1. Learning to Solve Problems
A Constructivist Perspective
P. Brandon Crenshaw
March 4, 2009
Table of Contents
2. Table of Contents
Preface - Constructivism & TechnologyVisualizing with Tech: Reco
1- What is Meaningful Learning? 6 – Learning with Hypermedia
2 - Problem Solving 7 - Learning with Virtual Realiti
3 - Learning from the Internet 8 - Problem-Based Learning En
4 - Building Tech-Supported Learning -Communities
9 Assessing Learning & Probl
Constructivism & Technology
Table of Contents
People naturally construct meaning.
Teaching/learning that relies on efficient
transmission of pre-packaged material is not
This book is about how to use technology to
support constructive learning.
Meaningful learning is:
Students learn best by solving problems.
I could not agree with these statements more.
We expect our students to learn material simply
because it is there.
We rarely give true meaning to what we do in
It is assumed that because it’s in the book, it’s important to
Conversely, if it’s not in the book/curriculum, then it needn’t
be taught because it’s not important.
These ideas have to change if today’s students
are to take education seriously.
7. Chapter 1
What is Meaningful Learning?
Table of Contents
8. What is Learning?
a biochemical activity in the brain
a change in behavior
remembering and recalling
thinking skills 8
9. What is Learning?
distributed among the community
chaotic! (at times)
10. What is Meaningful Learning?
Active (Manipulative, Observant)
Constructive (Articulative, Reflective)
Intentional (Reflective, Regulatory)
Authentic (Complex, Contextualized)
Cooperative (Collaborative, Conversational)
11. How does technology
In the Past: educators used new tech to
teach in old ways.
Students’ role was to learn from tech, just like
they did from the teacher.
Students used tech to produce products, but
they've been simply reproducing what the teacher
12. How does technology
Students should use tech to present what
they know, not simply reproduce it.
Tech should function as a tool kit to let
learners build meaning.
Students don't learn from teachers or tech,
but learn from thinking and doing. 12
13. How Tech Fosters Learning:
learning by doing
learning by collaborating
information to explore learning
means to reflect
14. My Thoughts on
Tech should be used as a tool for learning, not
the end goal itself.
Tech should make the job easier and better.
We shouldn’t use tech just to say we did so.
Not all tech is good, and we should carefully
inspect what’s out there before purchasing.
15. Implications of Constructivism
must relinquish some authority
help students evaluate what others think
be familiar with technology
must construct own meaning from learning
assume responsibility for own learning 15
16. Chapter 2
Problem Solving is Meaningful Learning
Table of Contents 16
17. What Drives Learning?
The nature of the task is what drives learning.
Memorizing for a test engages learners in
rehearsal and organization.
Writing a paper engages learners in finding
information and writing.
In order for learning to be meaningful, students
must be engaged in meaningful tasks. 17
18. What Drives Learning?
The most meaningful tasks require learners
to solve problems.
Everyday life is about problem solving!
Doctors cure disease.
Business people maximize profits.
Homeowners care for their living spaces.
Students should solve problems, too!
19. What Drives Learning?
I don’t believe that we ask students to
problem-solve enough (or at all!).
This will take a major shift in education, as
we have forgotten how to teach these skills.
20. What Drives Learning?
What is a problem?
It is an unknown; a goal.
Finding the unknown must have value.
21. Kinds of Problem-Solving
abstract puzzle tests
used to measure logical reasoning
solve questions using rigid procedures
ex. – most Math problems
attempt to make algorithmic problems mimic real
22. Kinds of Problem-Solving
have a correct solution but multiple methods
ex. – filing taxes, doing web info searches
decisions with limited number of solutions
ex. – which health plan to select
Very common real-life problem
experience is usually very helpful
ex. – fix a computer problem
23. Kinds of Problem-Solving
very similar to troubleshooting
the goal is to fix a system and get it back online
real-time, complex decision making
solve a situation with multiple activities to achieve an
Case/Systems Analysis Problems
learners must understand complex systems in which the
problem is often vague
ex. – deciding factory production levels
24. Kinds of Problem-Solving
require a great deal of knowledge to make an
the goal is to design things (products) as
can be very difficult, as there is usually no
solution that is acceptable to all
25. Kinds of Problem-Solving
I know this list of problem-solving is
I don’t think it’s severely important what kind of
problems students are solving (yet).
Just get them started thinking and not repeating!
26. Problem Solving with Technology
Webquests do no guarantee learning; students
simply fill in info that teachers are looking for.
Activities must have a purpose other than
finishing an assignment.
Students must be able to evaluate the info that
they find on the internet.
27. Problem Solving with Technology
Modeling Tasks or Content
building models of real-world phenomena can
help solve problems through virtual trials
technology can be used to efficiently model
28. Problem Solving with Technology
these problems involve selecting an option from
a list of choices
technology can be used to model situations to
try to predict the best outcome
29. Problem Solving with Technology
design problems are difficult because the goals
are unclear and feedback is delayed
people use technology for design problems
when they create videos, webpages, etc.
30. Problem Solving with Technology
Again, be careful with tech!!!
Don’t use it just because it’s there.
Don’t make tech the focus of your work.
31. Chapter 3
Learning from the Internet:
Information to Knowledge Through Inquiry
Table of Contents 31
32. What is the Internet?
It is a world-wide network of local computers.
It connects millions of users around the world.
It’s a collection of documents stored in
Different documents/sites are linked together.
33. What’s New with the Internet?
Increased Access, Bandwith, Multimedia
Videoconferencing / Distance Learning
Internet 2 (advanced applications and tech)
Wireless & Human-Centric Computing
34. What Should We Do with the Internet?
search for information
virtual field trips 34
35. My Thoughts on the Internet
Try to keep current with what’s new.
I’ve found myself not keeping current, and now I feel
like I’m playing catch-up.
It’s easiest to absorb a bit at a time.
Keep notes on what you like so that you can revisit
Don’t be afraid to ask the students for help!!!
36. Chapter 4
Learning Communities on the Internet
Table of Contents 36
37. Forming Communities
Learning in collaborative communities is
natural, so why do schools isolate students?
Technology allows us to:
form communities far beyond local boundaries
find others with common interests
share our knowledge with others
38. Supportive Technologies
The internet has many aspects:
Electronic Bulletin Boards
Groupware (ex. Google Docs)
40. Learning Circles
A Learning Circle connects a small group of
students in order to solve a problem.
Learning Process – research, collaboration, reporting
Problem Solving – devise a solution
Teacher Roles – manage (but don’t hinder) learning
Assessment – project meets schedule, solution is reached
41. Chapter 5
Learning by Visualizing with Technology:
Recording Realities with Video
Table of Contents 41
42. The Case For TV in Learning
Many educational programs exist.
43. The Case Against TV in Learning
The nature of TV puts viewers in a low state of
TV overexposure can result in a lack of persistence
in difficult mental tasks.
TV can induce a slow, hypnotic state.
It is a passive form of learning.
44. Video in Schools
Student-made video has several benefits:
involves planning, producing, sharing
provides valuable feedback
fosters cooperative learning
creates good PR material to be used
45. Necessary Equipment
projector / television
computer with video-editing software
46. Video Learning Activities
Video press conference
47. Chapter 6
Learning by Constructing
Realities with Hypermedia
Table of Contents 47
48. What are Multimedia?
flash, video games
49. Student-Created Hypermedia
Students are actively engaged when creating
50. Chapter 7
Learning by Exploring
Micro-Worlds & Virtual Realities
Table of Contents 50
51. Modeling for Learning
Computer-based models allow users to explore
variables can be easily manipulated
the real world can be cheaply recreated for experiments
graphs can be made from data
Virtual Reality can take learners around the world
52. Chapter 8
Learning in Problem-Based
Table of Contents 52
53. Story Problems
the most common type of problem-solving
Students take info from the story, run numbers
through a formula, and get the answer.
Students are rarely successful at transferring their
ability to solve these problems to other problems.
From a personal standpoint, I like using these to
provide a context for problems.
Although not perfect, they are better than simple
54. Laboratory Problems
a set of procedures
inferring what happened
They can be dangerous and expensive, so
virtual labs are becoming popular.
55. Chapter 9
Assessing Constructive Learning &
Problem-Solving with Technology
Table of Contents 55
56. Authentic Performance Assessment
We are moving from assessment that sorts
students to those that improve performance.
Performance Assessment must:
have students construct a response or product.
observe student behavior or product
57. Assessing Learning with Rubrics
A rubric is designed to govern action.
include all important elements
each element is easy to understand
ratings are distinct and descriptive