A brief post to say how sad I was to wake up this morning to news of the death of Seymour Papert--the great visionary for the use of computers in education, inventor of the coding language Logo and its associated Turtle (as a route to computational thinking) and instigator of the "constructionism" approach to learning.
I am also sad that I never met Seymour. I even can't say when I consciously became aware of him or different strands of his work either. But his name has seemingly for ever been familiar, cropping up with increasing regularity and force in so many of the interests I've pursued, particularly fundamentally reforming maths education (our computerbasedmath.org or CBM project). So many routes in so many areas lead back to Seymour. I can't help but notice with some wry amusement this morning how constructionist an approach I have taken to learning about Seymour's life and work!
While I never met Seymour, I have very much enjoyed getting to know so many of those he knew and worked with from his daughter Artemis to Brian Silverman, Gary Stager to Mitch Resnick (and no doubt many others that I know but didn't know he directly influenced too). They have been extremely supportive of CBM, our recent Wolfram Language and Mathematica, of helping us to take Seymour's and their thinking, successes, mistakes and experience to try to shift to a much better educational world.
That this post is brief is an indication that others can much better enunciate the broad array of Seymour's achievements than can I. Indeed I am already learning more as they do.
However about one aspect I am quite clear. Seymour's death does not end any aspect I've come across of his vision. Quite to the contrary, we are instead starting to see its manifestation more than ever: a mixed computer-human approach, recasting of subjects, increasing pressure for change in education (frustratingly slow though it can seem). I expect Seymour's fame outside education circles will posthumously grow.
We will work hard to carry key strands of his work forward.