The constructivist learning theory explains that an individual creates their own knowledge and understanding through experiences. The constructionist learning theory takes it a step further and the individual builds a project that represents his or her understanding or knowledge. In one of my resources this week, the authors talk about embedding technology in “Generating and Testing Hypothesis…When students generate and test hypotheses, they are engaging in complex mental processes , applying content knowledge like facts and vocabulary, and enhancing their overall understanding of the content” (Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn & Malenoski, 2007). Using spreadsheet software, data collection tools and Web resources to generate and test hypothesis support the constructivist/constructionist learning theory in the classroom.
The internet has changed how we access information. Information is at our fingertips with a stroke of a key. Technology allows students “…to spend more time interpreting the data rather than gathering the data…” (Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn & Malenoski, 2007). Spreadsheets allow students to organize their data in a way that makes sense and it allows them to change the data to investigate different outcomes. Data collection tools such as graphs and charts enable students “…to see the bigger picture and recognize patterns” (Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn & Malenoski, 2007). They also allow students to collect data quicker so the students have more time to evaluate the information. Web resources such as gaming software allow students to try different scenarios (hypothesis) in a virtual situation that may be impossible in real life (Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn & Malenoski, 2007). These embedded technologies help students gather information, hypothesize, reevaluate data and build a product that represents the learning that occurred.
Just yesterday, I had my math students complete a computer-generated table to record data from a math activity involving the relationship between volumes of solids. My students were able to use the chart to identify the pattern that occurred between the volumes of the solids throughout the lab. It really helped them see the big picture of where the volume formulas derived from. Do you use embedded technology to encourage constructivism/constructionism in your classroom? If so, what do you use and how do you use it?
Pitler, H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007). Using Technology with Classroom Instruction that Works. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.