Blocks and Stickers: Rethinking the where and how of Learning to Program - Seminar

Event Date: October 27, 2011
Speaker: Dr. Michael Horn
Speaker Affiliation: Northwestern University
Time: 3:30 p.m.
Location: Forney Hall, G124
Contact Name: Dr. Demetra Evangelou
Contact Phone: 494-4158
Contact Email:

In designing technology to support the future of learning, we must look beyond desktop computers and conventional modes of interaction and consider the flood of emerging technologies that already play a prominent role in the everyday lives of children. In this talk I will present research projects that build on emerging interactive technology to create tools for learning in real-life educational settings. These projects include tangible programming languages for classrooms and science museums, programmable sticker books for use in homes, and multi-touch tabletop applications for learning about evolution in natural history museums. In describing this research, I will address two central considerations for the future of technology use in education. First, how can we employ emerging technology to enrich and deepen the learning process while avoiding the superficial and distracting? Second, how can we design appropriate technology that considers the broader context and diverse participants of learning communities?


Michael S. Horn is an assistant professor at Northwestern University with a joint appointment in Computer Science and the Learning Sciences. Michael's research explores the use of emerging interactive technology in the design of novel learning experiences. His projects include the design and evaluation of a tangible computer programming language for use in science museums and early elementary school classrooms; and the design of multi-touch tabletop exhibits for use in natural history museums.

Michael earned his Ph.D. in Computer Science at Tufts University working in the Human-Computer Interaction Lab and the Developmental Technologies research group. He received his undergraduate degree in Computer Science from Brown University and has worked as a software engineer for several companies including Classroom Connect and iRobot Corporation. Michael’s work can be seen at the Boston Museum of Science and the Harvard Museum of Natural History.