Constructivism in Practice
In this week’s learning resources, we read about the idea of generating and testing hypotheses. These concepts fall directly in line with the constructivist and constructionist theories because they allow students to create artifacts, problem solve, analyze, and experiment. These concepts have been used by scientists for many years, and have a profound impact on student learning as well. It is vital that teachers design activities that touch upon these concepts in order to engage students, and prepare them for real world experiences. Furthermore, advances in technology have made these activities easier to complete, and allows for more communication and collaboration between students and educators.
In this week’s video segment, the teacher had her students create a booklet using Microsoft Publisher. This task could have fallen into one or two categories, experimental inquiry or investigation. Her students had the opportunity to document what they learned or interpreted from the story, and they also had the opportunity to clear up any misconceptions that others may have had about the story. Ideally, this activity would align with the constructivist ideology because each student can “construct his or her own meaning (Laureate, 2011)” of what happened in the story. It would also align with the constructionist ideology because each student was creating an artifact. Also, the technology allowed the teacher to assign more complex tasks for her students.
Another example of technology supporting these theories was the use of Inspiration to create a root cause analysis graphic organizer. Often, these types of activities are higher order thinking exercises, and ‘students often need some scaffolding at first to help them successfully attain higher levels of understanding (Pitler, Hubbell, & Kuhn, 2012, p. 205)”. Advanced organizers are a great way to assist students in navigating difficult concepts. They also provide a visual aid for the end product on many occasions. Whether they are the end artifact, or a personal guide to produce an artifact, they are very beneficial to many students and educators; which support the theories of constructivism and constructionism.
Laureate Education, Inc. (2011). Constructionist and constructivist learning theories.
Baltimore, MD: Orey.
Pitler, H., Hubbell, E. R., & Kuhn, M. (2012). Using technology with classroom instruction
that works (2nd ed.). Alexandria, VA: ASCD.