Constructivism is a learning theory found in psychology which explains how people might acquire knowledge and learn. It therefore has direct application to education. The theory suggests that humans construct knowledge and meaning from their experiences. Constructivism is not a specific pedagogy. Piaget's theory of Constructivist learning has had wide ranging impact on learning theories and teaching methods in education and is an underlying theme of many education reform movements. Research support for constructivist teaching techniques has been mixed, with some research supporting these techniques and other research contradicting those results.
What is constructivism?
- Concept to Classroom > Constructivism as a Paradigm for Teaching and Learning
Provides a workshop on the concept of constructivism beginning with an explanation of the term and ending with a demonstration of how the concept can be applied in the classroom. (retrieved Jan 19, 2011)
- Constructivist Theory (J. Bruner)
A brief explanation of Bruner’s theoretical framework: that learning is an active process in which learners construct new ideas or concepts based upon their current/past knowledge. Also provides a list of references and links to related sites. (retrieved Jan 19, 2011)
- Learning Theories.Com
Provides an overview of the concept of Constructivism: that learning is an active, contextualized process of constructing knowledge rather than acquiring it. (retrieved Jan 19, 2011)
- Constructivist Learning Theory
Although this site specifically discusses the meaning of constructivism for museums, it provides a very detailed explanation of Constructivist Learning Theory and the principles of learning. (retrieved Jan 19, 2011)
How does a constructivist approach differ from a traditional approach?
- Concept to Classroom. Constructivism as a Paradigm for Teaching and Learning. How does this theory differ from traditional ideas about teaching and learning?
Provides a comparison of a “traditional classroom” with a “constructivist classroom”. In a constructivist classroom the students are the focus and the teacher a
facilitator who asks good questions. (retrieved Jan 19, 2011)
- Concept to Classroom. Constructivism as a Paradigm for Teaching and Learning. What does constructivism have to do with my classroom?
Explains through a series of examples how Constructivist principles can be applied in the classroom demonstrating how Constructivist teachers pose questions and problems, then guide students to help them find their own answers, using many techniques in the teaching process. (retrieved Jan 19, 2011)
- Alternative Models of Teaching and Learning
Compares a traditional model of teaching and learning with an interactive model of learning in science. Provides a list of references. (retrieved Jan 19, 2011)
- The Practice Implications of Constructivism
Discusses the notion of Constructivism and its implications for teaching. Concludes that the most important contribution of constructivism may well be a focus on student-centered learning. (retrieved Jan 19, 2011)
How to design student-centered constructivist learning activities
- Constructivist Learning Design
Gives a detailed account of the development of Constructivist Learning and suggests a Constructivist Learning Design which emphasizes six important elements: Situation, Groupings, Bridge, Questions, Exhibit, and Reflections. (retrieved Jan 19, 2011)
- Constructivism and the 5 E Model Science Lesson
The 5 E model for designing science lessons is just one method of instruction that supports constructivist teaching/learning. Presented as a WebQuest this site helps teachers to develop a thorough understanding of Constructivism and its application to the classroom via the 5 E learning cycle. (retrieved Jan 19, 2011)
- Moving Towards Constructivist Classrooms (pdf)
This paper suggests strategies and approaches which can be implemented by teachers when planning constructivist opportunities for the classroom. (retrieved Jan 19, 2011)
- Student-centred learning: What does it mean for students and lecturers?
Describes the notion of student-centred learning (SCL) and how there has been a paradigm shift away from teaching to an emphasis on learning. Gives an overview of different definitions of CSL and suggests some ways that CSL can be applied to teaching and assessment practices. (retrieved Jan 19, 2011)
- The Role of ICT in a Constructivist Approach to the Teaching of Thinking Skills
Provides an overview of Constructivism and how ICT can be used to support thinking and learning from a Singaporean perspective. There is a link to the full paper. (retrieved Jan 19, 2011)
Examples & case studies
ICT for constructivist learning - K-12
- Creating a Learning Community: Using ICT to Enhance Constructivist Teaching Practice at Mountview School (pdf)
This paper describes in detail ICT infusion into teaching and curriculum at a primary school in Canada and how students take the lead in developing inquiry questions of interest on curriculum which then become themes for major student projects.
- A Case Study of ICT and School Improvement at Bendigo Senior Secondary College, Victoria, Australia
A case study of an Australian school where change included the installation of an extensive ICT infrastructure, changing management practices and encouraging teachers to adopt an “active, constructivist and experiential” approach to teaching and learning.
- Improving Students' ICT Use: The LDCT at Burleigh Heads State School
A research report focusing on student learning in Years 5, 6 and 7 at Burleigh Heads State School where educational technology is used in many applications by teachers.
- An ICT-based teacher training programme based on a social constructivist model in Ecuador (pdf)
This paper presents several case studies of the impact of ICT on teaching practices and on teaching and learning in primary schools in Ecuador.
- Learning with ICT: The Challenge of Changing the Way We Teach
This paper discusses the development and implementation of an integrated learning environment (ILE) to support a student centred constructivist approach to teaching and learning in Hong Kong primary schools.
- Primary science and ICT
This paper presents a review of the impact of ICT in primary schools and a critical evaluation of ways in which ICT is currently being used to promote good science teaching. It considers the science and ICT children of today need to learn in order to enable them to become scientifically and computer-literate by the time they are 20.
ICT for constructivist learning - Teacher learning
- A Metacognitive Approach to Computer Education for Teachers: Combining Theory and Practice for Computer Capability (pdf)
This paper describes a metacognitive approach to computer education for pre-service and practicing teachers which attempts to foster capable life-long computer learners. (retrieved Jan 19, 2011)
- Developing online discussion forums as student centred peer e-learning environments
This paper introduces a conception of discussion forums as student centred peer e-learning environments. (retrieved Jan 19, 2011)
- Teacher Education to Promote Constructivist Use of ICT: Study of a Logo-based Project (pdf)
Describes a project aimed at giving student-teachers a personal experience of exploratory and constructivist learning so that they would be able to inspire the same educational spirit in their future students. (retrieved Jan 19, 2011)
- Creating a constructivist-learning environment using ICT to teach concepts and skills in classroom management: An exploration at NIE, Singapore.
This paper reports on an experiment to develop a learning environment that delivers course materials to students in a variety of formats using the new technologies. (retrieved Jan 19, 2011)
- Closing the gap: Pre-service teachers' perceptions of an ICT based, student centred learning curriculum (pdf)
An analysis of an ICT based Student-Centred Learning (SCL) curriculum for pre-service teachers. (retrieved Jan 19, 2011)
- Singaporean and Taiwanese pre-service teachers’ beliefs and their attitude towards ICT: A comparative study (pdf)
This paper reports the findings obtained from a survey of Singaporean and Taiwanese pre-service teachers. The findings suggest that further effort needs to be taken in order to foster more productive use of ICT to support constructivism-oriented teaching. (retrieved Jan 19, 2011)
- Clever Teacher, Clever Sciences
This study was commissioned by the Department of Education, Training and Youth Affairs (DETYA). It examined current practices and innovations in initial teacher education for science, mathematics and technology, with a view to providing guidance for meeting the challenge of teaching in these fields in the 21st century. (retrieved Jan 19, 2011)