Constructivist Thought Constructivism states that people create new knowledge based on personal experiences and old knowledge. This method of teaching encourages students to use higher-order thinking, like analyzing, to learn. Learning is an active process of constructing new knowledge through social interaction. Each student interprets information differently.
Jean Piaget Piaget was a psychologist, and through his work he concluded that children are active learners. Four stages of learning as children age, each stage helping to construct knowledge to an equilibrium. Technology is useful because it offers opportunities for learning to all students, regardless of their learning style.
Jerome Bruner Bruner believed that teachers should encourage students to discover concepts themselves. Students should continually build upon what they have learned, a method called spiral curriculum. Using the Socratic method will allow students to construct information and use higher-order thinking skills. Technology allows for students to engage in learning through many activities, a crucial part of constructivism.
Lev Vygotsky Vygotsky developed social cognition, which centers around the development of children in their social environment. Social development heavily influences learning. Students should practice collaborative learning, because they can share knowledge and experiences. Anchored instruction allows for technology to aid in learning, by giving known information as the anchor, and allowing students to explore from that point.
John Dewey Dewey believed that education began with experience, and that students should be actively involved in their learning. Students learn by doing, and teachers should serve as guides to students. Learning is a social process, and the school should reflect that social aspect. Students should work together to learn and play an active role in their construction of knowledge.
Teacher Implications Under this theory, the teacher is responsible for providing material to students, so that they can use it to teach themselves. The teacher acts as a guide, helping students when needed, but allowing for them to explore and practice their own hypotheses. The teacher also allows students to work together, and helps to pair them up so that students can aid each other through different personal experiences. The teacher also provides technology-based activities that allow students to learn using various learning styles and exploration.
Student Implications This theory places the student as a motivated learner, and makes it their responsibility to actively seek out knowledge. Students work together to share experiences in order to assimilate knowledge. Students practice and actively work with technology available to them to suit their learning styles, such as the internet or digital media.
Personal Use of Constructivism While the theory is useful, I do not think it would work for mathematics very well. Mathematics has a more linear method, having to learn one thing before moving to the next. Constructivism gives too much freedom to the student, and they would find themselves confused without the proper order of learning. Could be used in ways such as group projects where students actively work with material they have learned in the class.