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Constructionism by Seymour Papert

Constructionism by Seymour Papert




Constructionism (learning theory)


Constructionist learning is inspired by the constructivist theory that individual learners construct mental models to understand the world around them. However, constructionism holds that learning can happen most effectively when people are also active in making tangible objects in the real world. In this sense, constructionism is connected with experiential learning and builds on some of the ideas of Jean Piaget.






Seymour Papert




Seymour Papert defined constructionism in a proposal to the National Science Foundation entitled Constructionism: A New Opportunity for Elementary Science Education as follows: "The word constructionism is a mnemonic for two aspects of the theory of science education underlying this project. From constructivist theories of psychology we take a view of learning as a reconstruction rather than as a transmission of knowledge. Then we extend the idea of manipulative materials to the idea that learning is most effective when part of an activity the learner experiences as constructing a meaningful product."

As Papert and Idit Harel say at the start of Situating Constructionism, "It is easy enough to formulate simple catchy versions of the idea of constructionism; for example, thinking of it as 'learning-by-making'. One purpose of this introductory chapter is to orient the reader toward using the diversity in the volume to elaborate—to construct—a sense of constructionism much richer and more multifaceted, and very much deeper in its implications, than could be conveyed by any such formula."

Papert's ideas became well-known through the publication of his seminal book Mindstorms: Children, Computers, and Powerful Ideas (Basic Books, 1980). Papert described children creating programs in the Logo language. He likened their learning to a living in a "mathland," where learning mathematical ideas is as natural as learning French while living in France.

Papert has been a huge proponent of bringing IT to classrooms, as in his early uses of the Logo language to teach mathematics to children. Constructionist learning involves students drawing their own conclusions through creative experimentation and the making of social objects. The constructionist teacher takes on a mediational role rather than adopting an instructionist position. Teaching "at" students is replaced by assisting them to understand—and help one another to understand—problems in a hands-on way.

While constructionism has, due to its impetus, been primarily used in science and mathematics teaching (in the form of inquiry-based science), it is arguable that it developed in a different form in the field of media studies in which students often engage with media theory and practice simultaneously, in a complementary praxis. More recently it has gained a foot hold in Applied linguistics, in the field of second language acquisition (or SLA). One such application has been the use of the popular game SimCity as a means of teaching English using constructionist techniques (Gromik:2004).

Begininning in the 1980s, The LEGO Group funded research in Papert's research group at the MIT Media Laboratory, which at the time was known as the "Epistemology and Learning Group." When LEGO launched its LEGO Mindstorms Robotics Invention System in 1998, which was based on work in his group, they received permission to use the moniker "Mindstorms" from Seymour's 1980 book title. In The LEGO Group's LEGO Serious Play project, business people learn to express corporate issues and identity through the medium of plastic bricks -- another form of constructionist learning.

In 2005, Papert, together with Nicholas Negroponte and Alan Kay launched the One Laptop Per Child initiative to put constructionist learning into practice in the developing world. The aim is to provide $100 laptops to every child in the developing world.

Constructionist learning have also been put into practice by the World Wide Workshop Foundation. With Papert as an advisor, the foundation established the Globaloria program in 2006 to teach youth to become game and simulation makers using constructionist learning principles.


Computer programming languages

A number of programming languages have been created, wholly or in part, for educational use, to support the constructionist approach to learning. These languages have been dynamically typed, and reflective. They include:

•Logo is a multi-paradigm language, which is an easier-to-read adaptation and dialect of Lisp, without the parentheses. Logo is known for its introduction of turtle graphics to elementary schoolchildren in the 1980s. Its creators were Wally Feurzeig, and Papert.
•Smalltalk is an object-oriented language that was designed and created at Xerox PARC by a team led by Alan Kay.
•Etoys is being developed since the 1990s under the direction of Alan Kay, most recently by the Viewpoints Research Institute, based on Morphic tile scripting. Etoys was initially targeted at primary school math and science education.
•Scratch was developed in the early 21st century at MIT Media Lab under Mitchel Resnick. Like Etoys, it is based on Morphic tile scripts. Scratch is initially targeted at programming interactive multimedia, in primary and secondary education.
•StarLogo TNG was developed by the MIT Scheller Teacher Education Program under Eric Klopfer. It combines a block programming interface with compelling 3D graphics. It is targeted at programming games and game-like simulations in middle and secondary schools.



External links



Reference


  1. ^ Cakir, M. (2008). Constructivist Approaches to Learning in Science and Their Implications for Science Pedagogy: A Literature Review. International Journal of Environmental & Science Education, 3(4), 193-206. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.
  2. ^ Sabelli, N. (2008). Constructionism: A New Opportunity for Elementary Science Education. DRL Division of Research on Learning in Formal and Informal Settings, 193-206. Retrieved from http://nsf.gov/awardsearch/showAward.do?AwardNumber=8751190.
  3. ^ Papert, S. & Harel, I. (1991). Situating Constructionism. Constructionism, Ablex Publishing Corporation: 193-206. Retrieved from http://www.papert.org/articles/SituatingConstructionism.html.
  4. ^ Papert, S. & Harel, I. (1991). Situating Constructionism. Constructionism, Ablex Publishing Corporation: 193-206. Retrieved from http://www.papert.org/articles/SituatingConstructionism.html.
  5. ^ Hmelo-Silver, C. E. & Barrows, H. S. (2006). Goals and strategies of a problem-based learning facilitator. Interdisciplinary Journal of Problem-based Learning, 1. 21-39.
  6. ^ Wilson, B. (Ed.) Constructivist learning environments: Case studies in instrumental design. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Educational Technology Publictations.
  7. ^ Wilson, B. (Ed.) Constructivist learning environments: Case studies in instrumental design. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Educational Technology Publictations.
  8. ^ Wilson, B. (Ed.) Constructivist learning environments: Case studies in instrumental design. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Educational Technology Publictations.
  9. ^ Wilson, B. (Ed.) Constructivist learning environments: Case studies in instrumental design. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Educational Technology Publictations.
  10. ^ Wilson, B. (Ed.) Constructivist learning environments: Case studies in instrumental design. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Educational Technology Publictations.
  11. ^ Wilson, B. (Ed.) Constructivist learning environments: Case studies in instrumental design. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Educational Technology Publictations.
  12. ^ Papert, S. & Harel, I. (1991). Situating Constructionism. Constructionism, Ablex Publishing Corporation: 193-206. Retrieved from http://www.papert.org/articles/SituatingConstructionism.html.
  13. ^ Papert, S. & Harel, I. (1991). Situating Constructionism. Constructionism, Ablex Publishing Corporation: 193-206. Retrieved from http://www.papert.org/articles/SituatingConstructionism.html.
  14. ^ Papert, S. & Harel, I. (1991). Situating Constructionism. Constructionism, Ablex Publishing Corporation: 193-206. Retrieved from http://www.papert.org/articles/SituatingConstructionism.html.
  15. ^ Wikipedia. Globoria. Retrieved from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Globaloria

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