Brendan Tangney
Trinity College Dublin


Brendan Tangney is a Professor in 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) and PI for the Bridge21 project. He has held visiting positions in the Universities of Sydney and Kyoto and worked in industry in Dublin and Tokyo. He is a Fellow of Trinity College, a recipient of a Provost’s Teaching Award for Excellence and Innovation in Teaching & 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 a former Warden of Trinity Hall and former 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 Postgraduate Certificate in 21st Century Teaching & Learning. Current teaching focuses on these two programmes 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 13,000 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 Level 9 Certificate in 21st Century Teaching and Learning. 

Bridge21 is now 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, and Trinity’s Access Programmes (TAP).  TA21 is a highly innovative collaboration which is combining the expertise of the participants 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: 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); Michelle O'Kelly (Bridge21 and Assessment of 21st Century Learning); Grace Lawlor (Bridge21 and Coding for Girls).

Over 110 peer-reviewed publications in international conferences and journals. Recent publications include:

  1. Lawlor J., Conneely C., Oldham E., Marshall K., Tangney B., Bridge21: Teamwork, Technology and Learning - A pragmatic model for effective 21C Team-based Learning, Technology, Pedagogy and Education (In Press)
  2. Bray A., Tangney B., Technology Usage in Mathematics Education Research - A Systematic Review of Recent Trends, Computers & Education Volume 114, November 2017, Pages 255-273
  3. Girvan C.,  Conneely C.,  Tangney B.,  Extending experiential learning in teacher professional development.  Teaching and Teacher Education 58:129-139 · August 2016.  DOI: 10.1016/j.tate.2016.04.009 
  4. Bray A., Tangney B., "Enhancing Student Engagement through the Affordances of Mobile Technology: A 21st Century Learning Perspective on Realistic Mathematics Education", Mathematics Education Research Journal.  2015. 1 - 25 DOI 10.1007/s13394-015-0158-7
  5. Tangney B., Bray A., Oldham E., Realistic Mathematics Education, Mobile Technology & The Bridge21 Model For 21st Century Learning – A Perfect Storm, in Mobile Learning and Mathematics: Foundations, Design, and Case Studies, Crompton H.,  & Traxler J., (Eds) Routledge, 2015, pp 96-105.

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