Inspiring vs. Selling Constructivism 
Author Message
 Inspiring vs. Selling Constructivism

      Maybe constructivism shouldn't be sold.  Maybe Logo shouldn't be sold.
   I have been on this list now for several years and it seems to me that
most Logo users that post here, or in other places, are mature grown men
and women, not kids.  Now maybe that is just a function of kids not posting.
   But even the kids I have taught Logo to locally, like it, use it in class,
  but mostly let  it die after the time is over.  "Other, more interesting
things to do", and many of those other more interesting things are also
educational.
      Not everyone wants to draw or be an artist.  Not all want to be
politicians.  Few really want to be programmers or mathematicians or
scientists.  The exposure to Logo enlightens them to new ways of thinking
that are powerful and fun.  But some just won't want to do it.  Remember, ?
  the people are below average in whatever ability you want to concentrate
on, and they may just find it too challenging, while excelling in many
other ways.
      I don't think Dale or Edwin should be discouraged, or quit.  They are
opening up worlds.  They just will probably never see the results of their
efforts.  That is a tough way to go, but probably describes most peoples
lives.
      Perhaps not everything should be done in a consrtuctivist mode.  I
sometimes give a lot of direct instruction in Logo before I give out
challenges.  And even then I often give small incremental challenges in the
beginning.  Depends on the age and interests of my students.  Once again,
there are advantages to so called constructivism, but there are also time
s and places where instruction has advantages and should be preferred.  The
trouble is, most people (even educators) are unaware of these very
fundamental aspect of teaching and don't recognize the choice that has been
made when they see it, nor do they appreciate the significance of the
choice if someone explains it.  Almost everyone in America, having gone
through public school, thinks they know how to teach.  In fact, even a lot
of teachers don't know how to teach.  My wife says I sound arrogant when I
talk like this.  Hmmmmmm.

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Thu, 18 Aug 2005 00:59:31 GMT  
 Inspiring vs. Selling Constructivism
My colleague Gary makes several interesting points - and I agree that
not everything should be done constructively.  In my course on "The
Science of Complex Systems," which meets 2 hours a day, five days a week
(with high school and college students), we have purposefully chosen a
constructivist pedagogy.  The whole class is project-based.  From the
third day of the semester, the students were working on projects, in a
constructivist way.  But thye can't learn the fundamentals of complex
adaptive systems without a variety of pedagogies - and lecture is key
among them.  At least four days of the week we spend 30 - 40 minutes
engaged in traditional lecture and discussion, designed to provide them
the basis of knowledge to understand complexity.  We spend the rest of
our 2 hours in "project-mode."  Working on small group or individual
projects.

We (I have a team teacher) have taught our students Netlogo entirely in
a constructivist mode; we created five tutorials which they went through
individually, and gave them a month to construct their own model of
either a complex system or something that could be modeled within the
framework of multi-agent modeling.  Five of the seven students completed
the project on time (the other two have missed a LOT of class, and
probably fit that part of the student body Gary refers to as not being
well-suited for constructionism).  But of the five students who did
succeed, they all show a great deal of promise, and I am confident that
their next two projects they will do even better.

Should we have provided more instruction in Netlogo?  Maybe a little,
just to get them started, but for the most part, what we did worked.

One other thing we learned so far is that even though you can design a
course as being totally project-oriented, and almost entirely
constructionist in approach, doesn't mean that you should necessarily
abandon traditional forms of assessment.  We were planning on just
grading students on their projects, their online discussion, and their
electronic journals.  No exams, no quizzes.  Big mistake.  We do our
mini-lectures, giving them content knowledge that we want them to apply
in their projects.  But because there are no exams, they don't tend to
revisit the material.  Sadly, its a garbage-in, garbage-out mentality.
They "get it," and then they "forget it."  So, we changed course
mid-stream and gave them three-weeks notice on a mid-term exam,
requiring them to demonstrate that they have mastered the material so
far (and we are building in a lot of review to refresh knowledge).  I'll
know how well this worked in a couple of weeks.

Being in the trenches right now, I don't feel as discouraged as Gary
seems with constructivism.  I think it is working - mostly.  I have seen
more than enough "light bulb goes off in their head" moments to keep me
encouraged.  And I was outright impressed with four of the five models
that the students created so far.

Michael Gizzi
Advanced Learning Center
Mesa State College
http://www.gjalc.org
http://www.logoproject.org

Quote:
> -----Original Message-----

> Sent: Saturday, March 01, 2003 10:00 AM

> Subject: [LogoForum] Re: Inspiring vs. Selling Constructivism

>      Maybe constructivism shouldn't be sold.  Maybe Logo shouldn't be
> sold.  I have been on this list now for several years and it seems to
me
> that most Logo users that post here, or in other places, are mature
grown
> men and women, not kids.  Now maybe that is just a function of kids
not
> posting.  But even the kids I have taught Logo to locally, like it,
use it
> in class, but mostly let  it die after the time is over.  "Other, more
> interesting things to do", and many of those other more interesting
things
> are also educational.
>      Not everyone wants to draw or be an artist.  Not all want to be
> politicians.  Few really want to be programmers or mathematicians or
> scientists.  The exposure to Logo enlightens them to new ways of
thinking
> that are powerful and fun.  But some just won't want to do it.
Remember,
> ? the people are below average in whatever ability you want to
concentrate
> on, and they may just find it too challenging, while excelling in many
> other ways.
>      I don't think Dale or Edwin should be discouraged, or quit.  They
are
> opening up worlds.  They just will probably never see the results of
their
> efforts.  That is a tough way to go, but probably describes most
peoples
> lives.
>      Perhaps not everything should be done in a consrtuctivist mode.
I
> sometimes give a lot of direct instruction in Logo before I give out
> challenges.  And even then I often give small incremental challenges
in
> the beginning.  Depends on the age and interests of my students.  Once
> again, there are advantages to so called constructivism, but there are
> also time s and places where instruction has advantages and should be
> preferred.  The trouble is, most people (even educators) are unaware
of
> these very fundamental aspect of teaching and don't recognize the
choice
> that has been made when they see it, nor do they appreciate the
> significance of the choice if someone explains it.  Almost everyone in
> America, having gone through public school, thinks they know how to
teach.
> In fact, even a lot of teachers don't know how to teach.  My wife says
I
> sound arrogant when I talk like this.  Hmmmmmm.

> To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:

> LogoForum messages are archived at:
> http://groups.yahoo.com/group/LogoForum

> Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to

http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/

To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:

LogoForum messages are archived at:
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Thu, 18 Aug 2005 01:34:31 GMT  
 Inspiring vs. Selling Constructivism
You don't sound arrogant at all when you say this.  In my state (Washington)
I 've come across many teachers who say out loud that they chose to be
teachers because it's easier and "not as challenging or stressful" as other
jobs.  The pay ain't great but the benefits are good and you get summers
off.  This may sound like a cliched position I know; but it persists because
it's true in many ways.

Many teachers DON'T know how to teach and many more don't want to learn.
Professional development is something many "education workers" do to keep
their jobs or get a raise, not necessarily to become more effective.  In ten
years I've met maybe 8 or 9 people who learn stuff they will never get paid
for in order to be more effective.  I know there are thousands of dedicated
folks working in schools.  It's not them I worry about.

Drego

Quote:
----- Original Message -----


Sent: Saturday, March 01, 2003 8:59 AM
Subject: [LogoForum] Re: Inspiring vs. Selling Constructivism

      Maybe constructivism shouldn't be sold.  Maybe Logo shouldn't be sold.
I have been on this list now for several years and it seems to me that most
Logo users that post here, or in other places, are mature grown men and
women, not kids.  Now maybe that is just a function of kids not posting.
But even the kids I have taught Logo to locally, like it, use it in class,
but mostly let  it die after the time is over.  "Other, more interesting
things to do", and many of those other more interesting things are also
educational.
      Not everyone wants to draw or be an artist.  Not all want to be
politicians.  Few really want to be programmers or mathematicians or
scientists.  The exposure to Logo enlightens them to new ways of thinking
that are powerful and fun.  But some just won't want to do it.  Remember, ?
the people are below average in whatever ability you want to concentrate on,
and they may just find it too challenging, while excelling in many other
ways.
      I don't think Dale or Edwin should be discouraged, or quit.  They are
opening up worlds.  They just will probably never see the results of their
efforts.  That is a tough way to go, but probably describes most peoples
lives.
      Perhaps not everything should be done in a consrtuctivist mode.  I
sometimes give a lot of direct instruction in Logo before I give out
challenges.  And even then I often give small incremental challenges in the
beginning.  Depends on the age and interests of my students.  Once again,
there are advantages to so called constructivism, but there are also time
s
and places where instruction has advantages and should be preferred.  The
trouble is, most people (even educators) are unaware of these very
fundamental aspect of teaching and don't recognize the choice that has been
made when they see it, nor do they appreciate the significance of the choice
if someone explains it.  Almost everyone in America, having gone through
public school, thinks they know how to teach.  In fact, even a lot of
teachers don't know how to teach.  My wife says I sound arrogant when I talk
like this.  Hmmmmmm.

To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:

LogoForum messages are archived at:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/LogoForum

Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/

To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:

LogoForum messages are archived at:
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Sat, 20 Aug 2005 01:32:42 GMT  
 
 [ 3 post ] 

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