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Seymour Papert

July 31, 2016) was a South African-born American mathematician, computer scientist, and educator, who spent most of his career teaching and researching at MIT.[2][3][4]

He held this position until 1967, when he became professor of applied math and was made co-director of the MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory by its founding director Professor Marvin Minsky, until 1981;

Papert worked on learning theories, and was known for focusing on the impact of new technologies on learning in general, and in schools as learning organizations in particular.

Here, he was the developer of a theory on learning called constructionism, built upon the work of Jean Piaget in constructivist learning theories.

A small mobile robot called the 'Logo Turtle' was developed, and children were shown how to use it to solve simple problems in an environment of play.

Papert insisted a simple language or program that children can learn—like Logo—can also have advanced functionality for expert users.[2]

When he began anti-apartheid activity, he says 'My father said that he did not know why someone as talented as Seymour would throw his life away ‘for the Schwartzes’ (a derogatory Yiddish expression for black people).”[19]

He was moved to a hospital closer to his home in January 2007, but then developed sepsis which damaged a heart valve, which was later replaced.

By 2008 he had returned home, could think and communicate clearly and walk 'almost unaided', but still had 'some complicated speech problems' and was in receipt of extensive rehabilitation support.[25]

Rafael Reif summarized Papert's lifetime of accomplishments: 'With a mind of extraordinary range and creativity, Seymour Papert helped revolutionize at least three fields, from the study of how children make sense of the world, to the development of artificial intelligence, to the rich intersection of technology and learning.

Today, as MIT continues to expand its reach and deepen its work in digital learning, I am particularly grateful for Seymour's groundbreaking vision, and we hope to build on his ideas to open doors to learners of all ages, around the world.'[4][31][32][33]

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