Constructivism and Constructionism… in practice

Constructivism has always been a personally favorite theory. This week’s information and resources has helped me to understand the difference between constructivism and constructionism and how they can be used appropriately in the classroom along with technology. Piaget’s constructivist theory is well known and is well explained by Dr. Orey (Laureate Education, 2010) as when students create knowledge based on their own ideas and building their own learning. This involves using assimilations and accommodations in which students understanding (schema) is altered to fit the external reality, or external reality needs to fit into the student’s understanding (schema). Ultimately, the brain wants to achieve equilibration, where the external reality and understandings (schemas) reach a balance. Constructionism is a theory that is further developed and described by Dr. Orey (2001) as a theory and educational strategy where students will use create something when engaged in learning which will allow students to build new ideas and knowledge.

After reviewing the strategy, Generating and Testing Hypotheses from Using Technology with Classroom Instruction that Works, I was able to analyze the correlation between this strategy and the constructivism theory. This chapter discusses ways that students can create and test a hypotheses such as problem solving, investigating, experimenting, etc. There are many ways that the chapter explains how to integrate technology when using this strategy. Students can use several types of spreadsheet software, as well as data collection tools and the internet. This strategy is connected to constructivist and constructionist theories because as students use a spreadsheet to input predictions and create scenarios to create the completed spreadsheet, they are creating new ideas as they actively engaged in creating the spreadsheet. The same is true for tools such as data collection and web resources because students can build their own knowledge through new ideas as they see the information in what they are creating on the computer.

While some of these tools may not be directly related to what we do in kindergarten, the use of technology tools can be adapted so that this strategy can be used in the classroom and still allow for constructionism. Students may be able to see predictions from a science experiment and the results on a data collection tool. Through the process, students will be able to create new ideas and reach new learning.

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2010). Bridging learning theory, instruction, and technology [Webcast]. Constructionist and Constructivist Learning Theories. Baltimore: Executive Producer.
Orey, M.(Ed.). (2001). Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved , from http://projects.coe.uga.edu/epltt/
Pitler, H., Hubbell, E. R., Kuhn, M., Malenoski, K. (2007). Using Technology With Classroom Instruction That Works. Denver, CO: ASCD

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About Nicole

Hello! My name is Nicole deMoll. I am a kindergarden teacher in Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland. I started this blog as part of my graduate studies in education. I am dedicated to learning more about integrating technology into the classroom. I love teaching kindergarten and I hope to be able to share a lot throughout my adventures!
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2 Responses to Constructivism and Constructionism… in practice

  1. Mary Jones says:

    Nicole,
    I think you are absolutely correct when you say your students can experience this strategy and theory. In fact, I think at your grade level, the students are more open to questioning, discussion and creating artifacts. While the technology at your level may have to be whole group and more teacher directed, they will still have that added visual support to create networks (cognitivism) with the added bonus of assimilating or accommodating the new knowledge (constructivism). Great job explaining the theories, it was very clear.

  2. Kelley Straight says:

    Nicole,
    You made very good connections between constructionism and generating and testing hypotheses. I hope to incorporate the use of more spreadsheets this year, so the students can construct knowledge with them. Also, I love that you are thinking of ways to incorporate technology and these strategies with your kindergarten students. Very nice post!
    Kelley

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