Constructionism in Practice: Designing, Thinking, and Learning in a Digital World

By Yasmin Kafai; Mitchel Resnick | Go to book overview

that she had constructed for herself, requiring her instead to engage in a teacher's path requiring her trust that it lead her to the answers she wanted.

Brother Joe recognized that her independence in thinking about the mathematical ideas was intertwined with creating her rainbow in her own way, so he pushed her to think about the ideas in the context of making her rainbow. His choice is consistent with his teaching practice, reflecting the values system of the school, rooted in the principles of Kwanza, by choosing to respect her determination to solve the problem in her own way. His choice to work collaboratively with her to stay engaged in figuring out her solution reflects the value of collective work that is also prevalent in both the values system and the practices of the school. Consistent with constructionist theory, her initiative to think about mathematical ideas that were sophisticated for her was directly connected to her project of making a rainbow. Logo acted as a tool for her use to construct her rainbow and create mental constructions that grew out of making her rainbow. The ownership of her strategies was closely connected to her engagement with the ideas.


Logo and Knowledge Construction

Logo Writer acted as both a palette upon which Shamia's idea to create a rainbow emerged and a drawing tool that required her to think about several mathematical ideas in order to create her rainbow. Her ideas about the relationships between the numbers for the turns and repetitions was elicited by her need to direct the turtle to draw with repeat statements. Logo acted as a tool for her knowledge construction because it was the context enabling her to generate her ideas, visualize her problems, and investigate solutions. The ownership of her programming project became a good backdrop for the interactions she had with Brother Joe so that they could discuss changes to make, why to make them, and ways to test them. It seemed as though doing this project on the computer helped her to assert her confidence in the way she wanted to think about the problem and find solutions.


CONCLUSION

This story is a glimpse into the life of a child whose developing ideas are meaningful to her and who has taken ownership of the process of understanding and applying complex mathematical ideas. Shamia worked on figuring out a way to understand the relationship between the numbers for the turning angle and the numbers for repetition because this understanding was going to help her make her rainbow. The ways that she asserted herself in calculating the statements for the arcs in her rainbow seemed similar to the kind of ownership a child can take in drawing a picture on paper. Her actions were like those of a young child taking

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Constructionism in Practice: Designing, Thinking, and Learning in a Digital World
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • List of Contributors xi
  • Introduction 1
  • Acknowledgments 8
  • Part I - Perspectives in Constructionism 8a
  • 1 - A Word for Learning 9
  • References 24
  • 2 - Perspective-Taking and Object Construction 25
  • Conclusion 32
  • Acknowledgments 34
  • References 34
  • 3 - Elementary School Children's Images of Science 37
  • Introduction 37
  • Conclusions 62
  • Acknowledgments 64
  • Acknowledgments 65
  • Appendix B - Image of Science Interview Guideline 65
  • Part II - Learning Through Design 70a
  • 4 - Learning Design by Making Games Children's Development of Design Strategies in the Creation of a Complex Computational Artifact 71
  • Conclusion 93
  • Acknowledgments 94
  • References 94
  • 5 - Electronic Play Worlds 97
  • Conclusions 119
  • Acknowledgments 121
  • References 121
  • 6 - The Art of Design 125
  • Foreword 125
  • References 158
  • 7 - Building and Learning with Programmable Bricks 161
  • Introduction 161
  • References 172
  • Part III - Learning in Communities *
  • 8 - Social Constructionism and the Inner City Designing Environments for Social Development and Urban Renewal 175
  • Introduction 175
  • Acknowledgments 204
  • Appendix - Statistical Data About the Four Corners Neighborhood 204
  • References 205
  • 9 - The MediaMOO Project Constructionism and Professional Community 207
  • Conclusion - Constructionism and Virtual Reality 220
  • Acknowledgments 221
  • References 221
  • 10 - A Community of Designers Learning Through Exchanging Questions and Answers 223
  • Introduction 223
  • References 239
  • 11 - They Have Their Own Thoughts 241
  • Introduction 241
  • Conclusion 251
  • Acknowledgments 252
  • References 253
  • Part IV - Learning About Systems 254a
  • 12 - New Paradigms for Computing, New Paradigms for Thinking 255
  • Introduction 255
  • Acknowledgments 266
  • References 267
  • 13 - Making Sense of Probability Through Paradox and Programming A Case Study in a Connected Mathematics Framework 269
  • Introduction 269
  • Concluding Remarks 290
  • Acknowledgments 292
  • References 293
  • 14 - Ideal and Real Systems 297
  • Introduction 297
  • Analysis and Conclusions 318
  • Acknowledgments 322
  • References 322
  • Author Index 323
  • Subject Index 329
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