Constructivism in Practice

It is imperative that teachers establish a purpose for what students learn in school. Student motivation for learning increases when learning is meaningful to students. Teaching is effective when students can connect individually to content and apply it to their lives (Orey, 2001). Teachers can help students relate to what they are learning by allowing them to become active participants in the learning process. The generating and testing hypotheses along with the use of problem-based learning tools permits students to engage actively in their learning. Educators can successfully implement the constructivist/constructionist learning theories in the classroom using the generating and testing hypotheses instructional strategy and online graphic organizers.

The constructivist/constructionist learning theories engage students in their education through the process of producing an artifact (Laureate Education, n.d.). These theories change the role of teachers in the classroom because they become the facilitators in the learning process. Constructionism originates from the constructivist learning theory because students participate in creating their knowledge (Orey, 2001). When students are in charge of what they learn in the classroom, they can focus their learning on information that is meaningful to them. Teachers can guide student learning by providing students with multiple resources to solve authentic problems.

To aid students in finding a solution to a realistic problem, teachers can utilize the generating and testing hypotheses instructional strategy. Students enhance their understanding of a topic when they generate and test hypotheses because they engage in critical thinking about the content (Pitler, Hubbell, & Kuhn, 2012). A problem-based learning tool students can utilize to generate and test hypotheses is a graphic organizer. Students can use online graphic organizers, such as Kidspiration, to scaffold higher-level thinking (Pitler et al., 2012). These graphic organizers can provide students with a visual as they construct their knowledge.

Teachers provide students with meaningful learning tasks that expand their knowledge about a topic when constructivist/constructionist learning theories are used in classrooms.  Student motivation increases in this learning environment because they actively engage in their learning.  The generating and testing hypotheses instructional strategy is beneficial when students engage in challenging assignments. Students can use online graphic organizers as a tool to organize information they gather.

References:

Laureate Education (Producer). (n.d.). Constructionist and constructivist learning theories [Video file]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu

Orey, M. (Ed.). (2001). Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved from http://projects.coe.uga.edu/epltt/index.php?title=Main_Page

Pitler, H., Hubbell, E. R., & Kuhn, M. (2012). Using technology with classroom instruction that works (2nd ed.). Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

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3 thoughts on “Constructivism in Practice

  1. I agree that students truly learn more and understand better when they are connected or related to the material. It is difficult for teachers to customize a lesson to all the students in a classroom but by offering many instructional strategies, the teacher is giving the children more options. Instructional strategies such as hypothesizing allows for higher level thinking and stimulation of the students brains. The students getting thinking and involved in their learning which creates an interest and pride in their success.

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  2. You are so right, that this type of teaching will result in increased student motivation and engagement. After you have students create the graphic organizers do you have a plan for how they will share it or archive the artifacts that they have created?

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    • So far I have experimented with Haiku Deck, which is an iPad application like PowerPoint and Book Creator. Both of these apps allow students to share images and text. Book Creator even allows students to narrate the text. What ways have you had your students share artifacts?

      Stephanie

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