Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Constructionism Learning Theory

The constructionism Learning Theory states that students learn best when they are engaged in learning and creating evidence of their learning. People are able to acquire knowledge and understanding when they build something new from prior knowledge or schema (Laureate Education, 2009). By providing students with web tools and technologies they are able to synthesize information into a product that demonstrates their understanding of the content at hand and the technologies used to produce the product.

A great technology based resources that could help students use their schema to develop further understanding and build upon what they know would be the use of excel. The idea of project-based learning goes hand in hand with constructionism. There is a general problem that is posed and students are required to come up with a plan and create a final product to show what they have learned. When given a problem students are first required to draw on their own schema, what do they already know. From this schema they will then develop a hypothesis or a general idea about what the new data show. Then students are required to collect the data to either prove or disprove their original theory (Pitler, H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K., p.210). In my classroom I might ask the question "What type of pet do most 2nd graders like?" We would then have to record our hypothesis such as second graders mostly like dogs. Then students would be required to collect the data from different classes and put the information into a spreadsheet on excel. From this spreadsheet students would be able to turn the data into a bar graph to better understand the data that was collected. Students have now created an artifact from the collected data and will be able to visually see what they now know.

In simple terms, constructionism believe that by actively doing and building students will acquire knowledge by using their schema as a starting block and stepping stool to further understanding. Through the use of many technology based programs project-based assignments can help teachers and students build on past experiences and create new ones.

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2009). Program 6. Constructionist and Constructivist Learning Theories. [Educational video]. Baltimore: Author.

Pitler, H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007). Using technology with classroom instruction that works. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed reading about having your second graders create bar graphs. This type of authentic, technology-oriented project will not only keep students engaged, but excited to learn and discover the outcomes. I have discovered this week that when the teacher can become more of a facilitator, while students create their own projects based on curriculum, the students will benefit from the information gained from original, project-based experiences. I am sure your students will thoroughly enjoy your project!