The culmination of my quest for more powerful learning grounded in theory and research came when recently I conducted an experiment in pushing constructionism into the digital age.
Constructionism is based on two types of construction. First, it asserts that learning is an active process, in which people actively construct knowledge from their experience in the world. People don’t get ideas; they make them. This aspect of construction comes from the constructivist theory of knowledge development by Jean Piaget. To Piaget’s concept, Papert added another type of construction, arguing that people construct new knowledge with particular effectiveness when they are engaged in constructing personally meaningful products.
Imagine my surprise and joy when I realized that I had arrived at constructionism prior to knowing that such a theory even existed. I believe that thousands of other educators are unknowingly working within the constructionist paradigm as well. Although many within the Maker movement are aware that it has it’s roots in constructionism, the movement is gaining impressive momentum without the majority of Makers realizing that there is a strong theoretical foundation behind their work.
After I came to understand this connection between my practices and the supporting theoretical framework I was better able to focus and refine my practice. Even more importantly, I felt more confident and powerful in forging ahead with further experiments in the learning situations I design for my learners.
For most children, the key to success will continue to be sharp critical skills, strong connections, effective communication and the nerve to be creative and entrepreneurial. The difference is that we are living at a time in which all of those skills are defined by one’s proficiency in connected media. Ultimately, the school that ignores the connection will be the school that we will identify as a failing institution.
Librarians, in case you hadn’t heard, are essential members of society - likely to expand minds wherever they go - and, as such, are fully worthy of hero worship (whether they’re among the coolest librarians alive or just pretty cool). That’s at least part of the impetus behind My Daguerreotype Librarian, ”[a] tumblr dedicated to literally or figuratively hunky and babely librarians from the past.” Inspired by the website, here’s a little extra literary goodness: 25 awesome vintage photos of librarians from ages past.
“Psychology professor Louis Cozolino offers up an essay from his new book The Social Neuroscience of Education in this article for Greater Good. Understanding the whole child is essential in education today, since the brains of our digital natives work so much differently than earlier generations not born into the technologies that shape our world today. Prof. Cozolino lists nine key attributes that educators should know about our brains.”
Infographics are interesting–a mash of (hopefully) easily-consumed visuals (so, symbols, shapes, and images) and added relevant character-based data (so, numbers, words, and brief sentences).
The learning application for them is clear, with many academic standards–including the Common Core standards–requiring teachers to use a variety of media forms, charts, and other data for both information reading as well as general fluency...
"The interest in inquiry-based learning seems to ebb and flow based on–well, it’s not clear why it ever ebbs.
In short, it is a student-centered, Constructivist approach to learning that requires critical thinking, and benefits from technology, collaboration, resourcefulness, and other modern learning skills that never seem to fall out of favor themselves.
Regardless, St Oliver Plunkett Primary School has put together two very useful images that can help you populate your iPad–or classroom of iPads–with apps that support both inquiry-based learning (the second image below), and a more general approach to pedagogy based on Apple’s uber-popular tablet (the top image)."
Kathy Schrock has identified thirteen literacies that our students need to become well-rounded 21st-century citizens. These literacies are not taught as separate literacies but are taught across the content areas.
“There is some great stuff here about creativity development in the following article by Gregory Ciotti for 99U. In particular, the last points speaks directly about the critical importance of harnessing creative skills for real world application. It's proof that, with the proper inspiration and motivation, we can achieve anything.”
If you’ve never tried a Mystery Skype with your class, you should. It’s a highly engaging way to build important competencies in your students. A Mystery Skype is just a simple guessing game at first sight, but it’s really so much more. Two classrooms arrange to connect with each other using Skype, and then take turns asking yes/no questions to try to discover each other’s exact location. It’s a great way to make an initial connection that may lead to further collaborative learning projects.