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Constructing Learning: Using Technology to Support Teaching for Understanding (#18). Nicole Curry EDP 550 a.d . VIII Kal . Apr. (March 25, 2010). What is constructivism ? Quick Recap.

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Constructing Learning: Using Technology to Support Teaching for Understanding (#18)

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Constructing Learning: Using Technology to Support Teaching for Understanding (#18)

Nicole Curry

EDP 550

a.d. VIII Kal. Apr. (March 25, 2010)

What is constructivism? Quick Recap

Constructivism is an educational philosophy focusing on the learner creating his or her ownnew understandings and knowledgebased upon priorknowledge andexperiences.

Constructivists believe that learners thrive in a learner-centered, engaging environment.

Do you recall the differences between cognitive andsocialconstructivists?

What is yourdefinition of constructivism?

My colleagues and I want to know!

How does the integration of technology into teaching and learning relate to constructivism?

  • Teachers adopt or adapt strategies continuously to help students learn for mastery.

  • Students can benefit from using educational software and databases to organize and refine their knowledge.

8 Teaching Characteristics Aligned with Constructivist Principles (p. 93)

Tips to Avoid

This from Happening in Your


8 Teaching Characteristics Aligned with Constructivist Ideas:

1. Focusing on learner (teacher- “sage on sidelines”)

2. Making lessons interesting

3. Keeping it real

4. Socializing for educational reasons

5. Promoting active learning

6. Managing time (Tempus fugit!)

7. Generating prompt feedback

8. Offering supportive scaffolding

Advice from Authors and Other Researchers

Brief introduction to authors of the article

  • Thomas Sherman

    • Professor of education at Virginia Tech

    • Works with practicing teachers and pre-service students re: learning improvement and teaching strategies.

  • Dr. Barbara Kurshan (Ed. D)

    • President of Educorp Consulting Corporation

    • Software designer of programs meeting learners’ needs

Advice from Authors and Other Researchers Cont.

Brief introduction to other researchers

  • Qiyun Wang-Assistant Professor at Nat’l. Institute of Singapore

    • Wrote March 2009 article reflecting on his study from July of 2005

    • Researched ways to enhance learning for pre-service teachers w/web-based constructivist learning environ. (CLE)

    • Interested in “online learning, interactive learning environments, constructivist learning, and using web 2.0 for teaching and learning.”

Summary of Wang’s Research

  • Participants: 24 pre-service teachers who already had university degrees (avg. age: 24 years old)

  • Purpose: to evaluate the effectiveness of a web-based constructivist learning environment (CLE) and to evaluate students’ perceptions of his CLE

  • Methodology:

    • Students used Moodle(free learning management system) to post questions and assignments over 6 week course

    • Instructor gave initial presentations; remaining presentations given by students (either in person or online)

    • Two evaluation questions:

      • How did the trainee teachers use this learning environment?

      • What was the perceived usefulness of the learning environment?

    • Wang used his observational notes, online postings, and an online survey as sources for data.

  • Results:

    • Most students reported that they liked having the ability to choose their own topics.

    • They felt that they learned more about their own topics that they researched than their classmates’ topics.

Intro. to Other Researchers Cont.

2. Tarsem Singh Cooner-Associate Director at Centre of Excellence in Interdisciplinary Mental Health

  • Lectures at Birmingham University

  • Develops multimedia projects and computer programs

  • Published his 2008 study on creating more opportunities to reflect and become more culturally aware through tech-based blended learning design

Summary of Cooner’s Research

  • Participants: 83 students studying social work (19-43 yrs. old); varied educational backgrounds

  • Purpose: to examine the effectiveness of technology-blended lessons to engage large numbers of students in reflective practices in the course Diversity in Social Work Practice

  • Methodology:

    • Students completed workbook exercises during or after online lectures during first three weeks of the 8 week course . They worked individually or in small groups.

    • During the fourth week, students examined video case studies individually or in small groups.

    • Within the remaining weeks of the course, students prepared presentations about their reflective learning that would be posted online. The presentations were due the final week of the course.

    • Cooner used the 62 completed questionnaires given during week 5 and the results of the focus groups that he had arranged to meet five weeks after the end of the course as sources for data.

  • Results:

    • Most students reported that they liked having the ability to choose their own topics and to choose when they could view the online lectures. They could learn when they wanted to learn.

    • They also liked receiving prompt feedback, so they could write their reflective assignments when the ideas were foremost on their minds.

How can teachers make lessons learner-centered and interesting using technology?

Sherman & Kurshan

  • Challenge learners

  • Use manipulatives


  • Explore and discuss online or in person

  • Promote reciprocal teaching (in/out of classroom)

  • Cooner

  • Incorporate variety of resources

  • Test ideas on fellow teachers first when possible

Several students would consider gaming to be a hands-on activity.

We, as educators, however, can use such information as a starting point in lesson planning.

How can teachers keep lessons relevant and time-efficient?

Sherman and Kurshan

  • Use databases

  • Students can get extra help or enrichment w/computer activities


  • Allow students to choose topics

  • Chat w/other students in real time

  • Provideaccess to extra resources

  • Coonan

  • Challenge students to examine assigned communities and compare w/prior knowledge

  • Post assignments ahead of time online

How can teachers provide effective feedback and scaffolded support?

All Aforementioned Researchers’ Advice:

Provide specific comments to students whenever possible.

Respond within 48 hours or sooner to students’ questions.

Use practice questions from test banks or run computer simulations.

Implement programs with on-call tutors or experts to answer questions

What other findings exist which support constructivist learning using technology?

There are many articles discussing the use of technology to enhance teaching and learning.

Relatively few empirical studies of the benefits of using more web-based and computer-based technology are available.

More studies should appear within the next few years.

Areas of Research Needing Further Exploration

Research with quantitative and qualitative information of increased student achievement and learning outcomes using technology

Longitudinal research on the impact of technology use by teachers on teacher effectiveness

Research on impact of “digital divide” upon learner outcomes

Tips for Technophiles, Technophobes, and Everyone in Between

Be adventurous!

Dare to make mistakes. (ex:)

Ask for help!

$haring is caring (and empowering).

Start with a few user-friendly technological tools, then use them regularly.

Bibliographical Information

Coonan, T. S. (2010). Creating opportunities for students in large cohorts to reflect in and on practice: Lessons learnt from a formative evaluation of students' experiences of a technology-enhanced blended learning design. British Journal of Educational Technology, 41(2), 271-286. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8535.2009.00933.x. Retrieved on March 20, 2010 from Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost.

Wang, Q. (2009). Designing a web-based constructivist learning environment. Interactive Learning Environments, 17(1), 1-13. doi:10.1080/10494820701424577.Retrieved on March 20, 2010 from Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost.

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