[IAEP] [Grassroots-l] Concise explanation of Constructionism from the Learning Team

Edward Cherlin echerlin at gmail.com
Sun Aug 17 16:20:38 EDT 2008

On Sun, Aug 17, 2008 at 1:06 AM, Alexios Zavras <zvr+olpc at zvr.gr> wrote:
> Seth Woodworth wrote [edited]:
>> Constructionism is based on two different senses of "construction." It is
>> grounded in the idea that people learn by actively constructing new
>> knowledge, rather than having information "poured" into their heads.
>> Moreover, constructionism asserts that people learn with particular
>> effectiveness when they are engaged in constructing personally meaningful
>> artifacts (such as computer programs, animations, or robots).
> [...]
>> I thought that this explination was concise and really interesting.  I would
>> love to explain this to people who want to desige activities, just to give
>> them a little snapshot of the concept.  Does anyone have a problem with this
>> deffinition? Does anyone have an improvement?
> I'm just a computer guy (and a father :-)
> and I realize the emphasis (or even necessity)
> that Papert's theory places on the computer,
> but I have to ask:

Yes, children can construct more using the computer as a lever to
increase their mental strength and speed, but they also need to learn
to have a life.

> could the list of examples on the end of the concise definition
> be expanded to include a non-computer-based artifact ?
> e.g., is an artifact of fiction (story, fairy tale, ...) acceptable
> in the constructionism world ?

Much of human wisdom is embodied in stories, from Greek tragedies and
fables to modern science fiction. I will just cite Orwell's 1984, but
for those who read the stuff with any frequency, I can give much more
recent examples. The ability to create a story, and the ability to
tell an important story well, are among the most valuable of skills.

> --
> -- zvr --
> --  +---------------------------+       Alexios Zavras (-zvr-)
>    | H eytyxia den exei enoxes |       zvr at zvr.gr


Η ευτυχια δεν εχει ενοχες

I assume. Too true.
>    +-----------------------zvr-+
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Silent Thunder [ 默雷 / शब्दगर्ज ] is my name,
And Children are my nation.
The Cosmos is my dwelling place,
And Truth my destination.

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