Constructionist classrooms allow for students to play an active role in the classroom. “In the constructivist classroom, the focus tends to shift from the teacher to the students. The classroom is no longer a place where the teacher (“expert”) pours knowledge into passive students, who wait like empty vessels to be filled.” This allows the students to create an open environment where students can question ideas, research their own questions and learn in a way that best suits their learning styles. This type of class is focused on big concept ideas and allows the students to fill in the blanks. Technology can be a great asset to a class like this. Students don’t get lost when sifting through pamphlets and books. They can instead use a list of resources that have been pre-approved to research the questions they have created. Once they have exhausted all resources then they can go further to research on their own if needed. Google Docs and Gmail can be utilized to build a resource of answers so that everyone can study and add questions as needed. If a student is trained in how to use different apps, technology or equipment then they can lead their studies while the teacher facilitates and guides.
I generally use this approach when learning art history. I show the students several different photos from the time period we are discussing and a few that are not. The students sit around in a circle and think pair share about the images to get the information rolling. Then as a class we have a discussion about the photos; what do they see, what is missing, what can they infer from the photos. I have the students pick out the once they feel do not belong and explain why. The we create a list of questions we need to answer. After we have a list the student goes on a journey to research the information and fill in the blanks. The whole process banks on the students leading the conversation and research. I must be sure to choose a topic they will be interested in and can find enough information on that everyone can share the responsibility of researching. The students can then publish the information they found whether it is in google docs, on the wiki page or on the class blog.
This whole process is turning the students into investigators and 21st century learners. This process allows the students to work on their digital citizenship and their confidence. The confidence allows them to enhance their skills and become an empowered learner. ISTE standards states that to be empowered learners’ students need to, “understand the fundamental concepts of technology operations, demonstrate the ability to choose, use and troubleshoot current technologies and are able to transfer their knowledge to explore emerging technologies” (ISTE, 2017).
Students could use these skills in Genius Hour (GH), to build their interest and technology skills. Once they have the confidence to navigate a new piece of technology then they can work on finding new ways to utilize it to build their skills in an area they are interested in. Constructivist classrooms are a great environment for the GH, the program is based on the same principles. The main concept of both being that the student is the leader, the student is making the choices and playing an active role in their development.
(2017). ISTE Standards for students. Retrieved June 04, 2017, from https://www.iste.org/
FRANCO, M. m., WARD, A. r., & UNRATH, K. u. (2015). Artmaking as Meaning-Making: A
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June 28, 2017, from https://birddroppings.me/2017/06/28/constructivism-montessori-piaget-vygotsky-dewey-and-others-3/