Seymour Papert

Seymour Papert ( born March 1, 1928 in Pretoria, South Africa) is a mathematician and psychologist. He is Professor of Mathematics and Education at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


From 1954 to 1958 he studied mathematics at Cambridge University in the UK.

From 1958 to 1963 he worked closely with the educational scientist Jean Piaget at the University of Geneva in Switzerland. Papert is widely recognized as the most famous and successful of Piaget's students. Piaget once said: " No one understands my ideas as well as Papert. "

From 1963 he worked at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and founded together with Marvin Minsky, the Artificial Intelligence Lab at MIT. Papert worked intensively with the topic of children and computers and invented in 1968, the Logo programming language.

From the 1970s he published a series of articles and books about education, learning, thinking, Artificial Intelligence and Mathematics.

In 1985, he was with Nicholas Negroponte founder of the MIT Media Lab and led there by the Media Arts and Science Program.

Information technology and the "revolution of learning "

Papert notes based on this research, that in the last decades in almost all social field such as medicine, transport, telecommunications, there is a radical change has taken place, but this has not taken place in the school as an institution. The integration of new forms of communication and forms of cooperation are generally not applied in the classroom. It is still determined by the traditional " chalk and talk ".

To have the school system " the systemic tendency to make children dependent. ". Thus, children will not be helped if learning is simply to to give the right answers at the right time. This process take from them the joy of learning.

Consequently, it is necessary a change in the school as an institution. This change is radical and slowly at the same time. It is radical because it will be after the completion of Umwandelungsprozesses in a pre -now comparison, notice that methods and forms of teaching have changed including through the use of computer technology. But it is also insidious because the process of change only very slowly precedes total due to social adjustment processes. " A radical change of a system can only be done by slow organic development and in close agreement with the development of society. "

He is representative of the constructivist learning theory, that calls for a school which requires the creative development of students as teachers during lessons. As a tool for this creative knowledge discovery itself offers the comprehensive integration of information and computer technology into the classroom. It is to be an empowered approach to technology in the context of teaching that promotes learning motivation of the students and the level of education raises the long run.

Papert coined the term constructionism, a learning theory that emphasizes the active construction is an effective learning method. This heeled learning allows the reconstruction of the scholar and subsequently construct their own by the student. Learning is embedded in the situational context and enables a completely different, higher quality quality of learning.

The child should be regarded as the subject of its learning processes. He has the children " early age-appropriate, ie ( according to Piaget ) concrete- operational access to the new technologies open up, access, the predestined not the teacher on a well-defined goal, but to be conquered and exploited by the children in the context of self-determined learning. "

Contribution to the project " 100 dollar laptop "

Papert has been engaged as a consultant under the non-profit project 100 dollar laptop for students. The student laptop is especially designed for the teaching of the developing and emerging countries to reduce the digital divide in the world.


  • Mindstorms. Children, Computers and Powerful Ideas, Basic Books, New York, 1980, ISBN 0-465-04674-6
  • Perceptrons, MIT Press, 1988
  • The networked family, cross -Verlag, 1998, ISBN 3-7831-1638-4
  • Revolution of learning, Heise Verlag 1994, ISBN 3-88229-041-2
  • We dare to abolish the fractions? A litmus test for the followers of educational technology, in: Hartmut Mitzlaff (2007, eds ), International Handbook: Computer ( ICT), primary school, kindergarten and new learning culture, Schneider Verlag, Hohengehren, ISBN 978-3-8340-0142-9, pp. 19-29