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Visions for Mathematical Learning: the inspirational legacy of Seymour Papert (1928–2016)


by Celia Hoyles and Richard Noss, UCL Knowledge Lab, University College, London

Seymour Papert, who died on 31 July, was a mathematician holding two PhDs in pure mathematics from both the University of Witwatersrand, South Africa and Cambridge UK; a founder of Artificial Intelligence with Marvin Minsky at MIT; a psychologist who worked alongside Jean Piaget; a political activist against apartheid; and, on a personal level, a wonderful cook and a loyal friend. Since his death, the web has been awash with reminiscences and detailed accounts of his intellectual contribution not only to the fundamental subjects in which he was the undisputed leader, but to the field of education, a scholar who believed and showed that the computer, or at least the very carefully crafted use of the computer, could introduce young and old alike to the joys and power of mathematics and mathematical thinking.

In a short article, the authors have selected some of his work that impinged directly on the mathematics education field as a community; Significantly, these are among his less well-known lectures and papers and we hope that, by airing them, the realization of Papert’s vision of a new kind of learnable mathematics may be one step closer.

Read the full article here.