Closing the Circle: From Dewey to Web 2.0

Closing the Circle: From Dewey to Web 2.0

Maria Luisa Pérez Cavana (Open University, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-654-9.ch001
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Taking into account the complexity and multiplicity of constructivist theories, the first part of this chapter focuses on the relationship between epistemology and pedagogy in constructivism, in particular in the radical constructivist position of von Glasersfeld, which is considered a significant referent in constructivism. To overcome some of the shortcomings of radical constructivism, the author have then explored the origins of constructivist theory and practice in the work of John Dewey, whose ideas could be still a source of inspiration for constructivist educational practice. The second part of this chapter analyses the social constructivist development in different internet-based learning platforms and social software and considers at the end some practical difficulties and benefits of online learning for the implementation of constructivist learning theories for learners as teachers.
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The definition of constructivist theory or constructivism is an issue in itself. Constructivism has become such a complex topic that just the effort to clarify the different positions and trends is enough to serve as the main subject of some papers where the authors have tried to put some structure into the enormous range of definitions, sections and positions regarding constructivism (Phillips, 2005; Riegler, 2005; Steffe &Gale,1995). It is not the purpose of this paper to do so, I will however give a brief overview of the complexity and multidimensionality of this field.

The difficulty of defining “constructivism” starts with the question whether constructivism is a theory, an approach, or a perspective. For von Glasersfeld constructivism is a way of thinking (von Glasersfeld (1985, 1992), for Siebert it is a metatheory (Siebert, 2004), Huitt considers the constructivist approach to teaching and learning as based on a combination of cognitive psychology and social psychology (Huitt, 2003), Dougiamas talks about the faces of constructivism (Dougiamas, 1998) as does Philips, considering constructivism as a secular religion within educational theory (Phillips, 1995) or even a magic word (Phillips, 2000) and Duit (1993) regards it as a fashionable and fruitful paradigm. What seems clear from all these studies is that, as Horst Siebert (2005) puts it, constructivism is not a scientific discipline in itself but an interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary “Paradigma,” it is a perspective in which reality depends on the observer.

Common to all the approaches and different definitions is the source of the term “constructivism,” which is a metaphor of architecture, and is about the building up of structures from pre-existing pieces, possibly specially shaped for the task. This metaphor, as Ernest (1995) points out, describes understanding as the building of mental structures, and it is also contained in the term “restructuring,” often used as synonym for accommodation or conceptual change. Ernest also notes a relevant feature of this metaphor: the building blocks are not merely received, they are products of previous acts of construction.

A fundamental component of constructivism is action: knowing is an active process, learners are not passive receivers of learning contents. As Glasersfeld (1989) formulates the first principle of constructivism: “Knowledge is not passively received but actively built up by the cognizing subject” (p.182).

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Editorial Advisory Board
Table of Contents
Michael Sherman
Carla R. Payne
Chapter 1
Maria Luisa Pérez Cavana
Taking into account the complexity and multiplicity of constructivist theories, the first part of this chapter focuses on the relationship between... Sample PDF
Closing the Circle: From Dewey to Web 2.0
Chapter 2
Noel Fitzpatrick, Nóirín Hayes, K.C. O’Rourke
Constructivism has become the comfortable face of educational theory in recent years, due in no small part to the mainstreaming of learning... Sample PDF
Beyond Constriction and Control: Constructivism in Online Theory and Practice
Chapter 3
Barbara de la Harpe, Fiona Peterson
There is a strong move worldwide for a constructivist theory to underpin the way teaching and learning are viewed in today’s colleges and... Sample PDF
The Theory and Practice of Teaching with Technology in Today's Colleges and Universities
Chapter 4
Karen Swan, D.R. Garrison, Jennifer C. Richardson
This chapter presents a theoretical model of online learning, the Community of Inquiry (CoI) framework, which is grounded in John Dewey’s... Sample PDF
A Constructivist Approach to Online Learning: The Community of Inquiry Framework
Chapter 5
Jennifer Lee, Lin Lin
Based on constructivist principles, this chapter provides a new instructional design map for online learning environments. This instructional design... Sample PDF
Applying Constructivism to Online Learning: A New Instructional Design Map
Chapter 6
Beth Rubin
Constructivist education usually involves authentic assessment, which is affected by the media used to teach. Information technology can enhance or... Sample PDF
Enhancing Authentic Assessment Through Information Technology
Chapter 7
Xenia Coulter, Alan Mandell
The adult college student, caught between the competing demands of work and home, has recently become a valuable commodity in today’s fast-changing... Sample PDF
Nontraditional Students and Information Technology: The Siren Call of the Virtual Classroom and its Impact on Progressive Educational Ideals
Chapter 8
Jakko van der Pol
This chapter aims to perform a thorough analysis of students’ online learning conversations. Although offering a high potential for collaborative... Sample PDF
Online Learning Conversations: Potential, Challenges and Facilitation
Chapter 9
Laura M. Nicosia
Contemporary educators have been reassessing pedagogical frameworks and reevaluating accepted epistemologies and ontologies of learning. The age-old... Sample PDF
Virtual Constructivism: Avatars in Action
Chapter 10
G. Andrew Page, Radwan Ali
The key idea that sets constructivism apart from other theories of cognition was launched about 60 years ago by Jean Piaget. It was the idea that... Sample PDF
The Power and Promise of Web 2.0 Tools
Chapter 11
Shalin Hai-Jew
This chapter examines some ways information technologies (IT) are deployed in higher education courses to help learners create robust mental models.... Sample PDF
IT-Enabled Strategies for Mental Modeling in E-Learning
Chapter 12
Roisin Donnelly
This chapter critically explores the design and implementation of a blended problem-based learning (PBL) module for academic professional... Sample PDF
Transformative Potential of Constructivist Blended Problem-Based Learning in Higher Education
Chapter 13
James G.R. Cronin, John Paul McMahon, Michael Waldron
Reception and use of information technology by lifelong learners within a “blended” learning environment needs to be articulated within a... Sample PDF
Critical Survey of Information Technology Use in Higher Education: Blended Classrooms
Chapter 14
M. Beatrice Ligorio, Nadia Sansone
In this chapter, the case of a blended university course will be described in detail. The main focus of this description will be on how some... Sample PDF
Structure of a Blended University Course: Applying Constructivist Principles to Blended Teaching
Chapter 15
Hwee Ling Lim, Fay Sudweeks
As educators utilize an increasingly wide range of technologies for facilitating interaction between distant learning parties, there are concerns... Sample PDF
Constructivism and Online Collaborative Group Learning in Higher Education: A Case Study
Chapter 16
Linda Lohr, Nicholas Eastham, David Kendrick
This case study describes how a constructivist theory of learning guided the design of distributed learning environment for a three credit hour... Sample PDF
Constructivist Strategies to Optimize Four Levels of Interaction in a Distributed Learning Environment: A Case Study
Chapter 17
Alessio Gaspar, Sarah Langevin, Naomi Boyer
This chapter discusses a case study of the application of technology to facilitate undergraduate students’ learning of computer programming in an... Sample PDF
Facilitating Students-Driven Learning of Computer Programming with Technology
Chapter 18
John Miller
A central component of constructivist pedagogy at the college level is the modeling and practicing of critical thinking, and since Socrates... Sample PDF
Designing Asynchronous Discussions to Teach Critical Thinking
Chapter 19
Mark H. Schulman
The challenges for Goddard College posed by 21st Century information technologies are their incorporation into, and reflection of, the foundational... Sample PDF
"To Be in Occasional Touch": Goddard College's Progressive Principles and Distributed Learning
Chapter 20
Carol R. Rinke, Divonna M. Stebick, Lauren Schaefer, M. Evan Gaffney
This chapter presents a critical case study on the use of information technology in a pre-service teacher education program. The authors integrated... Sample PDF
Using Blogs to Foster Inquiry, Collaboration, and Feedback in Pre-Service Teacher Education
Chapter 21
Michal Zellermayer, Nili Mor, Ida Heilweil
This chapter describes the learning environment that the authors created for veteran teachers, graduate students in Teaching and Learning who are... Sample PDF
The Intersection of Theory, Tools and Tasks in a Postgraduate Learning Environment
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