About Seymour Papert

Drawing by Peter H. Reynolds

Seymour Papert (1928-2016) was 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). Papert authored 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.

A celebration of Papert’s life was convened at MIT on January 26, 2017. Video of the tributes may be found by clicking the image above.

Further reading:

  • Gary Stager’s Seymour Papert obituary in Nature
  • Interesting synopsis of biographies and obituaries

A few of Dr. Papert’s students:

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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top