In constructionism, students should use technology to help them complete challenging activities that result in the building of an “artifact,” or representation of student knowledge. Constructionist theory further suggests that students should be able to make some of their own choices for learning as they create artifacts that represent their knowledge. Students could decide how to complete a task, how to work together, or what format to use when creating an artifact. Some examples of constructionist artifacts could include the following:
A student-created website about the battle for Atlanta during the American Civil
A student-created printed brochure that portrays the health benefits of brushing
- A student-created video newscast that outlines the plot of a famous literary work
Two summer camp experiences that I have been involved with embody the concept of constructionism. These include Digital Media Camp, held each year in Aberdeen, SD, and GameWerks, held each year in Athens, GA.
At the heart of constructionism, students create projects that represent their knowledge. Within the requirements of the project, students might make decisions on what steps to take, what resources to use, what format to use, and how to represent knowledge. This approach supports student-centered learning appropriate for the Information Age because it emphasizes student responsibility for learning within student-led projects.
Harel, I., & Papert, S. (1991). Constructionism. Norwood, NJ: Ablex Publishing.
Papert, S. (1993). The children’s machine: Rethinking school in the age of the computer. New York: Basic Books.