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Learning with technology: A constructivist

perspective
by David H Jonassen, Kyle L Peck, Brent G Wilson

http://www.mendeley.com/research/learning-with-technology-a-
constructivist-perspective/
Abstract
Average Customer Rating: 4.0 Rating: 4 A Constructivist Approach to Learning Learning with Technology: A
Constructivist Perspective analyzes and advocates a different teaching methodology from the traditional teaching
methodology. Although the focus of the book is on technology, the authors explain why the constructivist paradigm
provides a more effective method for teaching students to think and to learn in all aspects of education.
Constructivists contend that knowledge is constructed, emergent, and grounded in action or experience.
Constructivism is relatively new to educational analysis; however, it is not new to the theory of knowledge. Teachers
in the classroom and academics are the audience for this book. The authors not only argue for a change in the
dominant paradigm of traditional teaching methodology, but also provide concrete examples of activities for using
constructivism and technology to allow students to construct knowledge, to think and to learn. Constructivist learning
emphasizes the five different attributes of meaningful learning which are (i) intentional learning, (ii) active learning, (iii)
constructive learning, (iv) cooperative learning, and (v) authentic learning. Real learning requires combining the
different elements of meaningful learning. The authors describe six ways to use technology and constructivist
learning to allow students to construct understanding and learn. The authors describe the types of technology in very
basic terms and the specific hardware and software that are required for the classroom in order to partake in the
activities described in the book. For each technology, the authors describe activities and projects that can be used to
facilitate learning. They also describe the learning process, the role of the student, the role of the teacher, and ways
to assess the learning process. For example, the Internet can be used to allow students to construct complex
knowledge bases. The Internet facilitates knowledge exploration by students. Students can find information on the
Internet, create and build information through designing web sites, and communicate and share knowledge through
the Internet. All five attributes of meaningful learning are employed in the activities described for using the tools of the
Internet. Empowering learners to construct knowledge through active learning and the creation of learning
communities can be achieved through the use of the Internet as a learning tool. Video is an additional technological
tool the authors advocate to support constructivist learning. Under the traditional paradigm, film and videos are
merely shown to students in a passive manner. Constructivist learning employs video as an active tool that requires
learners to produce information, as opposed to consume information. Learners must be active, constructive,
intentional, and cooperative to produce video. Newsrooms, talk shows, documentaries, theatre, and video
conferencing are all examples of how students can use video to construct knowledge and communities of learning.
Equally important, the authors provide rubrics for assessing the effectiveness of constructivist learning. The authors
note that by using technology as the tool and constructivist learning as the methodology, assessment of learning is
not a separate process after learning has occurred, but rather learning and assessment are coterminous. Rubrics are
tools for assessing meaningful learning. The authors provide examples of different rubrics that can be used to assess
learning. The authors emphasize that technology, similar to teachers, does not teach students; rather, students only
learn when they construct knowledge, think and learn through experience. Technology is merely a tool to enable
students to construct knowledge. Understanding cannot be conveyed to students through teachers or technology;
rather, students construct understanding themselves through tools such as teachers and technology. The goal of this
book is to advocate educational reform and change through constructivist methodologies by demonstrating specific
examples of how the tools of technology can be employed to empower students to construct knowledge and
meaning. The book embraces post-modernist thought without examining or explaining its theoretical underpinnings.
The authors presume that the constructivist theory of knowledge should be accepted among educators without
deconstructing the traditional paradigm. Numerous theoretical issues posed by this book require further thought and
analysis. At the end of each chapter, the authors pose "things to think about" and list numerous questions for further
discussion. These questions pose a beginning for future thought on this topic, but the questions focus more on
attempting to demonstrate why constructivist learning is a superior methodology to the traditional educational
methodology without showing how it is better. Constructivist thought raises serious and significant issues as to how to
best educate students. Although technology is an important tool for education, it is not the only tool. The book raises
many questions of how constructivist learning could be employed in the field of education to increase knowledge and
critical thinking. The authors recognize that change is difficult to effect in society and in education. The book provides
a different way to think about technology in the classroom and how technology can best be employed in the learning
process. Constructivist learning places the ultimate burden of learning on the learner as opposed to the tools
employed to learn, which includes teachers and technology. Constructivism may provide the impetus necessary to
reform education. Rating: 4 Extended essay This book is a very long essay into how to use computers to help
students learn. It begins with a short and very readable explanation of constructivism, one of the first that I've been
able to understand. It then goes on to argue for constructivist uses of technology in the classroom, suggesting ways
to use technology to do more than drill and practice or even simple training in productivity software. The main
technology topics in the book are: video; hypermedia; e-mail, chat, and bulletin boards; and simulations. Many
examples of specific software or websites are examined in great detail, with suggestions about possible learning
processes, student roles, teacher roles, and assessing learning. References and thought questions are presented
after each chapter, and there is an index. Nevertheless, I wouldn't use this as a textbook in an introductory
educational technology course where students have limited expertise with technology. I think it might work well,
however, if the students are thoroughly familiar with technology and are ready to give careful thought to its role in the
classroom.