Yasmin B. Kafai Mitchel Resnick
In the 1960s, Seymour Papert and colleagues initiated a research project at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), dedicated to the study of how children think and learn, and to the development of novel educational approaches and technological tools to help children learn new things in new ways.
During the three decades since, that research effort has evolved and grown. One of its technological offspring, the programming language Logo, has been used by tens of millions of schoolchildren all over the world. At the same time, its theoretical foundation, which has become known as constructionism, has deeply influenced how educators and researchers think about directions for educational reform--and, within that context, about the roles for technology in learning.
Constructionism is both a theory of learning and a strategy for education. It builds on the "constructivist" theories of Jean Piaget, asserting that knowledge is not simply transmitted from teacher to student, but actively constructed by the mind of the learner. Children don't get ideas; they make ideas. Moreover, constructionism suggests that learners are particularly likely to make new ideas when they are actively engaged in making some type of external artifact--be it a robot, a poem, a sand castle, or a computer program--which they can reflect upon and share with others. Thus, constructionism involves two intertwined types of construction: the construction of knowledge in the context of building personally meaningful artifacts.
In 1991, Papert's research group at the MIT Media Lab published a collection of papers under the title Constructionism, edited by Idit Harel and Seymour Papert .1 This current collection is, in some ways, a follow-up to the Construc-____________________