Augustus Long Professor of Education at the Lynch School of Education and Human Development at Boston College
Dr. Marina Umaschi Bers is the Augustus Long Professor of Education at the Lynch School of Education and Human Development at Boston College, and she directs the interdisciplinary DevTech research group which she started in 2001 at Tufts University. As a pioneer in the field of early childhood computer science with projects of national and international visibility, Dr. Bers’ work has had a significant impact on the integration of technology and programming into early childhood education.
Dr. Bers is the co-creator of the free ScratchJr programming language, used by over 45 million children. She is also the creator of the KIBO robotic kit, a screenless and keyboardless educational tool that allows young children to program robots using wooden blocks, found in more than 65 countries. Her innovative projects, like ScratchJr and KIBO, continue to play a vital role in shaping the future of education.
Dr. Bers’ research involving the design and study of innovative learning technologies has led to prestigious awards such as the 2005 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), the highest honor given by the U.S. government to outstanding investigators. She also received a National Science Foundation Young Investigator’s Career Award and the American Educational Research Association (AERA) Jan Hawkins Award for Early Career Contributions to Humanistic Research and Scholarship in Learning Technologies.
She was selected by the Boston Business Journal as one of the recipients of its 2015 Women to Watch in Science and Technology awards and was elected fellow of the American Educational Research Association (AERA) in 2022 and the National Academy of Education in 2023.
She is the author of six books on education, new technologies, and children. Her newest book “Beyond Coding: How Children Learn Human Values through Programming” was published in 2022 by The MIT Press. Dr. Bers serves as content director for the PBS animated series “Work It Out, Wombats!” that engages young children in computational thinking. After graduating from Buenos Aires University in Argentina, Dr. Bers came to the US where she received an MEd from Boston University and an MS and PhD from the MIT Media Laboratory under the mentorship of Seymour Papert.