About Seymour Papert

Drawing by Peter H. Reynolds

Seymour Papert is a mathematician and one of the early pioneers of artificial intelligence. In addition, he is internationally recognized as the seminal thinker regarding computers and pedagogy for children. A mathematician by training, his collaboration with Jean Piaget at the University of Geneva led him to consider using mathematics in the service of understanding how children can learn and think. Papert was born and educated in South Africa, where he was an active participant in the anti-apartheid movement. In the early 1960s, Papert came to MIT, where, with Marvin Minsky, he founded the Artificial Intelligence Lab and co-authored their seminal work Perceptrons (1970). He is also the author of Mindstorms: Children Computers and Powerful Ideas (1980), and The Children’s Machine: Rethinking School in the Age of the Computer (1993). He has written numerous articles about mathematics, artificial intelligence, education, learning, and thinking. Dr. Papert’s latest book is The Connected Family: Bridging the Digital Generation Gap (1996).  (from official MIT biography)

Papert was also a cofounder of the MIT Media Lab, longtime director for the Media Lab’s Epistemology and Learning Group, later the Future of Learning Group and the first LEGO Papert Professor of Learning Research at MIT. He was a driving force behind Maine’s law providing every 7th & 8th grader with a laptop and the One Laptop Per Child Foundation. Dr. Papert is widely considered the “father of educational computing,” the originator of the learning theory, constructionism and served as inspiration for the movement known as one-to-one computing.

Further reading:

A few of Dr. Papert’s students:

  • Mitchell Resnick
  • Amy Bruckman
  • David Cavallo
  • Idit Harel Caperton
  • Yasmin Kafai
  • Uri Wilensky
  • Daniel Hillis
  • Brian Silverman
  • Ken Kahn
  • Claudia Urrea
  • Carol Strohecker
  • Ricki Segall