EDIT 6100/ Constructivist Theory
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Summary and brief bibliography
General characteristics of Constructivist Theory
Is, in a sense, using what you have and building on it. J.Bruner suggests that learning is an active process in which learners construct new ideas or concepts based upon their current/past knowledge. The learner selects and transforms information, constructs hypotheses, and makes decisions, relying on a cognitive structure to do so. Cognitive structure (i.e. schema, mental models) provides meaning and organization to experiences and allows the individual to ?go beyond information given.? Because of this, curriculum should be organized in a spiral manner so that the student continually builds upon what they have already learned.
According to arts in ed. com
What is meant by constructivism? The term refers to the idea that learners construct knowledge for themselves---each learner individually (and socially) constructs meaning---as he or she learns. Constructing meaning is learning; there is no other kind. The dramatic consequences of this view are twofold;
1. We have to focus on the learner in thinking about learning (not on the subject/lesson to be taught):
2. There is no knowledge independent of the meaning attributed to experience (constructed) by the learner, or community of learners.
Uses of Constructivism
We must provide learners with the opportunity to: a) interact
with sensory data, and b) construct their own world.
In the Classroom
The constructivist teacher sets up problems and monitors student exploration, guides the direction of student inquiry and promotes new patterns of thinking. Classes can take unexpected turns as students are given the autonomy to direct their own explorations.
The classroom should provide a neutral zone where students exchange their personal views and test them against the ideas of others; each student can continue to build understanding
based on empirical evidence.
Higher Education Courses:
* Studio (given some resources, you manage and construct an independent project)
* Independent studies (rather than read about the census, students examine and interpret census data. Or better yet, they plan a mini-census, gather their own data, and interpret the results)
Grade School Courses:
Establish a framework for the combination of software and pedagogical principles to create a constructivist learning environment (math, science, social sciences, etc.)
Hands-on learning/interaction with opportunities to manipulate objects that involves that not only involves motor skills but also intellectual skill such as developing personal learning strategies.
Learning portfolio (Since the idea is to build upon current knowledge and define principles through exploration, this seems to be utilizing constructivism).
Limitations of Constructivist Theory
Limitations of Constructivists:
* The methods are very time consuming
* Research indicates that constructivist methods work best for learners with well-developed metacognitive skills.
* Strict constructivists techniques are good in some types of learning, some situations and for some learners, but not all.
* Research also says micro-level instruction is recommended:
1. Constructivists lessons
4. Interaction types
* We have to focus on the learner in thinking about learning (not on the subject/lesson to be taught)
* There is no knowledge independent of the meaningattributed to experience (constructed) by the learner, or community of learners.
* If we accept the constructivist position we are inevitably required to follow a pedagogy which argues that we must provide learners with the opportunity to:
a) interact with sensory data,
b) construct their own world.
Constructing Knowledge in the Classroom, http://www.sedl.org/scimath/compass/v01n03/1.html
Constructivist Learning Theory,
Constructivist Learning Theory, http://www.artsined.com/
Instructional Design, Patricia L. Smith and TIllman J. Ragan, Merrill, 1999.
Multimedia for Learning - methods and developments, By Stephen M. Alessi & Stanley R. Trollip
Theory Into Practice Database (TIP), http://tip.psychology.org
Haley Grizzle, John Kriemeyer,
Ericka Mayweather, and Robin Fay.