Ben Shapiro
Assistant Professor • Laboratory for Playful Computation
ATLAS Institute • Computer Science


Ben Shapiro, assistant professor, investigates how to enable children from diverse backgrounds to learn computer science through collaborative, creative expression and through the design of networked technologies to solve problems in their homes and communities. He received his doctorate in learning sciences from Northwestern University, and he was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Wisconsin—Madison.  In 2016, Ben received the University of Colorado Boulder's President’s Commendation for Promoting Diversity on Campus, and in 2015, he was a recipient of the National Science Foundation's (NSF) prestigious Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award. The research award, which came with a five-year grant of $500,000, supports junior faculty members who demonstrate excellence in research and effectively integrate their research with education.  

Ben is proud to say he and his wife, Sarah, received first place in the 2008 Northwestern University Learning Sciences Mac & Cheese Cookoff.

Academic Publications:

Tangible distributed computer music for youth.

BlockyTalky: A Prototyping Toolkit for Digital Musical Interfaces. Workshop at New Interfaces for Musical Expression (NIME)

How do we Assess Equity in Programming Pairs?

Machines and minds: The new cognitive science, and the potential evolution of children’s intuitions about thinking

Using Distributed Cognition Theory to Analyze Collaborative Computer Science Learning

Growing Their Own: Legitimate Peripheral Participation for Computational Learning in an Online Fandom Community

ARcadia : A Rapid Prototyping Platform for Real-time Tangible Interfaces