7P:275: Constructivism & the Design of Instruction
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Thayer-Bacon, B. J. (2000). Transforming critical thinking: Thinking constructively . New York : Teachers College. Chapter Title: In the classroom with constructivist theory, 127-143.

  • Contrast critical and constructive thinking
  • Consider this statement: “The constructivist thinking model is not only supported by a relational ontology and epistemology, an assumption that knowers are social beings who cannot be separated from what is know; it is also supported by an assumption that knowers are not disembodied minds but are people whose minds are directly connected to their bodies, as one bodymind” (p. 135). What do all those terms mean individually and collectively in this sentence?
  • How is assessment accomplished?
  • Learning environment and the role of resources.
  • Comment on: “They [those who use traditional assessments] emphasize that knowledge is a product that can be measured and quantified rather than considering knowing as a process, that knowledge is separate from us as knowers rather than considering knowers and knowledge as intimately connected, and that there is one true, right, answer rather than considering knowledge in a more pluralistic, qualitatively relativistic way” (p. 131).
  • Subjectivism
  • Naturalism
  • Relativism
  • Ontology
  • Epistemology
  • Relational
  • Difference between personal voice and knowing.
  • Role of creativity/artistic
  • Is it a dichotomy?
  • What of the “lens”? Does she necessarily give a fair view of the critical thinking lens for her class?

Duffy, T. M. & Orrill, C. H. (2001). Constructivism. In A. Kovalchic & K. Dawson (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Educational Technology .

  • In their second principle, Duffy and Orrill state that learning is goal driven, that “learning is driven by an individual's need to understand and achieve some end.” What about student who think they understand, but really do not. What can be done so that they can be involved in this goal-driven learning

Windschitl, M. (2002). Framing constructivism in practice as negotiation of dilemmas: An analysis of the conceptual, pedagogical, cultural, and political challenges facing teachers. Review of Educational Research, 72 (2), 131-175.

  • The author states, “Reviews or summaries of literature aimed at practitioners that make generalizations about the character or effectiveness of constructivist teaching without acknowledging these critical differences [e.g., cognitive versus social constructivism] undoubtedly contribute to the confusion of the teacher audience” (p. 142). Why is this such a critical issue, beyond just teacher confusion?
  • Given Windschitl's discussion on paragraph 2, page 143, to just know about constructivism is not enough to teach that way, you have to espouse the epistemology views of the theory. What are the implications of this for our class?
  • Windschitl states that sophisticated content knowledge for teachers is very important. Given the wide variety of problems that students might seek to solve though, that seems to be a tall order. What are some things that a teacher should do if students get into areas that the teacher is unfamiliar with? [get outside experts, become an expert, develop general questioning skills for problem solving, but employ outside experts for content]
  • Windschitl states, “Teachers who aim beyond basic skills eventually must deal with the public perception that the diversity of student understandings emerging from constructivist instruction is not compatible with convergence of state and local standards” (p. 155). Talk about this public perception and whether is necessarily it is true or false.

Airasian, P. W. & Walsh, M. E. (1997). Constructivist cautions. Phi Delta Kappan, 78 (6), 444-449.

  • What does it mean when they say that Constructivism is an epistemology, not a teaching prescription? Is this different than your own understanding?
  • How do people typically describe the difference between Constructivist-based instruction and more traditional view of instruction?
  • Consider their interpretation of Piaget's theory on page 445, the top of column 2. Do you think this interpretation seems fair? Do you think Piaget would think that it's fair?
  • How about their interpretation of social constructivism?
  • If this is an article for practitioners, it is really helpful, given the description in column 2 of page 445?
  • Why is there the rapid acceptance of constructivism?
  • Who is constructivism emancipating?
  • Systemic
  • What is your perspective on the cautions that they outline?
  • Designing of standards and criteria.
  • Given that “absolute certainty is alien” to this perspective, how then can a teacher evaluate students' constructions as being viable? Isn't that saying that the teacher has some type of metric with which he or she is measuring? Is this contradictory? Why or why not?

Maddux, C. D., & Cummings R. (1999). Constructivism: Has the term outlived its usefulness? Computers in the Schools, 15 (3/4), 5-20.

  • What is the issue with Constructivism to which the authors point? Do you agree/disagree with their claims? Why?
  • Distinguish between Piaget's and Vygotsky's view of self-speech and socialization in young children.
  • What other theorists besides Piaget and Vygotsky could be noted as constructivist? What would these other theorists provide to a definition of constructivism? Are they/must they be developmentalists?
  • What does “learners construct knowledge” mean to you?

Bruner, J. (1990). Acts of meaning . Cambridge , MS : Harvard University Press. Chapter Title: The proper study of man, 1-32.

  • Describe his view of the cognitive revolution. How does this differ from your view?
  • Technicalized and technological viruosity
  • How does his view of what to do with Behaviorism differ from that of Greeno, Collins, and Resnick (1996)?
  • Information processing versus meaning making
  • Reductionism
  • Necessary and sufficient
  • Intentionalism
  • Relate his discussion of symbols in section II (page 11) with other readings.
  • Folk Psychology
  • Discuss his two issues with the “founding issues” of scientific psychology (p. 15) and his view of “saying and doing”.
  • What is the difference between behavior and action?
  • Universals
  • Constraints/conditions à biological
  • Pragmatism
  • Essentialist
  • “As Adrienne Rich puts it, ‘When someone with the authority of a teacher, say, describes the world and you are not in it, there is a moment of psychic disequilibrium as if you looked into a mirror and saw nothing.' 45 ” (p. 32). Discuss this in terms of schooling as you know it.

Duffy, T. M., & Cunningham, D. J. (1996). Constructivism: Implications for the design and delivery of instruction. In D. H. Jonassen (Ed.), Handbook of research for educational communications and technology (pp. 170-198). New York : MacMillan.

  • Comment on your current understanding of from what theoretical perspectives learning may be considered passive. How does Duffy and Cunningham's introduction inform your thinking?
  • Worldview/grounding assumption
  • They acknowledge that Constructivism is an umbrella term – what are the general characteristics of those views that fall under this umbrella?
  • What to they provide as alternatives to certainty/truth and shared meaning?
  • Vico, Kuhn, Wittgenstein, Rorty, Rousseau, Dewey
  • Difference between equilibrium and equilibration.
  • Consider the first full paragraph on page 176 – where they agree to disagree. What are they disagreeing about? What is each of the author's perspective?
  • Metaphors of mind
  • Consider the last paragraph, bottom of column one, page 179. What is their disagreement?
  • Relate tools (and signs) as the authors describe and our understanding of current technology in schools.
  • Appropriate
  • Distributed mind
  • Distributed and self agency
  • How does one learn alone, yet distributed?
  • Reflexive
  • Consider their discussion of cognitive apprenticeship (p. 184). What is the difference between the views presented in paragraphs 2 and 3 of that section and paragraph 4?
  • What is the problem with coaching as it is typically done?
  • Discuss learner control from the perspective described in this article and the views they set out as those of the traditional instructional design community.
  • Assessment
  • Strategies for using problems in instruction.

Greeno, J. G., Collins, A. M., & Resnick, L. B. (1996). Cognition and learning. In D. C. Berliner & R. C. Calfee (Eds.), Handbook of educational psychology (pp. 15-46). New York : Macmillan Library Reference USA .

  • Empiricism
  • Rationalism
  • Pragmatism
  • Sociohistoricism
  • For each of the three perspectives the authors describe:
  • The nature of knowing
  • The nature of learning and transfer
  • The nature of motivation and engagement
  • Why do they place Constructivism under rationalism?
  • What is knowing? How does it differ from knowledge?
  • What is your current feeling on the issue they raise at the bottom of page 20, column one about the analysis in ID?
  • What is Gibson talking about on page 21, column 1? What is the problem for him with representations?
  • What is the problem with the decomposition hypothesis?
  • What are apprenticeships for?
  • Situativity problem with transfer?
  • Any problems with this statement: “Learning is the process by which knowledge is increased or modified” (p. 21)
  • First principles
  • What is a curriculum?
  • Principles of design, curriculum formation, and assessment for each of the three views.
  • They speculated views of the continued relationship/existence of these three views.

Cobb, P. (1994). Where is the mind? Constructivist and sociocultural perspectives on mathematical development. Educational Researcher, 23 , 13-20. and discussion that followed.

  • What is Cobb's view in this debate (in other words, what is the central claim of his article?)
  • What is a unit of analysis? What does a unit of analysis imply?
  • Viability
  • Negotiation of meaning – two views.
  • Duffy and Cunningham do not support Cobb's claim that the two views of constructivism could be integrated. Now that you've read both articles, with whom do you agree?
  • Compare the following with Ertmer & Newby and Bednar et al. “In dispensing with the essentialist claims, this pragmatic approach to theorizing instead proposes that the adoption of one perspective or another should be justified in terms of its potential to address issues whose resolution might contribute to the improvement of students' education” (p. 18).
  • What is Smith's major criticism of Cobb's article?
  • What do you think of his suggestion to use “ knowing to indicate the subjective meanings of the individual and the word knowledge to indicate socially negotiated and accepted forms of language (Smith, 1993, 1994) (p. 24)”? What is Cobb's response? What is your view?
  • Were your surprised by Cobb's overall response to Smith? Had you noted Cobb's third category of constructivism as you had read his initial article? What are your views on his emergent perspective?
  • Driver and Scott comment on Smiths' criticism that they slide between meanings of where knowledge is located, “Our position is one that is not located exclusively with either personal constructivism or with sociocultural approaches.” Is this a reasonable claim (is it plausible) given the philosophical differences between the constructivist (Piagetian) and sociocultural (Vygotsky) perspectives?

Yang, S. C. (2001). Synergy of constructivism and hypermedia from three constructivist perspectives: Social, semiotic, and cognitive. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 24 (4), 321-361.

von Glasersfeld, E.(1989). Cognition, construction of knowledge, and teaching. Synthese, 80 , 121-140.

  • Piaget's ontological stance
  • Piaget's view of representations
  • Consider this statement: “This view differs from the old one in that it deliberately discards the notion that knowledge could or should be a representation of an observer-independent world-in-itself and replaces it with the demand that the conceptual constraints we call knowledge be viable in the experiential world of the knowing subject” (p. 122).
  • Piaget's theory of development
  • Social interaction
  • Communication
  • Implications for teaching

Wertsch, J. V. (1985). Vygotsky and the social formation of mind . Cambridge , MA : Harvard University Press. Chapter 3: The social origins of higher mental functions (pp. 58-76).

  • Marx
  • Mead
  • Consciousness
  • Individual Psychological Reductionism
  • Interpsychological
  • Intrapsychological
  • How can working alone be “social?”
  • Inner speech
  • The process of internalization according to Vygotsky.
  • Zone of proximal development
  • What would instruction look like given Vygotsky's zone of proximal development?
  • When do instruction and development first meet?
  • According to Wertsch, what are three problems with Vygotsky's description of ZPD that need to be addressed to make it robust enough to continue to generate research hypotheses? Have any of these been addressed since Wertsch wrote this article?

Wertsch, J. V., & Tulviste, P. (1992). L. S. Vygotsky and contemporary developmental psychology. Developmental Psychology, 28 , 548.

  • Tools (technical)
  • Signs (psychological/cultural)
  • Mediation
  • Discuss the following statements: “Mind extends beyond the skin in this second sense because human mental functioning, on the intramental as well as intermental plane, involves cultural tools, or mediational means. . . Vygotsky's account of culture suggests that humans are never as autonomous and as free of outside interferences as it might at first appear. Instead, human mental functioning, even when carried out by an individual acting in isolation, is inherently social, or sociocultural, in that it incorporates socially evolved and socially organized cultural tools” (p. 551).
  • What are the problematic issues with Vygotsky's theories? Are any of these problematic only because they are misinterpretations of Vygotsky's theories?

Packer, M. J. & Goicoechea, J. (2000). Sociocultural and constructivist theories of learning: Ontology, not just epistemology. Educational Psychologist, 35 (4), 227-241.

  • What does nondualist mean?
  • What is the relationship, as they see it, between constructivism and socioculturalism?
  • What do focusing on the ontological issues, rather than the epistemological issues, add to our understanding of the two views of constructivism?
  • What are the implications of viewing school change from the perspective that is offered in this article?

Martínez-Delgado, A. (2002). Radical constructivism: Between realism and solipsism. Science Education 86 (6), 840-855.

  • Martinez-Delgado quotes Osborne (1996) as pointing to constructivism's failure “to elaborate any mechanism by which one theory can be consider more ‘viable' than another” (Osborne, 1996, p. 58)” (p. 841). Comment on this statement from a radical constructivist perspective.
  • Big question – what do you think of this article? Of the author's interpretations of von Glasersfeld's descriptions of the ontology of radical constructivism? If you had to write a reaction to the paper, what would you say?
  • Comment on the following: “The possibility of planning activities with a clear view to producing a certain result implies that the construction of knowledge follows objective laws that are independent of the subject—a realist position – and is the opposite of Glasersfeld's “black box” (p 1987, p. 108), in which he places the objective reality after having transferred the inner “black box” of behavior to the subject's exterior” (p. 851).

Wertsch, J. V. (1984). The zone of proximal development: Some conceptual issues. In B. Rogoff & J. V. Wertsch (Eds.), Children's learning in the "Zone of Proximal Development" (pp. 7-18). San Francisco : Jossey-Bass, Inc.

  • Define situation definition, intersubjectivity, and semiotic mediation. How do these three elements better define the zone of proximal development (consider how they account for the differences in adult support in the first example about the two children completing a division problem).
  • Provide another example semiotic mediation that would move a learner to change their situation definition.
  • Reflect – how has your understanding of the zone of proximal development changed given this further definition? In addition, how would you now define scaffolding?

Wertsch, J. V. (1998). Mind as action . New York : Oxford University Press. Chapter 2: Properties of mediated action (pp. 23-72).

  • Discuss the 10 basis claims of mediated action that Wertsch provides here. He has used the example of the pole vaulter, as well as other examples, to clarify his points. Identify your own examples to help with your own understanding.
  • Consider language as a specific cultural tool. Discuss language in light of these 10 basis claims (in some cases Wertsch has done that for you, be sure to summarize in your own words).
  • Wertsch notes that “by using the cultural tools provided to us by the sociocultural context in which we function we usually do not operate by choice” (p. 55). Consider this statement in conjunction with Packer and Goicoechea's claims about the schooling and how a dualist ontology is created.
  • What is instrumental rationality?

Bednar, A. K., Cunningham, D. C., Duffy, T. M., & Perry, J. D. (1995). Theory into practice: How do we link? In G. J. Anglin (ed.,), Instructional technology: Past, present, and future (2nd ed., pp. 100-118). Englewood , CO : Libraries Unlimited.

  • What do the authors see as the problem with an eclectic approach to instructional design?
  • What/why is it unreasonable to have all theories included in design?
  • Use of methods and how they relate to theory. The way a strategy or technique is realized.
  • Comment: “constructivism is completely incompatible with objectivism” (p. 103)
  • Difference in analysis, design, and evaluation between constructivism and traditional instructional design.

Honebein, P., Duffy, T. M., & Fishman, B. (1993). Constructivism and the design of learning environments. In T. M. Duffy, J. Lowyck, & D. Jonassen (Eds.), Designing environments for constructivist learning (pp. 87-108). Heidelberg : Springer-Verlag.

  • What is the conflict between the types of authentic activity described in the criticisms of today's schools?
  • Describe authentic activity? What must you do to determine if an activity is authentic?
  • General characteristics of authentic activity
  • Difference and relationships between global and local tasks
  • In the examples – carefully read their documentation of grounded design decisions. How do they justify that these are constructivist designs?

Jonassen, D. (1999). Designing constructivist learning environments. In C. M. Reigeluth (Ed.), Instructional design theories and models: A new paradigm of instructional theory (vol. II, pp. 215-239). Mahwah , NJ : Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

  • How does Jonassen define authentic?
  • Although Jonassen notes that he is describing how to design Constructivist Learning Environments, given indicators in his writing, how would you describe his theoretical base for the environments?
  • Summarize the characteristics of CLEs.
  • How does a designer determine what conversation and collaboration tools should be available in a CLE? Does having these available violate principles of constructivism?

Herrington, J. & Oliver, R. (2000). An instructional design framework for authentic learning environments. Educational Technology Research and Development, 48 (3), 23-48.

  • No questions – just look very closely at this study. A number of nice examples of what it means to ground design decisions in theory and follow that grounding all the way through the reporting of the findings of the research.

Grabinger, R. S. (1996). Rich environments for active learning. In D. H. Jonassen (Ed.), Handbook of research for educational communications and technology (pp. 665-692). New York : MacMillan.

  • He provides a nice discussion of the need for change in education, the conventional approaches to instruction, also traditional assumptions of learning, and how these issues/concerns can be addressed.
  • What are REALs? What are their characteristics? What are exemplar's of these characteristics?
  • What do you assess when using a REAL and why.
  • What questions should you ask in evaluating a REAL?
  • How and in what areas are REALs effective? What are areas of further research.
  • It seems like every constructivist-aligned instructional strategy falls under the REAL umbrella – is that necessarily true? Are there are strategies that would not align?

Palinscar, A. S., & Brown, A. L. (1986). Interactive teaching to promote independent learning from text. The Reading Teacher, 39 (8), 771-777.

  • What are the goals of reciprocal teaching?
  • How does this strategy align with the constructivist framework?
  • Describe the outcomes of using such a strategy.

Savery, J. R., & Duffy, T. M. (1996). Problem based learning: An instructional model and its constructivist framework. In B. G. Wilson (Ed.), Constructivist learning environments: Cases studies in instructional design (pp. 135-147). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Educational Technology Publications.

  • What are the three primary provisions of constructivism that they use as a framework in describing their instructional principles? Do they principles align?
  • Understand the principles that they set out. What misconceptions that you had did they address?
  • Describe how PBL is implemented using the Barrows model.
  • What are the critical features in the development of this type of learning? In your opinion, which features seems the most difficult task and why.

Collins, A., Brown, J. S., & Newman, S. E. (1989). Cognitive apprenticeship: Teaching the crafts of reading, writing, and mathematics. In L. B. Resnick (Ed.), Knowing, learning, and instruction (pp. 453-494). Hillsdale , NJ : Lawrence Earlbaum Associates, Publishers.

  • In what way is cognitive apprenticeship about transfer?
  • What are these? What are their relationships to CA?
  • Reciprocal teaching
  • Procedural facilitations
  • Schoenfeld's mathematical problem solving.
  • Characteristics of any learning environment
  • Do sequencing characteristics “Increasing complexity” and “Global before Local” seem in conflict with one another? Why or why not? How does the first one compare with Savery and Duffy's argument in PBL of not simplifying?
  • Given the characteristics that they set out for the design and evaluation of learning environments, would it be fair to evaluate any learning environment by these as they suggest or should this evaluation be limited to those that are identified as cognitive apprenticeships only?

Scardamalia, M. & Bereiter, C. (1991). Higher levels of agency for children in knowledge building: A challenge for the design of new knowledge media. The Journal of the Learning Sciences, 1 (1), 37-68.

  • Describe the differences between Teachers A, B, & C they describe and how these teachers influence/support/etc. learners' agency
  • What is agency?
  • Talk about these in terms of who has control of the zone of proximal development
  • What is the difference between knowledge-telling and knowledge-transforming?
  • Difference between knowledge building and learning from specific text (text-based)?
  • What is needed to support/give agency in children?
  • Discuss learners' ability to generate educationally helpful questions on topic for which they are familiar and for topics for which they are unfamiliar.
  • What are their major findings at this point in their development of CSILE that leads them to changes that they will make in the interface?

Cognition and Technology Group at Vanderbilt. (2003). Connecting learning theory and instructional practice: Leveraging some powerful affordances of technology. In H. F. O'Neil, Jr. & R. S. Perez (Eds.), Technology applications in education: A learning view (pp. 173-209). Mahwah , NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

  • Describe the three key principles from research on which they technology has been developed.
  • Describe the four important characteristics of powerful learning environments.
  • Describe the four principles of the design of instruction that they note.

Brown, A. L., & Campione, J. C. (1996). Psychological theory and the design of innovative learning environments: On procedures, principles, and systems. In L. Schauble & R. Glaser (Eds.), Innovations in learning: New environments for education . Mahwah , NJ : Erlbaum.

  • How does their summary align with other historical summaries that we've read?
  • Describe “Fostering Communities of Learners”
  • How do you think these authors would consider Ertmer & Newby's description of choosing strategies? How about Bednar et al.?
  • What is the purpose of the research activities in FCL?
  • What are the sharing activities?
  • What is the role of the consequential task?
  • Why is this strategy (FCL) not considered merely a divide and conquer type of activity?
  • What is their concern with what we typically know about developmental issues in learning and how those data were gathered?
  • Principles of learning embraced by FCL?

McNeill, K. L., Lizotte, D. J., Kjajcik, J., & Marx, R. W. (2006). Supporting students' construction of scientific explanations by fading scaffolds in instructional materials. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 15 (2), 153-191.

  • Comment on their operationalizing of scaffolds.
  • Summarize the findings of the study.

Hickey, D. T., Moore, A. L., & Pellegrino, J. W. (2001). The motivational and academic consequences of elementary mathematics environments: Do constructivist innovations and reforms make a difference? American Educational Research Journal, 38 (3), 611-652.

Kirschner, P. A., Sweller, J., & Clark, R. E. (2006). Why minimal guidance during instruction does not work: An analysis of the failure of constructivist, discovery, problem-based, experiential, and inquiry-based teaching. Educational Psychologist, 41 (2), 75-86.

  • React to the following statement: “Any instructional procedure that ignores the structures that constitute human cognitive architecture is not likely to be effective” (p. 76).
  • Describe the theoretical stance adopted by these authors.
  • Comment on the criticisms in the article.
  • Respond to the following statement: “It is regrettable that current constructivist views have become ideological and often epistemologically opposed to the presentation and explanation of knowledge” (p. 84).

Gijbels, D. Dochy, F., Van den Bossche, P., & Segers, M. (2005). Effects of problem-based learning: A meta-analysis from the angle of assessment. Review of Educational Research, 75 (1), 27-61.

  • Describe the process of meta-analysis undertaken by these authors.
  • Why are the findings of this study contrary to Kirschner, Sweller, and Clark 's (2006) article?
  • What do you take away from this article regarding assessment in general in constructivist learning environments (if anything)?

Gijbels, D., van de Watering, G., Dochy, F., & van den Bossche, P. (2006). New learning environments and constructivism: The students' perspective. Instructional Science, 34 , 213-226.

  • What are the key findings of this study? How can these be used in your own design project?
  • Refer to table 2. Given the differences between the proposed learning environments, how do you account for the high means for factors 3 and 7 in the traditional classroom?

Powell, R. R. (1996). Epistemological antecedents to culturally relevant and constructivist classroom curricula: A longitudinal study of teachers' contrasting world views. Teaching and Teacher Education, 12 (4), 365-384.

  • Consider this article in conjunction with Windschitl's dilemma's. What dilemma(s) does this article address?
  • Compare/contrast the worldviews of these two teachers given your own background from this class. How do their different instructional tactics stem from their worldviews?
  • Is either teacher necessarily a better/worse teacher because of their worldview?
  • Do you agree with Powell's categorizations of these two teachers' worldviews? Why or why not?
  • What do you take away from this article for your own design project? Does it suggest any guidelines for teachers who may use your design?

Saunders, W. & Goldenberg, C. (1996). Four primary teachers work to define constructivism and teacher-directed learning: Implications for teacher assessment. The Elementary School Journal, 97 (2), 139-161.

  • Consider this article in conjunction with Windschitl's dilemma's. What dilemma(s) does this article address?
  • Briefly describe the process in which the teachers engaged (i.e., not what they did in the study, but the conceptual change process).
  • What was the benefit conceptually in direct instruction as they teachers undertook this process of discussing and implementing instructional conversations?
  • What can you take away from this article for your own design project? Does it suggest any guidelines for teachers who may use your design?

Barab, S. A. & Duffy, T. D. (2000). From practice fields to communities of practice. In D. Jonassen & S. M. Land (Eds.), Theoretical foundations of learning environments (pp. 25-56). Mahwah , NJ : Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

  • What is the difference between constructivism and situated cognition and how do they rectify these?
  • What are the two main view of situativity theory? What is the relationship between the psychological view and constructivism?
  • What is the difference between a practice field and a community of practice? What are the characteristics of each?

Sfard, A. (1998). On two metaphors for learning and the dangers of choosing just one. Educational Researcher, 27 (2), 4-13.

  • Define knowledge and knowing. Is either one more appropriate for constructivism given your prior readings?
  • Sfard notes that the “dichotomy between acquisition and participation should be not be mistaken for the well-knowledge distinction between individualist and social perspectives on learning” (p. 7). One what grounds does she make this statement? Do you agree, given your readings on constructivism?
  • Does her article change your definition of constructivism?
  • Comment on her position that we need both metaphors. What is the basis for her position? Do you agree with it?

Brown, J. S., Collins, A., & Duguid, P. (1989). Situated cognition and the culture of learning. Educational Researcher, 18 , 32-42. and discussion that followed.

  • What is the concern they use to stage this article?
  • Relationship between language, concepts, and tools.
  • Difference between school activity and situated activity
  • What's the difference between indexialized representation versus descriptions and why is this distinction important for their argument?
  • Continue to develop your own definition of distributed cognition.
  • Describe the instructional solution they provide to address the issue of situated cognition in classrooms. Understand the examples.
  • Comment on “Toward an epistemology of situated cognition” given your growing understanding of epistemology.
  • What does Palinscar defend in her discussion of the article?
  • Where are her areas of agreement and disagreement?
  • Where have we read about Palinscar before and what does that indicate about our perceptions of her work as well as the notion of cognitive apprenticeship?
  • What is Wineburg's stance on the article and his major criticisms?
  • Given your earlier reading by Bruner, comment on Wineburg's comment about historical grounding.
  • What is common among the Palinscar and Wineburg critiques?

Anderson, J. R., Reder, L. M. & Simon, H. A. (1996). Situated learning and education. Educational Researcher, 25 (4), 5-11.

Greeno, J. G. (1997). On claims that answer the wrong question. Educational Researcher, 26 (1), 5-17.

  • What is Greeno's reaction to the an article by Adnerson, Reder, & Simon (1996) that is a criticism of situativity theory?
  • How does Greeno reframe the debate? (specifically, what are his four general questions and the responses to them from both perspectives?)
  • How does the situativity framework that Greeno describes compare with the descriptions of individual and social constructivism that you've read?

Phillips, D. C. (1995). The good, the bad, and the ugly: The many faces of constructivism. Educational Researcher, 24 (7), 5-12.

  • In what ways to do the “sects” of constructivism align with one another?
  • How does Phillips describe the major differences among the sects?
  • Where would you place the articles that you've read along these dimensions?
  • What is the good, the bad, and the ugly of constructivism? Do you agree?


Educational Psychology  College of Education  University of Iowa

This file was last updated on November 6, 2006 by K. Schuh