Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Constructionism in the Classroom

The constructivism learning theory states that there is no absolute answer because the knowledge is different from person to person depending on his or her personal meaning (Laureate Education, Inc., 2010). Because the knowledge varies, this theory plays a smaller role in the classroom than the constructionism learning theory.

The constructionism learning theory basically states that people learn most effectively when they are building or creating some kind of "artifact" (2010). In this week's video, Dr. Orey explains that this "artifact" also includes PowerPoint presentations, which is a very attainable task in most classrooms. I believe that it is quite difficult to make all or at least most lessons fit the constructionism theory in that students are creating something physical, but the use of technology makes this much more realistic. PowerPoints can be created within just a few class periods. These particular sources fit into the constructionism theory in that the spreadsheets are the creations or artifacts students are using to deepen their knowledge on the subject.

In Chapter 11 of our book, Using Technology with Classroom Instruction that Works, Howard Pitler, Elizabeth R. Hubbell, Matt Kuhn, and Kim Malenoski highlight the technological tools of spreadsheets, databases, and web resources when "Generating and Testing Hypothesis" (Pitler,  Hubble,  Kuhn, & Malenoski, 2007). These authors were stating that hypotheses are usually only used in science but can be used within any subject with the correct task at hand and modifications. With tools, such as spread sheets, Google Spreadsheets, and wikiCalc, students are able to focus less on the calculations process and more on the implications of their results, which means more analytical and deep thinking skills being used (2007). 


Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2010). Program seven. Constructionist and constructivist learning theories [Webcast]. Bridging learning theory, instruction and technology. Baltimore, MD: Author.

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


  1. Heather,

    I must agree with you. My blog post was similar to yours. As a Science and Math teacher, I find it very easy to connect with the strategy and recommendations given in Chapter 11 of Using Technology with Classroom Instruction that Works. However, from the standpoint of a Language Arts teacher, I would struggle with trying to utilize this strategy.

  2. Valeria,

    In ELA, I think teachers would have to present more questions based upon their current reading where students can make inferences or predictions about what will happen. As a sub, I have seen many students write summaries of a story (or a chapter for upper grade students) from the perspective of a particular character. This doesn't "hypothesize" but it still challenges students with "deeper meaning" and analytical questions.

    To be honest, I think I would struggle with this strategy in ELA as well. It requires deeper thinking and experience with the content on the teacher's part in order present students with thought provoking questions and discussions.