Brendan Tangney
Trinity College Dublin


Dr. Brendan Tangney is a Professor in Computer Science & Statistics and a Fellow of Trinity College Dublin. He holds an  M.Sc.  from the University of Dublin (Trinity College Dublin) and a Ph.D. from the University of Bolton.  His research focuses on the areas of technology & learning, educational reform, teacher professional development and equality of access.  He works closely with Trinity Access and was principal investigator on the Bridge21 project - which is now part of Trinity Access. He has held visiting positions in the Universities of Sydney and Kyoto.  He is a  member of the Editorial Board of  Computers & Education and the Journal for STEM Education Research.  He chaired the Ministerial Advisory Board on the Implementation of the Digital Strategy in Schools (2017-2020) and was co-chair of the 2020 Constructonism Conference. At college level he is a tutor and has served as Registrar,  Warden of Trinity Hall and Junior Dean.


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 a Postgraduate Certificate in 21st Century Teaching & Learning. Current teaching focuses on the postgraduate cert 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.


Original research focus was on distributed computing systems and was a founding member of Trinity's Distributed Systems Group out of which grew IONA Technologies, one of Ireland’s most successful software companies. 

The research focus then moved to how technology (in particular mobile technology) could be used to support the teaching and learning process.   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.

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 Teaching & Learning.  Since 2007, under the banner of Bridge2College and subsequently Bridge21, this model has been used in a social outreach programme with over 15,000 students and for professional development with almost 2,000 teachers in both informal professional development workshops (in school or TCD) and accredited programmes - including Trinity’s PME and a specially designed Postgraduate Certificate in 21st Century Teaching and Learning. 

Given its focus on the use of technology in secondary schools, Bridge21 activities are now situated within the university’s outreach unit -  Trinity Access Programmes - as part of a highly innovative collaboration involving the School of Education and School of Computer Science & Statistics the overall thrust of which is to create a longitudinal, design based, research project aimed at bringing about systemic change in the Irish Education system with a particular emphasis on addressing social exclusion and promoting 21st Century Teaching & Learning.

Current Ph.D. students:  Nina Bresnihan (an intergenerational approach to teaching coding); Dermot Walsh (Teachers’ beliefs and a design based approach to CPD) - co-supervisor Tim Savage;  Jonathon Lobel (Understanding 21st Century Skills in a Global Context) - lead supervisor Aibhin Bray

Recent Ph.D. students include: Kevin Sullivan (the Bridge21 Transition Year Programme); Grace Lawlor (Bridge21 and Coding for Girls); Claire Conneely (Bridge21 – a case study in transformation in second level schools); Lorraine Fisher (using the Bridge21 model for teacher CPD in CS); Sharon Kearney (Bridge21 and new literacies); John Lawlor (Bridge21 – A Model for Team Based, Technology, Mediated Learning in an Out of School Context).

Over 130 peer-reviewed publications in international conferences and journals. Recent publications include:

  1.  Aibhín Bray, Cliona Hannon, Brendan Tangney,  (2022) Large-scale, design-based research facilitating iterative change in Irish schools - the Trinity Access Approach, Irish Educational Studies, in press
  2. Brendan Tangney, Aibh Bray, Ann Devitt, Eilís Chorcora, Jen Maguire Donohoe, Joanne Banks, Kevin Sullivan, Lisa Keane, Philip Byrne, Rónán Smith and Cliona Hannon, (2021), Trinity Access - Project Overview, TARA, Trinity Access, Trinity College Dublin, December.
  3. N Bresnihan, A Bray, L Fisher, G Strong, R Millwood, B Tangney (2021),  Parental Involvement in Computer Science Education and Computing Attitudes and Behaviours in the Home: Model and Scale Development, ACM Transactions on Computing Education 21 (3), 1-24
  4. Kevin Sullivan, Aibhín Bray & Brendan Tangney (2021) Developing twenty-first-century skills in out-of-school education: the Bridge21 Transition Year programme, Technology, Pedagogy and Education, 30:4, 525-541, DOI: 10.1080/1475939X.2020.1835709
  5. Grace Lawlor, Philip Byrne, and Brendan Tangney. 2020. “CodePlus”—Measuring Short-Term Efficacy in a Non-Formal, All-Female CS Outreach Programme”, ACM Transactions on Computing Education Volume 20 Issue 4 Article No.: 25pp 1–18

For a fuller list of publications see here - TCD Profile Page.

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