Blocks and Beyond 2019: Beyond Blocks
A VL/HCC 2019 workshop in Memphis, TN, USA, Oct. 18, 2019


Michelle Ichinco recently joined the University of Massachusetts Lowell as an assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science, focused on the intersection of Human Computer Interaction and Computer Science Education. She completed her doctorate with Caitlin Kelleher at Washington University in St. Louis. Michelle’s work with the Looking Glass programming environment focused on introducing example code into open-ended programming through suggested code animations. Michelle’s current work continues to focus on supporting and understanding motivation and learning during undirected novice coding.

Felienne Hermans is associate professor at the Leiden Institute of Advanced Computer Science at Leiden University, where she heads the PERL research group, focused on programming education. On Saturdays she teaches children programming in a local community centre. She is one of the organizers of the CurryOn conference, which aims to bridge the gap between industry and academia. Felienne was also one of the founders of the Joy of Coding conference, with a similar goal, which she organized for 6 years. Since 2016, she has been a host at IEEE SE radio, one of the most popular software engineering podcasts on the web.

Mark Sherman (co-chair) is an assistant professor of computer science at Emmanuel College and director of their Integrated Digital & Data Sciences initiative. Mark received his Ph.D. in computer science specializing in CS education research at UMass Lowell working with Fred Martin, and was a postdoc researcher at MIT with the App Inventor group. Mark has researched blocks programming, specifically the detection of student success from blocks manipulation, impact of languages on learning, and development of computational identity and computing for social good.

Franklyn Turbak (co-chair) is an associate professor of Computer Science at Wellesley College. His interests include the design, analysis, and implementation of expressive programming languages, graphical representations of programs, and the visualization of computational processes. As a member of the MIT App Inventor development team and head of the Wellesley TinkerBlocks research project his current focus is to improve the expressiveness and pedagogy of blocks-based programming languages. He is co-author of the textbook Design Concepts in Programming Languages.

David Weintrop is an assistant professor in the Department of Teaching & Learning, Policy & Leadership in the College of Education with a joint appointment in the College of Information Studies at the University of Maryland. His research focuses on the design, implementation, and evaluation of accessible and engaging computational learning environments. His work lies at the intersection of design, computer science education, and the Learning Sciences. David has a Ph.D. in the Learning Sciences from Northwestern University and a B.S. in Computer Science from the University of Michigan. He spent one year as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Chicago studying computer science learning in elementary classrooms prior to joining the faculty at the University of Maryland. Before starting his academic career, he spent five years working as a software developer at a pair of start-ups in Chicago.

Daniel Wendel is a Research Engineer at the MIT Scheller Teacher Education Program, where he leads the research, design and development of StarLogo Nova, a blocks-based programming environment designed to enable students and teachers with little to no prior programming experience to build agent-based computational models. His research centers on the integration of computational modeling into science classes, with current collaborators including Susan Yoon, Bob Coulter, Okhee Lee, Doug Clark, Corey Brady, and Irene Lee. A co-author with Ricarose Roque of the Open Blocks blocks language library used by StarLogo TNG and the first version of Google App Inventor, Daniel has been “around the block” since his undergraduate work with Eric Klopfer in 2004.