We are so excited to announce our keynote lineup for Constructionism / FabLearn 2023!
Yasmin B. Kafai is Lori and Michael Milken President’s Distinguished Professor at the Graduate School of Education, University of Pennsylvania, with a courtesy appointment in Computer and Information Science. She is a learning designer and researcher of online tools, projects, and communities to promote coding, criticality, and creativity. With colleagues at MIT, she developed the widely popular programming language Scratch, now with over 100 million users, and researched computational participation in clubs, classrooms, and communities. More recently, she has investigated the use of electronic textiles to introduce computing, engineering, and machine learning to high school students and teachers as part of the nationwide Exploring Computer Science curriculum. She has written several books, among them “Connected Code: Why Children Need to Learn Programming,” “Connected Gaming: What Making Videogames Can Teach Us About Learning and Literacy,” and recently edited with Nathan Holbert and Matthew Berland “Designing Constructionist Futures: The Art, Theory, and Practice of Learning Designs” — all published by MIT Press. Kafai earned a doctorate in education from Harvard University while working at the MIT Media Lab. She is an elected Fellow of the American Educational Research Association and the International Society for the Learning Sciences..
Yamilée Toussaint Beach
Yamilée Toussaint is the Founder & CEO of STEM From Dance, which empowers girls with the skills, experiences, and confidence to pursue careers in STEM through the transformative power of dance. Combining her background in engineering, education, and a lifelong passion for dance, she started the program in 2012 to inspire girls of color to pursue STEM careers. Yamilée holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from MIT and a M.S. in Teaching from Pace University. She has earned her numerous accolades, including Teach For America’s Social Innovation Award and AnitaB.org‘s Educational Innovation Award.
Dennis Komm is Associate Professor at ETH Zurich since 2022 and chairs the group for Algorithms and Didactics within the Institute for Theoretical Computer Science at the Department of Computer Science. He received his Master’s Degree from RWTH Aachen University in 2008 and his PhD from ETH Zurich in 2012. After that, he held different positions as lecturer and senior scientist, and the chair for Didactics of Computer Science at the University of Teacher Education Graubünden. His research interest is in algorithm design and analysis as well as computer science education.
José Armando Valente
José Armando Valente is a retired Professor from the Multimedia Department of the Art Institute at the State University of Campinas (Universidade Estadual de Campinas – UNICAMP) in Brazil, where he was teaching graduate and undergraduate students on topics related to the use of digital technology in education. He was co-founder and currently collaborator at the Nucleus of Informatics Applied to Education, (Núcleo de Informática Aplicada à Educação – NIED) which has been instrumental in the advancement of technology in the Brazilian educational system for almost 40 years. 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 to understand their intellectual development and to help them to acquire new academic knowledge. Currently he is interested in the development of maker education and is participating in the Maker Culture Project at the Transformative Learning Technologies Lab at Columbia University.
Ann Berger Valente
Ann Berger Valente is a researcher at the Lifelong Kindergarten group of the MIT Media Lab. Her work focuses on supporting the Brazilian Creative Learning Network, an organization that brings together thousands of teachers, artists, researchers, decision-makers, families, and students from all over Brazil to support and promote more creative and relevant public education for all. Previously, she conducted monitoring and evaluation of educational and social development programs for UNESCO, Nike Foundation, LEGO Education, and Intel Education. She has over 30 years of experience using digital technology as a tool to expand learning opportunities in special education, regular K-12 education, and teacher professional development. She received a M.Ed. in educational technology from the Harvard School of Education and a Ph.D. in Medical Sciences from the University of Campinas in Brazil.
Justice Toshiba Walker
Justice Toshiba Walker, Ph.D., is a Learning Scientist and Assistant Professor of STEM Education at the University of Texas at El Paso, the nation’s leading R1 Hispanic-Serving Institution, where he leads the ABC Learning Lab and its emphasis on learning technologies that leverage next generation bio and computing tools. His research examines how middle and high school youth respond to learning paradigms that emphasize cultural relevance, epistemological agency and critical literacies. In one line of his funded work, Walker co-developed Biodesign activities—Synthetic Biology and Me—wherein learners can use biotechnologies like synthetic biology to design, build and learn about biomaterials and sophisticated biological processes, while also critically interrogating contemporary socio-scientific issues in relation to their personal values, needs and priorities. In another line of research, Walker developed a sandbox approach to Data Science-based computing education called, “Coding Like A Data Miner” wherein youth learn to scrape big data from the Twitter social media platform in order to curate data aligned their the personal, cultural and/or sociopolitical concerns. These projects illustrate Walker’s commitment to equity, innovation and learning. Walker holds a B.S. in Molecular Biology and English Literature from the University of Miami, and M.S. in Biotech Engineering and Ph.D. in Teaching and Learning, both earned at the University of Pennsylvania.