Edith Ackermann was an Associate Professor of Arts Media Science at the MIT Media Lab and a Scientific Collaborator at Jean Piaget’s Centre International d’Epistemologie Genetique in Geneva. In 1996, she was granted a Honorary Professorship of Developmental Psychology, at the University of Aix-Marseille 1, France, and currently works as a Visiting Scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, School of Architecture; a Senior Research Associate at the Harvard Graduate School of Design: and a regular consultant for the LEGO Group.
Her research interests center around human learning in a broad sense: from children’s play to organizational change, from personal growth to group innovation. She explores the conditions (internal, environmental, technological) under which some people, at some juncture, are more likely to hold onto their views or to let go of them, to opt for closure rather than openness, to favor digging vs. leaping, or to persevere rather than quit in the face of adversity (perceived or real). Her overall purpose: to help innovative teams of researchers and practitioners bring strategic research to design, and user-centered design to product development; to imagine and promote activities, artifacts, and spaces that bring about delight and foster personal and societal growth; to bring users back into the design process.
Leah Buechley is a designer, engineer, artist, and educator whose work explores intersections and juxtapositions—of “high” and “low” technologies, new and ancient materials, and masculine and feminine making traditions. She also develops tools aimed at engaging diverse audiences in creating their own technologies, among them the LilyPad Arduino kit. Her research has already led to the development of T-shirts that work as instruments, interactive wallpaper that monitors its surroundings, and sewable electronic components that allow individuals to build their own wearable, interactive fashion.
From 2009-2013 she was a professor at the MIT Media Lab where she directed the High-Low Tech research group. Her work has been exhibited internationally in venues including the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Ars Electronica Festival, and the Exploratorium, and has been featured in publications including the New York Times, Boston Globe, Huffington Post, and Wired.
Leah received PhD and MS degrees in computer science from the University of Colorado at Boulder and a BA in physics from Skidmore College. At both institutions she also studied dance, theater, fine art, and design.
Erica Rosenfeld Halverson
Dr. Erica Rosenfeld Halverson is an Associate Professor of Digital Media in the Department of Curriculum & Instruction at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Dr. Halverson’s research focuses on how people learn in and through the arts with an emphasis on the role that digital technologies play in art-making. Currently, she’s involved in a series of projects ranging from working with the Madison Public Libraries to make making a core service to developing the next generation of teaching artists. Her work has been published in a range of venues including the co-edited volumes Makeology, the first books to explore through research how the “maker movement” is changing education k-16 (Routledge, 2016). Dr. Halverson is also a working artist and can be seen in productions throughout Madison, Wisconsin. She is the co-founder of Barrel of Monkeys and of Whoopensocker, two organizations dedicated to the creative lives of kids through in-school creative arts residencies and the professional performance of kid-authored stories.
Richard Halverson is a professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis in the UW-Madison School of Education. His research aims to bring the research methods and practices of the Learning Sciences to the world of educational leadership and interactive media. Rich co-directs the Wisconsin Collaborative Education Research Network and the Comprehensive Assessment of Leadership for Learning project, and was a co-founder and co-director the Games + Learning + Society Research Center. He holds affiliate appointments in the UW-Madison Educational Psychology and Curriculum and Instruction Departments, and is a Fellow at the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery. He is a former high school teacher and administrator, and earned an MA in Philosophy and a PhD in the Learning Sciences from Northwestern University. He is co-author (with Allan Collins) of Rethinking Education in the Age of Technology: The Digital Revolution and Schooling in America and (with Carolyn Kelley) of Mapping Leadership: The Tasks that Matter for Improving Teaching and Learning in Schools.