Leo Burd, PhD

MIT Media Laboratory
Room E15-305
20 Ames Street
Cambridge, MA 02139

leoburd <* at *> media.mit.edu





I am a researcher with the MIT Center for Mobile Learning, where I develop novel technologies and approaches for education and social empowerment.


In particular, I am involved with the development of App Inventor, a tool that makes it easier for non-programmers to create their own mobile apps for learning, fun, personal expression, business development and social good.


I also lead the team that developed VoIP Drupal , a versatile open source toolkit that facilitates the creation of city- and neighborhood-wide communication systems integrating voice, text and web. It is used to facilitate community outreach and provide an online presence to even those who are technically challenged, or who do not have regular access to computers.


Overall, I am very interested in the creation of map-, web-, and telephone-based tools to help children explore their neighborhoods, organize local community events, and become active participants in the places where they live.  To that end, I co-founded the Department of Play, a group of researchers, developers, and community practitioners who are always coming up with new technologies and methods to foster youth participation and social inclusion.


Prior to MIT, I was part of Microsoft's Global Learning Research team, directed a non-profit organization that built "computer and citizenship" schools in Sao Paulo slums, and was a key contributor to several initiatives that used digital tools to improve quality of life in different parts of the world.


Born and raised in Brazil, I have a BSc in Computer Science from the Technological Institute of Aeronautics (ITA), a MSc from the State University of Campinas (UNICAMP) on the design of software for educational activities, and a PhD from the MIT Media Lab on the development of technological initiatives for social empowerment.