Saturday, August 02, 2008

Embracing Constructivism: Some Resources

I was going to use the word 'stumble', but this is not correct. I have deliberately gone back to explore some online spaces after catching a tweet from Gary Stager about how pleased he was with the recent workshop on Constructing Modern Knowledge.

I have a special interest in this field of exploration, but particularly as Gary will be coming to Qatar Academy in November this year to work with teachers and administrators with our 1:1 emerging program and I am also planning to ask him to include sessions on constructivist pedagogy. Then again, the two are interdependent, or in fact the same idea anyway, as I see it.

My journey started earlier this week with some words of wisdom from MIT's Mitch Resnick as he shared ideas with TechLearning re definitions for constructivism and constructionism,
"I interpret Piaget's Contructivism as more a theory of how people learn, where Seymour's Constructionism is more of an approach to learning, it's a strategy for education. I see them as somewhat different. It's not that one replaces the other. Constructivism is more about the way people learn and Constructionism is more a suggested strategy, an educational approach, to help people learn."
He then states,
"I should add that, although I feel I'm very influenced by and a strong believer of this Constructivist approach to learning and Seymour's Constructionist strategies for education, it's important to be up front about the fact that it's not easy to carry out a Constructionists approach to learning or to set up an educational approach taking seriously Constructivist ideas."

I then explored the Constructivist Consortium and joined the Anywhere, Anytime Learning group that has a searchable database of laptop, Tablet PC and other computing programs in schools. The Constructivist Consortium provide a list of books to read that are from I am interested to see 'Summerhill' by A.S Neill has been revised (in 1995....I am behind the times!). I read this book in the early 80's when completing my education diploma and it had an impact on me then. As a young teacher in a government system (Australia, Victoria) I had no real way of implementing some of the concepts. Even now I struggle to meld constructivist concepts with the demands of the particular school I am teaching in. What comes first - the constructionist approach or the demands of curriculum and assessment, or should they be hand-in-hand? Like the use of technology, I think pedagogical approach is a mindset, it needs to be ubiquitous and benefit all stakeholders.

Then there is the work by George Siemens and his writings about connectivism. He has a book, Knowing Knowledge, that is available for download.

Then there is the new Google release this week, Knol. A knol is an authoritative article about a specific topic, it is searchable and anyone can contribute...constructivist in approach.

Let me know by way of reply to this post if you know of any other 'must read' or 'must know about' websites and resources for finding out more about constructivism, constructionism, connectivism and a pedagogical approach to teaching and learning in the K-12 classroom.

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1 comment:

Gary said...

It's important not to interpret Resnick's "warning" as any sort of justification to believe that people don't learn by constructing knowledge.

His comments merely reflect the institution of school's long-standing resistance to practices in the best interest of learners.