The constructionist theory focuses on the individual concept of learning. This theory is based on the idea that each individual constructs their own meaning of knowledge. As teachers, this should be an easy concept to understand because we understand that each student learns and processes information differently. However, teachers focus on the constructionism theory of learning, which suggests that individuals learn best when build or create something that can be shared with others. Many teachers use this learning theory as a form of assessment. If our students can build a product, finish a problem, or complete an assignment or project that we can measure if learning occurred. Together in a “perfect classroom” the two can be used to create equilibration. This would mean that teacher and student can find a balance between the content being taught and how well the student understands the information in order for learning to occur.
There are several instructional strategies that can be applied to the constructivist or constructionist learning theory. One of the most common instructional strategies that teachers use is technology. Technology is useful because it applies to both theories. Each individual student can use technology to construct a product based on how they understand and interpret the information. I see this a lot when PowerPoint presentations are assigned in my classroom. Each student puts the information in their own words so it is easy for them to present and understand. Every PowerPoint and presentation is created, designed, and presented differently to fit the personality of each student. However the end result is the same, the concept or subject matter is learned effectively. A second instructional strategy that teachers use is generating and testing a hypothesis. In this strategy we allow students to assimilation or generate a question based on the information they understood and then we allow students to accommodate by testing their hypothesis or proving if they were correct. In the classroom the concept of generating and testing hypotheses is done in many different forms including problem-solving, inquiry based approaches or projects. Again technology can offer a huge advantage to this different because technology can be used to view, interpret, analyze, and report data. We can even use technology to translate data into visual aids such as spreadsheets, charts, or graphs.
I do believe that in the classroom constructivist and constructionist theories are used often. It is important to let each student process and learn information that best suits their learning style. At the same time, every teacher strives to have their student create a meaning product that can demonstrate what they have learned. By creating activities that allow students to create an artifact we are not only promoting effective learning but we are keeping students engaged as well. This creates an ideal environment where students are not only learning from the teacher but from each other as well. I have learned that this helps tremendously in the classroom. Students may not always understand when I explain a concept but sometimes having a classmates explain the same concept in their own language can make a world of difference.
Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer) (2010) Constructionist and Constructivist Learning Theories. Retrieved from http://sylvan.live.ecollege.com
Pitler H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007). Using technology with classroom instruction that works. Alexandria, VA: ASCD