Thursday, February 08, 2007

OCC2007 Constructivism, Constructionism and Connectivism

Vicki : Perhaps the reason connectivism is gaining such steam is that educators feel the current (learning theories) as presented are missing out on some vital aspects of effective, engaging teaching. Are you saying that connectivism is in other theories and so then would you say that perhaps those theories are not being taught correctly to educators?

This question was asked during the Kerr session of OCC2007. Bill Kerr writes that "a political movement is needed" that Constructionism battled with schools in the 80's and that school won. Schools are power structures and empowering students threatens schools' entrenched values. The battle is being fought again, this time its about games and blogs and flickr and myspace.

The intellectual property proponents and the "old school" schools are both working to limit children's access to the creative opportunities of the web.

“The computer is a medium of human expression and if it has not yet had its Shakespeares, its Michelangelos or its Einsteins, it will. …. We have scarcely begun to grasp its human and social implications.”
Computer Criticism vs. Technocentric Thinking By Seymour Papert

Bill writes of Article 13, UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

The child shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of the child's choice.

The "rights" of children were infringed when schools denied children the creative opportunities of the computer in the 80's, now their rights are again being infringed as they are denied the creative opportunities of Web2.

Constructionism , the N word is similar to Constructivism the V word. "It then adds the idea that this happens especially felicitously in a context where the learner is consciously engaged in constructing a public entity, whether it's a sand castle on the beach or a theory of the universe." The bold emphasis is mine. Constructionism anticipated the creative opportunities ofWeb2 self-publishing.

Constructivism, like Connectivism offers a strategy for education when there is education abundance, teaching students to be life long learners.

So to return to Vicki's question, current learning theories have not been widely implemented in schools. Where they are implemented they definitely result in engaging teaching. Are they effective teaching? That's harder to judge, standardised testing is good for fact recall but does not indicate whether students are equipped to be lifelong learners.

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Blogger Bill Kerr said...

Australian Prime Minister John Howard has just launched another attack on school curriculums, claiming some contained "incomprehensible sludge"

Education is becoming very politicised and clearly Howard sees votes in it in the next election

I think the basic to basics movement, which is popular, feeds off a sort of fuzzy progressivism, eg. the sort of discovery learning approaches that are sometimes critiqued at arti's blog. Lack of detail from me here, sorry.

It's hard in this contested environment to be heard. We might have to speak up!

Friday, February 09, 2007 9:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Daniel Livingstone said...

Thanks for that link Tony!

Just now I'm teaching two classes at university (both computer game/graphics related). One is still using a fairly traditional model based round pretty intensive lectures supported by additional materials (some interactive), labs and tutorials.
The other has been my first real attempt at teaching as much as possible with a constructivist / constructionist approach. Probably no surprises which I'm finding more fun - although I did find that students were drifting for a while, until I provided additional structure and guidance.

The problem is that for the other class I just don't have the time I would need to rethink and prepare the class any other way. I'd have to have confidence that I could get the required technical knowledge across without the reliance on lectures. Just now, I don't have that confidence, so I'm applying sticking plasters to the traditional approach instead of any more radical surgery!

Saturday, March 17, 2007 12:37:00 AM  

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