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 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-‐nc-‐sa/3.0/ or send a letter to Creative Commons, 444 Castro Street, Suite 900, Mountain View, California, 94041, USA.
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. http://learning.media.mit.edu/content/publications/EA.Piaget%20_%20Papert.pdf. (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.
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. http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/chicago/news.aspx?id=177069. (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. http://www.ticyeducacion.com/. (Access 14 augost 2011)
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. http://www.wiki.org/wiki.cgi?WhatIsWiki. (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. http://peremarques.pangea.org/pizarra.htm. (Access 13 augost 2011) 13 Oppenheimer, A. «El desafío digital ·∙ ELPAÍS.com», s.f. http://www.elpais.com/articulo/internacional/desafio/digital/elpepiint/20110718elpepiint_7/Tes. (Access 12 augost 2011)
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. http://www.wiki.org/wiki.cgi?WhatIsWiki. (Access 11 augost 2011) • García Cabezas, S. «Educación, TIC y Sociedad». Educacion, TIC y sociedad, s.f. http://www.ticyeducacion.com/. (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. http://peremarques.pangea.org/pizarra.htm. (Access 13 augost 2011) • Oppenheimer, A. «El desafío digital ·∙ ELPAÍS.com», s.f. http://www.elpais.com/articulo/internacional/desafio/digital/elpepiint/20110718elpepiint_7/T es. (Access 12 augost 2011) • Oxford, R. «Constructivism: Shape-‐Shifting, Substance, and Teacher Education». Pedagody Journal of Education, s.f. http://learning.media.mit.edu/content/publications/EA.Piaget%20_%20Papert.pdf. (Access 12 augost 2011) • Saiyed, G. «iPads changing the learning curve in Chicago schools», s.f. http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/chicago/news.aspx?id=177069. (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.