Brendan Tangney
Trinity College Dublin


Brendan Tangney is a Fellow of Trinity College Dublin where he is a senior lecturer in the School of Computer Science & Statistics.  He is co-director of Trinity’s Centre for Research in IT in Education (a joint initiative between the School of Education and  the School of Computer Science & Statistics). He has held visiting positions in the Universities of Sydney and Kyoto and worked in industry in Dublin and Tokyo. He is a recipient of Trinity’s Provost’s Teaching Award for Excellence and Innovation in Teaching and Learning and  is a member of the Editorial Boards of "Computers & Education" and the "AACE Journal of Computers in Mathematics and Science Teaching".  He is Treasurer of the International Association of Mobile Learning and also acts as Warden of Trinity  Hall (the University’s largest student residence).


Teaching adheres to the view  expressed by the poet Gibran who said that the wise teacher “does not bid you enter the house of his wisdom, but rather leads you to the threshold of your own mind.” To this end the Socratic observation “that asking questions is teaching” is a guiding principle as is Aristotle’s maxim that “for the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them”.  Or to put it another way teaching & learning is not so much about direct instruction, or the delivery of content,  but rather is concerned with creating active and collaborative learning environments in which learners are scaffolded, prompted and supported in taking ownership of their own learning.

A strong research interest in how technology can be used to help mediate learning led to the setting up of  an M.Sc. in  (Technology & Learning), and recent teaching has focused on that degree  as well as Research Methods on the School's structured Ph.D. program and a course on Computers and Society (to junior freshmen CS students). In the past have taught courses on assembly language programming, data structures & data bases, computer networks and distributed computing.



Current research addresses the use of technology to mediate  learning at different levels of abstraction.

Over the years a number of graphical software educational tools,  based on a social constructivist pedagogy,   have been developed and evaluated in the areas such as mathematics, academic writing, music composition and animation. (Some of these have been based on adaptive technology and some on mobile devices.) 

This work on tools has lead on to an interest in the learning context in which such tools are used.  A model for team based, collaborative, project based, technology mediated learning has been developed which encapsulates in a pragmatic fashion many of the attributes of 21st Century Learning.  Since 2007, under the banner of Bridge2College or B2C,  this model has been used in a social outreach programme with over 4,000 students.   (The B2C program was the recipient of the 2009 Irish Learning Technology Association award for Innovation in Learning.) 

Current research ( is focusing on how the model can be used in mainstream classrooms to help bring about systemic change in the Irish secondary school education system so that the power of technology can be used to help unleash the potential of all students.

Current Ph.D. students: John Lawlor (the development and evaluation of the B2C model for 21C learning); Claire Conneely (Bridge21 – a case study in transformation in second level schools); Aibhín Bray (design principles for collaborative, contextualised teaching of mathematics using the Bridge21 model); Lorraine Fisher (using the Bridge21 model to train secondary school teachers to teach CS).

Bridge21 is part of an umbrella project in TCD known as Trinity Access 21 which is a collaboration between Trinity’s School of Computer Science & Statistics, the School of Education, the National Institute for Intellectual Disability  and Trinity’s Access Programmes. For further information see the web site’s of  the Centre for Research in IT in Education and  Bridge21.

Over 90 peer-reviewed publications in various international conferences and journals. Recent publications include:

  1. Johnston K., Conneely C., Murchan D., Tangney B., Enacting Key Skills-based Curricula in Secondary Education: Lessons from a Technology-mediated, Group-based Learning Initiative, Technology, Pedagogy and Education, (in press).
  2. Conneely, C., Lawlor, J., Tangney, B., Technology, Teamwork and 21st Century Skills in the Irish Classroom in, editor(s)Marshall, K., , Shaping our Future: How the lessons of the past can shape educational transformation, Dublin, Liffey Press. In Press
  3. Girvan C., Tangney B., Savage T., SLurtles: Supporting constructionist learning in Second Life, Computers and Education, 61, 2013, p115 – 132
  4. Bray, A. Oldham, E. & Tangney, B., The Human Catapult and Other Stories – 11th  International Conference on Technology in Maths Teaching,  Italy, July  2013, pp77-83.
  5. Byrne J., Tangney B., CAWriter - a Computer Supported Collaborative Tool to Support Doctoral Candidates Academic Writing: A Pedagogical and Human-Computer Interaction Perspective in, editor(s)Juan A.A., Daradoumis T., Roca M., Grasman S.E., Faulin J. , Collaborative and Distributed E-Research: Innovations in Technologies, Strategies and Applications, IGI Global, 2012, pp182 - 205

For a fuller list see here.

Contact Information: School of Computer Science and Statistics, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin 2, Ireland Tel: +353-1-896-1223. Email tangney at