This website is not up to date -- for current information, go to my research group's website or my YouTube channel

Present position

Assistant Professor [profile]
Stanford University
School of Education, Learning Sciences and Technology Design Program, and
(by courtesy) School of Engineering, Department of Computer Sciences
Transformative Learning Technologies Lab, director
Stanford Makers' Club and FabLab@School project, director

Short Bio

Paulo Blikstein is an assistant professor at Stanford University’s School of Education and (by courtesy) Computer Science Department. Blikstein’s research focus on the confluence of expressive technologies for learning and critical pedagogy. He adapts cutting-edge technologies for use in inner-city schools, such as computer modeling, robotics, and rapid prototyping, creating constructionist learning environments in which children learn science and mathematics by building sophisticated projects and devices. His research interests also include the applications of complexity sciences in education and computational literacy, particularly the new knowledge representation infrastructures emerging from the use of computational representations.

Blikstein has worked extensively with inner city students in developing countries, such as Brazil, Mexico, Senegal, and Costa Rica, and also in the US. He completed his PhD. at the Center for Connected Learning and Computer-Based Modeling at Northwestern University, and holds a B.S. in Metallurgical Engineering and a MEng. in Digital Systems Engineering from the University of São Paulo, Brazil (1998, 2001), as well as a MSc. degree from the MIT Media Lab (2002), where he was also a visiting scholar (2003). Outside of academia, Paulo studied Film and directed scientific documentaries. Paulo has published several book chapters and papers about his work in education (most available at http://www.blikstein.com/paulo).


  • PhD. (2003-2009), Northwestern University
    Thesis: "An Atom is Known by the Company it Keeps: Content, Representation and Pedagogy Within the Epistemic Revolution of the Complexity Sciences"
    Advisor: Uri Wilensky
    Committee: Dor Abrahamson (UC Berkeley), Bruce Sherin (Northwestern University), Louis Gomes (UCLA).
    Affiliations: Center for Connected Learning and Computer-Based Modeling (CCL); Northwestern Institute on Complex Systems (NICO).
    School of Education and Social Policy,Northwestern University, Chicago, USA.

  • Visiting Scholar, MIT Media Lab (2002-2003)
    Design and implementation of technology-rich learning environments in low-income communities
    Future of Learning Group, MIT, Cambridge, USA
  • Master of Science, MIT Media Lab (2000-2002)
    Thesis: "The Trojan horse as a Trojan Horse: impacting the ecology of the Learning Atmosphere"
    Advisor: David Cavallo
    Readers: Seymour Papert (MIT) and Ceasar McDowell (MIT)
    Future of Learning Group, MIT, Cambridge, USA

  • Master of Engineering, University of São Paulo (1999-2000)
    Thesis: "Transdisciplinary environments for Science and Technology: a proposal for Engineering Learning in the information age"
    Advisor: João Antonio Zuffo and Marcelo Knörich Zuffo
    Readers: Alberto Seabra (Engineering) and Marília Franco (Communication)
    Digital Systems Engineering Departament
    Engineering School of the University of São Paulo
    , Brazil

  • B.S. Metallurgical Engineering, University of São Paulo(1998)
    Materials Science and Metallurgical Engineering department
    Engineering School of the University of São Paulo, Brazil

  • Cinema, FAAP and University of São Paulo (1997-2000)
    Undergraduate studies at Armando Álvares Penteado Foundation (1997-1999)
    and Communications and Arts School, University of São Paulo (2000)
Honors / Awards / Recognition

  • Chosen as one of "45 who will shine in 2009
    Época São Paulo Magazine, Globo Ed., Brazil.

  • Nominated for Northwestern University's Presidential Fellowship by the School of Education and Social Policy (2007).

  • Best student research award
    Northwestern Institute for Complex Sciences annual conference (NICO 2007).

  • Water Computer project appeared twice on the front page of Slashdot, the premier website for technology news, and featured in over 100 blogs worldwide (2003 and 2007).
  • Robert J. Menges Memorial Award for Graduate Student Professional Development
    School of Education, Northwestern University (2006)

  • Semi-finalist - MIT 50K entrepreneurship competition (2003)
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology

  • Innovative Educators’ Association
    Invited founding member (Brazil, 2002)

  • Finalist - Best Paper Award (1998)
    Brazilian Association of Metalurgy and Materials

  • Commencement speaker (1998)
    Class of 1998 of the Engineering School of the University of São Paulo

  • Finalist - "Minority of One" (documentary, 1996)
    Projeto Nascente, São Paulo, Brazil.
Professional Service
  • 2011 - Paper Chair, Interaction Design for Children 2011.
  • 2009 - Associate Chair, Interaction Design for Children 2009.
  • 2007 - 2009 - Treasurer, American Educational Research Association (AERA)  - Advanced Technologies for Learning SIG
  • 2008 - Chair, Doctoral Consortium, Interaction Design for Children 2008.
  • 2007 - Chair, Poster and Demos, Interaction Design for Children 2007.
  • Since 2008, Reviewer, Information Technologies & International Development journal.
  • Since 2006, Reviewer, International Conference of the Learning Sciences.
  • Since 2006, Reviewer, American Educational Research Association.
  • 2006 - 2007, Advisory Board, International Disability Educational Alliance Network, Chicago, USA (IDEAnet.org)
Professional Memberships
  • AERA - American Educational Research Association
  • ISLS – International Society for the Learning Sciences
  • JPS – Jean Piaget Society
  • IEEE - Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
  • ACM – Association for Computer Machinery
  • ASEE – American Society for Engineering Education
  • EARLI – European Association for Research on Learning and Instruction
Past professional activities

  • Consultant – UNDP (United Nations Development Program, 2005-2006)
    Consultant to the UNPD and the Brazilian Minister of Education in the implementation of environmental and scientific sensing, computer modeling and GIS technologies in the public school system.

  • CEO and partner of WEBKIT Informática (1999-2000)
    Company focused on innovative multimedia solutions for training IT professionals. One of the most successful e-learning start-up companies in Brazil at the time, with over US$ 500,000 in revenues in its first year. I created a new methodology for e-learning that originated a very successful product lineup (website). Our first product, a distance learning course for professional website/database developers (the "Webkit"), was an outstanding success with more than 10,000 students in less than one year. I left the company for my graduate studies in the US, but it still thrives using the same methodology.

  • Partner and founder of Blikstein Consultants (since 1999)
    Company focused on innovative products for education thorough new medias, and training and consulting in business communications.

  • Documentary director and scriptwriter, Brazil
    Writer and director of two scientific documentaries broadcasted by the Brazilian public television. Created and co-wrote a sitcom for a Brazilian cable channel.

Other past activities, a long long time ago

  • President of the Student Union of the Engineering School of the University of São Paulo.
  • Student representative at the University Senate of the University of São Paulo.
  • Multiple projects for low-income communities, in the engineering of low-cost housing, appropriate technologies, and media literacy

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