

Arnan (Roger) is a graduate student at the MIT Media Laboratory. He received a bachelor's degree in Computer Science and Engineering from Chiangmai University, Thailand. He is interested in building technologically rich tools for children that could be used as incubators of student-centered construction-based learning environments. He also focuses on the development of sustainable education reform programs, looking at design methodologies, implementation strategies and supporting systems that are necessary.

e-mail: arnans@media.mit.edu
homepage: http://www.media.mit.edu/~arnans



Claudia Urrea

Graduate student

Claudia Urrea, a PhD candidate, holds a bachelor degree in computer science and is completing a master's degree in educational media and technology. She is interested in understanding how children concurrently develop knowledge on different subjects (e.g., science, mechanics, math, and human values) through project-based work. Her main focus is formulating and implementing strategies to facilitate the creation of new educational programs for developing countries. Since 1990 she has focused on educational and technology projects in the United States, Latin America, and Thailand.

e-mail: calla@media.mit.edu
homepage: http://www.media.mit.edu/~calla



Laura E. Nichols

Graduate student

e-mail: nicholsl@mit.edu



Undergraduate Students




Alice Mello Cavallo

Alice Mello was born in Bahia-Brazil. She has a bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering at Federal University of Bahia and a master degree in Arts in Education at Harvard. She has been working in design and development of computer applications for 18 years on the fields of electrical energy, water treatment, environment, tourism, finance, and high education in Brazil, Germany and USA. She is interested in integrating Technology, Arts and Learning. Her main research at the moment is on Forum Theater and Technology. She is currently consulting to a variety of projects on Technology and Learning in Latin America and USA and leading two Forum Theater and Technology groups with children from age 9 to 12 in Somerville and Malden.

e-mail: mello@media.mit.edu
homepage: http://www.media.mit.edu/~mello/



Edith Ackermann

Edith Ackermann is a Professor of Developmental Psychology, University of Aix- Marseille I, France (1994-present). Currently appointed Visiting Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, School of Architecture (Design Technologies Group), she consults for various organizations and research institutions interested in the intersections between learning, teaching, design, and digital technologies (TERC, The Learning Co., LEGO, MIT Media Laboratory, I3, European Commission). Previously, Ackermann was a Senior research Scientist at MERL - A Mitsubishi Electric Research Laboratory, Cambridge, MA (1996- 1999); an Associate / Assistant Professor of Media Arts and Sciences at the M.I.T. Media laboratory, Cambridge, MA (1985-1994), and a Maitre-Assistant at the Faculté de Psychologie et Sciences de l'Education, University of Geneva, Switzerland. While in Geneva, she was a Scientific Collaborator at the Centre International d'Epistémologie Génétique (C.I.E.G.), under the direction of Jean Piaget (1972-79), and as a research collaborator of Bärbel Inhelder and Guy Céllerier (1976-85). She received a Doctor of Developmental Psychology (1981); two Master's degrees in Developmental Psychology and Clinical Psychology (1971); and a Bachelor of Experimental Psychology degree (1969), all from the University of Geneva, Switzerland.

e-mail: edith@media.mit.edu
homepage: http://www.media.mit.edu/~edith



Ron MacNeil

Ron MacNeil studied physics at RPI, received his BSAD from MIT and his MFA from Rhode Island School of Design in photography. He was co-founder of the Visible Language Workshop (with Muriel Cooper) and head of the Intelligent Graphics group at MIT's Media Lab, currently a collaborator in the MIT Home of the Future Project. He has conducted research in computer-based painting/ printing, intelligent personalized design tools, future air traffic and rail traffic planning and control environments, constraint-based and case based graphical programming tools since 1977. His current relevant projects include:

Whole body computer interfaces:
metaField Maze This interface is completely intuitive. The minute the participant steps on the floor and notices that the maze tilts and the ball rolls s/he knows exactly what to do and more or less how to do it, though practice helps. We achieve this quality by combining low-level computer vision techniques (blob tracking) using an overhead camera with an overhead projected 3D simulation environment tuned to react in real time. This piece has been exhibited at conferences and expositions in the U.S., Japan, Austria, England and is currently running at Boston's Museum of Science and the MIT Museum.

Pixels Everywhere:
In the Home of the Future Project we use projected and imbedded displays, to provide information where and when the user needs it, so that, for example, a forgetful elder can be followed by visual (and highly directional auditory) reminders.

e-mail: ronmac@media.mit.edu
homepage: http://web.media.mit.edu/~ronmac/



Michael Tempel

Michael Tempel is President of the Logo Foundation. He holds BA and MA degrees from Columbia University and an MS from the City University of New York. After 12 years as a New York City Public School teacher he began working with Logo in 1979 in the Computers in Schools project at the New York Academy of Sciences. He joined Logo Computer Systems, Inc. in 1981 where he worked on software development and teacher education. In 1991 he and Seymour Papert created the Logo Foundation.

Michael has been working with friends at MIT on constructionist learning projects for over 20 years. His collaboration with the Media Lab has included work in Costa Rica, Russia, Venezuela, Mexico and Thailand as well as many locations in the United States.

Since 1997 Michael has also been deeply involved with SEED, a nonprofit initiative of Schlumberger, which provides Internet connectivity for children in developing countries and access to the scientific expertise of the people of Schlumberger through the on-line SEED Science Center.

e-mail: michaelt@media.mit.edu
homepage: http://www.logofoundation.org



Gary Stager

Teacher educator, author and consultant, Gary Stager, has spent the past twenty years helping teachers make sense of their roles in the digital age. In 1990 he led development efforts at the world's first two"laptop schools"in Australia. Since then, Gary has worked with countless laptop schools from Maine to Melbourne. Stager has taught at Pepperdine University’s Graduate School of Education and Psychology for the past decade and in 1998 helped create its groundbreaking Online Master of Arts in Educational Technology degree program. In 1982, he created one of the nation’s first computer camp programs and was the Director of Professional Development forNJ’s Network for Action in MicroComputer Educator from 1983-93.

Gary is Editor-At-Large for District Administration Magazine and former Editor of Logo Exchange. He is a frequent conference presenter, workshop leader and keynote speaker at conferences across the USA, Canada, Spain, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Mexico, Switzerland, France, Bermuda, Costa Rica and Venezuela. Mr. Stager is an Associate of Thornburg Center and worked with Seymour Papert to create the Constructionist Learning Laboratory at the Maine Youth Center. Gary’s work with incarcerated youth in Maine is the subject of the PhD. dissertation he is completing at the University of Melbourne.

Gary has a degree in elementary education and once studied to be a jazz musician.

Mr. Stager’s corporate clients have included: Disney, Microsoft, LEGO, Apple Computer, Compaq, Tom Snyder Productions, Universal Studios, Toshiba, Logo Computer Systems, Inc. and Claris. Converge Magazine named Gary Stager a “shaper of our future and inventor of our destiny.”

e-mail: gary@stager.org
homepage: http://www.stager.org





Paulo Blikstein

M.S. (2002), Visiting Scholar (2002-2003)

Paulo Blikstein got his Masters degree from the MIT Media Lab in 2002, and continued to work there as a visiting scholar from 2002 to 2003. His is currently a PhD. Student at Northwestern University in Chicago. His research focus is innovative, sustainable intervention in public education systems, especially in Latin America, as well as the design of low-cost technologies and media-rich learning environments in tune with local community needs.
Originally from Brazil, Paulo got a bachelor's degree in Metallurgical Engineering and a M. Eng. in Digital Systems Engineering from the University of São Paulo (USP). Simultaneously, Blikstein also studied Cinema, directed two scientific documentaries and was the creator and scriptwriter of a Brazilian TV sitcom. Before coming to the Media Lab, he taught at the Fundação Getúlio Vargas, Brazilian leading business school, hosted a weekly debateprogram on TV and was the founder and CEO of one of the most successful IT distance learning companies in Brazil,Webkit.

e-mail: paulo@media.mit.edu
homepage: http://www.media.mit.edu/~paulo



Georgina Echaniz-Pellicer

M.S. [Spring - 2003]

Gina went to law school in Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico. After finishing law school, she collaborated with a Mexican NGO 'Centro de Derecho Ambiental e Integración Economica del Sur (DASSUR)' for two years. At present, she is a first year master student in the Media Laboratory at MIT and participates in different projects focusing on environmental education: Environmental Learning Environments, Learning and Community Development and Environmental Education-Technology. Her research is directed towards the promotion of environmental law compliance through education and social participation. The primary focus is the development of new technology-based tools for people to understand and enhance the quality of the environment and the sustainability of their community in the long term.

e-mail: georgina@media.mit.edu



Marina Umaschi Bers

Marina Umaschi Bers is a Ph.D. student in Seymour Papert's Epistemology and Learning Group at the MIT Media Laboratory. Her research involves the design and study of"identity construction environments", technological learning tools to support children's exploration of identity, particularly personal and moral and values. Marina is from Buenos Aires, Argentina, where she did her undergraduate studies in Social Communication and worked as a Journalist. In 1994 she came to the US where she received a Master's degree in Educational Technology from Boston University and a Master of Science from the MIT Media Laboratory.

e-mail: marinau@media.mit.edu
homepage: http://www.media.mit.edu/~marinau



Shastri Sandy

M. Eng. Student [2002]

Shastri is a Masters of Engineering student working on online collaborative environments. He is interested in tools that will enable groups, separated by geographical distance or time to make decisions more effectively. He did his Bachelors Degree at MIT in the fields of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and Management Science, Finance with a minor in Economics.

e-mail: shastri@media.mit.edu



Carlos Garcia

UROP [Summer 2001 - Spring 2002]

Carlos Garcia is a 4th year undergraduate from the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science department working with David Cavallo, Georgina Pellicer and Arnan (Roger) Sipitakiat in an environmental sensing project. Carlos is building sensors and developing the interface to make them compatible with the GoGo board, one of the projects of the group.

e-mail: cagv@mit.edu



Ariya Dararutana

UROP [2000 - Fall 2001]

Ariya is an undergraduate working with David Cavallo on a Microworlds Project that teaches a young child to program by physical example. She is a sophomore majoring in electrical engineering and computer science.

e-mail: ariya@media.mit.edu
homepage: http://web.mit.edu/~ariya64/www/index.htm



Adam Kumpf


Adam is helping to design circuits for many of the current sensor board projects(Espion, MSP430F149,"Magic Box"). He has no formal education in circuitry but never ceases to fiddle around with wires and chips until they do what he wants. Adam's life long hobbies include inventing, writing music, and enjoying nature. Open to new ideas and suggestions, Adam would be happy to hear any comments you may have regarding our current board designs and/or how they are used.

e-mail: kumpf@mit.edu
homepage: http://web.mit.edu/kumpf



Anindita Basu Sempere

Visiting Scholar

Anindita is a visiting scholar in the Future of Learning Group. She recently completed her Master's in Media Arts and Science. Her thesis was entitled 'Full-Contact Poetry.' Anindita graduated from Wellesley College in 2000 with honors in Computer Science and English. In her spare time, she enjoys writing, dancing, singing and reading (especially children's lit and poetry).

e-mail: anindita at media dot mit dot edu
homepage: http://anindita.org



Savalai Vaikakul

Graduate student

Savalai Vaikakul, a graduate student in the Future of Learning Group at the MIT Media Laboratory, is investigating the application of technology-mediated, collaborative, educational activities for the purpose of promoting systems thinking and probabilistic reasoning in the area of understanding issues about one's health. Savalai is originally from Bangkok, Thailand. She received an S.B. in Biology from MIT in 1997 and an S.M. in Media Arts and Sciences from MIT in 1999. She is partially funded by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.

e-mail: savalai@media.mit.edu
homepage: http://www.media.mit.edu/~savalai



Tara Shankar

Graduate Student

Tara Rosenberger Shankar is a doctoral student in the Future of Learning Group at the MIT Media Laboratory. She is working with Professor Seymour Papert to develop new concepts for the product and process of writing, particularly considering the potentials of new speech technology. Her doctoral research focuses upon transforming students’ efficacy with and connection to literate composition. Earlier work at the Media Lab, including Prosodic Font and Fugue projects, focused upon making visually explicit the connections between talk and text. Her long involvement in music and operatic voice training continues to be a fundamental source of research inspiration. Tara received B.S. and M.S. degrees in Rhetoric and Communication from University of Waterloo (1993) and Rensselaer Polytechnic (1995), respectively, and an M.S. degree from the Media Laboratory (1998).

e-mail: tara@media.mit.edu
homepage: http://www.media.mit.edu/~tara



Shaundra Bryant Daily

Graduate Student

Shaundra (Shani) Daily is a graduate student in the Future of Learning and Affective Computing Groups at the MIT Media Laboratory. She received her bachelor's (2001) and master's (2003) degrees in Electrical Engineering from the Florida Agricultural and Mechanical Univeristy- Florida State University College of Engineering. Her interests include the use of technology to enhance emotional reflection and understanding and sustainable community development programs.

e-mail: sbdaily@media.mit.edu
homepage: http://web.media.mit.edu/~sbdaily