Thoughts on Constructionism

This week, my readings discussed the importance of having students develop hypotheses and how the very process of this development helps to strengthen skills within students necessary for the 21st century. Generally, I feel that the incorporation of technology in the classroom, on a 1-1 basis, is imperative so that technological sophistication can be developed within the student in a controlled setting so that students are prepared for the technological challenges they will face in the workplace.

My reading highlights multiple software platforms that students should be using to develop hypotheses as well as creating artifacts, as described in the educational theory of constructionism. The authors describe how software like Microsoft Word and Excel can be used to give students an opportunity to create original artifacts to fulfill classroom objectives. Not only does the incorporation of such technologies give students a tool to construct artifacts but the very act of developing understanding of multiple uses of such technology and problem solving to create a successful artifact helps students to develop a greater number of skills compared to merely completing a multiple-choice or short answer assessment.

As an English teacher, I feel that using technologies such as these, paired with constructionist approaches to lessons can benefit students and support the development of student creativity. While I have my students write expository essays and creative writing pieces, which do qualify as artifacts, by using more technologies, beyond just word processing software, students have a greater ability to better represent their understanding of the material. For instance, when students have the capability to work, not only with students in the classroom, but access the internet and network with students from around the country and world they are gaining access to a wealth of untapped information which can further the goal of constructing dynamic artifacts. When I have my own students construct items such as wikis or blogs about the subject of the day, students are genuinely more engaged, more apt to put forth more effort to complete the assignment and show more improvement on standardized tests compared to my pervious students from years past when only a written assignment was given. The construction of various artifacts throughout the school year assists in helping students to more completely understand the material being presented and demonstrate, creatively, how the student has adapted the new knowledge into their greater understanding of the subject.

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4 Responses to “Thoughts on Constructionism”

  1. Deborah H Says:

    Derrick,
    I totally agree and commend you on what you are doing with your high school students. The opportunity for them to expand their support from not only the classroom but the World Wide Web will prove to provide for them learning that will be forever remembered. I firmly believe that hands on activities are just as important in High School as they are in the primary school.
    Do you have an elementary school close by? Having your students pal up with some lower grade level students would provide an opportunity for your students to be mentors/teachers and the younger students the opportunity to grow in their technology knowledge.

    Deborah

  2. Rebecca Green Says:

    Have you ever considered having your students compile a portfolio for their artifacts throughout a unit or the entire year? This could be a great compilation of their experiences and they could take the additional time to reflect on their knowledge and connections. As we are completing for our experience for this program, the students could use an online portfolio system which would be a way for them to access it in the future. This might be a way for them to join their written work with other technological artifacts.

    R. Green

  3. I think that wikis are outstanding artifacts for students to create. Wikis not only display students’ discoveries they also teach students to write for different audiences. I know that, as an English teacher myself, teaching students to write for different audiences is challenging. Creating wikis is an outstanding way for them to practice their writing skills while also creating an artifact about the topic.

    J. McQuaid

  4. Hi there! Im a nurse instructor teaching strategies in health education and want to congratulate you for focusing on the students ways of learning, actually im just learning on how to improve my craft, browsing for modern strategies for me to make use in terms of teaching and the different ways of improving my capability of teaching for my students to cooperate and learn like different activities that enhance the learning potential of the student i teach.

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