It is important to understand the different theories of learning and how the brain processes information. When we put those learning theories to work in the classroom, we must also provide an opportunity for students to have an authentic and meaningful learning experience while integrating a technology tool that will help facilitate that experience. This week we are looking at Constructivism and Constructionism. Within a problem based and/or project based learning environment, it is important to have both theories at work. Add in technology and students will have helped to create a lesson that they not only feel a sense of “ownership” for, but also, we will have provided students with technology resources and skills that they will use in the future.
Constructivism is basically one’s own unique philosophy and understanding of knowledge. I believe that in order for one to learn and have a connection to the content presented, a person would have to be able to reconcile what they see, hear, and do on their own terms. Of course, in the classroom, teachers guide students along the way in order to make sure that overall understanding of the information is apparent. Rubrics help with this by stating the standards and expectations for the lesson from the beginning.
Constructionist theory calls for the student to start from scratch and build a project from the ground up. When an individual, or a group, begin to work in this way to create an artifact, they are also building the steps to learning process within their mind. Students get a greater understanding of how the final project will come together when they understand the steps to getting there.
A strategy we read about this was generating and testing hypotheses. As I delved into the chapter, I gained a clearer understanding of how the six tasks mentioned in the text can guide students toward generating and testing hypotheses to get to core learning. Specifically, problem solving and invention lend themselves to the theories mentioned above. From the constructivist point of view a student would use their own ideas and experiences to look at options to solve a problem and then to decide the path to take creating a solution. The steps involved in making those decisions and putting those steps into action, allow the student to begin to build their test and think about what the outcome may be. Using technology such as spreadsheet software, data collection tools, and additional website resources would enhance learning by creating an experience that is authentic because it can be used in a number of scenarios. Also, the experience would be meaningful due to the fact that the student had input and that input led to the creation of the final artifact that can now be shared with others for their own learning. I would use this type of technology to plan a budget for the first year of an infant’s life, planning a schedule for calorie intake and exercise, or to compare information when shopping for goods and services. Students would be able to input information found on the internet and then analyze the results quickly.
Technology helps our students to grow skills and learn in tremendous ways. Students will use the technology resources and skills they have acquired in class to create projects, solve problems, and analyze information in a way that relates to them. By using the strategies discussed here, teachers and students will be able to provide and build a more authentic learning experience and knowledge that is more likely to be retained and recalled readily.
Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer) (2010) Constructionist and Constructivist Learning Theories. Retrieved from http://sylvan.live.ecollege.com
Pitler, H., Hubbell, E.R., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007). Using technology with classroom instruction that works. (p. 203). Denver, CO: McRELInternational Baccalaureate Organization (IBO). (2011, January).