Academic journal article International Forum of Teaching and Studies

Creating Constructivist Learning Environment: Role of "Web 2.0" Technology

Academic journal article International Forum of Teaching and Studies

Creating Constructivist Learning Environment: Role of "Web 2.0" Technology

Article excerpt

[Abstract]

Contemporary educational practices encourage teaching practices grounded in the principles of constructivism. In a constructivist learning situation learners bring unique prior experiences and beliefs and knowledge is constructed uniquely and individually, in multiple ways, using a variety of tools, resources, and contexts. New developments in the area of Information and communication Technology (ICT) in general and "Web 2.0" in particular have provided variety of tools and resources for designing and delivering instruction based on the constructivist principles. The terms "Web 2.0" refer to Web-based utilities and technology tools that focus on social, collaborative, user-driven content and applications. These among other things include blogs, wikis, multimedia sharing services, content syndication, podcasting and content tagging services. This emerging technology which is characterized by greater functionality, interoperability and connectivity helps in knowledge creation through open communication and collaboration. The adoption level of these emerging web technologies is on the rise in academic settings. There are also multiple instructional design models based on constructivist pedagogy having the scope to integrate most of the "Web 2.0" technologies. This paper elaborates upon various "Web 2.0" tools and its integration in the designing process to create a constructivist learning environment. A sample "Web 2.0" integrated constructivist learning plan based on the 5E approach is also provided.

[Keywords] constructivism; multimedia; web technology; constructivist learning environment

Constructivist Learning Environment

Constructivist theory has its roots in a number of disciplines, including philosophy, anthropology, psychology, sociology, and education. Entrenched in learning theories advanced by Dewey, Piaget, Vygotsky, Bruner, and Glasersfeld, the essential element of constructivism is active construction of new knowledge by the learner based on their experiences. In a constructivist learning situation learners bring unique prior knowledge and beliefs and knowledge is constructed uniquely and individually, in multiple ways, using a variety of tools, resources, and contexts. Learning is both an active and reflective process. The learners' knowledge structure is expanded through the process of assimilation and accommodation facilitated by multiple perspectives from more knowledgeable others. Though the meaning making takes place through social interaction and collaboration, learning is internally controlled and mediated by the learner.

Murphy (1997, in the section of "characteristics of constructivist learning and teaching") based on the analysis of work by Jonassen (1991, 1994), Wilson and Cole (1991), Ernest (1995), Honebein (1996), and Vygotsky (1978) synthezised and summarized the characteristics of constructivist learning and teaching.

These characteristics are as follows:

1 . Multiple perspectives and representations of concepts and content are presented and encouraged.

2. Goals and objectives are derived by the student or in negotiation with the teacher or system.

3. Teachers serve in the role of guides, monitors, coaches, tutors and facilitators.

4. Activities, opportunities, tools and environments are provided to encourage meta-cognition, selfanalysis -regulation, -reflection & -awareness.

5. The student plays a central role in mediating and controlling learning.

6. Learning situations, environments, skills, content and tasks are relevant, realistic, authentic and represent the natural complexities of the 'real world'.

7. Primary sources of data are used in order to ensure authenticity and real-world complexity.

8. Knowledge construction and not reproduction is emphasized.

9. This construction takes place in individual contexts and through social negotiation, collaboration and experience.

10. The learner's previous knowledge constructions, beliefs and attitudes are considered in the knowledge construction process. …

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