According to Solomon & Schrum, constructivism views learning as a process where individuals build new knowledge based on their prior knowledge and experiences (2007). The constructivist theory calls for student-centered, relevant, and engaging learning experiences. The teacher transitions from the provider of knowledge to the facilitator and observer. As an observer the teacher can see how and when students are learning.
In the video below, John Abbott discusses the age old theory of constructivism in learning.
Preparing the digital natives of today to be lifelong learners requires the pairing of technology and effective instructional strategies. The Southwest Educational Development Laboratory (SEDL) points out that, “constructivism is a theory of learning, but it does not dictate how the theory should be translated into classroom practice” (1999). The Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning (McREL) has conducted research that will help teachers determine which instructional strategy and what type of technology to use to reach a clear and precise goal (Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn, & Malenoski, 2007).
Benefits of Integrating Technology
The integration of technology offers many benefits to teachers and students. Technology implementation in the classroom increases student learning and achievement; increases student motivation to build new knowledge; encourages collaborative learning; and supports the development of critical thinking and problem solving skills (Pitler et al., 2007). According to Bransford, Brown, & Cocking new technologies can:
- bringing exciting curricula based on real-world problems into the classroom;
- providing scaffolds and tools to enhance learning;
- giving students and teachers more opportunities for feedback, reflection, and revision;
- building local and global communities that include teachers, administrators, students, parents, practicing scientists, and other interested people; and
- expanding opportunities for teacher learning (2000).
Abbott, J. (nd). Building Knowledge: Constructivism in Learning. Youtube.com. Retrieved on November 22, 2009, from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F00R3pOXzuk
Bransford, J. D., Brown, A. L., & Cocking, R. R. (2000). How people learn: Brain, mind, experience, and school (Expanded edition). Ch. 9, pp. 194-218. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press. Retrieved on November 22, 2009, from http://books.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=6160&page=195
Pitler, H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007). Using technology with classroom instruction that works. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, Introduction, 1 – 14.
Solomon, G., & Schrum, L. (2007). Web 2.0: New tools, New schools. Eugene, OR: International Society for Technology in Education, 7-44.
Southwest Educational Development Laboratory, (1999). Learning as a personal event: A brief introduction to constructivism. Retrieved on November 18, 2009 from http://www.sedl.org/pubs/tec26/intro2c.html