Harvard Graduate School of Education

Founding Members

Kurt Fischer Kurt Fischer, Ph.D., is Charles Bigelow Professor of Human Development and Psychology and director of the Mind, Brain, and Education program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. As a student of human development from birth through adulthood, Kurt’s work focuses on the dynamic organization of behavior and the way it changes, especially cognitive development, social behavior, emotions and brain bases. In his approach, dynamic skill theory, he aims to integrate organismic and environmental factors. His research analyzes change and variation in a range of domains, including early reading skills, problem solving and co-construction, concepts of self in relationships, emotions, child abuse and brain development. Kurt’s new research directions include mathematical models of the dynamics of development. One product of his research is a single scale for measuring learning, teaching, and curriculum across domains, which is being used to assess and coordinate key aspects of pedagogy and assessment in schools.

Kurt is the author of “Dynamic Development of Action, Thought, and Emotion” in the Handbook of Child Psychology (Volume 1); Mind, Brain, and Education in Reading Disorders; Human Behavior and the Developing Brain; and a dozen other books, as well as more than 200 scientific articles.

He has been visiting professor or visiting scholar at University of Geneva (Switzerland), University of Pennsylvania, University of Groningen (Netherlands), Nanjing Normal University (China), and the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (Stanford). Leading an international movement to connect biology and cognitive science to education, he is founding president of the International Mind, Brain, and Education Society and founding editor of the new journal Mind, Brain, and Education.

Kurt earned his undergraduate degree in psychology from Yale University. He also holds a master’s degree and a doctorate in social relations, both from Harvard University.

Kurt lives with his wife, Jane T. Haltiwanger, and is the proud father of four children.


Joe Blatt Joe Blatt is a lecturer on education and the faculty director of the Technology, Innovation, and Education program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. In this capacity and as faculty director of the Technology, Innovation, and Education program, Joe teaches courses and seminars about children’s media, digital technology and informal learning.

Joe also has an extensive career in creating educational multimedia and broadcast television programs and currently serves as president and executive producer of RiverRun Media. Joe is executive producer of Scientific American Frontiers, the PBS series featuring Alan Alda. He has created documentaries for NOVA, educational segments for Sesame Workshop and more recently, the BreakThrough television series profiling African-American, Latino and Native American scientists for PBS. In partnership with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), Joe developed an innovative Web site and mentoring program to amplify the impact of the series.

Joe has made close to 100 programs for the Annenberg Foundation and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, including the popular statistics series, Against All Odds, the discrete mathematics series, For All Practical Purposes, and an hour-long documentary about mathematics learning called Surprises in Mind. He was a producer of public affairs and new technology programs at WGBH Boston, and prior to that, Joe created Feeling Free, a nationally broadcast television series to facilitate mainstreaming of disabled students into public schools. Joe is a graduate of Harvard College, having concentrated in English and American history and literature, and graduated with honors. Joe has an Ed.M. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Joe, as a self-proclaimed late starter on the family front, is now the very happy father of an 11-year-old son and 8-year-old daughter. Joe is an avid reader and has amassed an enviable library in his home.