According to Dr. Michael Orey, constructionism is a “theory of learning that states people learn best when they build an external artifact or something they can share with others” Laureate Education, Inc. 2009f). Teachers in today’s classrooms, with the advent of technology, can easily find projects that enable students to build and learn from lessons that teachers plan. Examples of building strategies include, but are not exclusive to, “spreadsheet software, data collection tools, and Web resources”
Hubbell, Kuhn, & Malenoski, 2007). In history classes,
teachers can use Web Quests, game simulators, and other problem based learning
In my own history classes, I have successfully used a web quest on the 1920s. In this web quest, students chose a group; each group has the responsibility of reporting one of the following: sports, current news stories, advertisements, political commentary and cartoons, all in the 1920s. Students have to research using web sites I have already found and distributed, they students may use additional web sites they have found. Students then have to write a short newspaper article with photographs. Finally, the group gives their newspaper a name, a price, a date, and prints out a copy that they then orally present to the entire class. Student newspapers have included A Decade in Review, the 1920s, Sports Almanac of the 1920s, the Grand Experiment, and so many more. My students enjoy the project; they learn from research and from each other about the 1920s. The student assessments are the written newspaper, the oral presentation and an image quiz I give the class with images from each of the newspapers presented.
In the scenario above, teachers will act as facilitators. According to Glazer, teachers as facilitators, “give students control over how they learn and provide support and structure in the direction of their learning” (Glazer, E. 2001). To set up the scenario the teacher must help to create the framework to the project, allow students to read the rubric before they begin the project and teachers should show examples of earlier work (modeling). By following these simple suggestions, a teacher can set up the project so that students and the teacher learn from each other, the internet, brainstorming with group members, creating and presenting.
Some sites a teacher can use to help with constructivist learning tools are:
A site that will allow students to create their own flipbooks you can use:
Finally, for students to develop their own comic books or graphic novels you can use:
Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2009f). Program 6, Constructionist & constructivist learning theories [Video webcast]. Bridging learning theory, instruction and technology. Retrieved from http://laureate.ecollege.com/ec/crs/default.learn?CourseID=5700267&CPURL=la ureate.e.college.com&Survey=1&47=2594577&ClientNodeID=984650&coursen av=0&bhcp=1
Glazer, E. (2001). Problem Based Instruction. In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved March 18, 2012, from http://projectis.coe.uga.edu/epltt/index.php?title=Problem_Based_Instruction
Pitler, H., Hubbell, E. R., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007). Using technology with classroom instruction that works. Denver, Colorado, USA: McRel.