The Nature of Constructionist Learning

MAS.965 (H) Special Topics in Media Technology
Spring 2002, Tuesdays 7:00-9:00pm, E15-054 (MIT Media Lab)

Bakhtiar Mikhak (mikhak@media.mit.edu)


TENTATIVE WEEKLY SCHEDULE

February 5: Course Overview and Registration

February 12: Constructionism as a Paradigm

  • 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.
  • Additional Suggested Readings:
    • Falbel, A. (1993). Constructionism: Tools to build (and think) with. Toronto: LEGO DACTA.
    • Kuhn, T. S. (1962) The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

February 19: Foundations (Part I) -- Jean Piaget

  • Papert, S. (1999). Papert on Piaget. Time Magazine, special issue on "The Century’s Greatest Minds," page105, March 29.
  • von Glasersfeld, E. (1997). Homage to Jean Piaget (1896-1980)
  • Gruber, H.E. & Voneche, J.J., eds. (1977). The Essential Piaget (Introduction, pp. xvi-xliv). New York: Basic Books.
  • Additional Suggested Reading:
    • Piaget, J. (1977). The Essential Piaget (Part IX). Gruber, H.E. & Voneche, J.J., eds. New York: Basic Books.
    • von Glasersfeld, E. (1995). Radical Constructivism: A Way of Knowing and Learning. London & Washington: The Falmer Press. (von Glasersfeld on Piaget.)

February 26: Foundations (Part II) -- John Dewey

  • Dewey, J. (1938). Experience and Education. New York: Collier Books.
  • Additional 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.
    • Dewey, J. (1991). The School and Society (1899) and The Child and The Curriculum (1901). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

March 4: Extended discussions

  • We will discuss the questions and comments that you have submitted about the readings so far. Please visit our class swiki to review your postings to the class mailing list.

March 5: Foundations (Part III) -- Lev Vygotsky

  • Wertsch, J.V. (1985). Vygotsky and the Social Formation of Mind. (Chapters 1-3). Cambridge, MA: Harvard.
  • Cole, M. & Wertsch, J.V. (1996). Beyond the individual-social antinomy in discussions of Piaget and Vygotsky. Human-Development. Sep-Oct; Vol 39(5): 250-256.
  • 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.
    • Wertsch, J.V. (1984). The Zone of Proximal Development: Some Conceptual Issues. Children's Learning in the "Zone of Proximal Development". Rogoff, B. & Wertsch, J.V., eds. San Francisco, Washington, & London: Jossey-Bass Inc., Publishers.
    • Wertsch, J.V. & Rogoff, B., eds. (1984). Children's Learning in the "Zone of Proximal Development" (Editors notes). San Francisco, Washington, & London: Jossey-Bass Inc., Publishers.

March 9: Foundations (Part IV) -- Lave & Wegner, Rogoff

  • Ackermann, E. (1990). From Decontextualized to Situated Knowledge: Revisiting Piaget's Water-Level Experiment. E&L Memo No. 5.
  • Brown, J.S., Collins, A., and Duguid, P. (1989). Situated cognition and the culture of learning. Educational Researcher, vol. 18, no. 1, pp. 32-42.
  • Rogoff, Barbara (1994). Developing Understanding of the Idea of Communities of Learners. Mind, Culture, and Activity 1(4): 209-229.
  • Garrison, Jim (2001). Dewey on Situatedness and Qualitative Thought. Presented on a panel on "Situated Studies in Education" at the 2001 AERA meeting in Seattle.
  • Additional Suggested Readings:
    • Lave, J. & Wenger, E. (1991). Situated Learning: Legitimate Peripheral Participation. (Chapters 2 and 4). NY: Cambridge University Press.
    • Rogoff, Barbara (1990). Apprenticeship in Thinking: Cognitive Development in Social Context. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    • Cole, M., Engestrom, Y., & Vasquez, O., eds. (1997) Mind, Culture, and Activity: Seminal Papers from the Laboratory of Comparative Human Cognition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

March 21: Foundations (Part V) -- Illich, Freire, and Falbel

  • Papert, S. (1980). Mindstorms: Children, Computers, and Powerful Ideas. (Preface.) New York: Basic Books.
  • Illich, I. (1970) Deschooling Society. (Chapters 3 and 7). 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.
  • Falbel, A. (1989). Friskolen 70: An Ethnographically Informed Inquiry Into the Social Context of Learning. (Preface, Introduction, Conclusion, and Looking Back at Friskolen 70). Cambridge, MA: MIT Media Laboratory Doctoral Dissertation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
  • Additional Suggested Readings:
    • The Rest of Deschooling Socity and Illich's other writings.
    • The rest of Falbel's dissertation.
    • Levi-Strauss, C. (1966). The Savage Mind. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

April 2: Essential 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:
    • The collection of papers by Papert on the Future of Learning site.
    • 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)

April 9: Short Papers and Presentations Due in Class

 

April 16: Human Contexts -- Community (Part I)

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

April 23: Human Contexts -- Community (Part II)

  • Bruckman, A. (1998). Community Support for Constructionist Learning. Computer Supported Cooperative Work. 7:47-86.
  • 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.
  • Additional Suggested Readings:
    • Bruckman, A. (1997). MOOSE Crossing: Construction, Community, and Learning in a Networked Virtual World for Kids. Cambridge, MA: MIT Media Laboratory Doctoral Dissertation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
    • 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.

April 30: Special Guest: Mr. Eduardo Doryan, Former Minister of Education in Costa Rica

May 3: Tools

  • Papert, S. (1993). Computer Criticism vs. Technocentric Thinking. Educational Researcher, January-February.
  • A few short articles in response to Seymour Papert's paper, Computer Cricitism vs. Technocentric Thinking.
  • Papert, S. (1996). An Exploration in the Space of Mathematics Educations. International Journal of Computers for Mathematical Learning, Vol. 1, No. 1, pp. 95-123.
  • 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.
    • 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.
    • Resnick, M. (1994). Turtles, Termites, and Traffic Jams. MIT Press.

May 7: Learner

May 14: Powerful Ideas

May 21: Project presentations and final paper