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

By Yasmin Kafai; Mitchel Resnick | Go to book overview

The image of science concept can also be used to understand and help individual children. For example, open-ended exploratory science activities may not make sense to children who conceive of science as a collection of facts to be learned. Helping children to broaden their understanding of science may help legitimize the activity. The activity may then help children construct a deeper understanding of science. Children who may automatically "tune out" during a science class because they are self-identified as not being "science kids" will benefit from experiences in which their abilities (e.g., to generate interesting questions or to make a measuring device) are valued.


Directions for Future Research

One direction of future research is to trace typical patterns of image of science development over a wider age span. In looking for such patterns it will be important to pay attention to issues of gender, race, socioeconomic class, and personal experience with science and scientists. I am particularly interested in the dynamics of the interaction between the cognitive and affective aspects of children's images of science. I have suggested elsewhere ( Brandes, 1994) how feedback loops between these aspects may arise. A child's positive feelings about science may lead to involvement in science activities and to better understanding of what science is. More positive feelings about science and science self-concept then arise. Conversely, a child who dislikes science may avoid science activities, retain stereotyped views about science and become further alienated from science.

I am exploring the impact of children's science learning experiences on their images of science. I hope this research will lead to the generation of science learning environments and experiences that enrich the lives of children, enable them to build a better understanding of the world, and help them to form a lifelong connection to science.


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

An earlier version of this chapter was presented at The American Educational Research Association meeting in New Orleans, April 1994. I would like to particularly thank my advisor, Edith Ackennann, for her support and suggestions. Many of my ideas emerged in rough form during our conversations and have gradually taken shape. Idit Harel has offered both enthusiasm for my work and practical advice. Uri Wilensky and I have had many stimulating conversations about science, math, and other learning, which have informed my work. I thank Amy Bruckman, Yasmin Kafai, Cynthia Krug, Mitchel Resnick, Carol Sperry, and Uri Wilensky for comments on a draft of this chapter. I thank the teachers who generously gave me both advice and access to their classrooms, then shared

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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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