+About Me


I help organizations define and build educational technologies, programs, and spaces.

I am currently the Director of Learning and Community at Manylabs, an open science research and development nonprofit. I’m also a consultant whose recent projects have focused on code education, maker education, and the design of informal educational spaces.



Director of Learning and Community and Scientist in Residence



Vice President of Technology

The Tech Museum of Innovation


Project Director and Research Scientist



Graduate Research Assistant

MIT Media Lab


Domain Expertise

  • Educational technologies
  • Learning sciences
  • Human-centered computing
  • Computer supported collaborative learning
  • Online and in-person learning communities
  • Digital literacy
  • Computational thinking


  • Developing and executing strategy
  • Driving and managing change
  • Cultivating partnerships and supporting collaboration
  • Identifying and developing talent
  • Developing teams
  • Fostering innovation


  • Qualitative and quantitative research
  • Grant writing
  • Project management




MIT Media Lab



MIT Media Lab



Carnegie Mellon University

Media Arts and Sciences

Thesis: The Sharing of Wonderful Ideas: Influence and Interaction in Online Communities of Creators

Media Arts and Sciences

Thesis: Dealing with Distractions: Analyzing and Designing for Task Switching at Work



My clients include The Computer History Museum, Silicon Valley Education Foundation, Benesse Corporation, Old Salem Museum and Gardens, the Southern Center for Contemporary Art and the MIT Media Lab.

I also have designed and run edtech programs for various organizations including The Ark (Dublin), Highland and Island Enterprises (Scotland), the LEAD program (Hong Kong) and Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum (New York).


Journal Publications and Conference Presentations with Proceedings

Puttick, G., Strawhacker, A., Bernstein, D., & Sylvan, E., It’s Not As Bad As Using the Toaster All The Time – Designing Trade Offs In A Scratch Game About Energy Use. In Proc. of the ICLS  June 23 – 27, 2014, Boulder, CO.

Asbell-Clarke, J., Edwards, T., Larsen, J., Rowe, E., Sylvan, E., & Hewitt, J. (2012). Martian Boneyards: Scientific Inquiry in an MMO Game. International Journal of Game-Based Learning, 2(1), 52-76. doi:10.4018/ijgbl.2012010104. [pdf]

Sylvan, E., Larsen, J., Asbell-Clarke, J. & Edwards, T. (2012). The Canary’s Not Dead, It’s Just Resting: The Productive Failure of a Science-Based Augmented-Reality Game. Proc. of Games + Learning + Society (GLS 8.0.) Madison, Wisconsin, USA. [pdf]

Asbell-Clarke, J & Sylvan, E. (2012) Martian Boneyards: Can a Community of Players be a Community of Practice? Proc. of CHI ’12, May 05 – 10 2012, Austin, TX, USA. ACM New York, NY, 409-418. [pdf]

Sylvan, E. (2010). Predicting influence in an online community of creators. In Proc. of CHI ’10. April 10 – 15, 2010, Atlanta, Georgia, USA. ACM New York, NY, 1913-1916. [pdf]

Sylvan, E. A. (2010). Predicting social influence and project influence in Online Communities of Creators. In Proc. of the ICLS ’09 Vol.2 June 29 – July 02, 2010, Chicago, Illinois, 455-457.

Shneiderman, B., Fischer, G., Czerwinski, M. Resnick, M., Myers, B., Candy, L., Edmonds, E., Eisenberg, M., Giaccardi, E., Hewett, T., Jennings, P., Kules, W., Nakakoji, K., Nunamaker, J., Pausch, R., Selker, T., Sylvan, E., Terry, M. (2006). Creativity support tools: Report from a U. S. National Science Foundation Sponsored Workshop. International Journal of Human Computer Interaction, 20(2), 61-77. [pdf]

Sylvan, E. (2006). Who knows whom in a virtual learning network?: applying social network analysis to communities of learners at the computer clubhouse. In Proc. of the 7th International Conference on Learning Sciences, Bloomington, Indiana, June 27 – July 01, 2006, International Society of the Learning Sciences, 758-764. [pdf]

Seitinger S, Sylvan E, Zuckerman O, Popovic M, & Zuckerman O. (2006). A New Playground Experience: Going Digital. In G. Olson & R.  Jeffries (Eds), Proc. Of CHI 2006, ACM, New York, NY 303-308. [pdf]

Sylvan E. (2005). Methodologies for Understanding Social Creativity During Collaborative Design Activities: A Proposal. In JS Gero  and ML Maher.  Computational and Cognitive Models of Creative Design VI, Key Centre of Design Computing and Cognition, University of Sydney, Australia, 365-374. [pdf]

Book Chapters and Reports

Sylvan, E. (2009). The Computer Clubhouse Village: An Intranet For Sharing and Connecting. Kafai, Y, Peppler, K, & Chapman, R. The Computer Clubhouse: Creativity and Constructionism in Youth Communities. New York: Teachers College Press. [pdf]

Hewett T, Czerwinski M, Terry M, Nunamaker J, Candy L, Kules B, and Sylvan E. (2005). Creativity Support Tool Evaluation Methods and Metrics. In the NSF Report of Workshop on Creativity Support Tools, September 2005. [pdf]

Shneiderman B, Fischer G, Czerwinski M, Resnick M, Myers B, Candy L, Edmonds E, Eisenberg M, Giaccardi E, Hewett T, Jennings P, Kules B, Nakakoji K, Nunamaker J, Pausch R, Selker T, Sylvan E, Terry M. (2005). White Paper on Creativity Support Tools Workshop. In NSF Report of Workshop on Creativity Support Tools, September 2005. [pdf]

Conference Presentations without Proceedings

Sylvan, E., Dicus, E., McGary, K., & Sand, P. (2015). LivingData: An Open Source Environmental Monitoring Toolkit for Learners and Their Communities. FabLearn2015. Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA.

Asbell-Clarke, J. & Sylvan, E. (2012). The Influence of Players’ Interactivity and Identity on Social Games Design for Learning.  #Influence12 Symposium & Workshop. Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia. [pdf]

Rowe, E., Zalles, D., Sylvan, E., & Hancock, C. (2011). Learning Data Literacy Skills and Concepts in Two Games: Question Detective and Space Chase. Children’s Learning in Videogame and Academic Settings symposium at the Society for Research in Child Development biennial meeting.  Montreal, Canada.

Asbell-Clarke, J., Edwards, T, Larsen, J., Rowe, E., Sylvan, E., & Hewitt, J. (2011). Collaborative Scientific Inquiry in Arcadia: An MMO gaming environment on Blue Mars. American Educational Research Association. Received the AERA ARVEL SIG Emerging Scholar Award.

Peppler, K., Kafai, Y., Rusk, N., Beals, L., Bers, M., Breslow, G., Chapman, R., Martin, C., Barron, B., Wise, S., Millner, A., Rusk, N., Resnick, M., Cooke, S., Sylvan, E., Cole, M. (2009). The Computer Clubhouse Learning Model: Learning Inquiry, Collaboration, and the Development of 21st Century Skills in Informal Learning Spaces. 2009 American Educational Research Association (AERA), San Diego, CA.

Sylvan, E. (2005). Social Network Analysis of Learning Networks. Boston Learning Technology Conference, Museum of Science, Boston, MA.

Sylvan E. (2005). Integrating Aesthetic, Engineering, and Scientific Understanding in a Hands-on Design Activity. Interaction Design for Children, Boulder, CO.

Fujimori Y, Sylvan E, & Alibali M. (1997). Gestures in the classroom in Japan and the United States. Twenty-seventh Annual Jean Piaget Symposium, Santa Monica, CA.

Sylvan E, Fujimori Y, & Kawanaka T. (1997). The functions of teachers’ gestures: What’s the point? Annual Meeting of the Midwestern Psychological Association. Chicago, IL.

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