A Journey Through Technology

Week 2 Reflection

This week we looked at the relationship between tinkering, hard play, and the growth mindset. My learning was impacted by reading and researching for my blog post this week, as well as reading the comments on my blog and reading Jule’s and Brian’s blogs. I contributed to the learning of others through my blog post and resources, as well as commenting on Jule’s and Brian’s Blogs.

Jule compared and contrasted tinkering, hard play, and the growth mindset in her post this week. She shared a quote that talks about each of these contributes to not only an educational shift, but a societal shift. I think this is huge because there has been a shift in society as a whole in what it means to work hard and be successful. It would be nice if changing how we approach education could help the rest of society change for the better.

Brian gave some examples of what a fixed mindset looks like in students, and also how a growth mindset looks. So often I see student exhibiting traits of a fixed mindset, and Brian’s post got me thinking about what I can do to encourage students to embrace a growth mindset. I think I will be paying much more attention to student behaviors to try and figure out who is fixed and who is already in a growth mindset, and then work on trying to convert them to a growth mindset.

My reading and research this week shows me the positive impact that tinkering, growth mindset, and hard play could have in my classroom. I look forward to learning how to implement these ideas in my classroom.

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Week 2: What is the link between “tinkering”, “hard play”, and the “growth mindset”?

This week is again focused on constructionism, the theory of learning that is focused on “constructing a meaningful product.” (Papert, 1986, quoted in Martinez & Stager, 2013, Kindle location 815) We are now looking more in depth at “tinkering”, “hard play”, and the “growth mindset”, and how these concepts are linked together. “Tinkering is a mindset – a playful way to approach and solve problems through direct experience, experimentation, and discovery.” (Martinez & Stager, 2013, Kindle location 839) Tinkering encourages students to approach problems in ways other than the traditional models. (Martinez & Stager, 2013, Kindle location 954) To me this is a less rigid approach that gives students the freedom to solve problems in a way that makes sense to them, even if it isn’t the “right” way to their teacher. But what does tinkering have to do with play?

“When students play, it unleashes their creative side in a way no other activity can.” (Play and Education2017)  If a student is going to take a different approach to solving a problem, creativity will most likely be a large part of that approach. “Play is not a frivolous waste of time. When children are deeply involved in play, they are learning.” (Martinez & Stager, 2013, Kindle location 980) Play can be one way that students begin to tinker, as the results of their play may lead them down a new path to problem solving.

The last point of discussion for this week is the “growth mindset.” Growth mindset refers to “the understanding that abilities and intelligence can be developed.” (The Growth Mindset, 2015) This means that the more effort you put in, the better you can become. So often students get caught up in their failures, convinced that they have no hope of succeeding. Growth mindset helps them see that they can succeed if they only keep at it. This week I’m attending some professional development offered at my district, and my presenter explained growth mindset as, “I can’t do it…yet.” He had heard this from another teacher at a different training, and I think it does a good job of summing up growth mindset.

After looking at each of the concepts this week, I think the link between them is that you can’t have one without the others. Having a growth mindset seems like it would be a necessity in being able to both play and tinker. When kids play, they are practicing their tinkering skills. The nature of tinkering is to keep on trying to find something that works, which is the basis of the growth mindset.

References

Martinez, S. & Stager, G. (2013). Invent To Learn: Making, Tinkering, And Engineering In The Classroom. Torrance, CA: Constructing Modern Knowledge Press. Kindle Edition.

Play and Education|Lansing Christian School. (2017). Lansing Christian School. Retrieved 25 May 2017, from http://www.lansingchristianschool.org/work-hard-play-hard-5-reasons-play-essential-childs-education/

The Growth Mindset – What is Growth Mindset – Mindset Works. (2015). Mindsetworks.com. Retrieved 25 May 2017, from https://www.mindsetworks.com/Science/Default

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Week 1 Reflection

This week I was introduced to the constructionist learning theory, which has a lot in common with constructivism, which I am in the process of adopting as my main theory of learning in my classroom. I think the maker movement really embodies constructionism, and I am looking forward to learning a lot more about this during our class.

This week I commented on Mariah’s and Brian’s blogs, and Brian and Douglas commented on my post. Mariah wrote that she didn’t believe constructionism was a new theory, but rather it has actually started being used more in classrooms. Brian wrote that he thinks the theory is newer to education, but only because it isn’t commonly used as much in classrooms. I think we all agreed that the theories behind constructionism are not new, but new education movements, such as the make movement, are bringing constructionism to the forefront in education today. I really like a graphic that Brian shared that shows the differences between constructivism and traditional classrooms because I am currently adapting my teaching to the constructivist theory.

I look forward to learning more about constructionism and the make movement throughout this class and hope I can start weaving some constructionist ideas into my classroom next year.

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Week 1: Do you believe Constructionism brings any new ideas to the table as a theory of education? Why or Why not?

According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), “[t]he major concepts and theories of learning include behaviourist theories, cognitive psychology, constructivism, social constructivism, experiential learning, multiple intelligence, and situated learning theory and community of practice.” (n.d.) The Peak Performance Center goes on to further explain three of those theories, behaviorism, “[n]ew behaviors or changes in behaviors are acquired through associations between simuli and responses.”, cognitivism, “[i]nformation processing leads to understanding and retention.”, and constructivism, “[w]e construct our own knowledge of the world based on individual experiences.” (The Peak Performance Center, n.d.)

To me, it appears that the traditional educational and classroom models are tied to the cognitivist theory. We bombard students with information, and they process, understand (hopefully), and retain that information. The most appeal of these three theories to me is constructivism, which I have been working to use more in my classroom. “Constructivism emerged in the 1970s and 1980s, giving rise to the idea that learners are not passive recipients of information, but that they actively construct their knowledge in interaction with the environment and through the reorganization of their mental structures.” (UNESCO, n.d.) Students should not be passive in their learning, but should be taking an active role in what and how they are learning. Based on my reading this week, constructionism is most closely related to constructivism.

“Constructionism–the N word as opposed to the V word–shares constructivism’s connotation of learning as “building knowledge structures” irrespective of the circumstances of the learning. It then adds the idea that this happens especially felicitously in a context where the learner is consciously engaged in constructing a public entity, whether it’s a sand castle on the beach or a theory of the universe.” (Papert & Harel, 1991) Based on this description, I think that constructionism does bring new ideas to the table of education. It takes the ideas of constructivism and building your own knowledge, but then extends that one step further to building a physical product. It isn’t just about learning things, but using that knowledge to create something tangible. “The maker ethos values learning through direct experience and the intellectual and social benefits that accrue from creating something shareable.” (Martinez & Stager, 2013)

Resources

Martinez, S. & Stager, G. (2013). Invent To Learn: Making, Tinkering, And Engineering In The Classroom. Torrance, CA: Constructing Modern Knowledge Press. Kindle Edition.

Papert, S. & Harel, I. (1991) Constructionism. Ablex Publishing Corporation. Retrieved May 16, 2017, from http://www.papert.org/articles/SituatingConstructionism.html

The Peak Performance Center. (n.d.) Learning Theories. Retreived May 16, 2017 from http://thepeakperformancecenter.com/educational-learning/learning/theories/

United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organiziation. (n.d.) Most influential theories of learning. Retrieved May 16, 2017, from http://www.unesco.org/new/en/education/themes/strengthening-education-systems/quality-framework/technical-notes/influential-theories-of-learning/ 

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