“ Constructionism is both a theory of learning and a strategy for education” (Han & Bhattacharya, 2001).Constructionism suggests that new ideas are most likely to be created when learners are actively engaged in building some type of external artifact that they can reflect upon and share with others. The whole contructionist idea is to have learners involved in the total process of planning, building, sharing, evaluating and reflecting on their work. The role of the teacher is to become the facilitator, providing clear expectations, constructive feed back and fair assesment. Through constructionism students build knowledge that is personal and meaningful.
With contructionism in mind how does this week’s reading “Generating and Testing Hypotheses” in Using Technology and Classroom Instruction that Works, relate to project- based learning. The authers, Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn and Malenoski state that testing hypotheses in an inductive or deductive manner can be generated through six tasks; systems analysis, problem solving, historical investigation, invention, inquiry and decision making (2007). Lessons based on contuctionism theory have several of these tasks embedded in the lesson. Having student make a conjecture using prior knowledge and then testing and evaluating their conjectures is a skill that students need. Students also need to take any new information learned in the investigating stages to go back to their original hypothesis and make another prediction.
In geometry class one of the first concepts I teach is inductive and deductive reasoning. Conditional statements, “If: then” help students understand logical reasoning. As a geometry teacher I was anxious to see what on-line tools I could use to challenge my students. I spent a lot of time playing around with the catapult at, www.lcse.umn.edu/specs/labs/catapult/practice.html. Although I am not a physiscs teacher my knowledge of angles and parabolas helped me hit the target. Gizmos found at www.explorelearning.com was very helpful to understanding how technology and interactive software can help students to learn to make hypoteses, test and evaluate, then make a new hypothesis until a thorough understanding is met. I can’t wait until we reach a concept that is covered in gizmos.
ExploreLearning.(2010). Retrieved from www.explorelearning.com
Han, S., and Bhattacharya, K. (2001). Constructionism, Learning by Design, and Project Based Learning. In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved March, 22, 2010, from http://projects.coe.uga.edu/epltt/
Pitler, H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007). Using technology with classroom instruction that works. Alexandria, VA: ASCD
Sytina, J. (1998) SPECS. Retrieved from www.lcse.umn.edu/specs/labs/catapult/practice.html