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.