Sunday, June 28, 2009

The constructivist celebration

The highlight has been sitting with some wonderful educators: Dr. Scott McLeod, Wes Fryer, Chris Champion, and Linda Nitsche. They were all great fun and we had some wonderful discussions together.

Here are some thoughts after sitting here today at The Sidwell Friends School here in Washington DC. (The Embassy homes are all along the drive here.)

From earlier today during Gary Stager's intro:
1. Software is very important. What you can do with the software determines what you have learned. Hardware is not as important.
2. Build your own sketchpad. Use the computer for what it can't do already for true learning and critical thinking.
3. Elements of an effective project
Purpose, time, personally meaningful, and complex but including serendipity. Connected to disciplines and people. Requires discipline. We still have many kids with VERY superficial understandings of computers
4. Substantial problems are the kind where students can't sleep at night that they continue to think about.
5. Ask yourself:
Who does the project satisfy? What can they do with what they learned? Look at projects through the lens of an audience.
A good prompt is worth a thousand words.
4 elements for a good prompt: a good prompt, challenge, problem or motivation - appropriate materials, sufficient time, supportive culture (including expertise).
6. Look at a project like an artist.
Is it: beautiful, thoughtful, personally meaningful, sophisticated, whimsical, sharable with a respect for the audience, moves you, enduring?
7. Focus on knowledge construction and not reproduction.

During the day we played with some wonderful programs: InspireData (great for changing data around and creating some very wonderful venn diagrams as well as changing the parameters and looking at the actual specifics of each data point.) I also played with Transform and Animation-ish. Need more time to play with these but seem to be some cool programs. Maybe will get my son to play with these and let me know what he thinks.

The live blog and ustream of the event can be found on Wes Fryer's blog.

If you have a chance to go to the Constructivist Consortium or a Constructivist Celebration, you should go. It definitely was worth the time in playing and talking to others.

Tags: Constructivist Consortium

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