Computing Pioneer Added to CMK ’09 Faculty

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Brian SilvermanYou should know my friend Brian Silverman! He is an unsung hero in educational computing and he’ll be at Constructing Modern Knowledge this July 13-16 in Manchester, NH.

If you or your students ever used Apple Logo, LogoWriter, MicroWorlds, programable LEGO, Scratch or dozens of other programming environments for children, there is a good chance Brian had a hand in their creation. After working with Seymour Papert while an undergraduate at MIT, Brian went on to be a founder of LCSI where he held most leadership positions, and for 20+ years led was responsible for research & development. His work resulted in countless learning environments used around the world. For more than a decade, Brian Silverman has been a consulting scientist at the prestigious MIT Media Lab.

Brian spoke at six of the seven New Jersey Educational Computing Conferences I chaired, plus a bunch of other conferences I organized in the US and Australia. Teachers looked forward to spending an hour or two with Brian each year because his presentations were so stimulating. There is no greater fun than making your brain go to places you never imagined before and Brian is a fantastic navigator. He is witty, profound and remarkably down-to-earth.

Brian Silverman’s love of math and science is infectious. He inspires me to think in new ways and explore problems on the frontiers of our imagination. Brian is remarkable in his ability to make complex concepts accessible to laypeople – most importantly, children. The universe is his playground and powerful ideas are his toys. Here are just a few examples:

  • Brian and some friends, including the inventor of Tetris, are fascinated by preserving not only old computers, but the software that made them special. Here is their faithful recreation of the world’s first videogame from 1961, SpaceWar!
Wikipedia entry for SpaceWar!
Wikipedia entry for SpaceWar!
  • Brian’s recent hobby is the creation of a software microworld in which art and mathematics are mutually supportive and beautiful, TurtleArt.

The computer is Brian’s laboratory and canvas. His spirit, wisdom and talents are a most welcome addition to Constructing Modern Knowledge 2009.

Comments

One Response to “Computing Pioneer Added to CMK ’09 Faculty”
  1. John Faig says:

    Congratulations.

    I met Brain at Educon2.1. He is a deep thinker and I enjoyed our conversation. I use his TurtleArt program at my school with about 100 7th & 8th graders. It is an excellent program and I may use it as a stepping stone to Scratch. The ease of use also inspired me to create a collaborative math environment design for a grad class.

    Thanks for the software and the inspiration.