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ICT in Education: New horizons to Constructivism


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ICT in Education: New horizons to Constructivism

ICT in Education: New horizons to Constructivism

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  • 1.     ICT  IN  EDUCATION:   NEW  HORIZONS  TO   CONSTRUCTIVISM     Sergio  GARCIA  CABEZAS   08-­‐29-­‐2011                       This  work  is  licensed  under  the  Creative  Commons  Attribution-­‐NonCommercial-­‐ ShareAlike  3.0  Unported  License.  To  view  a  copy  of  this  license,  visit­‐nc-­‐sa/3.0/  or  send  a  letter  to  Creative   Commons,  444  Castro  Street,  Suite  900,  Mountain  View,  California,  94041,  USA.      
  • 2. ICT  IN  EDUCATION:   NEW  HORIZONS  TO  CONSTRUCTIVISM     Sergio  GARCIA  CABEZAS       It  is  change,  continuing  change,  inevitable  change,  that  is  the  dominant  factor  in   society  today.  No  sensible  decision  can  be  made  any  longer  without  taking  into   account  not  only  the  world  as  it  is,  but  the  world  as  it  will  be.     Isaac  Asimov.       Constructivism  is  a  pedagogical  theory  about  how  people  learn.  It  argues  that  people   construct  their  own  understanding  and  knowledge  of  the  world.  People  construct  their   own  understanding  of  reality1.  Although  it  is  a  theory  that  has  been  brewing  since  the   1920´s,   it   is   nowdays   with   the   introduction   of   the   Information   and   Comunication   Technologies   (ICT)   when   we   have   new   and   powerfull   ways   to   implement   the   constructivist   thesis   in   classroom.   By   knowing   the   origins   and   thinking   about   constructivism   learning   intervention,   teachers   are   going   to   be   able   to   understand   how   ICT   will   help   us   in   this   task.   They   may   even   try   to   predict   the   impact   that   this   technologies  will  have  in  classrooms  in  future  years.     The  roots  of  constructivism  can  be  traced  back  to  early  last  century.  This  term  was  first   used   in   the   Soviet   Union   around   1920   related   with   architectural   and   literary   expressions.   The   educational   meaning   is   directly   related   to   Piaget 2 .   According   to   Ackermann,  Piagets  students  not  only  have  their  own  view  and  feelings  of  the  world   but  these  views  are  very  strong  and  robust3.       Also   other   pedagogues   like   Vygotsky,   Brunner   or   Ausbel   will   also   be   part   of   the   construction   of   this   theory4.   Vygostky   brings   to   constructivism   that   further   cognitive   development  is  driven  by  knowledge.  Also  his  social  theories  about  knowledge  leaves   an   interesting   contribution   to   the   teacher´s   role   in   classrooms.   This   contribution   is   the   “Zone  of  Proximal  Development”.  He  claims  that  children  working  in  collaboration  with   an   adult   normaly   did   better   than   when   they   work   alone5.   This   way   of   collaborative   learning  makes  teachers  have  to  redefine  their  role  in  class.  They  are  use  to  learning  in                                                                                                                  1  Oxford,   R.   «Constructivism:   Shape-­‐Shifting,   Substance,   and   Teacher   Education».   Pedagody   Journal   of   Education,  s.f.  2  Cárdenas,  C.  «Acercamiento  al  origen  del  constructivismo».  Sinéctica,  Julio  2004.  3 Ackermann,   E.   «Piaget’s   Constructivism,   Papert’s   Constructionism:   What’s   the   difference?»,   s.f.   (Access   12   augost   2011)  4  Carretero,  M.  Constructivismo  y  educación.  Buenos  Aires:  Aique,  1994.  5  Vygotsky,  L.  Thought  and  language.  Newly  rev.,  2.  print.  Cambridge    Mass.:  The  MIT  Press,  1987.  
  • 3. classes   where   the   instructor   was   the   most   important   source   of   knowledge   and   with   constructivism   thesis   they   have   to   change   this   role   and   become   knowledge   guides;   with  the  children,  not  from  a  higher  view.  Vygotsky  proposed  his  thesis  from  the  social   knowledge.   He   proposes   that   knowledge   is   produced   mainly   from   the   interaction   between  humans6.  Building  a  personal  interpretation  of  the  Russian  scientist  it  can  be   said   that   each   person   constructs   their   own   knowledge,   but   is   in   the   interaction   with   others   when   people   tested   this   knowledge   so   we   can   develop   a   constant   and   fluid   activity   within   a   real   context,   not   in   class.   This   is   a   great   challenge   for   educational   technology,  often  criticized  to  promote  individualism.  What  we  need  to  know  is  that   new  laptops  and  tablets  like  iPad  are  being  used  successfully  in  many  schools  as  tools   for   collaborative   work.   For   example,   collaborative   classrooms   have   been   implemented   with  this  technology7.   Another   of   the   basic   ideas   of   constructivism   is   significant   learning.   According   to   Ausubel8,   this   kind   of   learning   is   first   of   all   long-­‐term   and   permanent.   The   second   feature  about  it  is  that  it  produces  a  cognitive  change  moving  from  a  situation  of  not     knowing   to   knowing.   Finally,   it   is   based   in   experience,   and   depends   on   prior   knowledge.   To   promote   the   significant   learning,   teachers   should   use   a   lot   of   examples   and   require   active   participation   of   the   learner.   How   can   ICT   help   teachers   in   this   task?   For  example,  we  can  use  Interactive  Whiteboards  (IWB)  to  encourage  this  participation   or  the  Internet  to  show  demonstration  close  to  reality.  Altough  we  can  mix  both  things   using   with   the   IWB   and   3D   models   downloaded   from   the   Web.   It´s   more   significant     learning  Ancient  Greek  Architecture    if  children  could  go  into  the  Parthenon  in  a  very   detailed  3D  model  and  explore  it  than  looping  only  at  pictures.  These  two  technologies   together  with  the  use  of  tablets  and  other  hardware  like  interactive  tables  will  be  the   main  components  in  the  development  of  the  constructivism  theory  in  classroom.     Nowdays,   constructivism   is   extended   worldwide   and   accepted   by   teachers   and   research  communities  all  over  the  world.  The  difference  between  old  days  and  today  is   that  now  we  have  new  technologies  that  can  help  us  to  teach  in  a  constructivism  way   in  classrooms.  Teachers  should  go  beyond  the  technology.  This  affirmation  means  that     the   important   thing   is   the   way   of   teaching   and   learning,   not   how   modern   the   technology   should   be   in   classroom.   Technology   is   a   usesless   tool   if   it   does   not   go   in   hand  with    a  pedagogy  style  like  constructivism9.       The  first  technology  that  can  help  promote  a  constructivist  metodology  is  the  Internet.   Not  only  as  an  element  to  display  multimedia  (video,  info,  pictures,  sound)  but,  thanks   to  Web  2.0  and  its  applications,  cooperative  work  and  analysis  that  directly  connects                                                                                                                  6  Santos  Moreno,  A.  «Tecnología  educativa  ante  el  paradigma  constructivista.»  Revista  Informática  Educativa   o UNIANDES  -­‐  LIDIE  13,  n .  1  (s.f.):  83-­‐94.  7  Saiyed,   G.   «iPads   changing   the   learning   curve   in   Chicago   schools»,   s.f.  (Access  8  augost  2011)  8  Ausubel,  D.  Theory  and  problems  of  child  development.  3º  ed.  New  York:  Grune  &  Stratton,  1980.  9  García   Cabezas,   S.   «Educación,   TIC   y   Sociedad».   Educacion,   TIC   y   sociedad,   s.f.  (Access  14  augost  2011)      
  • 4. with   the   constructivist   theory.   Using   blogs,   teachers   can   promote   collaborative   analytical  work  among  all  members  of  the  class.  In  addition  to  posts,  these  blogs  can   be  completed  with  embedded  multimedia  material  such  as  video  services  like  YouTube   and  Vimeo  or  Flickr  or  Picassa  photos.  Perhaps  the  best  tool  to  work  in  a  constructive   way   is   the   wiki.   A   wiki   is   a   collaborative   website   that   can   be   directly   edited   by   anyone.   Creator,  Wad  Cunningham,  described  as  "the  simplest  online  database  that  works"10.   In  wikis,  students  will  be  able  to  building  a  collaborative  global  knowledge  of  a  topic  or   subject  matter  becoming  protagonists  and  creating  their  own  knowledge  not  limited  to   a  single  student  but  their  classmates  and  teacher  as  well.  Finally,  social  networks  allow   us   to   work   on   the   social   context   were   the   people   learning   according   to   Vygotsky,   is   developed.   These   social   networks   allow   us   to   continue   the   interactional   space   between   students   and   teachers   in   a   virtual   way,   promoting   new   opportunities   for   communication  and  diversity11.     The  second  technology  to  be  discussed  is  the  interactive  board.  According  to  Marqués,   the  interactive  board  is  the  union  between  a  computer,  a  projector  and  an  interactive   surface  that  allows  us  to  control  the  computer12.  This  tool  will  facilitate  the  work  in  the   classroom   and   especially   the   integration   of   other   technologies   that   make   it   easier   to   work  from  a  constructivist  point  of  view.     The  use  of  computers  in  school  or  substitutes  such  as  tablets  allows  us,  together  with   web   2.0   tools   and   whiteboards,   to   create   true   collaborative   classrooms.   With   these   computers   online   and   in   a   network   we   will   be   able   to   take   full   advantage   of   all   the   techonologies.  Students  could  do  individual  work  and  work  in  pairs  or  large  groups.     All  these  advantages  and  how  fast  technology  develops  leads  us  to  wonder  what  could   be   the   new   paths   that   will   promote   educational   technology.   The   new   products   from   leading  companies  and  research  shows  that  we  can  differentiate  three  different  ways.   On  the  one  side,  the  development  of  computers  and  tablets  specifically  designed  for   education,   which   makes   the   functions   of   notebook   and   textbook.   In   fact,   the   Korean   government   for   the   year   2015   plan   to   replace   of   the   textbook   for   ebooks   spending   more   than   two   billion   dollars13.   On   the   other   hand,   the   use   of   3D   and   augmented   reality   of   companies   like   SMART   Tech   remind   us   that   this   material,   coupled   with   the   interactive   whiteboard,   would   make   significant   learning   easier.   Finally,   the   development  of  the  semantic  Web  3.0  will  influence  how  to  implement  collaborative   tools.   In   a   short   term   we   can   use   online   programs   to   help   more   specific   searches,   collaborative   activities   and   teamwork   more   effective.   Current   tools   such   as   Google   Wave  make  it  posible  to  predict  that  in  a  few  years  we  will  see  similar  but  better  online   services.                                                                                                                  10  Cunningham,  W.  «What´s  a  wiki»,  2002.  (Access  11  augost  2011)  11  Hernández   Requena,   S.   «El   modelo   constructivista   con   las   nuevas   tecnologías:   aplicado   en   el   proceso   de   o aprendizaje».  Revista  de  universidad  y  sociedad  del  conocimiento.  5,  n .  2  (s.f.):  26-­‐35.  12  Marqués,  P.  «La  pizarra  digital»,  s.f.  (Access  13  augost  2011)  13 Oppenheimer,  A.  «El  desafío  digital  ·∙  ELPAÍ»,  s.f.   (Access  12  augost  2011)    
  • 5.  To  conclude  we  can  say  that  educational  technology  will  be  really  useful  to  us  when  it  is  at  the  service  of  pedagogy  and  didactics.  If  this  pedagogy  is  based  on  constructivism,  where   students   construct   their   own   understanding   and   knowledge   of   the   world   and  they  learn  in  a  very  collaborative  way,  technology  will  help  us  in  several  ways.  We  are  going  to  improve  the  significant  learning  and  discover  new  ways  of  develop  the  social  knowledge.     Technologies   such   as   the   Internet,   tablets   or   interactive   boards   will  facilitate  the  way  to  implement  constructivism  in  the  classroom.  And  we  can  be  sure  that  in  the  coming  years,  these  technologies  will  be  much  more  developed  and  we  can  see   the   exciting   future   that   awaits   those   who   want   to   teach   under   the   banner   of  constructivism.  Are  teacher  of  the  future  prepared  for  this  challenge?       Sergio  García  Cabezas.   UOFT  –  Academic  English  Fundation  Course  2011      BIBLOGRAPHY       • Ackermann,  E.  «Piaget’s  Constructivism,  Papert’s  Constructionism:  What’s  the  difference?»,  s.f.     • Ausubel,   D.   Theory   and   problems   of   child   development.   3o   ed.   New   York:   Grune   &   Stratton,   1980.   • Cárdenas,  C.  «Acercamiento  al  origen  del  constructivismo».  Sinéctica,  Julio  2004   • Carretero,  M.  Constructivismo  y  educación.  Buenos  Aires:  Aique,  1994.   • Cunningham,   W.   «What´s   a   wiki»,   2002.   (Access   11   augost  2011)   • García   Cabezas,   S.   «Educación,   TIC   y   Sociedad».   Educacion,   TIC   y   sociedad,   s.f.  (Access  14  augost  2011)   • Hernández   Requena,   S.   «El   modelo   constructivista   con   las   nuevas   tecnologías:   aplicado   en   el   o proceso  de  aprendizaje».  Revista  de  universidad  y  sociedad  del  conocimiento.  5,  n .  2  (s.f.):  26-­‐ 35.   • Marqués,   P.   «La   pizarra   digital»,   s.f.   (Access   13   augost  2011)   • Oppenheimer,  A.  «El  desafío  digital  ·∙  ELPAÍ»,  s.f. es.  (Access  12  augost  2011)   • Oxford,   R.   «Constructivism:   Shape-­‐Shifting,   Substance,   and   Teacher   Education».   Pedagody   Journal  of  Education,  s.f.   (Access   12   augost  2011)   • Saiyed,   G.   «iPads   changing   the   learning   curve   in   Chicago   schools»,   s.f.  (Access  8  augost  2011)   • Santos   Moreno,   A.   «Tecnología   educativa   ante   el   paradigma   constructivista.»   Revista   o Informática  Educativa  UNIANDES  -­‐  LIDIE  13,  n .  1  (s.f.):  83-­‐94.   • Vygotsky,   L.   Thought   and   language.   Newly   rev.,   2.   print.   Cambridge     Mass.:   The   MIT   Press,   1987.