About me

I’m a PhD student at the MIT Media Lab with Professor Mitchel Resnick. I’m a part of the Lifelong Kindergarten Research Group, where my work is centered around the Scratch programming language and online community.

I design, build, and study the use of computational toolkits that enable children to learn and express themselves through creating computer programs in an online social setting. I study how these programs become “objects to think with” for children—and what, as well as how children learn as they create these programs. For my doctoral work, my focus is on children “learning with and about data,” by providing them with opportunities to create programs that interact with data. For an overview of my research in this space, especially of the systems that I have designed or helped design, I would suggest the following publication: Engaging novices in programming, experimenting, and learning with data.

To better understand learning processes and outcomes with creative learning toolkits, apart from observational and interview-based studies, I also conduct large-scale quantitative analyses of participation, creation, and learning in the Scratch online community. For example, in a recent CSCW paper, along with collaborators from the University of Washington and Microsoft Research, I studied the relationship between remixing in the Scratch online community and programming trajectory of community members who participate in remixing.

An overview of my academic work (including teaching experience) is available here.

As a member of the Scratch Team, I also designed and implemented large parts of the Scratch online-community backend and infrastructure, which is used by millions of children worldwide to collaborate and learn. Since it’s launch in 2013 till mid-2015, I played a leadership role in the engineering efforts going into the server-side operations of Scratch, and helped scale the website during periods of intense growth.

In the past, I have been closely involved with the Free Software/Culture community in India, and I have been involved with a number of FOSS projects in various capabilities (developer, translator, community manager, etc.). Apart from actively working with FOSS projects from all over the world, I was also a member of the national working group of the Fress Software Foundation of India.

Before coming to MIT, I worked for the One Laptop per Child (OLPC) project as a software engineer. At OLPC, I worked on a wide range of projects, including ensuring support for multiple languages on the laptops, building a system for ebook reading and sharing, enabling block-based programming for the Arduino microcontroller kit, etc.

In 2014 I was named in the Forbes 30 under 30 list for Education.

I microblog occasionally as @sayamindu, and infrequently blog as well.

Sayamindu Dasgupta

Updates

  • CHI note

    Our CHI 2016 note, “Skill Progression in Scratch Revisited” will be presented at the conference by J. Nathan Matias on 9th May.

  • CSCW paper blog-post

    We blogged about our CSCW 2016 paper on Medium.

  • Article in SPAN magazine

    An article in the SPAN magazine features my work.

  • Blog post for Unpacking Impact class

    We wrote a blog post on the class we taught over last Fall.

  • HCDS workshop

    I will be attending the Human Centered Data Science Workshop at CSCW. Here’s our position paper.

  • CSCW Honorable Mention

    Our paper on remixing and learning in Scratch got a honorable mention for CSCW 2016.

  • VL/HCC Best Short Paper

    Our paper on Scratch extensions got the Best Short Paper award at VL/HCC 2015.