Constructionism vs. Constructivism
Piaget’s constructivism offers a window into what children are interested in, and able to achieve, at different stages of their development. The theory describes how children’s ways of doing and thinking evolve over time, and under which circumstance children are more likely to let go of—or hold onto— their currently held views. Piaget suggests that children have very good reasons not to abandon their world views just because someone else, be it an expert, tells them they’re wrong.
Papert’s constructionism, in contrast, focuses more on the art of learning, or ‘learning to learn’, and on the significance of making things in learning. Papert is interested in how learners engage in a conversation with [their own or other people’s] artifacts, and how these conversations boost self-directed learning, and ultimately facilitate the construction of new knowledge. He stresses the importance of tools, media, and context in human development. Integrating both perspectives illuminates the processes by which individuals come to make sense of their experience, gradually optimizing their interactions with the world
Inventing to Learn
Students learn best when they are actively constructing and building things that are meaningful to them and in a context that makes sense.
Students have agency and choice to engage in learning and activities that speak to them and can build on prior knowledge or interests.
Projects and ideas need not be completed. Prototyping, iteration, exploration are all valuable components of a maker classroom.
learn from failure
Students learn to see mistakes and failures as a necessary step in learning. They develop a mindset where not only is it ok to fail, but it is essential to the refinement or improvement of a design.
Make meaning out of the world around us
Learning involves constructing meaning, not just amassing or storing knowledge for later use. A maker culture in school creates the conditions for understanding how phenomena work, how the world is put together, how our lives are engineered.
Working with others is a key component of the maker mindset. Knowing how to foster and facilitate meaning-making conversations between students will let them become more confident, self-directed learners.
Design thinking and entrepreneurship
The maker space is a place of innovation, where learners go from inspiration to manifestation; testing assumptions; understanding how parts fit together in a complex system; constantly iterating and prototyping in pursuit of better engineering and user experiences while solving real-world problems.
Problem, challenge, or Project-based learning
Learning becomes more meaningful when solving real-world problems or challenges. Setting the right context for meaning-making involves careful planning and parameters, while leaving room for choice and open-ended learning.
And now for today's challenge:
Design a game: a team challenge
Your goal: In teams, design an interactive game where the player has to turn on a motor or LED light without touching it directly.
- You must use only the materials provided
- Your game can't be too easy that everyone wins every time
- You have a limited amount of time
- Your game must be interactive
- Everyone must be involved
- You must make a plan before building
- It may be single, or multiplayer
- You don't have to use all the items
- You may find inspiration wherever you want