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The Nature of Constructionist Learning

MAS 969 Special Projects in Media Arts and Sciences
Fall 2000, Wednesdays 7:00-10:00pm, E15-468H (MIT Media Lab)

Bakhtiar Mikhak (mikhak@media.mit.edu)

TENTATIVE SCHEDULE

September 20: Introduction and Overview

  • Falbel, A. (1993). Constructionism: Tools to build (and think) with. Toronto: LEGO DACTA.
  • Papert, S. (1991). Situating constructionism. In Papert & Harel, Eds., Constructionism. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
  • Papert, S. (2000). What's the big idea? Steps toward a pedagogy of Idea Power. IBM Systems Journal, vol. 39, no. 3-4.
  • Suggested Readings:
September 27: Founadtions I: Jean Piaget
  • Gruber, H.E. & Voneche, J.J., eds. (1977). The Essential Piaget (Introduction, pp. xvi-xliv). New York: Basic Books.
  • Piaget, J. (1977). The Essential Piaget (Part IX). Gruber, H.E. & Voneche, J.J., eds. New York: Basic Books.
  • Papert, S. (1999). Papert on Piaget. Time Magazine, special issue on "The Century’s Greatest Minds," page105, March 29.

    Assignment: By the end of the semester, we will each read and give a short class presentation on one of Piaget's seminal studies that are particularly relevent to either the themes and issues discussed in class or your specific class project. Over the next couple of weeks, take some time to review parts III-XI of this ontology and then arrange a meeting with me to dicsuss what work you will be presenting and when. Starting October 18, we will devote one hour to two presentations on Piaget's work.

October 4: Foundations II: John Dewey

  • Dewey, J. (1938). Experience and Education. New York: Collier Books.
  • Suggested Readings:
    • Dewey, J. (1916). Democracy and Education. New York: Free Press.
    • Dewey, J. (1929). Experience and Nature. New York: Dover.
    • Dewey, J. (1933). How We Think. Boston: D. C. Heath.

October 11: Foundations III: Lev Vygotsky

  • Wertsch, J.T. (1985). Vygotsky and the Social Formation of Mind. Cambridge, MA: Harvard.
  • Additional Suggested Readings:
    • Vygotsky, L.S. (1962). Thought and Language. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
    • Vygotsky, L.S. (1978). Mind in Society: The Development of Higher Psychological Processes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
October 18: Foundations IV: Jean Lave & Etienne Wegner, Ivan Illich
  • Illich, I. (1970) Deschooling Society. (Chapters 2 and 6). New York, NY: World Perspectives, Harper & Row, Publishers, Inc.
  • Freire, P. (1972). Pedagogy of the Oppressed. (Chapters 2 and 3). New York: Herder and Herder.
  • Lave, J. & Wenger, E. (1991). Situated Learning: Legitimate Peripheral Participation. (Chapters 2 and 4). NY: Cambridge University Press.
  • Additional Suggested Readings:
    • The Rest of Deschooling Socity and Illich's other writings.
    • Levi-Strauss, C. (1966). The Savage Mind. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
October 25: Foundations V: Radical Constructivism
  • von Foerster, Heinz (1973). On Constructing a Reality. In: Environmental Design Research, Vol. 2, F. E. Preiser (Hg.), Dowden, Hutchinson & Ross, Stroudberg.
  • von Foerster, Heinz (1973). An Introduction to Radical Constructivsm. In: Environmental Design Research, Vol. 2, F. E. Preiser (Hg.), Dowden, Hutchinson & Ross, Stroudberg.
  • Additional Suggested Reading:
    • von Glasersfeld, E. (1995). Radical Constructivism: A Way of Knowing and Learning. London & Washington: The Falmer Press. (von Glasersfeld on Piaget.)

November 1: Constructionism: Seymour Papert

  • Papert, S. (1980). Mindstorms: Children, Computers, and Powerful Ideas. New York: Basic Books.
  • Papert, S. (1988). The Conservation of Piaget: The Computer as Grist to the Constructivist Mill. In Constructivism in the Computer Age. NY: Lawrence Erlbaum.
  • Additional Suggested Reading:
    • Gilligan, C. (1982). In a Different Voice (Introduction and Chapter 3). Harvard University Press.
    • Keller, E.F. (1985). Reflections on Gender and Science (Chapter 8)
November 8: Human Contexts: On the role of "community"
  • Shaw, A. (1995). Social Constructionism and the Inner City: Designing Environments for Social Development and Urban Renewal. (Chapters 1 & 2). Cambridge, MA: MIT Media Laboratory Doctoral Dissertation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
  • Hooper, P. (1998). Towards a Cultural Constructionsist Perspective. In They Have Their Own Thoughts: Children's Learning of Computational Ideas from a Cultural Constructionist Perspective. (Chapter 4) Cambridge, MA: MIT Media Laboratory Doctoral Dissertation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
  • Resnick, M., Rusk, N., and Cooke, S. (1998). The Computer Clubhouse: Technological Fluency in the Inner City. In Schon, D., Sanyal, B., and Mitchell, W. (eds.), High Technology and Low-Income Communities, pp. 266-286. Cambridge: MIT Press.
  • Papert, S. & Cavallo, D. (2000) The Learning Hub: Entry Point to Twenty First Century Learning.
  • Additional Suggested Readings:
    • Shaw, A. (1996). Social Constructionism and the Inner City: Designing Environments for Social Development and Urban Renewal. In Constructionism in Practice: Designing, Thinking and Learning in a Digital World, Kafai, Y. & Resnick, M. (Eds.). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
    • Hooper, P. (1996). They Have Their Own Thoughts - A Story of Constructionist Learning in an Alternative African-Centered Community School. In Constructionism in Practice: Designing, Thinking and Learning in a Digital World, Kafai, Y. & Resnick, M. (Eds.). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

November 15: Material Context I: On the role of "tools"

  • Papert, S. (1980). Teaching Children to be Mathematicians vs. Teaching about Mathematics. In Computer's in Classroom: Tutor, Tool, Tutee, Taylor, R. P. (Editor) London: Teachers College Press.
  • Papert, S. (1984). New Theories for New Learnings. School Psychology Review, October.
  • Papert, S. (1993). Computer Criticism vs. Technocentric Thinking. Educational Researcher, January-February.
  • Papert, S. (1994) Foreword to Turtles, Termites, and Traffic Jams. MIT Press.
  • Resnick, M., Bruckman, A., & Martin, F. (1996). Pianos Not Stereos: Creating Computational Construction Kits. Interactions, vol. 3, no. 6, pp. 41-50.
  • Papert, S. (1999) What is Logo? and Who Needs It? Introduction to a collection of essays on LOGO experiences in a number of different countries.
  • Resnick, M., Berg, R., & Eisenberg, M. (2000). Beyond Black Boxes: Bringing Transparency and Aesthetics Back to Scientific Investigation. Journal of the Learning Sciences, vol. 9, no. 1, pp. 7-30.
  • Additional Suggested Readings:
    • Papert, S. (1971). Teaching Children Thinking. Cambridge, MA: MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, Memo No. 247, LOGO Memo No. 2, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
    • Resnick, M. (1994). Turtles, Termites, and Traffic Jams. MIT Press.

November 22: Learner: What about the learner?

  • Falbel, A. (1989). Friskolen 70: An Ethnographically Informed Inquiry Into the Social Context of Learning. Cambridge, MA: MIT Media Laboratory Doctoral Dissertation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
  • Turkle, S., & Papert, S. (1990). Epistemological Pluralism. Signs, vol. 16, no. 1.
  • Papert, S. (1986). Beyond the Cognitive: The Other Face of Mathematics. Proceedings of the nineteenth international Conference for the Psychology of Mathematics Education, Plenary Lectures.
  • Additional Suggested Readings:
    • The rest of Falbel's dissertation.
    • von Glasersfeld, E. (1995). Radical Constructivism: A Way of Knowing and Learning. London & Washington: The Falmer Press.

November 29: Powerful Ideas: Coming around full cricle!

  • Resnick, M. (1991). MultiLogo: A Study of Children and Concurrent Programming. Interactive Learning Environments, vol. 1, no. 3, pp. 153-170.
  • Martin, F. (1994). Circuits to Control: Learning Engineering by Designing LEGO Robots. Cambridge, MA: MIT Media Laboratory Doctoral Dissertation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
  • Martin, F. (1988). Children, Cybernetics, and Programmable Turtles. Cambridge, MA: MS dissertation, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
  • Bers, M. & Urrea, C (2000) "Technological Prayers: Parents and Children Working with Robotics and Values" In Robots for Kids: Exploring New Technologies for Learning Experiences. Edited by A. Druin & J. Hendler. NY: Morgan Kaufman, pp. 194-217.
  • Bers, M. (forthcoming) " We Are What We Tell: Designing Narrative Environments for Children " In Narrative Intelligence. Edited by P.Sengers & Mateas. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
  • Bers, M. (under review) "Identity Construction Environments: developing personal and moral values through the design of a virtual city". Submitted to the Journal of the Learning Sciences.
  • Additional Suggested Readings:
    • Kohlberg, L. (1976) "Moral stages and moralization: the cognitive-developmental approach". In Moral Development and Behavior. NY: Holt, Reinehart & Winston. Edited by T. Lickona. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
    • Kohlberg, L. (1982) "The just community approach to moral education in theory and in practice". In International Conference on Moral Education. Fribourg, Switzerland.

December 6 and 13: Project presentations and final paper