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Mauro Cherubini
Former Researcher
Everyday Learning group

Mauro Cherubini was born in Rome, Italy in 1977. He studied Environmental Science in high school, and then Physics at Tor Vergata University in Rome. After a year of university studies, he moved to the faculty of Educational Sciences at RomaTre University, in Rome, where he graduated in 2001 with honors. At RomaTre University, he studied with Dr. Roberto Maragliano, professor of Learning Technology, and with Dr. Isabella Poggi, professor of Communication Psychology.

In August 2001, he joined Media Lab Europe as a Researcher, whilst enrolled in a PhD program by Research, at St. Patrick College in Dublin City University (DCU), under the supervision of Dr. Carol Strohecker and Dr. Hugh Gash. His research interests are focused on Constructivism in Life science education, for which he is developing and designing environments for playful experimentation.

One of his projects is called "Biosphera," combining the Greek words for life and space. Biosphera is an enclosed micro world in which children can control environmental parameters such as light, pressure, humidity, temperature, chemical conditions, and populations of microorganisms. A computer interface works with sensors and actuators to affect the physical world of the Biosphera. A continuous interaction with children constitutes an important part of this project, which is leading through the theoretical interaction between plant biology, multi-variate systems and mental models.

Another project he developed, following this theoretical path, is called "Digital Seed," a micro world for learning about plant growth, life cycles and the origin of seeds. The Digital Seed is a virtual alter-ego of a real seed and lives in a cube. It needs help from outside to grow up, the user must take care of the seed: watering the cube, keeping the cube the right temperature and exposing it to the right amount of light. The physical actions on the cube will affect the inner virtual world where the seed lives and grows. The user must care for the seed throughout its life cycle until the end, with the birth of a new seed.

A project still undeveloped but envisioned in this theoretical path is called "SensoDrama," a constructivist construction kit to build personal "representations" of sensory inputs.

Through this interplay of perceptual accessibility and virtual representations, Mauro hopes to stimulate children's interest in science, ecology, biology, chemistry, and system dynamics.