Essays On Constructivism And Education

On By In 1
Martin Dougiamas – November, 1998

 

FACES OF CONSTRUCTIVISM:

  • Trivial constructivism
  • Radical constructivism
  • Social constructivism
  • Cultural constructivism
  • Critical constructivism
  • Constructionism

Introduction

During the past three months, I’ve been learning about constructivism by reading scholarly texts, discussing them with my class and my friends, journal keeping and personal reflection. Through this interesting time, I feel my understanding has grown considerably and have already proved useful. I’ve constructed this text in an attempt to demonstrate my current understandings of constructivism, as well as the process by which my knowledge developed.

I had some trouble with the self-referential nature of the material. Since the subject is the “meaning of meaning” at various levels, it’s easy to become confused and fall into a “black hole” where text seems meaningless. How can I know from reading texts what authors think, and what works? How can I realise my own understanding? How can I communicate my understandings to you?

Despite this, I feel the struggle to construct this text to try and represent my learning as a result of interacting with a wide diversity of other texts has been a rewarding one. It has helped me develop constructivism in my mind as a referent to apply to my own day-to-day practices and research in communication, teaching and learning.

I hope that reading this will also help you, the reader, reflect critically on your own life, and perhaps increase your own satisfaction with your educational activities.

A word about the writing styles I’ve chosen to use in this essay. For the most part, I’ve written in the first-person, since this essay is an expression of my thoughts (Ellis, 1996). However, I often use a third-person style, which is not intended to impart a sense of objectivity, but to make it easier to read passages describing the ideas of others.

 

Background

I signed up for a Masters course to broaden myself in my desire to develop the use of technologies for learning, gained from many years of constant learning with technology and later, teaching it to others.

My youth was spent as an isolated child in small desert towns in central Australia. Much of my school education was undertaken in distance mode via School of the Air, using shortwave radio. I had half an hour of contact with a teacher per day, with several hours self-directed study using worksheets and projects. Moving to the city in my teens, I attended a normal high school, followed by seven years of University education. At University, I studied Engineering, Physics and finally Computer Science, and then gained some intensive experience programming visualisation systems for the mining industry.

In the five years since then, I have worked within Curtin University of Technology on Internet technologies: analysing systems, solving problems, educating other users in the technology, helping people to solve their own problems. For the first two years I worked on the help-desk – a demanding job involving an average of ten or twenty wide-ranging consultations a day. Later, I focussed more on the Internet, including the design and operations of Curtin’s main web sites.

During much of this time, the same issues kept arising in the way people came to deal with the technology. I tried to distill these issues into an Internet Overview seminar, which I used and developed over a four-year period with a wide variety of adult learners. By monitoring reactions to my experiments in teaching, I kept the parts that seemed to work, and changed the areas that didn’t, letting the course evolve each time.

I felt that I knew enough about the technologies, and had an intuitive sense of communicating my enthusiasm and knowledge to others, yet wondered how I could improve the quality of my teaching at a more rapid pace than simply relying on direct feedback. I was also becoming very interested in developing better interfaces to computers to solve many of the problems before they arose, but sensed that I needed a more theoretical foundation than the occasional forays I had already made into cognitive psychology, design, complexity theory and computer science.

After some exploration of options around my University, I decided modern science education theory might offer what I was needing.

After explaining some of this to Dr Peter Taylor, he suggested enrolling in his course on Constructivism, as part of a Masters in Science Education. At the time, I had only a very vague notion of what it was – I actually thought it was something like behaviourism! – but Peter assured me I’d find it interesting.

He was right!

 

First Impression

I threw my suitcase on the bed and looked around my Bangkok hotel room. The single room was worn and clean, with a good view of endless dusty buildings. After a few minutes listening to the ancient ceiling fan and honking traffic, I changed my shirt and headed outside to explore.

The first thing I did after enrolling was to go and hunt down a few web pages about constructivism. After reading them, I tried to describe in my own words what constructivism was:

Constructivism is building on knowledge known by the student. Education is student-centred, students have to construct knowledge themselves. Explanations can use metacognition to explain via metaphor. Semiotics, or meanings of words, are important to keep in mind. Constructivism is a theory, a tool, a lens for examining educational practices. (from my journal, July 1998)

Looking back at this now it seems very thin indeed, but it was from this point that I launched into studying constructivism.

Faces of constructivism

I wandered almost randomly along the cracked pavements, keeping one eye on the hotel and the other on the throngs of people all around me.

In this section I’ll describe the major “faces of constructivism” separately, because it is more helpful for me to write about them in that way, and hopefully for you to read about them, although perhaps both will be in a non-linear fashion.

Each of these types of constructivism should not be seen as a set of methods, or as a fixed manifesto-like set of beliefs. They are “points of view”, perspectives loosely defined by a collection of writings of particular individuals in each case. My research is not comprehensive, and nor could it be, but these sections represent popular labels in constructivist literature used as shorthand to indicate these different groups of ideas. Indeed, you can also say that “constructivist literature” is defined by their use of these labels, since the ideas are related to many other philosophical labels.

The points of contact between these concepts are many, as are the connections they can make within your own life. As I work through these sections, I am endeavouring to point out major relationships as I’ve seen them in developing my own understanding of constructivism as a referent – a perspective I can apply to a wide variety of situations to help me make choices about my actions and to help reflect on what I’ve done.

Most importantly, behind all of this are values that are rarely discussed openly in constructivism literature. Why do we even want to create models of learning? Why do we feel we need to improve the quality of education? In constructivism I see a hidden value ascribed to the notions of diversity and adaptability, which in turn promote the root value: survival of our species. Learners who can adapt quickly by learning in a complex world are more likely to adapt to changing conditions and survive as an individual. As an insurance against our future, more capable individuals are also more likely to discover answers to the questions we haven’t even thought of asking yet. A diverse population is also more likely to ensure survival in the event of unpredicted disasters, since different people may be affected differently.

Trivial constructivism

So much life! So many people scurrying about their daily business! I’ve never seen so many sick, scabby dogs. Is that motorbike-thing a taxi? Is that old lady actually cooking in that tiny cart?

The simplest idea in constructivism, and the root of all the other shades of constructivism described later in this text, is what von Glasersfeld (eg 1990) calls trivial constructivism, also known as personal constructivism. The principle has been credited to Jean Piaget, a pioneer of constructivist thought, and can be summed up by the following statement:

Knowledge is actively constructed by the learner, not passively received from the environment.

This reacts against other epistemologies promoting simplistic models of communication as simple transmission of meanings from one person to another. The prior knowledge of the learner is essential to be able to “actively” construct new knowledge.

To me, this seemed obvious, and it seemed to be compatible with most opinions I’d ever read about teaching or science. Learning is work – effective learning requires concentration. There are some things you have to learn before others. The education system has always been built on a progression of ideas from simple to complex. So, so far, nothing really new. Hence, probably, von Glasersfeld’s characterisation as “trivial”.

Questions arise, however. What is “the environment”? What is “knowledge”? What is the relation of knowledge to “the environment”? What environments are better for learning? Trivial constructivism alone says nothing about these issues, and these are the shortcomings that the other faces of constructivism attempt to address.

Radical constructivism

I approached the old lady, smiled and looked at the foods keeping warm on her tiny gas burner. The chicken pieces looked tasty but no, probably not safe. I decided on a couple of what looked like tiny deep-fried meatballs. Somehow, with a combination of very bad Thai and waving hands I managed to pay for them. She laughed and said something to another woman huddled on the ground beside her, as I retreated to the safe anonymity of the crowded footpath. To my surprise the balls were very sweet and multilayered, not at all what I was expecting. Was that coconut?

Radical constructivism adds a second principle to trivial constructivism (von Glasersfeld, 1990), which can be expressed as:

Coming to know is a process of dynamic adaptation towards viable interpretations of experience. The knower does not necessarily construct knowledge of a “real” world.

What is there to stop an individual from developing any “reality” they like? Taken to extremes, wouldn’t we all be living in our own dream worlds, unable to communicate with other people or do anything for ourselves? Well, to some extent, we do all create our own realities. Radical constructivism does not deny an objective reality, but simply states that we have no way of knowing what that reality might be. Mental constructs, constructed from past experience, help to impose order on one’s flow of continuing experience. However, when they fail to work, because of external or internal constraints, thus causing a problem, the constructs change to try and accommodate the new experience.

Within the constraints that limit our construction there is room for an infinity of alternatives. “Truth” in traditional epistemologies is replaced by “viability”, bounded by social and physical constraints. The large diversity of flourishing public opinions in today’s society on nearly every conceivable topic is evidence that a range of viable constructs are possible to allow survival and growth in the world.

So how can people with different world views communicate? From a radical constructivist perspective, communication need not involve identically shared meanings between participants. It is sufficient for their meanings to be compatible (Hardy and Taylor, 1997). If neither of the parties does anything completely unexpected to the other, then their illusions of identically shared meaning are maintained (von Glasersfeld, 1990).

The emphasis here is still clearly on the individual learner as a constructor. Neither trivial nor radical constructivism look closely at the extent to which the human environment affects learning: it is regarded as part of the total environment. These issues are focussed on in more detail by social, cultural and critical constructivism.

Social constructivism

My feet were getting tired. I sat on a bench next to a couple of other travellers, and together we watched the motorbikes swarm like bees at the traffic lights. It turned out the dark guy was Canadian, and the girl Welsh. “Do you know where the main palace is?”, I asked them, not knowing the name of it. “Sorry, no”, said the guy, “we were going there ourselves. We know it’s near the Democracy Monument.” “The big pointy one?”, I said, shaping it with my hands. “Yep, near the river.”, the girl said. I knew where that was – I’d passed it leaving my hotel. “Let’s go!”, I said.

The social world of a learner includes the people that directly affect that person, including teachers, friends, students, administrators, and participants in all forms of activity. This takes into account the social nature of both the local processes in collaborative learning and in the discussion of wider social collaboration in a given subject, such as science.

Many of the authors that identify with social constructivism trace their ideas back to Vygotsky (e.g., 1978), a pioneering theorist in psychology who focussed on the roles that society played in the development of an individual.

Cobb (1994) examines whether the “mind” is located in the head or in social action, and argues that both perspectives should be used in concert, as they are each as useful as the other. What is seen from one perspective as reasoning of a collection of individuals mutually adapting to each other’s actions can be seen in another as the norms and practices of a classroom community (Cobb, 1998).

This dialectic is examined in more detail in a strong paper by Salomon and Perkins (1998), who suggest ways that these “acquisition” and “participation” metaphors of learning interrelate and interact in synergistic ways. They model the social entity as a learner (for example, a football team, a business or a family), compare it with the learning of an individual in a social setting, and identify three main types of relations:

  • Individual learning can be less or more socially-mediated learning.
  • Individuals can participate in the learning of a collective, sometimes with what is learned distributed throughout the collective more than in the mind of any one individual.
  • Individuals and social aspects of learning in both of these senses, can interact over time to strengthen one another in a ‘reciprocal spiral relationship’.

Teaching strategies using social constructivism as a referent include teaching in contexts that might be personally meaningful to students, negotiating taken-as-shared meanings with students, class discussion, small-group collaboration, and valuing meaningful activity over correct answers (Wood et al, 1995). Cobb (1994) contrasts the approach of delivering mathematics as “content” against the technique of fostering the emergence of mathematical ideas from the collective practices of the classroom community. Emphasis is growing on the teacher’s use of multiple epistemologies, to maintain dialectic tension between teacher guidance and student-initiated exploration, as well as between social learning and individual learning. Constructivism-related strategies such as these are starting to be used more often in science and mathematics classrooms, but perhaps not surprisingly, have been common for a longer time in humanities subjects like social studies and communication.

It’s interesting to observe the construction process of the wide community of intellectual publishers: liberal quoting of each other’s ideas, combining, arguing, extending and recombining them in order to construct our social and cultural understanding of thought, understanding and ultimately human nature.

Cultural constructivism

We wandered among the walls of the ancient palace buildings, admiring intricate Buddhist murals and statues next to signs in English telling us not to touch things, not to graffiti, not take photos, not to eat food, not to sit etc. It was hard to tell if they wanted tourists here or not. Did they think we wanted to destroy the place? Perhaps they did. Perhaps we already had. I thought about the amount of signs advertising western products I’d seen, I thought about those herds of motorcycles eroding the quiet temples with their exhaust.

Beyond the immediate social environment of a learning situation are the wider context of cultural influences, including custom, religion, biology, tools and language. For example, the format of books can affect learning, by promoting views about the organisation, accessibility and status of the information they contain.

“[What we need] is a new conception of the mind, not as an individual information processor, but as a biological, developing system that exists equally well within an individual brain and in the tools, artefacts, and symbolic systems used to facilitate social and cultural interaction.” (Vosniadou, 1996)

The tools that we use affect the way we think (by tools, I am including language and other symbolic systems as well as physical tools). Salomon and Perkins, (1998) identify two effects of tools on the learning mind. Firstly, they redistribute the cognitive load of a task between people and the tool while being used. For example, a label can save long explanations, and using a telephone can change the nature of a conversation. Secondly, the use of a tool can affect the mind beyond actual use, by changing skills, perspectives and ways of representing the world. For example, computers carry an entire philosophy of knowledge construction, symbol manipulation, design and exploration, which, if used in schools, can subversively promote changes in curricula, assessment, and other changes in teaching and learning.

Higher mental functions are, by definition, culturally mediated. They involve not a direct action on the world but an indirect one, one that takes a bit of material matter used previously and incorporates it as an aspect of action. Insofar as that matter itself has been shaped by prior human practice (eg it is an artefact), current action incorporates the mental work that produced the particular form of that matter. (Cole and Wertsch, 1996, p252)

Cobern (1993) writes of the world of subject matter and the internal mental world of the student as competing conceptual “ecologies”, an image which invokes pictures of competing constructs, adaptation and survival-of-the-fittest. This is a somewhat more complex picture than radical constructivism. It highlights the need to consider both contexts fully, that of the student and that of the knowledge to be learned.

Critical constructivism

Later, walking back to the hotel, I thought about the conference starting the next day. My paper about new technologies was starting to feel wrong, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. What right did I have coming to Thailand and telling them what they should do to be like us?

Critical constructivism looks at constructivism within a social and cultural environment, but adds a critical dimension aimed at reforming these environments in order to improve the success of constructivism applied as a referent. Taylor (1996) describes critical constructivism as a social epistemology that addresses the socio-cultural context of knowledge construction and serves as a referent for cultural reform. It confirms the relativism of radical constructivism, and also identifies the learner as being suspended in semiotic systems similar to those earlier identified in social and cultural constructivism. To these, critical constructivism adds a greater emphasis on the actions for change of a learning teacher. It is a framework using the critical theory of Jurgen Habermas to help make potentially disempowering cultural myths more visible, and hence more open to question through conversation and critical self-reflection.

An important part of that framework is the promotion of communicative ethics, that is, conditions for establishing dialogue oriented towards achieving mutual understanding (Taylor, 1998). The conditions include: a primary concern for maintaining empathetic, caring and trusting relationships; a commitment to dialogue that aims to achieve reciprocal understanding of goals, interests and standards; and concern for and critical awareness of the often-invisible rules of the classroom, including social and cultural myths. This allows rational examination of the often implicit “claims to rightness” of the participants, especially those derived from social institutions and history (Taylor, 1996).

Cultural myths that are prevalent in today’s education systems include (Taylor, 1996):

  • The rationalist myth of cold reason – where knowledge is seen as discovery of an external truth. This can lead to the picture of the teacher in a central role as transmitter of objective truths to students. This philosophy does not promote clarifying relevance to the lives of students, but instead promotes a curriculum to be delivered.
  • The myth of hard control – which renders the teacher’s classroom role as controller, and “locks teachers and students into grossly asymmetrical power relationships designed to reproduce, rather than challenge, the established culture”.

Together these myths produce a culture that portrays classroom teaching and learning as “a journey through a pre-constructed landscape”.Modification of such entrenched environments to reduce these myths and promote approaches based on constructivism is problematic, because of the self-reinforcing nature of administration, and the effects of wider culture. Taylor (1996) argues for an optimistic approach, and that teachers need to work collegially towards reconstructing education culture together rather than heroically on their own.

Constructionism

I got back to my room and read my paper again. No, it was all wrong. I spent an hour or so working on it, but still couldn’t get it right. By the bed was a postcard I’d bought at the palace. I stared at the picture for a while, then turned it over and started writing to Sarah, telling her about my walk there that afternoon. Suddenly, I knew what I should do at the conference. I reached for my laptop and started jotting ideas.

Constructionism asserts that constructivism occurs especially well when the learner is engaged in constructing something for others to see:

Constructionism shares constructivism’s connotation of learning as `building knowledge structures’ irrespective of the circumstances of the learning. It then adds that this happens especially felicitously in a context where the learner is consciously engaged in constructing a public entity, whether it’s a sandcastle on the beach or a theory of the universe… If one eschews pipeline models of transmitting knowledge in talking among ourselves as well as in theorizing about classrooms, then one must expect that I will not be able to tell you about my idea of constructionism. Doing so is bound to trivialize it. Instead, I must confine myself to engage you in experiences (including verbal ones) liable to encourage your own personal construction of something in some sense like it. Only in this way will there be something rich enough in your mind to be worth talking about.” (Papert, 1990)

In studying constructivism through my recent course, it has become apparent that one of the most important processes in developing my knowledge has been by explaining and exploring my ideas in conversation with fellow students. I have noticed, on reflection, that a great deal of my own development was fostered by participating in ongoing dialogue and creating “texts” for others to answer back to, whether in conversation or as a class presentation. I feel also that the construction of web sites and computer sofware (Dougiamas, 1999) has a similar effect.  Gergen (1995) explores the use of the metaphor of dialogue to evaluate a number of educational practices. Particularly, he views knowledge as fragments of dialogue, “knowledgeable tellings” at a given time within an ongoing relationship. This relationship can be between learners, between a learner and a teacher, or between a learner and an environment experienced by the learner. Gergen describes a lecture as a conversation where, because the lecturer has already set the content, the student enters part-way through the dialogue and finds they have no voice within it.

Steier (1996) looks into this dialogue process in more detail. Unlike the communicative ethics of Taylor (1998) which also suggest ways to set up a discursive environment, Steier highlights the circularity of reflective thinking in social research, and presents a number of ways mirroring occurs between learners (like two mirrors facing each other) where each reciprocator affects the other. Awareness of such issues can help ‘frame’ the dialogue used to communicate more effectively.

I’ve found these constructionist metaphors powerful in thinking about Internet-based tools to support learning, and it will help inform me in research I’m just starting (Dougiamas, 1999). Particularly, the Internet’s strengths as a resource and for communication support Gergen’s advocation of problem-centred inter-disciplinary study, and the problems of representation are also crucial in a low-bandwidth environment.

For your own learning, this single essay is a very poor vehicle, no matter how clear I try and make it. Here I am, late at night, stringing together words about constructivism in my word processor, and there you are, reading these words using your own cognitive framework, developed via your own unique background and frameworks of language and meaning. I am translating a variety of texts, using them to build an understanding on my own background, then translating my new understandings into building my own text, which you are deconstructing to reconstruct your own understanding. Like Chinese whispers, all these translations are introducing unknowns. I don’t know, and can never know if I am reaching you. In attempting to teach through this medium, all I can hope to do is to stimulate a curiosity in you to read further on these subjects, to write about them, to talk to people about them, and to apply them wherever possible in your own situations.

 

Conclusions

Constructivism has been said to be post-epistemological, meaning that it is not another epistemology, or a way of knowing. It can not replace objectivism. Rather, constructivism is a way of thinking about knowing, a referent for building models of teaching, learning and curriculum (Tobin and Tippin, 1993). In this sense it is a philosophy.Constructivism also can be used to indicate a theory of communication. When you send a message by saying something or providing information, and you have no knowledge of the receiver, then you have no idea as to what message was received, and you can not unambiguously interpret the response.

Viewed in this way, teaching becomes the establishment and maintenance of a language and a means of communication between the teacher and students, as well as between students. Simply presenting material, giving out problems, and accepting answers back is not a refined enough process of communication for efficient learning.

Some of the tenets of constructivism in pedagogical terms:

  • Students come to class with an established world-view, formed by years of prior experience and learning.
  • Even as it evolves, a student’s world-view filters all experiences and affects their interpretation of observations.
  • For students to change their world-view requires work.
  • Students learn from each other as well as the teacher.
  • Students learn better by doing.
  • Allowing and creating opportunities for all to have a voice promotes the construction of new ideas.

A constructivist perspective views learners as actively engaged in making meaning, and teaching with that approach looks for what students can analyse, investigate, collaborate, share, build and generate based on what they already know, rather than what facts, skills, and processes they can parrot. To do this effectively, a teacher needs to be a learner and a researcher, to strive for greater awareness of the environments and the participants in a given teaching situation in order to continually adjust their actions to engage students in learning, using constructivism as a referent. 

Reflection

I wrote about my experiences in Bangkok.

Looking back at my first impressions from the perspective of now I can see how much my “eyes” have changed over this relatively short time of four months.I remember how difficult it was to make sense of my first few attempts to read constructivism literature. As I read the texts the words “slipped” through my mind, like trying to catch water in a net. The words made sense, the sentences made sense, I could parrot the phrases, but the meanings were threadbare. There were few connections to experiences and ideas that could be said to make a rich meaning. I had “intellectual knowing”, but not “knowing“.

Now, after much dialogue with texts and people, reflection, and by constructing representations of my understandings, I feel I have improved my knowing of constructivism. I have a greater sense of the richer ‘cloud of baggage’ I have developed around some of the concepts within constructivism, as indeed any concept I develop over a long period. This cloud has been enriched by multiple approaches to understanding – by listening, by reading, by speaking, by writing, by working in groups, pairs and alone, by applying it to various situations, and by having to write this essay. I find it easier to speak and write about constructivism using my own words, and to apply the ideas in situations I have not encountered before. I have a deeper understanding of perspective and context, and try to be more critical of texts in terms of the author’s background, and social situations in terms of the environment and participants.

I feel I have an understanding of the effectiveness of approaching teaching by attempting to know more about the background of the learners, and attempting to stimulate multiple situations of communication between teacher and learner, between learners, and between learners and experience, in order to promote their own development of knowledge relevant to them and to their physical and social environment.

I can see the value of epistemological pluralism, and a variety of referents held in dialectic tension. The various faces of constructivism can be useful in their own right in various circumstances. In some cases, even methods derived from an objectivist framework still have value, as long as they are critically applied and their context is made clear.

From writing my journal and writing this essay, I also have a better feel for the value of a constructionist approach, as well as the value of a reflective account for qualitative assessment of learning. These aspects in particular I think will help me in developing Internet-based learning.

Despite the very fluid nature of constructivism and it’s many faces, I now believe that attempting to understand it while simultaneously applying that understanding in a reflective manner promotes the development of influential mental constructs that are useful in the pursuit of more effective communications, teaching and learning.

 

References

Cobb, P. (1994) Where is the mind? Constructivist and Sociocultural Perspectives on Mathematical Development, Educational Researcher, 23(7), pp 13-20

Cobb, P. (1998) Analyzing the mathematical learning of the classroom community: the case of statistical data analysis, In: Proceedings of the 22nd Conference of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education 1, pp 33-48, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa

Cobern, W (1993) Contextual Constructivism: The impact of culture on the learning and teaching of science. In: K. Tobin (Ed) The Practice of Constructivism in Science Education, pp 51-69, Lawrence-Erlbaum, Hillsdale, NJ.

Cole, M. & Wertsch, J. V. (1996). Beyond the individual-social antimony in discussion of Piaget and Vygotsky. Human Development, 39, pp 250-256.

Costa, A. & Liebmann, R. (1995). Process is as important as content.Educational Leadership. 52(6), pp 23-24.

Dougiamas, M. (1999). Moodle – a web application for building quality online courses.http://moodle.com/.

Ellis, C. (1996). Evocative Autoethnography: Writing Emotionally about our lives. In: W.G. Tierney and Y.S. Lincoln (Eds) Reframing the Narrative Voice.

Gergen, K.J. (1995) Social Construction and the Educational Process. In L.P. Steffe & J.Gale (Eds) Constructivism in education (pp 17-39). Hillsdale, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Hardy and Taylor (1997), Von Glasersfeld’s Radical Constructivism: A Critical Review, Science and Education, 6, pp 135-150, Kluwer

Papert, S (1991) Preface, In: I. Harel & S. Papert (Eds), Constructionism, Research reports and essays, 1985-1990 (p. 1), Norwood NJ.

Salomon, G. and Perkins, D. (1998) Individual and Social Aspects of Learning, In: P. Pearson and A. Iran-Nejad (Eds) Review of Research in Education 23, pp 1-24, American Educational Research Association, Washington, DC

Steier, F. (1995) From Universing to Conversing: An Ecological Constructionist Approach to Learning and Multiple Description. In L.P. Steffe & J.Gale (Eds) Constructivism in education (pp 67-84). Hillsdale, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Taylor, P. (1996) Mythmaking and mythbreaking in the mathematics classroom, In: Educational Studies in Mathematics 31, pp 151-173

Taylor, P. (1998) Constructivism: Value added, In: B. Fraser & K. Tobin (Eds), The International handbook of science education, Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic

Tobin, K. & Tippins, D (1993) Constructivism as a Referent for Teaching and Learning. In: K. Tobin (Ed) The Practice of Constructivism in Science Education, pp 3-21, Lawrence-Erlbaum, Hillsdale, NJ.

Von Glasersfeld, E. (1990) An exposition of constructivism: Why some like it radical. In R.B. Davis, C.A. Maher and N. Noddings (Eds), Constructivist views on the teaching and learning of mathematics (pp 19-29). Reston, Virginia: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

Vosniadou, S. (1996). Towards a revised cognitive psychology for new advances in learning and instruction.Learning and Instruction 6, 95-109.

Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in society. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Wood, T., Cobb, P. & Yackel, E. (1995). Reflections on learning and teaching mathematics in elementary school. In L. P. Steffe & J.Gale (Eds) Constructivism in education (pp 401-422). Hillsdale, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum.

 

 

Comments:


From: Martin Dougiamas, martin@dougiamas.com
Date: Sun, 30 Jul 2000, 15:27

I’ve been getting a lot of email feedback, so I thought I’d add this comment facility to the web page.


From: Fco. Javier Rossette García, rgjf90@hotmail.com
Date: Wed, 23 Aug 2000, 02:05

I´m a teacher en Hig school and colege en México,especially in Tampico state. Now, I´m intersted in learn more about the cosntructivism, because I going to teach other teacher that are my partners, but I need study more about this pedagogical innovation. I hope your e-mail. other thing, I need more pedagogical strategies in the teachness. Thank you.


From: Kim, kimatt2@yahoo.com
Date: Fri, 15 Sep 2000, 03:11

I’m a third grade teacher taking Master’s classes in Instructional Technology. Thanks for making your essay easy to understand.


From: fatma sobuh, fatmasobuh@hotmail.com
Date: Wed, 20 Sep 2000, 05:01

iam from gaza in palistine Ilove what you write Im earlychildhood teacher traner Idoing reaserch for ph.d in costructive ply applying piaget inthe pre school please help me whith any informaton related excuseme for the languige becuase im arabic women.thnkyou so much,


From: Loraine, grant@mira.net
Date: Thu, 21 Sep 2000, 11:39

Thank you for writing about your journey, I am starting on your pathway for a PhD, and enjoyed reading your simplistic explanations and analogies. Before reading your journey notes, I started to become bogged down in ‘models’ of learning and asking similair questions.

A positive factor for my research is that I have the opportunity through action research to monitor the changes from traditional methods of teaching to student-centred learning using a constructivist approach.

Thank you again


From: Glen O’Grady, cdtogk@nus.edu.sg
Date: Tue, 10 Oct 2000, 16:43

Thanks Martin for sharing your thoughts, they have caused me to reflect further about my own beliefs about constructivism. Perhaps what I found most inspiring was your willingness to try and model constructivism in the way you shared your ideas. This modeling demonstrates how much you value these ideas, and that for you this is not simply an academic exercise or the means of being associated with the latest pedagogical fad.


From: MARY GAYLER , MARISLAS@EARTHLINK
Date: Fri, 27 Oct 2000, 14:11

One last hit on research of Constructivism on a sleepless night…and I found your insightful and refreshing observations. I return tomorrow to interact with a gifted group of ‘At Risk’ Middle School students with renewed enthusiasm for what we have been attempting and the realization that the interactive experience of constructing and expanding knowledge is and should be a pleasurable experience in and of itself. I appreciate permission to cite your paper in my application for National Teacher Board Certification. Thanks for the insight.


From: leland, elmac21@hotmail.com
Date: Sun, 26 Nov 2000, 12:08

I am writing a research paper for one of my education classes in college and I believe that what you have written will greatly help me put a paper together in order to get an A. Great Job!! Sincerely, Leland


From: simon, simonee@263.net
Date: Thu, 4 Jan 2001, 00:37

I am a student in China. I decide to write something on constructivism for my graduation paper.I want to write about the application of constructivism to language teaching. But it seems that all papers on constructivism are on teaching of science. I wonder whether we can also apply it to the teaching of social sciences, like language teaching. I badly need your help. Thank you!


From: Royce Moncur, moncur@latrobe.net.au
Date: Fri, 12 Jan 2001, 19:53

I dips-me-lid. Great essay. I have been travelling OZ presenting a Science show and working locally as a specialist science teacher [primary]since being packaged out in 1993. I also present PD and Family Science nights to schools in the Gippsland Region. Your interpretations on Constructivism have helped me with a few ways of explaining to others. Thanks Royce


From: Juergs, jsorg2@yahoo.com
Date: Wed, 31 Jan 2001, 19:02

Hey there, it is a pretty interesting essay you wrote tehre. I am a postgrad student in Germany and my UNi is specialising on Constructivistical Media Theory. It should be worth to check out some sociological approaches by some German sociologists and also French ones such as: Giesecke, Merten, Chomsky (pretty interesting, as he works on the edge between sociology and biochemistry) and Schmidt. Youll find their work very interesting, you might also want to check out the LUMIS institute in Siegen-Germany.


From: juergs, jsorg2@yahoo.com
Date: Wed, 31 Jan 2001, 19:09

Sorry, I forgot to add the link: http://www.lumis.uni-siegen.de UNfortunately it is in German, but they have interesting links, and thsi might answer questions I read in the former mails, asking for Constructivism in teaching languages. There is loads on that, cause I don’t see it as being mainly about teaching sciences, but about understanding society, mainly if you can compare this to theories such as the system theory by Luhmann, or Neo-Formalism by Alexander. Nough said, enjoy Constructivism, it does change your life.


From: Dr. John W. Schell, jschell@arches.uga.edu
Date: Sat, 3 Feb 2001, 00:40

Martin, I enjoyed reading your paper and especially enjoyed the metaphorical story that introduced each area of constructionism. I would like to use it as a suppliment for the reanings in the class that I teach here at the University of Georgia. John


From: Steve Dick, sjdick@lm.net.au
Date: Tue, 6 Mar 2001, 19:53

Dear Martin, I’m a high school D.P. in South Australia and I’ve just your paper and I found it very intersting. It is my intention to use part of it for a T & D session I’m running for our staff in relation to the introduction of SACSA in 2002. My thanks


From: Randy Robinson, rarobinson@oise.utoronto.ca
Date: Fri, 9 Mar 2001, 04:44

Hey Martin: I’m just in the middle of writing one of my last two papers towards my M.Ed. degree at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education in Toronto, Canada. I surfed around until I found your essay, and may I just say I love the format! Alternating your story and your more formal (but still very personal) text is very effective. Good stuff!


From: Stevo, sgagne@lewnet.avcnet.org
Date: Sun, 25 Mar 2001, 10:27

I was attracted to your writing because it wasn’t filled with words I had to look up. I am beginning a second masters degree and feel refreshed that there doesn’t have to be so much mysticism in education.


From: maurene, mmcewen@goldengrovehs.sa.edu.au
Date: Mon, 26 Mar 2001, 08:59

Martin, your paper is very readable and inspiring. Thanks! I am the consultant for the Spanish Language Support Service in South Australia, Australia. I too am interested in costructivism in LAnguages and will follow up those who have commented on this to you. I appreciate your permission to use part of your paper as we have Professional Development workshops for teachers happening over the year.


From: Deirdre, Deirdremacavinue@hotmail.com
Date: Thu, 5 Apr 2001, 22:17

Dear martin, I am a part time lecturer in psychology in ireland. And, judging from what you’ve written, a naive constructivist!I am constantly challenging students to refer to their own experience and to question standard models even though they are only first- years. I had heard of this idea but did not really know what it actually MEANT. I’ve always had an intrest in language and remember reading Vygotosky’s Language and Thought with great interest in college. This was a very interesting paper and i would definitely like to use it at some point.


From: Milly Ann Perez, tlc_milly@hotmail.com
Date: Wed, 11 Apr 2001, 03:11

Hola! Greetings fron Puerto Rico…I am a secondary English teacher and completing a masters in English. I’m taking a course called Constructivism in classrooms and this essay was very helpful and esay to understand, thankyou!


From: Fran, adamsmcmorf@aol.com
Date: Sat, 21 Apr 2001, 06:40

Martin, I am a seventh grade reading teacher in Chester, SC. I am doing a research paper on constructivism for my Curriculum Leadership clas and your paper has really helped me. Thanks so much!


From: A. Powell, kittens7@excite.com
Date: Mon, 21 May 2001, 11:32

Martian, I am currently studying fourth year (Special Education) at a unviersity in Sydney, Australia. Your paper has helped greatly in my research of effective teaching strategies. It has encouraged me to applying this method in a special education setting for primary aged students.


From: Cheryl Glenie M.Ed., B.Ed., Dip.T., bencheryl@bigpond
Date: Wed, 6 Jun 2001, 11:51

Dear Martin, I am currently on leave as we have just birthed our 6th child at home with all her sibblings and partners present. I do not want to find I am behind me peers when I return to the workforce so I have downloaded your paper to help me get my head around the South Austrlian Curriculum Standards and Accountability Frameworks, which are based on a constructvist approach to teaching. As an interesting aside, I am sending you a copy of the story of my fifth child’s birth, I have not written our 2 month old daughters birth account yet. Cheers Cheryl Glenie


From: Nancy Dignum, Queechy5@cs.com
Date: Tue, 3 Jul 2001, 10:31

I’m studying constructivism within my graduate course at SUNY – Albany. The text we were assigned is difficult reading to say the least. Thanks for clarifying the main ideas. Its been a great help and I will add your site to my journal if you don’t mind!


From: Betsy Apolito, apolitob@excite.com
Date: Fri, 27 Jul 2001, 01:21

Dear Martin, I have found your perspectives and explanations to be clear and concise for teachers in my Educational Technologies courses at the University of Dayton. In fact, as a requirement for a Web-based course, students participate in a “Treasure Hunt” that is an overview of Constructivism. Your site has been highly rated by our students. Thank you!


From: Basia , vucbm001@students.unisa.edu.au
Date: Tue, 4 Sep 2001, 08:32

Thanks for sharing this paper, it has put labels to many ideas and experiences for me. It may be useful for you to visit an Early Childhood environment, say kindy or childcare, some of whom have been using these principles for a long time.


From: gerry, nelmsge@hotmail.com
Date: Tue, 25 Sep 2001, 11:02

Martin, I am currently working on my Master’s in Educational Leadership and am writing a paper on using constructivist classroom setting on increasing the motivation levels of high school students. I would like to use your research as a help in putting my paper together. As I move along with things, I will keep you in touch. If you have any suggestions, please send them my way.


From: Helen, ssmartiess@hotmail.com
Date: Sat, 6 Oct 2001, 08:15

Isn’t the net awesome! I’m a highschool art teacher in Canberra. I’m studying a MEd and I’m just trying to choose units for next year and got to searching. I like your writing style. I’ve only just started reading, so I will keep going. Cheers, Helen


From: Heba, free 40 rhyme@yahoo.com
Date: Thu, 29 Nov 2001, 04:56

Dear Martin,I am currently working on my master’s on the use of constructivist learning in enhancing student’s achievement and their attitudes towards English as a foreign language especially what is connected to enhancing theoral skills of language .could you please help me in this regard.


From: Heba, free40rhyme@yahoo.com
Date: Thu, 29 Nov 2001, 05:29

Dear Martin,I am currently working on my master’s on the use of constructivist learning in enhancing student’s achievement and their attitudes towards English as a foreign language especially what is connected to enhancing theoral skills of language .could you please help me in this regard.


From: chensong, chengfang22@163.com.cn
Date: Tue, 15 Jan 2002, 15:08

Hellow!Mr.pro Now,I am studying the theory of constructivism as a Master.I feel this theory is interesting and it will have a strong impact on the theory of learning in the future,I don’t think passtive instruction can solve the question of human’s learning in the knowledge society. We can not know the world itself,because it is too complicated.what we must do will be finding and constructing the “world” belonging to ourselves.from prehistoric time to now,human being have been constructing their knowledge world in this way.History is created by human being himself,not by the nature.Rule of the nature reflects human’s selection.


From: Debbie Stott, d.stott@ru.ac.za
Date: Sun, 24 Feb 2002, 20:55

Martin I am starting along the same ‘journey’as yourself and trying to write an assignment for a Education Masters course! I am trying to summarise the Constructivists into a table, so you work has helped me see the basic principles and differences between them all! Thanks


From: Miriam, miriammori@fibertel.com.ar
Date: Fri, 1 Mar 2002, 04:07

Hi, there! It´s simply amazing how the intricated Web brought me here, being a Luhmannian´s last term Sociology student, looking for ideas, background and inspiration to come up with a paper for a subject called “Information Technologies and Social Links”. Great essay you have here! Could I cite it in my paper? It will very much help me make my point in front of a Neo-marxist board. Curiosly enough, your work has also enlightened me as to the kind of orientation I´d like to give to my 3-year-old daughter. Thank you very much for being so generous with your experience. Best regards. Miriam


From: Nancy, pumatracker@yahoo.com
Date: Fri, 8 Mar 2002, 06:51

I was one of three teachers who founded a school in 1996 based on the principles of constructivism and interdisciplinarity, two areas I had researched during my Master’s program. In addition, to make things even more interesting, we set it up as a multiage classoom, 7-13. Although the workload was unbelievable (there are no real curricula you can buy with all 3 aspects combined) it was unbelievably fun, and very liberating. As an educational experiment, it proved that children flourish intellectually when given these three aspects simultaneously in their academic lives. I have this year turned over my teaching position to another and am focusing on researching and giving workshops on these foundational approaches to teaching. Your paper is very well written and provides an excellent synopsis of a vital–and too often lacking–pedagogical tool.


From: Ip Absolum, iabsolum@clear.net.nz
Date: Sun, 10 Mar 2002, 11:38

Martin. I am currently writing my masters thesis…reading constructivists pychological theories and gestalt psychological theories through an indigenous worldview…a critique. Your paper has helped me get my head around some difficult issues when written in psychological language. I have emailed you separate from this comment. Thankyou.


From: Michael Fisher, fisherm@acay.com.au
Date: Sat, 23 Mar 2002, 20:17

I’m just starting a Master’s in teaching at the University of Sydney and found your article to be of great value. I had merely the simplistic version of constructivism in my head and I thank you for directing me to widen my definition. The approach you adopt of inter-weaving your mental landscape with a more physical one is tremendous and I’d like to see you improve this by allowing these parallel worlds to reach some sort of conclusion. We were asked in seminar the other day to think of a meaningful learning experience and mine was reading a philosophy book on my own after I’d been kicked out of University for a year (back in 1977). The book, although widely held to be of poor philosophy, was nevertheless brilliantly written and used the same technique as you adopt. He uses a motorcycle trip across the U.S.A. where all kinds of opportunities for parallels of both mental and physical high ground present themselves as he heads into the Rockies. Great stuff – very captivating. The book is Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig (1974). I may try to develop this technique myself as I find it incredibly evocative.


From: Jacqueline hall, jahall@optushome.com.au
Date: Fri, 5 Apr 2002, 09:37

Hi, I’m doing my last year of my PhD in Education at Qeensland University of Technology- Australia. I am researching preschool and year one teacher’s perceptions of children’s readiness for school from a social contructivist framework (Elizabeth Graue has done alot of work in this area). I am interested in any more information on this framework/area. Can anyone help? More information on social constructivism???


From: Lion Kimbro, lion@speakeasy.org
Date: Wed, 24 Apr 2002, 07:01

It would be better, I think, if this text was broken into it’s sections, so that comments could be attached to the individual sections.


From: Nathan Williams, williamsn102@hotmail.com
Date: Thu, 30 May 2002, 19:51

I am a year one student studying teacher training, I found your paper very intresting. Would it be possible if you could give me some help on How does a knowledge and understanding of theories of cognitive development support professional practise. This is a practise essay question similar to that, that I have to write my self would it be possible if you could help me.


From: a hellium,
Date: Sun, 9 Jun 2002, 18:21

I am a forth year student at Bindura University studying for Med.Ifound your article very interesting and helpful. thank you.


From: dred mbavha ,
Date: Sun, 9 Jun 2002, 18:27

ini ndinonzi dred ndinoba nyama .tatenda.


From: Doug Symington, dsymington@oise.utoronto.ca
Date: Sat, 22 Jun 2002, 10:23

Fantastic — I’m researching “online seif-organizing social systems” (OSOSS) following the work on David Wiley (http://wiley.ed.usu.edu/)thoughts on social constructivism most helpful. Thanks.


From: John Knight, John@JohnKnight.com
Date: Wed, 10 Jul 2002, 21:50

I am a computer programmer and consult to organizations and communities that are changing. One example of my work can be found at http://www.interdepend.org. I come to your work through references in the Open Source Software community. My impression has been formed by first viewing moodle and then by reading this article. I am impressed by how the theory discussed in the article is realized in your software. Your work has opened my eyes to a whole new field. Thanks. You are doing great service. Brillintly. John


From: Tsun, tsun@nacs.net
Date: Wed, 7 Aug 2002, 15:01

I dunno, folks… This is all very interesting, but why yammer on and on about Constructivism or any other obscure (and happily so) teaching concept when all one must do to teach is simple teach the pupil to read, write, subtract, divide, or cut up the silly dead frog in that pan full of asphalt on the desk? I realize that if you don’t “yammer,” you won’t receive your Masters degree. That might be better for your future pupils, but not for you, of course. Maybe that’s the reason so many students fail to learn: their teachers are bored to death with real teaching and become sidetracked by (allegedly) esoteric pedagogical abstractions. Not to be a kill-joy, of course, I think your “distance learning” software is remarkable. I really do. Much more impressive than any oddball educational theories. I think Moodle is a lot more important than Constructivism. Hell’s bells, man, ya want koans, get into Zen! By the way, here’s a Yank with a very enlightening book. He was Teacher of the Year in both New York City and New York State. His new book is being posted online, one chapter per month. http://www.johntaylorgatto.com Reards, Tsun


From: Martin Dougiamas,
Date: Tue, 13 Aug 2002, 23:58

Heh. The software wouldn’t exist in this form if I wasn’t using this theoretical framework. Theory DOES affect practice you know.


From: William Susuwele-Banda, wsusuwel@hotmail.com
Date: Sun, 22 Sep 2002, 08:14

I am a PhD students and currently doing a course on constructivism. Your piece is well articulated. I would suggest that you write a book, Martin. Best of luck


From: amton mwaraksurmes, mwaraksurmes@hotmail.com
Date: Wed, 16 Oct 2002, 13:48

martin, i told you i sighted this paper once back in 2000. now iam popping in to read it again. doing my SMEC692 porject. thanks for making it available to us..amton (SMEC 2002)


From: Rai Sujanem, raisujanem@yahoo.com
Date: Mon, 11 Nov 2002, 22:32

I´m a lecture in IKIP Singaraja BAli. I´m interested in learn more about the cosntructivism, because I going to teach other teacher that are my partners, but I need study more about this pedagogical innovation. I hope your e-mail. other thing, I need more pedagogical strategies in the teachness. Thank you.


From: Jon, jb@chromodynamic.co.uk
Date: Thu, 5 Dec 2002, 23:01

Nice paper, but I strongly recommend that you take a closer look at the work of George Kelly who arguably started it all in the mid-50s with his Constructive Alternativism philosophy, which was tightly integrated with his Personal Construct Psychology (PCP) theory. Let me know what you think…


From: David Burke, David_Burke@Hotmail.com
Date: Mon, 9 Dec 2002, 02:05

Hey, I just wanted to say “thank you” for sharing your paper with the “world”. I have just completed 3,000 word paper on constructivism, and having slogged through several text book in two-days, I found your paper a breath of fresh air. You paper allowed me to solidify many previously disparate concepts I had read in my textbooks. I’d like to use small sections of your paper in my own paper. I will of course give you full credit.


From: Donna Nash, d_frasernash@yahoo.com
Date: Thu, 2 Jan 2003, 22:41

I really enjoyed reading this piece of work you did.I am a second year teacher trainee and would love for you to mail me anything else that would be worthwhile in teaching and learning through constructivism. thank you.


From: Razak Malek, Zumalex@timenet
Date: Sun, 5 Jan 2003, 01:30

I just want to say, you are the best. Your writing to simple and easy to understand, even I am malay student. Thanks for making your essay easy to understand. You help me to explain to others. Now I am studying of pedagogy as a master.Thank you.


From: Razak Malek, Zumalex@timenet
Date: Sun, 5 Jan 2003, 01:31

I just want to say, you are the best. Your writing to simple and easy to understand, even I am malay student. Thanks for making your essay easy to understand. You help me to explain to others. Now I am studying of pedagogy as a master.Thank you.


From: Joe Laszlo, Aloha.net
Date: Thu, 9 Jan 2003, 13:11

I’m using your paper as one of my citations in the process of answering my cmprehensive examination questions for my doctorate in the College of Education at the University of Hawai`i, at Manoa. Thanks for writing such a clear, concise paper. It fits well with my otehr citations. Aloha, Joe Laszlo


From: María Nisi, batinisi@yahoo.com
Date: Sun, 2 Feb 2003, 07:59

Martin, I’m from Argentina, but I’m living in Saskatchewan, Canada. I’m a teacher in early childhood education. All my learnings are about Constructivism, because in Argentina it is standard practice. Here in Canada the most important is the Montessori methodology (private education), it is my concern that application method is little bit old. I’m very interested to find out more information, in Canada about Piaget and which kind of working there’s in english about it. Your work and approach are interesting.


From: Jamie Algren, jlalgren@hotmail.com
Date: Mon, 24 Mar 2003, 08:57

I’m a first year teacher at an inner city elementary school. After reading your article, I plan to attempt to bring a constructivist approach to teaching into my classroom. Thanks-


From: Tan, cktan@mmu.edu.my
Date: Wed, 26 Mar 2003, 16:34

I am doing my phd. in studying Vygotsky’s theory and try to relate it to the learning of ‘probability’ among my sudents. This is because the performance of them on ‘probability’ is not so good.Please guide me how can I relate this theory with the subject of ‘probability’.


From: Jeanine McGregor, jeaninemcgregor@btinternet.com
Date: Fri, 28 Mar 2003, 03:00

I am studying a Graduate Diploma of Secondary Education through a long distance course from Australia whilst living in London. I rely heavily on the internet for resources and I have so far found the topic on constructivism extremely extensive in knowledge, especially on the internet but a lot of the information is unenlightening and short or costs money. I was delighted to come across your essay which has been an easy and understandable read. A lot of texts have complicated language and I constantly have the dictionary out which then means that I’ve lost the meaning and all the sentences are fragmented and hence my understanding. Thanks for your enlightening critique.


From: Gary Dobney, wingzfan@iwon.com
Date: Sun, 6 Apr 2003, 05:12

Martin, Thank you for your work researching constructivism. I am currently working on my master’s and the basis for my lit review and journal article is constructivism. I will be citing your essay.


From: Jacqui, ljcutler@bigpond.com.au
Date: Tue, 15 Apr 2003, 09:23

Martin, am doing a post-grad course Bachelor of Teaching in Geelong, Victoria, Australia. Your paper was great, very clear and easy to read. Will use it and credit you in an assignment. More importantly, your piece has really helped build my understandings of constructivism. Thanks.


From: Pranesh Shalendra Kumar, s02009456,USP
Date: Thu, 17 Apr 2003, 05:53

i am a student at the University Of the South Pacific and studing for a degree in education.So i need to learn more on constructivism.Thanks


From: Alejandra Navarrete,
Date: Sat, 26 Apr 2003, 10:38

Martin, thanks for your insight and research on constructivism, I am in the process of writing an essay for an educational psychology class and reading your essay has helped me put some ideas together.


From: Antonio Zatarain, jzatarai@cencar.udg.mx
Date: Wed, 14 May 2003, 20:13

This idea is really hard for to explain in english Lo paradogico del constructivismo es que a pesar de que cada quien toma su propio camino para construirse su interpretación de la realidad y sus formas de intervenir en ella, al final a pesar de lo duro o facil del camino todos tenemos ideas muy similares. Saludos Toño


From: Mark Pearson, markp@earlham.edu
Date: Sat, 17 May 2003, 05:24

Interesting content, but almost unreadble presentation. Why combine <font size=+1> and <BODY TEXT=”#777777″> making a large grey font on a white background?


From: maria mina, yhollie76@hotmail.com
Date: Fri, 23 May 2003, 04:37

Martin, I find your work very amusing, interesting, easy to understand, and educational. I’m finalising an assignment and I came across your work. Well done!!!! I admire your creative analogies. Did you say those meatballs were sweet??? Cheers!!!! Thank you.


From: zaini, zainir@pkrisc.cc.ukm.my
Date: Fri, 23 May 2003, 17:27

I’m a postgrad. student and I think your section on social constructivism is useful for my research. I would appreciate it if I could cite some of the info. and the references. FYI, there’s a book by CUP titled “Psychology for Language Teachers: a Social Constructivist Approach” has also elements of constructivism and is easy reading. Thanks.


From: Surachet, sun@msu.ac.th
Date: Mon, 26 May 2003, 05:16

Hi Friend, Welcome to North-East of Thailand again.. I can guide for you and your families. Cherrs, Surachet (MOODLE member)


From: Lyndie, deRocheforts@Yahoo.com.au
Date: Fri, 6 Jun 2003, 18:49

Im a student teacher in Mackay Australia in my final year of what is primarily a constructist course. We ate taught to be facilitators of students knowledge and to teach students to be actively engaged and all the usual stuff. I enjoyed reading your paper, and yes it was late at night when i was struggling over my own philosophy of teaching and trying to determine just where my values and principals lie. I did enjoy your work and it assisted in making a few more links in my knowledge.


From: Lyndie, derocheforts@yahoo.com.au
Date: Fri, 6 Jun 2003, 18:54

That was a lesson in why you need to take time to proof read a little better.


From: John Samba,
Date: Tue, 22 Jul 2003, 19:37

I enjoyed that – very useful – thanks!


From: Ahmed Alkindi, alkinaia@hotmail.com
Date: Tue, 19 Aug 2003, 03:38

Thanks to Martain and to all, I am doing my PhD in Glasgow University, in Curriculum Evaluation, and I am intristing in constructivism in science education,My study will focus on the evaluation of the initial science teacher preparation program to investigate student teachers understanding of constructivism and thier atitudes towards using this theory in teaching science in secondary schools.I need any help and Support especially in development of atitudes instruments in such field.


From: Caron Newman, caron.newman@sun.com
Date: Thu, 4 Sep 2003, 04:28

Martin, Do you have any thoughts or ideas around eLearning interfaces that could best support a constructivist learning experience?


From: Erick Brito, erbrito@saludnet.com.mx
Date: Fri, 5 Sep 2003, 02:59

The way we learn is there, but the purpose not only be to have a degree. The idea of the constructivism (social, simplistic , etc.) should be taken in the enterprises to increase the productivity and the hapiness of employees. The use of new technologies (Talking about e-learning in particular moodle) could arrive to the last point. But we need integrate moodle with an eviroment of colaboration of projects at work. Martin, Congratulations for your work. Sincerely, Erick Brito


From: Susana Collarte, scollarte@cmdgroup.cl
Date: Tue, 16 Sep 2003, 05:26

Thanks you for excelent works… we are working about skill of learning in mathematics… and we had founded wonderful your moddle…-


From: Alan, ajspar@hotmail.com
Date: Wed, 24 Sep 2003, 22:53

Hi, Martin, Like others, I appreciate your paper and very much appreciate the opportunity you give to write about it and to see others’ comments. I have felt (with my limited exposure to constructivism) that there are constuctivists who believe that there is ultimately no objective reality. Would you say this true? I have also felt that there are what I would call pragmatic constructivists who, considering themselves as following constructivism, might take some of the ideas included in constructivism (students learn by doing, for example) without believing there is no objective reality. –Alan


From: Todd Cranston-Cuebas, geekhunter_nospam@geekhunter.com
Date: Wed, 1 Oct 2003, 23:59

Martin, I truly appreciate your making this paper available. I am still grappling with the concepts presented and filtering the primary theories of constructivism through my own experiential filter. Over the next few days, I plan to read and re-read your paper a number of times until my own sense of reality comes into focus. Hopefully, it will have some relation to the mental models or “knowing” you were hoping to convey! Thank you.


From: juanitovalderama, antoniorosco@hotmail.com
Date: Mon, 10 Nov 2003, 16:58

me gustaria comentar k esta pagina podria estar mas interesante si stuviera en español… para facilitar el uso de los usuarios


From: Richard Lyon, ace_coach@hotmail.com
Date: Fri, 14 Nov 2003, 22:12

I must say, this is one of the best elaborations of learning and educational theory I’ve come across for a long, long time. As someone who teaches and coaches second chance adults, as someone who started late in life to reap the benefits of education and thinking, and as someone who’s also placed their feet (had to) firmly on the ground, even though its been swampy at times, this whole exposition is a remarkable revelation. I wish I’d had this a long time ago. I’m so impressed I’ll begin my next course on assertion and personal development using some of these references. Moodle, in fact, is a world beater. It dispenses with so much trivia and concentrates purely on what matters – this is becoming rarer in education, often to the detriment of students whose attention span is advert paned. Globally it is developing a critical base because it puts serious professionals in touch with others – by this I don’t mean ernest serious, but those who know how to take their opportuities and share their expertise. I think that’ll do. Keep up the brilliant work.


From: Luc, henderickx@hotmail.com
Date: Sun, 23 Nov 2003, 07:26

Hi I visit your site for the second time, This site is unique, learning online… Greetings from Luc Owner and webdesigner from http://www.artpage.be Belgium


From: denis lajium, denisadl@yahoo.co.uk
Date: Thu, 27 Nov 2003, 13:32

i am a tutor in University Malaysia Sabah. i been searching anything about constructivism in chemistry teaching and learning. is there anything about it from you concerning teaching strategies or structure that suitable for chemistry in middle school and advance level with the constructivism approaches.


From: leonardo, lbarria@biosoftware.cl
Date: Sat, 29 Nov 2003, 23:15

AHGFDHGFahds


From: sandra, sandra_nam2000@hotmail.com
Date: Mon, 15 Dec 2003, 17:30

Doing a Masters in Adult Education and Global change. There I am studying learning theories. Would like to use your site as reference. What is the reference? cheers sandra


From: Marlena Gal, cellogal@aol.com
Date: Wed, 17 Dec 2003, 02:35

I read your article as my first research on constructivism. I am a professional musician and a high school orchestra director enrolled in a Master’s program on Technology in Education. I found it very interesting and related entirely (although I find myself at a totally different, infinitely more basic, stage in my familiarity with the subject) to your comments related to “how difficult it was to make sense of my first few attempts to read constructivism literature. As I read the texts the words “slipped” through my mind, like trying to catch water in a net.” Enjoyed your weaving of your travel experiences to Thailand in the essay. It gave it a visual perspective that facilitated the understanding of the more esoteric concepts. Thank you.


From:
Date: Fri, 19 Dec 2003, 21:42

We send you the information about our scientific journal. Our journal publishes materials in sphere of natural science education. We hope, that cooperation between scientists of all countries very important task of the present and future. We hope on cooperation and with you. Please see attachment or visit our website at http://vingis.ktu.lt/~jbse Editor-in-Chief Prof. Dr. Vincentas Lamanauskas gamtamokslinis@one.lt vincentas.la@takas.lt


From: Jessie , jessieqin@163.com
Date: Wed, 14 Jan 2004, 10:42

Hello, Martin. I am a student from China. I am engaged in my master’s paper on constructivism and CAI in English teaching. I’ve attended some classes with the use of CAI, but I do feel the use of it so restricted and I find a split of the theories in designing CAI and using it in the classrooms. I am wondering if i could say constructivism need to be applied as a basis throughout the whole process of teaching. Could you give me any suggestions? Thank you.


From: Grace Chen, chenszg@hotmail.com
Date: Fri, 13 Feb 2004, 22:40

I am doing my assignment on constructivist approach and ways of curriculum for preschool, such as manipulate toys, early mathematics concepts, water play and children construct knowlege in their minds.


From: Roger Leitch, roger@leitch.me.uk
Date: Tue, 24 Feb 2004, 22:40

This is good stuff. I have found this area personally challenging – I’m on a distance learning degree course – in computing science. Without it being fully explained to us, this is the approach being used – we were told about “Each one, teach one”. I’m involved in my local church, where tradional teaching methods send me to sleep. I have been challenged by this to look at applying these methods to learning in the church environment. I will let you know how I get on in a culture resistant to change!


From: Jeremy Gilpin, jeremy@niplig.com
Date: Wed, 25 Feb 2004, 09:20

I am currently pursuing a degree in TESL at Saint Michael’s College and am also the full time manager of the Language Learning Resource Center at SMC. I have recently installed Moodle on my personal web site and am truly inspired by technology that is driven by sound theory. Thank you for laying the groundwork for what feels like a true movement within our current perception of education. The work that you have done in this field has proven very valuable in my quest to bring valuable tecnhology assisted learning to SMC. Thanks again! </jeremy>


From: shantelle
Date: Sun, 7 Mar 2004, 06:53

what is in hawai/


From: solomon, szemene@communicare.org.au
Date: Wed, 24 Mar 2004, 11:21

I am doing my hounours and have been asked to prpare a presentation about constractivism, I know what constractivism means but my eyes were blind to give form and content for my understanding of constractivism, but youe essay gave me some light to see. thank you very much.


From: Urai Salam, uraisalam2002@yahoo.com
Date: Mon, 3 May 2004, 08:41

I like to know more about constructivism, but I am a bit confused the difference between sociocultural theory developed by Rogoff (1990) or Lave and Wenger (1991). Do you think they are difference perspective or the same but different name?


From: blah, blah
Date: Sat, 8 May 2004, 15:55

blah


From: Nor Huda Jumari, huda1002@yahoo.com
Date: Thu, 13 May 2004, 09:55

Thank u for ur infor. on that matter. It helps my folio on mthematics approaches and technique.


From: teri, teritelstar@yahoo.co.uk
Date: Sat, 19 Jun 2004, 14:57

Am quickly scrolling through this article coz my essay is due in tomorrow. I am grappling with constructivism but know that I have to do what is needed for this essay. So I will be back to check this out again because i liked the way you presented the information, clear and easy to understand when so much other stuff isn’t. Also though am interested in opposing views to get the full balance. One more thing just wanted to check someone said about your trip to Thailand but aren’t those quotes from the beach or am I completely wrong. Thanks anyway


From: Edy Kizaki, edyki@shaw.ca
Date: Sun, 4 Jul 2004, 22:46

Hi. I’m coming to the end of a master thesis on “A Microworld for Language Learning; A Constructivist Approach to Designing Star City” and I ran across your paper trying infinite searches to find another one i wanted to see again. Being a great distance from the University where I’d done my coursework, I relied less on books and more on the internet… I just wanted to tell you that I sank into it and read it with deep interest from beginning to end with facination. It was very gripping! Usually I can only say that about novels… The point you make about discussion really felt like a bit of a revelation to me… THAT is exactly what I was missing in this whole masters program, since it was an interdiciplinary program and no one else (including my 2 sponsoring professors!) was interested in my subject!! I was really on my own, and didn’t get a grip on this subject until this last process of going onto the internet and “interacting” with other working with the subject, joining the IT forum listserv etc. Thank you! Edy


From: MODIBA DAVID, DAVER@WEBMAIL.CO.ZA
Date: Wed, 14 Jul 2004, 16:00

BEING AN HONOURS STUDENT IN SCIENCE EDUCAION,I FOUND THE PAGE BEING SO HELPFULL AND I CAN FULLY UNDERSTAND WHA CONSTRUCTIVISM IS. THANK YOU.


From: Patrick, pvscwalker@bigpond.com
Date: Thu, 15 Jul 2004, 15:20

Good going Martin. I’m impressed. My essay assignment description for Effective Teaching and Learning asks, What is constructivism? I may handball this one on. Good on ya again .


From: Erika Martinez, damexicali@yahoo.com
Date: Sat, 17 Jul 2004, 03:44

Martin: Simply excellent. I agree with those who thank you for writing about construstivism in a simple, easy to read and understand way. I am refering my students to read your paper. Greetings from Mexico


From: Ruhaibah Hassan, ruhaibah@yahoo.co.uk
Date: Wed, 21 Jul 2004, 09:49

I am a student a master student in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia. I have to write something on constructivism for one of my education classes in university and I believe that what you have written will greatly help me put a paper together in order to get an A. I want to write about the application of constructivism to mathematics teaching. Your interpretations on Constructivism have helped me with a few ways of explaining to others.Thank you! ________________________________________


From: KC Morgan, fido1@charter.net
Date: Mon, 2 Aug 2004, 19:04

I am teaching a course on differentiating instruction I hope that your paper will help make the theories of constructivism clear. Text books are presented in lecture format.. your paper will add life to the theory…I hope to create an activity to accompany it. thanks


From: D Leamer, DVLMR@aol.com
Date: Wed, 4 Aug 2004, 09:32

Researching topic for graduate course at Immaculata University. Very helpful summary and personal disclosure. Have been knee deep in what might be termed “radical construcivism” for past hour, your balance and reality was appreciated


From: Barbara, stankus@lasalle.edu
Date: Mon, 16 Aug 2004, 01:56

I have just skimmed your article and printed a copy to fully read later. I was an Interactive Math Program HS teacher until Feb. 1,2004 and now work for an NSF grant in the Philadelphia,Pa. area offering Professional Development in Math and Science to teachers of 46 school districts. I am to give a 1 1/2 hour address on August 30th on Constructivism to 50-60 HS Math teachers and I am getting nervous. I plan to use your essay to help me gather my thoughts and plan my presentation. Any suggestions on an activity I can incorporate into my plan to get them involved? Unfortunately they will be in a HS auditorium so I have no way of rearranging into groups – the best I can hope for is pairs. Thank you for any help you can give me. Barbara


From: ivan silver, ivan.silver@utoronto.ca
Date: Mon, 13 Sep 2004, 00:33

An excellent overview of constructivist theories. I will use your frame of organizing the different theories (and cite your website) in a workshop I am doing with medical educators on practical applications of learning theories. theories……many thanks


From: Cellina, thekeeper13@hotmail.com
Date: Wed, 15 Sep 2004, 17:57

I so want to get on a plane. Loved the story. Thanks for the overview. x


From: Chris, blueteapotgirl@aol.com
Date: Mon, 20 Sep 2004, 12:14

I was researching and came across your website. Your anecdotal story was a delicious retreat. Thank you for the distraction.


From: Liz, klkrol@verizon.net
Date: Sun, 3 Oct 2004, 03:20

Thanks for the information. I’m writing my masters’ project using consturctivism as the basis. I teach middle school science and this information will help a great deal.


From: Pfarelo, pfarelos@yahoo.com
Date: Wed, 6 Oct 2004, 00:40

Hi, I just want to thank you on making life so easy for me. As a postgraduate student, I have been searching all over for a simple explanation of ‘constructivism’ until I find your essay. Well done! Greetings from Johannesburg, RSA


From: Jen Pickering, jenwah26@hotmail.com
Date: Thu, 7 Oct 2004, 11:29

I am a first year university student, working through my Bachelor of Education, Primary. I am currently seeking information on social constructivist vs cognitive constructivist and the differing role of each in the classroom. Your website has helped clarrifed a few points and will no doubt be cited in my essay. Thank you for your contribution to this field of learning. Sydney, Australia.


From: REMUS, bonrem19@yahoo.com
Date: Mon, 11 Oct 2004, 20:36

It`s a very interesting approach and a well documented and sustained essay. I`m interested in some of your considerations related to contructivism as a new focus for professional technical adult education


From: Richard, eddol@webtv.net
Date: Tue, 12 Oct 2004, 02:17

Martin, Found your paper as 1st site cited on MSweb search for “social constructivism.” The term had been applied by another author referring to Paulo Feire (1970). If I understand your analysis, Feire would have been a critical constructionist. Or, on the otherhand, it may only be how “my reality” intersects with yours, Paulo and the other author’s experiences. Hmmm. I’m researching for a EdD comprehensive examination at PU, Malibu, CA. Thank you for sharing both your learning experiences and a very insightful paper. The fact that your comments provide a topical 4year feedback is also instructive. Richard


From: Rogelio Aguilar, aguilaralamilla@animail.net
Date: Thu, 14 Oct 2004, 01:33

Hi there! You wrote: “I don’t know, and can never know if I am reaching you”. Now you do know that you are reaching people. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I especially enjoyed the mixture with the travel sections. Warm regards from Mexico


From: Cinthia B. Gomez M., Cynthia073@hotmail.com
Date: Thu, 14 Oct 2004, 12:16

Dear Martin: Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I am studying a master degree in education and I am learning about “Constructivism”. Your essay is very insteresting and it is so useful for understanding about this theme. Than you very much. Receive my admiration from Chihuahua, Mexico.


From: John Christie Jayakody, jayakody@seychelles.sc
Date: Thu, 14 Oct 2004, 21:10

We had PD session and given the website teach-nology.com. From that site I found your article. Thank you very much for sharing your knowledge with others.


From: muhammad holid, red_jalang@yahoo.com
Date: Thu, 21 Oct 2004, 14:49

I ‘am from indonesia. I feel difficult to get infomation ebout theories of contructivism. I wanna tanks to Mr who wrote this journal, because I am still finishing my thesis a bout contruktivisme in relation to indoensian conteks.


From: Meg , angelofthewate@yahoo.com.au
Date: Tue, 26 Oct 2004, 16:45

Some of the information I had found on the net was hard to decifer. As an external student of Bachelor in Early Childhood Education, living in Port Augusta, South Australia, with little networking, it was a releif to find I was on the right track after reading a paper that was easy to understand. Thankyou Martin!


From: May, jarjarbingcun@yahoo.com
Date: Wed, 27 Oct 2004, 11:10

Essays on constructivism and education

Collected by the Maryland Collaborative for Teacher Preparation

Last updated February, 2001

"Powerful Ideas in Physical Science": a Model Course

John W. Layman, University of Maryland, College Park, MD

Research papers on knowledge growth in undergraduate mathematics and science teacher education

by: J. Randy McGinnis, Maryland Collaborative for Teacher Preparation

The Role of Representations in Learning an Interdisciplinary Mathematics and Physics University Course

by: Gilli Shama and John Layman, Maryland Collaborative for Teacher Preparation

DRAFT of Frostburg Conceptual Framework Manifesto (36 Kbytes)

by: Genevieve Knight and John Layman, Maryland Collaborative for Teacher Preparation

A Technology-Enhanced Distributed Learning Community for Teacher Preparation

by: Tom O'Haver, Genevieve Knight and Mary O'Haver, Maryland Collaborative for Teacher Preparation

On Constructivism (21 Kbytes)

by: Susan Hanley, Maryland Collaborative for Teacher Preparation

A journey into Constructivism

by Martin Dougiamas

Achieving Conceptual Change Through Interactive Computer Simulations

by Jonathan Scott, Normal Community High School

The Constructivist Zone

by: David T. Crowther, in Electronic Journal of Science Education, Vol. 2, No. 2 - December 1997

How we teach and how students learn - A mismatch?

by: Lillian C. McDermott, in Electronic Journal of Science Education, Vol. 2, No. 2 - December 1997

Constructivist Teaching Strategies (48 Kbytes)

by: Graham Dettrick, Monash University

Education by Engagement and Construction (29 Kbytes)

by: Ben Shneiderman, University of Maryland

External Factors Forcing Change on Education: How can they work for us?(20 Kbytes)

by: George Brown, Jr.

Constructivism, Technology, and the Future of Classroom Learning

by: Erik F. Strommen

Cognitive Flexibility, Constructivism, and Hypertext

by: Rand J. Spiro, et. al.

Situated Cognition and the Culture of Learning

by: John Seely Brown

Learning Theories

by: Nick Sushkin

The Role of Online Communications in School: A National Study.

Center for Applied Special Technology

An Interpretation Construction Approach to Constructivist Design

John B. Black and Robert O. McClintock

Covert Constructivism

Aric Dershem

Using Cognitive Tools in Interactive Multimedia

Barry Harper

A Manifesto for a Constructivist Approach to Technology in Higher Education.

David Jonassen, Terry Mayes, Ray McAleese

Grazing the Net:Raising a Generation of Free Range Students

Jamie McKenzie

Technology and Education: New Wine in New Bottles: Choosing Pasts and Imagining Educational Futures.

Luyen Chou, Robert McClintock, Frank Moretti, Don H. Nix

Applications and Misapplications of Cognitive Psychology to Mathematics Education.

John R. Anderson, Lynne M. Reder, Herbert A. Simon

A qualitative model for the storage of domain-specific knowledge and its implications for problem-solving

Robert J. Dufresne, William J. Leonard and William J. Gerace

Cognitive aspects of learning and teaching science

Jose P. Mestre

Concept-based problem solving in physics

William J. Leonard, William J. Gerace, Robert J. Dufresne, and Jose P. Mestre

Classtalk: A Classroom Communication System for Active Learning

Robert J. Dufresne, William J. Gerace, William J. Leonard, Jose P. Mestre and Laura Wenk

Establishing Project-Enhanced Classrooms Through Design

Gomez, L.M., Gordin, D.N.

A case study of open-ended scientific inquiry in a technology supported classroom

Gomez, L., Gordin, D., Carlson, P.

Prospects for scientific visualization as an educational technology

Gordin, D.N. & Pea, R.D.

Which way will the wind blow? Networked computer tools for studying the weather

Fishman, B. & D'Amico, L.

Science Education as a Driver of Cyberspace Technology Development

Roy D. Pea, Louis M. Gomez, Daniel C. Edelson

New Tools for Teaching

by James J. O'Donnell, University of Pennsylvania

The Learning Connection: Schools in the Information Age

The Benton Foundation

What's Working in Education

The Benton Foundation

Technology and the New Professional Teacher: Preparing for the 21st Century Classroom

NCATE

Wired schools: It takes a village

By Courtney Macavinta and Margie Wylie

Technology Counts: Schools and Reform in the Information Age

Education Week

Teachers and Technology: Making the Connection

The Congressional Office of Technology Assessment

Using the World Wide Web to Build Learning Communities in K-12

By Douglas N. Gordin, Louis M. Gomez, Roy D. Pea, Barry J. Fishman

Integrated Mathematics, Science, and Technology (IMaST) program

by: Illinois State University

Constructivist Pedagogy Readings from Columbia's ILT

(bibliograpy with links to on-line sources)

Constructivist Pedagogy Readings from the University of Colorado at Denver

(bibliograpy with links to on-line sources)

ERIC Science and Math Education Online Publications

(collection of on-line essays)

The School Improvement Research Series

Topical Syntheses of research findings and bibliographic information

Selected Procedures for Improving the Science Curriculum

Blosser, Patricia E.; Helgeson, Stanley L.

Current Projects and Activities in K-12 Science Education Curriculum Development

Blosser, Patricia E.

Sources of Information about Promising and Exemplary Programs and Materials for Elementary School Science

Helgeson, Stanley L.; Howe, Robert W.

Systemic Education Reform.

James Thompson

Professional Teacher Development and the Reform Agenda

Dilworth, Mary E.; Imig, David G.

Emerging Student Assessment Systems for School Reform.

Roeber, Edward

The Field of Educational Technology: Update 1995--A Dozen Frequently Asked Questions.

Ely, Donald P.

Infusing Technology into Preservice Teacher Education.

Abdal-Haqq, Ismat

Life and Work in a Technological Society.

Kerka, Sandra

Redesigning Higher Education. Producing Dramatic Gains in Student Learning.

Gardiner, Lion F.

Student Learning Outside the Classroom: Transcending Artificial Boundaries.

Kuh, George D.

Computer Skills for Information Problem-Solving: Learning and Teaching Technology in Context.

Eisenberg, Michael B.; Johnson, Doug

HELPING YOUR CHILD LEARN SCIENCE

Nancy Paulu with Margery Martin

HELPING YOUR CHILD LEARN MATH

Patsy F. Kanter

NARST Research Matters - to the Science Teacher
http://science.coe.uwf.edu/NARST/research/research.htm

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