[IAEP] inquiry on constructionism advantages

Ian Thomson IanT at spc.int
Mon Sep 28 20:56:29 EDT 2009

Hi Yam,

Firstly, I am not an educationalist or even a "constructionalist"

But I suspect that if the goal is to get better scores on standard
tests, the best way to achieve that is to teach to pass the test (which
is what a lot of education systems are set up to do)
If however, you want to teach skills that are valued by society and
industry (ie you can add value to the modern world), then what you are
measuring needs to be reconsidered.

I am sure there is research out there to support constructionalism as a
pedagogy suitable for today's Knowledge Society needs, but you will
probably also find research saying it isn't because they are measuring
the wrong things.

Sorry I didn't answer the question, but it is important to ask the right
question as well.

Ian Thomson
RICS and OLPC Coordinator
Phone +687 26 01 44 

-----Original Message-----
From: iaep-bounces at lists.sugarlabs.org
[mailto:iaep-bounces at lists.sugarlabs.org] On Behalf Of Yamandu Ploskonka
Sent: Tuesday, September 29, 2009 3:52 AM
To: iaep
Subject: [IAEP] inquiry on constructionism advantages

I have received an inquiry on implementing constructionism from a high 
official in the Bolivian government.

Since my opinion may be biased :-), I request you help us with clear, 
simple and please objective answers (no vapor-stuff), if at all possible

1) How do constructionist pupils do on standardized tests, such as 
University entrance exams.  (please inform about other demographic 
situations besides children of highly trained scholars - most Bolivian 
kids do not fit THAT bracket, alas)

2) How do they do with usual classroom tests, especially in the 
Core question is, are alumni of constructionism better, or at least 
competitive there?  What evidence do we have to prove this?

3) Is there any evidence (objective, unbiased) as to the impact of 
constructionism in education?  The big maybe here is further impact on 
development, yes ? (I may be mistaken here, please correct)

4) any other solid, statistically valid data supporting constructionism

Please avoid treatises - I will be presenting this this week, and if 
anyone would volunteer, it may be possible to put you directly in touch 
with this official and/or his staff.  It is, or should be widely known 
that I see the current conctructionist stance within OLPC and Sugar as a

misguided, feel-good attempt that is bound to do more harm to most kids 
than good compared to what could be achieved with a solid 
curricular-content approach, but I honestly would be happier I were 
mistaken, if determined by solid evidence.
I looooove constructionism, it just doesn't seem to me to be what kids 
need, and all in all, I wish it worked, but I cannot prove it does for 
most kids. I am certain, but cannot prove either, that it does work 
within classrooms with highly trained teachers, or for gifted kids, or 
when there is a lot of educated support from home, in any case not a 
basis to adopt it for a country like Bolivia.

IAEP -- It's An Education Project (not a laptop project!)
IAEP at lists.sugarlabs.org

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