Reflection on Constructionism

Evolved from Constructivism, Constructionism steps further to explore a more meaningful, interactive and participatory way of learning in the new century. Acknowledging the importance of meaningfulness in knowledge development, Constructionism seeks to build both intellectual and emotional connection between new knowledge with students’ prior knowledge. Additionally, constructionism puts emphasis on the social aspect of learning, which encourages students to take advantage of the human and artifacts as available and powerful resources to fuel their learning. The interactive spirit of constructionism can also be displayed as it facilitates the idea sharing and project design activities which combine students’ personal interest as well as the community needs (Kafai, 2006) Designing and creating objects play a central role in knowledge construction because of the process of building shareable artifacts can facilitate students’ knowledge construction, reformulation and expression.

According to Resnick, an ideal constructionism learning environment is a place where children feel free to explore their personal interest, to harness technologies and are supported by their learning communities(Kafai & Resnick, 1996). On one hand, the “learning by doing ”experience is believed to enable deeper and meaningful learning opportunities for students; one the other hand, concerns stem from this flexible-structured environment are related to the practical implementation into classrooms. For instance, this approach cannot provide clear guidance for teachers to measure the “appropriate degree” of their guidance, since they can neither obviously reveal the truth to students nor just post vague questions such as “why” and “how”. Because of the difficulty to implement, it remains a daunting task for practitioners.

What impressed me most of the constructionism approach is its compatibility for diverse epistemology styles, which allows for both tinkers and planners to feel free to explore; where the learning process is valued as well as the learning product; when self-reflection and collective idea-sharing collide with and inspire each other. I believe the belief and respect for young children can liberate children from their trapped school, and empower them to turn their wonderful ideas to powerful ideas.

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