Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Constructionism in Practice

As teachers, we should want to ignite a spark in our students that inspires them to want to learn at their highest level. When students are actively engaged in their learning and create artifacts that reflect their learning, then they are truly exemplifying the spark that is igniting within them. Although it may be difficult to keep students continuously inspired and engaged within the classroom, I believe technology helps provides students with resources to create meaningful learning experiences. In addition, when students create or build artifacts to reflect their learning, then they have modeled the constructionist theory.

According to Dr. Orey (2009), teachers should take on the constructionist approach with their students because it supports the idea of students learning best when they are able to construct or build things in order to deepen their understanding of various concepts and skills. For example, Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn and Malenoski (2007) suggest that technology resources such as spreadsheet software, data collection tools, and Web resources help enhance students’ learning experiences because it allows them the opportunity to create and interact with data in a very quick and efficient manner. In addition, technology resources such as interactive spreadsheets, helps develop students’ critical thinking skills and promotes the use of educated decision making (Pitler et al., 2007).

Although my second grade students may be too young to generate and test hypothesis with interactive spreadsheet software, I do believe students can work in small groups to create interesting project-based activities in which they learn how to work together and collaborate on a common theme or idea. Through project-based activities, technology can prove to be a wonderful and resourceful tool for students. These learning experiences also promote an excellent constructionist approach to learning within the classroom.

Orey, M. (Presenter). (2009). Bridging learning theory, instruction, and technology. [DVD]. Baltimore, MD: Laureate Education, Inc.

Pitler, H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007). Using technology with classroom instruction that works. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.


  1. Jewel-

    I agree with your post in that the 1st grade students in my classroom would struggle to generate and test any hypothesis they could come up with. I sometimes struggle with spreadsheet software myself, and would in fact need a refresher course if I were ever needed to teach it to someone.

    I do also think the students we see in our classrooms can build artifacts of knowledge by working together in a small group and create a project as a team.

  2. Bill, you're right. I think that if we place young students in small groups or with partners to complete a project, then they would do a much better job with building artificats on the computer then they would by themselves. At their age, very few children would be able to handle a large responsiblity like that on their own.