3Q: Hal Abelson on empowering kids through mobile technology

By Abby Abazorius 

Hal Abelson, the Class of 1922 Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering in Computer Science, has long been dedicated to democratizing access to technology for children. In the 1970s, he directed the first implementation of the educational programming language Logo for the Apple II computer. During a sabbatical at Google in 2007, he launched App Inventor, a web-based, visual-programming environment that allows children to develop applications for smartphones and tablets. The platform was transferred to MIT in 2010, where it now has over 1 million active users a month, who hail from 195 countries.

As new technologies are rapidly developed and introduced, Abelson feels it is crucial to introduce children to computer science through hands-on learning activities so that they have a better understanding of how they can use and create such technologies. MIT News spoke with Abelson about MIT App Inventor and how it helps kids have an impact on people and communities around the world. 

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