Constructivist Learning Theories
Student-centered learning is a practice that is becoming more prevalent in the educational field. As educators we cannot simply”give” all our knowledge to our students, rather new knowledge is “actively constructed in the mind of the learner” (Orey, 2001). This idea is at the forefront of the constructionism movement, as Orey said: “learners don’t get ideas; they create ideas” (Orey, 2001). This movement goes hand in hand with the strategy of project-based learning.
Project-based learning focuses on a learner-centered environment and authentic tasks (Orey, 2001).One strategy that ties in with constructionism and project-based learning through inquiry. By allowing students to “choose a topic, locate resources and organize collaboration” (Orey, 2001) they are better able to complete the tasks at hand. This strategy will encourage students to utilize an abundance of technology to complete their final product. In order to collaborate students can work together in person or digitally. Google slides allows students to collaborate on the same presentation at the same time. Students could also collaborate with their peers in other schools via skype or video conferencing (TeAchnology, n.d.). Collaboration is a vital 21st-century skill that students will need throughout their life. Additionally, students are able to complete self and peer assessments in conjunction with teacher assessments. Self-assessment and reflection are necessary for both students and ourselves as teachers. In the peer-reviewed article “Constructivist Approach to Teacher Education: An Integrative Model for Reflective Teaching” by Kumari, supports the view that reflection is necessary to make improvements as an educator (Kumari, 2014).
Presently I utilize the constructivist-based instructional strategy in my classroom by encouraging project-based learning. Prior to actually implementing project-based learning, I need to “design and develop digital-age learning experiences and assessments” (ISTE, 2008. To do this, I need to take into account who my students are, tthier strengths and weaknesses and their interest level.Additionally, I need to evaluate the level of technology we have available. Within my classroom, I often allow students to choose their own topic for project-based learning. This allows me to ensure that students are learning, interested and motivated to create and research a product (ISTE, 2008). Through PBL my students are empowered to take an active role in their education. In my civics course, students were able to research any aspect of the 2016 election. They then researched their chosen focus and became a knowledge constructor (ISTE, 2016). Lastly, students created a product to showcase their new information.
The sources I located during my research on constructivism will only further enhance my plans for Genius Hour in my classroom. The peer reviewed article I found, “Constructivist Approach to Teacher Education: An Integrative Model,” explains the importance of self-reflection as an educator. Furthermore, not only is self-reflection vital for educators but also for students. Genius Hour is a great way for students to create their own product and research on their own, but also complete a self-assessment. The popular source I found, “Constructivism as a Paradigm for Teaching and Learning,” helps educators to utilize the constructivist approach properly in their classroom.
Inquiry-based Learning: Explanation. (n.d.). Retrieved December 14, 2016, from
KUMARI, S. V. (2014). CONSTRUCTIVIST APPROACH TO TEACHER EDUCATION: AN
INTEGRATIVE MODEL FOR REFLECTIVE TEACHING. Journal On Educational Psychology, 7(4),
Pitler, H., Hubbell, E. R., & Kuhn, M. (2012). Using technology with classroom instruction that works (2nd
ed.). Alexandria, VA: ASCD.