Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Week 4 Blog Post

The instructional strategies that were presented in this week’s resources align and support the constructivist/constructionist learning theories. The constructivist/constructionist learning theory supports the belief that optimal learning takes place when artifacts are built in response to concepts (Orey, 2009). This theory actively engages learners when building understanding of concepts. The depth of engagement often requires the learner to be in a state of disequilibrium in which they create artifacts to address the disequilibrium in the brain (Orey, 2009).

The project based learning examples that were provided were excellent examples of different avenues teachers could use in the classroom to create artifacts that related to content areas. Students can collaborate with others to create projects that were reflective of learning in the content area. I would like to try and implement some of these project based learning sites in a co-teaching situation. Then all students would be able to display their understanding of curriculum concepts through the creation of artifacts. As a special education teacher, I can see the benefits of this type of learning because all students are able to “build stuff” which creating confidence in all learners.

The instructional strategies that were discussed in the course text, Using Technology with Classroom Instruction that Works, also support the constructivist/constructionist learning theory. The strategies that were discussed involved generating and testing hypotheses. The emphasis was to implement technology that would allow students to focus on interpreting the data they were collecting opposed to the cumbersome task of gathering data (Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn & Malenoski, 2007). Students can use data collection tools such as spreadsheets to create artifacts that are reflective of the data they have generated.

Web resources and gaming software are also interactive avenues in which students can use simulations to test hypothesizes (Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn & Malenoski, 2007). Students are able to interact with data as they are building artifacts to support their findings. This type of learning directly correlates with the constructivist/constructionist learning theories. Through the use of these technological tools, students are able to take risks when testing out hypothesizes and there is no sense of failure when using the interactive software. In the special education classroom, the gaming software would be beneficial. Students are strong in the area of gaming, so using interactive software to investigate hypothesis would allow students to gain a deeper understanding of the concepts.

Pitler, H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007). Using technology with classroom instruction that works. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.
Orey, M. (2009). Constructionist and Constructivist Learning Theories. (Laureate Educational, Inc., DVD, 2009 release).


  1. Hi Michele,

    I agree with you about using gaming software with Special Needs students. I have used the Sim City collection of games and have found it to be a very good tool to help my kids bring the concepts I am teaching togethor. Sometimes I use it as a summative assessment as the games make the students think about several concepts at the same time. It makes students synthesize solutions and by observing their play and outcome of the game, it has given me a good idea what has been mastered :-0)

  2. Sharon that sounds like a great way to get students involved while integrating gaming software. It sounds like a great way to evaluate student learning.

  3. I share your passion for PBL. Gaming software requires players to think creatively and problem solve in order to reach a goal. A great example of discovery learning!