Marina Umaschi Bers

Marina Umaschi Bers is Professor and Chair of the Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Study and Human Development at Tufts University, with a secondary appointment in the Computer Science Department. She directs the interdisciplinary DevTech Research Group.

  • Beyond Coding

    How Children Learn Human Values through Programming

    Marina Umaschi Bers

    Why children should be taught coding not as a technical skill but as a new literacy—a way to express themselves and engage with the world.

    Today, schools are introducing STEM education and robotics to children in ever-lower grades. In Beyond Coding, Marina Umaschi Bers lays out a pedagogical roadmap for teaching code that encompasses the cultivation of character along with technical knowledge and skills. Presenting code as a universal language, she shows how children discover new ways of thinking, relating, and behaving through creative coding activities. Today's children will undoubtedly have the technical knowledge to change the world. But cultivating strength of character, socioeconomic maturity, and a moral compass alongside that knowledge, says Bers, is crucial.

    Bers, a leading proponent of teaching computational thinking and coding as early as preschool and kindergarten, presents examples of children and teachers using the Scratch Jr. and Kibo robotics platforms to make explicit some of the positive values implicit in the process of learning computer science. If we are to do right by our children, our approach to coding must incorporate the elements of a moral education: the use of narrative to explore identity and values, the development of logical thinking to think critically and solve technical and ethical problems, and experiences in the community to enable personal relationships. Through learning the language of programming, says Bers, it is possible for diverse cultural and religious groups to find points of connection, put assumptions and stereotypes behind them, and work together toward a common goal.

    • Paperback $25.00

Contributor

  • Civic Life Online

    Civic Life Online

    Learning How Digital Media Can Engage Youth

    W. Lance Bennett

    The relationship of participation in online communities to civic and political engagement.

    Young people today have grown up living substantial portions of their lives online, seeking entertainment, social relationships, and a place to express themselves. It is clear that participation in online communities is important for many young people, but less clear how this translates into civic or political engagement. This volume examines the relationship of online action and real-world politics. The contributors discuss not only how online networks might inspire conventional political participation but also how creative uses of digital technologies are expanding the boundaries of politics and public issues. Do protests in gaming communities, music file sharing, or fan petitioning of music companies constitute political behavior? Do the communication skills and patterns of action developed in these online activities transfer to such offline realms as voting and public protests? Civic Life Online describes the many forms of civic life online that could predict a generation's political behavior.

    ContributorsMarina Umaschi Bers, Stephen Coleman, Jennifer Earl, Kirsten Foot, Peter Levine, Kathryn C. Montgomery, Kate Raynes-Goldie, Howard Rheingold, Allen Schussman, Luke Walker, Michael Xenos

    • Hardcover $7.75
    • Paperback $16.00