Constructionism 2020

will take place in Trinity College Dublin, Ireland from the 26-29 of May 2020.

With considerable regret in light of the Covid-19 pandemic the conference in Dublin in May is being CANCELLED

We are exploring the possibility of producing digital proceedings, with an ISBN, as an option and to this end we would like to hear from everyone who had a submission accepted as to whether or not they would like their submission – be it panel, demonstration, workshop or paper – to be included in the proceedings.  To this end all corresponding authors should have received an email with details on how to request to be included or not, with a deadline of the 29th March. 

– Conference Chairs

Conference Theme – Exploring, Testing and Extending our Understanding of Constructionism: what does Constructionism have to offer today?

Echo chambers, digital wildfires and fake news. The rise of AI, big data and robotics. Widening gaps in society, refugee crises, climate change, and so on. We certainly are “living in interesting times”. Times which require all of us working in education to do everything we possibly can to provide everyone with the best possible education to help them navigate and construct the “brave new world” in which they will live. As Lord David Puttnam put it ‘There won’t be much of a future for any of us unless we’re prepared to become significantly more imaginative – most particularly in respect of the way in which we approach the education of our young people.’

While much has changed in the world since Seymour Papert coined the term ‘Constructionism’ over 30 years ago, we might argue that little in education has. Constructionism has proven to be a pedagogical approach which flourishes in informal educational settings, yet in the formal classroom it is stymied by the traditional internal structures of schools such as timetabling and siloed subject teaching, as well as external expectations and measures. Perhaps Constructionism’s most visible contribution to formal education has been in the area of computer programming and computational thinking. Clearly Constructionism has a lot to contribute to how these topics are taught in schools, but Papert’s vision was much broader than that. Indeed James Clayson argues that “Constructionism has always been overly concerned with mathematical and computational literacy at the expense of kindred constructivist disciplines”.

Given the challenges and opportunities both within education and wider society today, what does Constructionism have to offer? Does it have a place in the traditional classroom and if so, how? How do the experiences of constructionism in different settings, e.g. corporate, community, makerspaces etc., inform each other? What are the kindred educational perspectives, sociological, psychological and other perspectives that the Constructionist Community should be engaging with? Are there limits to Constructionism and what is the evidence base? This conference aims to reflect on past experience; challenge existing ideas and explore new ones; consider how we engage with academics, teachers, parents, students and policy makers beyond our existing community; renew the vision of what Constructionism has to offer; and identify how we can collectively move that vision forward.

The conference organisers are committed to strive to make this meeting as inclusive as possible, so that a diverse range of people working in the field can participate. Further details to follow.

Key Dates

30th of May 2019 – Call for Participation
18th of November 2019 – Paper Submissions Due
24th of January 2020 – Notification of Results

Registration and accommodation booking opens – 5th February

29th March – Request inclusion/exclusion from digital proceedings (see email)

Camera ready submissions due – 1st April

25th May – Teacher Day – in association with the Ministry of Education
26th to 29th of May 2020 – Constructionism 2020 Conference

Keynotes and Panels




Panel 1: “DESIGNING CONSTRUCTIONIST FUTURES” – Nathan Holbert, Yasmin Kafai and Matthew Berland

Conference Website

Follow us on Twitter @ConstructC2020


Trinity College Dublin
Trinity's Front Square
Trinity’s Front Square

Trinity College Dublin was founded in 1592 and is the sole constituent college of The University of Dublin. The campus is located in the heart of Dublin city and is a short walk from shops, restaurants, bars, museums, cathedrals, Dublin Castle and most of the main tourist attractions.

Conference accommodation will be available on campus and there are numerous hotels and guest houses nearby.

Dublin is well connected by air with direct flights to most major European cities, hubs in North America, and Dubai.

Conference Publication

Despite the cancellation of the conference, all accepted submissions will be invited to publish online in a digital Conference Proceedings with an ISBN under an Open Access Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license.

Following the conference, a special section of the British Journal of Educational Technology will be published entitled Constructionism Moving Forward.  There will be an open call for contributions and those contributing to the Constructionism 2020 conference will be encouraged to develop a submission for the journal.  More details

Conference Chairs

Carina Girvan, Cardiff University

Jake Rowan Byrne, Trinity College Dublin

Brendan Tangney, Trinity College Dublin

Valentina Dagienė, Vilnius University

Previous Conferences

Constructionism 2010 – France, Paris

Constructionism 2012 – Greece, Athens

Constructionism 2014 – Austria, Vienna

Constructionism 2016 – Thailand, Bangkok

Constructionism 2018 – Vilnius, Lithuania