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Constructivism in Practice

                                        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.

                                                          

                                                     References:

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.

 

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About dericow11

Educator, life-long learner....

2 responses to “Constructivism in Practice

  1. Greg Thorson ⋅

    Derico,

    You once again reminded me that our job as a teacher has still remained much the same as it always should have been, which is being a facilitator to get kids to a higher level of learning. Reviewing all of the learning theories and analysis of how the brain works brings me to the realization that learning is in fact a process which potentially involves many components. Students need a background knowledge which in many ways is when teachers need to scaffold and create learning experiences which are meaningful but we also need to create conditions and situations where students are responsible for gathering information, interpreting, comparing, constructing, with the ultimate goal of having them learn or understand a given objective. Once students have figured out how to learn on their own, the possibilities are limitless.

    Greg Thorson

  2. dericow11

    Greg,

    Thanks for the comment! I do agree that learning requires many components, and that most students learn through the principles of multiple theories and strategies. In my own experiences, building and pulling form background knowledge is one of the most difficult aspects of teaching for me. My curriculum covers the Middle East, Africa, and SE Asia. Many of my students know very little about these regions of the world, unless they emigrated from those areas. This is why I use videos and virtual field trips to enhance my lessons, because most of them need visuals to help them understand the material. Like you said, the ultimate goal is to get the students to understand how they learn best, and have them take ownership of their learning.

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