Department of Education

Ken Kahn

Senior Researcher

1 January 2017, Ken joined the Department of Education to work on the EU-funded eCraft2Learn project.

The project aims to improve STEAM education (both formal and informal) for 13 to 17 year-olds using visual programming, micro-controllers, 3D printing, electronics, and other “maker” technologies. Ken has been working on child-friendly programming interfaces to AI cloud services and machine learning.

Ken Kahn has been a senior researcher at the University of Oxford since 2006. He is leading the Modelling4All project that combines ideas of accessible agent-based modelling within a web 2.0 community.

He did research in technology enhanced leaning at the London Knowledge Lab and the Institute of Education from 1998 to 2014 where he participated in four large EU research projects, a BBC project, and two UK projects.

He is the designer and developer of ToonTalk a programming system for children that provides concrete analogs of advanced computational abstractions with a video game look and feel. Many of his papers can be found here. He has been creating ToonTalk Reborn an open-source web-based rethinking of ToonTalk.

He taught Computational Thinking and Modelling at the National University of Singapore in 2015, 2016, and 2017.

Ken piloted an OLPC Project in West Papua.

Ken did his doctoral research in at the MIT AI Lab in the 1970s. During the 1980s he did research in AI, visual, and concurrent programming languages before focusing on programming languages for children.

Funded Research Projects:

  • Digital Fabrication and Maker Movement in Education

  • 1 January 2017 to 31 December 2018

    Making Computer-supported Artefacts from Scratch, European Union’s Horizon 2020 Coordination & Research and Innovation Action under Grant Agreement No 731345


  • Book chapters

  • Conference papers

    • KAHN, K, Lu, Y, Zhang, J, WINTERS, N, Gao, M (2020) “Deep learning programming by all”,

    • KAHN, K, WINTERS, N (2020) “Constructionism and AI: A history and possible futures”,

    • KAHN, KM, Winters, N (2018) AI programming by children.

    • KAHN, KM (2018) Interpolating (and extrapolating) 3D turtle programs in Beetle Blocks.

    • KAHN, KM, Megasari, R, Piantari, E, Junaeti, E (2018) AI programming by children using Snap! block programming in a developing country.

    • Loukatos, D, KAHN, KM, Alimisis, D (2018) Flexible techniques for fast developing and remotely controlling DIY robots, with AI flavor.

    • Kahn, K, Montero, CS, Voigt, C, ACM (2018) “STEAM Learning in formal and informal settings via craft and maker projects”, PROCEEDINGS OF THE 2018 ACM CONFERENCE ON INTERACTION DESIGN AND CHILDREN (IDC 2018). 728-+.

    • KAHN, KM, Winters, N (2017) Child-friendly programming interfaces to AI cloud services.

    • Kahn, K, Noble, H (2009) “The Modelling4All Project a web-based Modelling tool embedded in web 2.0”, SIMUTools 2009 - 2nd International ICST Conference on Simulation Tools and Techniques.

  • Journal articles

    • KAHN, K, Solomon, C, Harvey, B, Lieberman, H, Miller, M, Minsky, M, Papert, A, Silverman, B (2020) “History of Logo”, PACMPL.

    • WINTERS, N, EYNON, R, GENIETS, A, ROBSON, J, KAHN, K (2019) “Can we avoid digital structural violence in future learning systems?”, Learning, Media and Technology.

    • Whitehouse, H, Kahn, K, Hochberg, ME, Bryson, JJ (2012) “The role for simulations in theory construction for the social sciences: case studies concerning divergent modes of religiosity”, Religion, Brain and Behavior. 2(3) 182-201.

    • Noss, R, Poulovassilis, A, Geraniou, E, Gutierrez-Santos, S, Hoyles, C, Kahn, K, Magoulas, GD, Mavrikis, M (2011) “The design of a system to support exploratory learning of algebraic generalisation”, Computers and Education. 59(1) 63-81.

    • KAHN, KM, Sendova, E, Sacristan, AI, Noss, R (2011) “Young students exploring cardinality by constructing infinite processes”, Technology, Knowledge and Learning.

    • KAHN, K, WINTERS, N “Constructionism and AI: a history and possible futures”, British Journal of Educational Technology.

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