Film Collection > Plenary Talks

Reconstructing Constructionism

Richard Noss

(click here to watch the video)

It is more than a quarter of a century since the idea of constructionism was launched by Seymour Papert - the n-word rather than the v-word, constructivism. While the latter idea captured nicely the psychological substrate on which all learning (irrespective of teaching) is built, the n-word sought to develop a theory of pedagogy that could foster learning. More than that, while on the surface, the constructionist project seems like a pedagogical theory, it is as much a theory of epistemology as one of pedagogy, seeking to develop knowledge structures in the mind alongside physical or virtual structures external to the mind. Understanding the development of the structure of knowledge is part of and integral to the encouragement of an inclusive and powerful pedagogic theory and practice.

Constructionism symbolised a way of thinking about learning, a metaphor for the ways that human beings come to learn most effectively; building, debugging, sharing in ways that could at last be reasonably straightforward, or at least achieveable thanks to digital technologies - particular what Seymour called its "Protean" nature - its potential for being all things to all people. The Logo movement was, of course, emblematic of this approach and continues to leave a powerful mark on the educational world, a mark that is evident in the proceedings of this conference....


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