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  1. 1. eTools & Beyond Promoting Constructivist Learning in the Virtual Environment
  2. 2. Big Ideas • What is constructivism? • What are its implications for the classroom? • How do we use the resources available to promote this type of learning in the virtual environment? o In math o In other subjects
  3. 3. Learning is…constructed. • squerkle example • Did you form theories? Did you test those theories and find yourself needing to revise them? How would your understanding of a Squerkle differ if I had only told you a definition?
  4. 4. Learning is…active. • eTools/virtual manipulatives
  5. 5. Learning is…reflective. • Students reflect on ideas in a blog.
  6. 6. Learning is…collaborative. • jigsaw info—make a wiki • Google docs/sites
  7. 7. Learning is…inquiry-based. • webquest • Example: webquest/canequest.htm • In our environment: extra credit? extension for gifted students; supplemental activity posted to message board. Students can share their work with classmates. modify an existing assignment? Obviously more flexibility in elem.—finished curriculum early?
  8. 8. Learning is…evolving. • definition of a circle in 1st grade, 5th grade, 10th grade? • real life examples • not a polygon; can measure radius and diameter. • set of points equidistant from a center point, central angle, arc length
  9. 9. Constructivism is a psychological theory of knowledge (epistemology) [1] which argues that humans generate knowledge and meaning from their experiences. Constructivism is not a specific pedagogy, although it is often confused with constructionism • active learning-class discussion, think-pair-share, one-minute paper (webmail follow-up)
  10. 10. Taking is to the Virtual Environment We are in a unique position to implement constructivist teaching and learning strategies in the virtual environment, where teachers and students have a wealth of computer and Internet-based resources available.
  11. 11. • p. 23 Piaget’s basic assumptions • -children are active and motivated learners • children construct knowledge from their experiences • zone of proximal development; scaffolding; student’s individual level of development; where they can potentially be.
  12. 12. Facilitating active learning in virtual environment • eTools: with an activity designed to have students ‘discover’ or deduce mathematical truths/patterns from their own experience. (Squerkle (p.234) example first?) • example from eTools • Show Illuminations—example from a different grade level. • People are actively involved in their own learning (p. 194)
  13. 13. • p. 201: declarative knowledge—knowledge that relates to the nature of “how things are” (as opposed to procedural—how to do things). • Rehearsal (rote memorization) rel. ineffective • More effective: meaningful learning—connect to prior knowledge; organization—make connections among pieces of new info; elaboration—adding additional ideas to new information based on prior knowledge; visual imagery—forming a mental picture (**5 chinese words example). p. 209 • p. 212: using mnemonics in the absence of relevant prior knowledge
  14. 14. • p. 192: construction of meaning: provide experiences that will help students make sense of the topics they are studying • active involvement in learning: plan activities that get students actively thinking about and using classroom subject matter.
  15. 15. p. 210 Procedural knowledge involves large mental component, then also physical behavior. • procedural knowledge often begins as declarative knowledge, more laborious process, mental/verbal cues, but eventually student can do procedure without going through all the mental steps.
  16. 16. p. 231 Knowledge Construction as a Social Process • Livelesson discussion/breakout rooms; message board responses; blogs; webmail/student partners
  17. 17. • Students may get caught up in readings and assessments, and have trouble seeing the ‘big picture.’ Use Livelessons to pose questions and get students constructing their own meaning for what is being studied. • Allow collaborative opportunities where students share their own understandings
  18. 18. 3rd - 6th Grade iTexts • EnvisionMATH iTexts (link found in math lessons on planner). • Multimedia glossary • eTools
  19. 19. eTools: Interactive, Virtual Manipulatives to support conceptual learning of math • The 3rd-6th grade eTools support most of the topics covered in the curriculum. Here is just one example: Using a virtual spinner to efficiently conduct probability How do the size & number of sections on investigations. the spinner affect the results? How do our predicted results compare to actual results?
  20. 20. NCTM Illuminations • Illuminations 3-5 - Activities and resources for students and teachers. • Illuminations 6-8 - Activities and resources for students and teachers. • Illuminations 9+ - Activities and resources for students and teachers. • Illuminations Across the Grades - These activities and resources cut across grade levels. • Illuminations Pre-K-2 - Activities and resources for students and teachers. Illuminations 6-8: Isometric Drawing Tool
  21. 21. Social Constructivism • wiki, message board, ning community, blog, epen pals, editing partners; literature circles in breakout sessions; problem solving team in breakout sessions. Peer tutoring (learning by teaching). Jigsaw puzzles•wiki. VoiceThread, flickr, etc.
  22. 22. Not the cure-all for improving learning outcomes. • Research indicates that constructivist methods can lead to an increase in higher order thinking skills, but not necessarily performance on traditional recall tests. This is a good argument for using varied teaching strategies that combine constructivism with other proven methods.
  23. 23. Resources Used • Omrod, Jeanne Ellis. Educational Psychology: Developing Learners, 4th edition. Pearson Education, Inc. 2003. Upper Saddle River, NJ. • Constructivist (learning theory). Accessed on 27 Feb. 2009. • Educational Broadcasting Corporation 2004. Concept to Classroom: Workshop: Constructivism as a Paradign for Teaching and Learning. Accessed on 1 March 2009.
  24. 24. Further Exploration • Webquests explained & many, many examples