Constructivism in the Collaboratory

Abstract : Great attention has been paid recently to the capabilities of computers to provide environments in which active learners can construct their own understanding through open-ended interaction. Yet discussion of constructivist learning environments has commonly focused on the learner as an individual, learning in isolation from other learners. For example, Perkins (1991) characterizes a learning environment as being composed of five facets: information banks, symbol pads, construction kits, phenomenaria, and task managers. Each of these is a valuable resource for an individual learner but none provides a means for a learner to interact with, influence, or be influenced by other learners. In our research, we start with a constructivist belief in the importance of an active learner interacting with a variety of resources, developing his or her own understanding through a mixture of experimentation, experience, and expert guidance. However, we supplement this constructivist outlook with a sociocultural commitment to the importance of communication and collaboration with other learners throughout the knowledge construction process. In this chapter, we describe a learning environment that we have developed that combines constructivist-inspired tools for open-ended investigation with communication and collaboration tools that support both expert guidance and multi-learner collaboration. We begin by presenting our rationale for this approach.
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Daniel C. Edelson, Roy D. Pea, Louis M. Gomez. Constructivism in the Collaboratory. Brent G. Wilson. Constructivist learning environments : case studies in instructional design, Educational Technology Publications,Inc., Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey 07632, pp.151-164, 1996. ⟨hal-00190597⟩

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