About Dr. Oren Zuckerman
Dr. Oren Zuckerman got his Masters and Ph.D. at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab, where he studied and developed new interfaces for learning. His area of research is the impact interactive technologies have on human behavior, with a special focus on physical-digital technologies. Oren was recognized as a “Technology Pioneer” by the World Economic Forum in 2001, in Davos, Switzerland.
For the past 10 years, Dr. Zuckerman has been the founder & director of the Media Innovation Lab at IDC Herzliya. He also established the Interactive Communications program, an innovative educational track where he is responsible for the track vision and curriculum development.
During his years at MIT, Dr. Zuckerman was one of the contributors to the conceptual development of the Scratch coding environment. Scratch is the world’s leading coding environment for children, designed to introduce children to computational thinking in an intuitive and engaging way. Scratch is block-based, functioning somewhat like a jigsaw puzzle, and is used by children with no background in programming to create games, art, simulations, and stories (For more information regarding Dr. Zuckerman’s contribution to Scratch: Read more on Wikipedia ).
Coding empowers children to think and solve challenges in a creative way, and should become the new digital literacy
During the early brainstorming sessions regarding the Scratch coding environment, Dr. Zuckerman came up with the name, Scratch. The inspiration for the name was the creative appropriations that DJ’s arrange when they create a new media experience based on an existing media created by others (e.g. music). The meaning behind the name is that children can be very creative by inventing new interactive experiences, using existing media such as images, animation, sounds, or interactive projects. With Scratch, children can remix projects of other Scratchers, use their favorite music when creating an animated dance performance, or copy the concept of their favorite video game and make it their own by changing the rules, or the visuals.
Today, the free MIT Scratch coding environment is used by more than 20 million users around the world, the majority of them children (8-18 years old), with more than 30 million projects created, 25% of them being remixes of existing projects.
Digital creativity skills should be accessible to every child in the world
Dr. Zuckerman has received several research grants in the fields of Interactive Media and Human-Computer Interaction (HCI). His research topics involve participation patterns in the Scratch online community, learning through physical-digital interaction, digital outdoor play, and human-robot interaction. He has published multiple papers on HCI conferences and journals and has participated in many technology innovation and interactive media events.
Research & Experience with technology and children
Selected papers on children, technology, learning, and play include:
- Children’s Participation Patterns in Online Communities
- Tangible user interfaces for children
- Extending tangible interfaces for education: digital montessori-inspired manipulatives
- Hands-on modeling and simulation of systems
- A new playground experience: going digital?
- In-car Game Design for Children: Child vs. Parent Perspective
- Digital Outdoor Play: Benefits and Risks from an Interaction Design Perspective