Cynthia Solomon

Cynthia Solomon

2016 NCWIT Pioneer Award Winner

Cynthia Solomon’s focus has been on creating fun-filled, thoughtful, personally expressive, and aesthetically pleasing learning environments for children. Her work has spanned over several important collaborations, and has taken place in academic and corporate research environments and in elementary and secondary schools.  In addition, she has contributed to research in human-computer interaction and children as designers. Her seminal book, Computer Environments for Children, was the first comprehensive reflection on computers in education, and her paper with Seymour Papert, Twenty Things to do with a Computer, is a classic in the field.

Her collaboration on Logo, with Papert and teams at MIT, and Bolt, Beranek, and Newman, began in the late sixties and continued for the next four decades. Logo was the first programming language and programming environment designed specifically for children. It was also one of the earliest programming languages to be multilingual. In the course of building Logo and its successor learning environments, Cynthia was a founder of Logo Computer Systems and directed the development of Apple Logo, the first commercial version of Logo. She wrote and produced the introductory manual as well. She was Director of Atari Cambridge Research, where the focus was on building a “play station of the future". The lab produced many experimental prototypes of technologies now central to human-computer interaction.

Cynthia received her bachelor's degree in history at Radcliffe College. After a variety of research roles in the laboratories of Marvin Minsky and Seymour Papert at MIT and at Bolt, Beranek, and Newman Corporation, she received her master's in computer science from Boston University in 1976 and her PhD in education at Harvard University in 1985. Her contributions have influenced computing environments through research, writing, and teaching at the elementary, high school, and college level, and conducting workshops and consultancies at One Laptop Per Child, South End Technology Center, Sugar Labs, and international workshops. She serves on the program committees of Constructing Modern Knowledge and the Marvin Minsky Institute on Artificial Intelligence.

Watch the 2016 NCWIT Summit Pioneer in Tech Award celebration, honoring Cynthia Solomon.