Marina U. Bers

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Tufts University ()

Dr. Bers is an assistant professor at the Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Development and an adjunct professor in the Computer Science Department at Tufts University. She is also a scientific research associate at Boston Children's Hospital.

At Tufts, Prof. Bers heads the interdisciplinary Developmental Technologies research group composed by students in Computer Sciences, Engineering, Education and Child Development. Prof. Bers is also the director of early childhood educational research at Tufts' Center for Educational Engineering Outreach (CEEO).

She completed her Ph.D. in 2001 at the MIT Media Laboratory, working with Seymour Papert, Mitchel Resnick and Sherry Turkle. Her research involves the design and study of innovative learning technologies to promote children's exploration of issues of identity and community.

Prof. Bers received the 2005 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the highest honor given by the U.S. government to outstanding investigators at the early stages of their careers. She also received a National Science Foundation (NSF)'s Young Investigator's Career Award, a five-year grant to support her work on virtual communities of learning and care. In 2005, she was awarded the American Educational Research Association (AERA)'s Jan Hawkins Award which is given for Early Career Contributions to Humanistic Research and Scholarship in Learning Technologies.

Over the past ten years, Prof. Bers conceived, designed and used diverse technological tools ranging from robotics to distributed collaborative learning environments, from storytelling programming languages to tangible human-computer interfaces. She conducted studies with each of these tools in elementary and high schools in the US, Argentina, Colombia and Spain, rural after-school settings in Costa Rica and Thailand, museums in Boston and New York, and young patients and psychiatrists in Boston Children's Hospital. Dr. Bers has written numerous book chapters and academic papers on her research and has presented her work in national and international conferences.

Dr. Bers is from Argentina, where she did her undergraduate studies in Social Communication at Buenos Aires University and worked as a journalist in both printed press and radio stations. In Argentina she also taught journalism to young children and worked as a teacher in non-formal Jewish education. In 1994 she came to the US where she received a Master's degree in Educational Media and Technology from Boston University and a Master of Science from the MIT Media Laboratory, under supervision of Justine Cassell. As part of MIT's initiatives in developing countries, Dr. Bers has worked on educational technology projects in both rural and urban settings in Argentina, Thailand and Costa Rica.

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Bers, Marina U., Gonzalez-Heydrich, Joseph, DeMaso, David Ray (2001): Identity Construction Environments: Supporting a Virtual Therapeutic Community of Pediatri. In: Beaudouin-Lafon, Michel, Jacob, Robert J. K. (eds.) Proceedings of the ACM CHI 2001 Human Factors in Computing Systems Conference March 31 - April 5, 2001, Seattle, Washington, USA. pp. 380-387.

Bers, Marina U., Ackermann, Edith, Cassell, Justine, Donegan, Beth, Gonzalez-Heydrich, Joseph, DeMaso, David Ray, Strohecker, Carol, Lualdi, Sarah (1998): Interactive Storytelling Environments: Coping with Cardiac Illness at Boston's Children's . In: Karat, Clare-Marie, Lund, Arnold, Coutaz, Joëlle, Karat, John (eds.) Proceedings of the ACM CHI 98 Human Factors in Computing Systems Conference April 18-23, 1998, Los Angeles, California. pp. 603-610.