Do you believe Constructionism brings any new ideas to the table as a theory of education? Why or Why not?


Chapter one of Invent To Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom (Martinez & Stager 2013) raised many important concepts about technology in education. One important idea was the importance of using technology effectively in schools. All to often teachers use tech devices as student pacifiers instead of a learning tool to assist students in completing a task. According to Martinez & Stager (2013), “The maker movement represents a bright spot in a world that too often uses computers biased towards the least empowering aspects of formal education.” Research shows that students learn best by creative, collaborative, hands on learning. “Knowledge is not merely a commodity to be transmitted, encoded, retained, and re-applied, but a personal experience to be constructed. Similarly, the world is not just sitting out there waiting to be to be uncovered, but gets progressively shaped and transformed through the child’s, or the scientist’s, personal experience.” (Ackermann 2001, p.7) Students need to be actively engaged in their learning and educators need to figure out ways to help engage students in their learning.

In researching resources for my blog I came upon a lot of resources about this idea of a maker movement. In the YouTube video The Maker Movement: Jeff Sturges at TEDxMidwest, Sturges shares about a maker space he helped create in Detroit. He talks about how a maker space can help people to develop core skills: creativity, problem solving, persistence, and adaptability. His belief that if we foster these core skills we will be able to do anything is a powerful idea. It’s also a belief I agree with as an educator. The core skills Sturges shares in the video are skills that can be taught, applied and reinforced at any grade level in any subject area.


Ackermann, E. (2001). Piaget’s constructivism, Papert’s constructionism: What’s the difference. Future of learning group publication, 5(3), 438. Retrieved May 20, 2015, from http://learning.media.mit.edu/content/publications/EA.Piaget%20_%20Papert.pdf

Martinez, S., & Stager, G. (2013). Invent to learn: Making, tinkering, and engineering in the classroom. Constructing Modern Knowledge Press.

The maker movement: Jeff Sturges at TEDxMidwest. Retrieved May 20, 2015, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-uixjclje2y


7 thoughts on “#UASROBOTICS Week 1

  1. Thank you for sharing the TED-TALK video! How nice of you to locate that resource! I think these advocates for Maker Spaces ought to be influencing the education community to fund more vocational programs in high schools: electronics, wood shop, machine shop, auto shop, etc. where these skills can be learned and practiced. We seem to want to incorporate them into academics when the fit best in vocational ed classes. By the way, voc ed is for EVERYONE, not just for non-academic students like it has been used in the past.


  2. It’s funny as I was reading chapter 1 this week and watching this video I was thinking it is like shop class or the other electives that were offered in high school. Then I started thinking why can’t we offer classes like that to elementary students.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree! I think it would be a hugely successful after school club. It could be done within a classroom, but opening it up to all grade levels for everyone to get together and exchange ideas would be better in my opinion.


  3. “All to often teachers use tech devices as student pacifiers instead of a learning tool to assist students in completing a task.” I think I might print and hang that in my staff lounge. I should also tape copies to our laptop carts. In early elementary most teachers desire to in cooperate the vocational type classes but it hard fitting it all in.


  4. Thanks for sharing the video. Ted Talks are fantastic. I occasionally show them to my classes as part of a lesson or just for something interesting and different. The idea of creating a maker space in a classroom sounds interesting. One of my goals in the next few years is to create a problem solving class that gives kids a math credit. Two great additions to this class would be the inclusion of serious games and a maker space. Shop class for math nerds! Sounds like a fun way to teach. Funding will definitely be an issue but resources such as the video you posted can help convince the holders of the purse strings to loosen their grip.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ali, that picture made me laugh because it’s so right on! And I agree with Cindy, sometimes we need reminders to check our assumptions and prompt us to be brave facilitators of learning 🙂 I agree with the quote about knowledge being more than a commodity; in the youth development world, we strive to use an “asset-based” approach with youth, to build on what they know and bring into the room, and to channel that into new experiences that will expand their perspectives and build skills. Knowledge is also not a destination or an end goal, so often youth want me to just tell them something or teach them a skill or process. Then they quickly become discouraged because they begin to see that they can’t apply this new “knowledge” in just one way or the same way in every situation. That’s the value I see in Constructionism, it supports that learner to put what they “know” into making a product that represents how they have learned to apply knowledge. I’ve enjoyed tinkering, making, and creating since I was young, so I’m so excited for all the opportunities for makerspaces to find a place in classrooms and in teaching and learning!


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