We are moving toward a future in which computing is becoming more ubiquitous and there is evidence that technology is changing the way instructors conduct their instruction. Even so, few instructors are integrating technology into their instruction in ways that can support meaningful learning. Those who are usually successful in teaching with technology are those who constantly strive to facilitate student-centered learning environments that support and improve the depth and scope of student learning (Cuban 2001; Ertmer, 1999). Further, they are likely to have experienced shifts in their learning paradigms and embraced constructivist teaching styles. This chapter explores the relationship between constructivism, technology, and meaningful learning and provides suggestions to help instructors translate constructivist methodologies into their own realities in teaching. In other words, this chapter seeks to explore constructivist teaching strategies that could benefit student learning in ways that are different from those practiced in traditional, non-technological classrooms.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Computer: A device that accepts information (in the form of digitalized data) and manipulates it for some result-based on a program or sequence of instructions on how the data is to be processed.
Technology: Includes two components: a product—a tool that embodies the technology, and a process—the information base of technology.
Mindtools: Computer-based technologies and programs that foster and facilitate critical thinking
Computer Technology: Refers to computer-specific technology as previously defined.
Technology Integration: A process in which computers and other technologies are used as tools to support the tasks of teaching and learning.
Meaningful Learning: Is learning that occurs when a learning task can be related in a non- arbitrary manner to what the learner already knows; meaningful learning is active, constructive, intentional, authentic, and collaborative.
Constructivism: Educational theory that emphasizes hands-on, activity-based teaching and learning during which learners develop their own frames of thought.