Past Member

Jim Gray

Former Research Scientist
  • Lifelong Kindergarten

Jim Gray is a Research Scientist, currently working as a Senior Fellow with the LEGO Foundation  researching and writing about Learning through Digital Play.

Previously, Jim worked with the Personal Robots group to launch an early literacy deployment project using Jibo in kindergarten classrooms, and Social Machines where he provided learning-related mentorship, teaching, and leadership. With Deb Roy and Ivan Sysoev, he taught a ML class on Learning in the Flow of Life. 

Before coming to MIT two years ago, Jim was VP of Learning Design at Sesame Workshop, Director of Learning at LeapFrog Enterprises, and consultant to educational technology organizations such as DreamBox Learning, Toca Boca, StoryBots, Kidaptive, and Disney Imagicademy.

Research: As head of the LeapFrog Kid Lab, Jim was responsible for product testing and efficacy research. Jim has conducted academically-oriented research at the Center for Innovative Learning Technologies at SRI International / UC Berkeley, and Project Zero at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE).

Teaching: At the Rochester Institute of Technology, Jim taught interactive media design to graduate students, and interactive storytelling to middle school students.  At HGSE, he co-taught courses on cognitive and symbolic development (with Howard Gardner) and developed a course on Culture, Cognition, and Technology.

Writing: Jim’s writing includes peer reviewed articles such as “Putting education in “educational” apps: Lessons from the science of learning”, book chapters in Designing for Virtual Communities in the Service of Learning, and Mobile Technology for Children: Designing for Interaction and Learning, and blogs on topics like digital play.  He has delivered keynotes at Interaction Design and Children and Kid Power, and presentations at: AERA, Fred Forward, Sandbox Summit, Dust or Magic Institute, and the World Congress of Play.

Jim has a BA in Early Childhood Education from Michigan State University, an advanced degree in Interactive Media Design from the Rochester Institute of Technology, and a Doctorate of Education from Harvard University.  He is the father of two elementary school children, and at home he loves inventing toys and playful learning activities for his whole family.