Distributed Constructionism

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Distributed Constructionism is an educational theory

Essay at http://llk.media.mit.edu/papers/archive/Distrib-Construc.html

"Constructionism (Papert, 1993) is both a theory of learning and a strategy for education. Constructionism is based on two types of "construction." First, it asserts that learning is an active process, in which people actively construct knowledge from their experiences in the world. People don't get ideas; they make them. (This idea is based on the constructivist theories of Jean Piaget.) To this, constructionism adds the idea that people construct new knowledge with particular effectiveness when they are engaged in constructing personally-meaningful products. They might be constructing sand castles, poems, LEGO machines (Resnick, 1994), or computer programs (Harel, 1991; Kafai, 1995). What's important is that they are actively engaged in creating something that is meaningful to themselves or to others around them.

Distributed constructionism extends constructionist theory, focusing specifically on situations in which more than one person is involved in the design and construction activities. It draws on recent research in "distributed cognition" (Salomon, 1994), recognizing that cognition and intelligence are not properties of an individual person but rather arise from interactions of a person with the surrounding environment (including other people and artifacts). Recent research projects have attempted to use computer networks can facilitate the development of "knowledge-building communities" (Scardamalia & Bereiter, 1991), in which groups of people collectively construct and extend knowledge. In many of these projects, students share ideas, theories, and experimental results with one another. Distributed constructionism asserts that a particularly effective way for knowledge-building communities to form and grow is through collaborative activities that involve not just the exchange of information but the design and construction of meaningful artifacts." (http://llk.media.mit.edu/papers/archive/Distrib-Construc.html)