|In constructivist learning environments
||In a constructivist computer lab
||On the MicroWorlds in Action site
|learners actively construct knowledge.
||most activities are project-based.
||learners exercise their problem-solving and critical thinking skills in a rich environment.
||extension activities for each project encourage exploration and extend new skills. |
|learning is student-centered and internally driven.
||learners work at their own pace on projects of their own choosing (as much as possible).
||learners can be creative in designing presentations, games, simulations, geometric designs, animations, more.
||learners may sample or explore project folders in any order, based on theme or programming emphasis. |
|learners engage in authentic tasks in meaningful, relevant (and sometimes real-world) contexts.
||computers are tools for meaningful learning, creating, and thinking… not for practicing already-learned skills.
||learners conceive of a project, determine the steps involved in making this idea a reality, and share their finished project with others.
||students may explore FAQs; programming vocabulary; interactive projects with notes, procedures, and extension activities. |
|new knowledge is constructed in the context of the learner's prior knowledge, experiences, and beliefs.
||when a new skill or concept is presented, each student has a chance to apply new knowledge in a personally meaningful way.
||the turtle gives students a context for new knowledge as they "teach the turtle new words" and watch the turtle follow instructions they have written.
||folder themes are based on familiar activities. Projects within each folder are sequenced, building on skills and concepts introduced earlier in the folder. |
|reality is often represented in more than one way.
||learners are encouraged to consider more than one way to solve a problem. One lesson can lead to many implementations.
||there are often numerous possible solutions to one programming or design challenge.
||extension activities for each project encourage the learner to experiment with different solutions to a problem. |
|learners learn about learning: creating not just new meanings but new systems of meaning.
||learners create new systems of meaning as they plan, develop, evaluate, and revise a project - a stepping stone to more complex work.
||learners learn how to communicate new knowledge to the computer using its existing knowledge base; how to debug errors; etc.
||extension activities for each project help the learner reflect on the learning experience and apply it in new contexts. |
|activities are often hands-on and always engage the mind.
||software becomes a canvas for creative exploration, through graphic design, programming, word processing, spread-sheets, meaningful Web work
||learners create a new world through commands issued to the computer. Also, the help menu models new terms and concepts through small interactive projects.
||learners can explore interactive projects with buttons and sliders, before and during the process of learning the skills involved in creating each project. |
|learners reflect thoughtfully on their experiences.
||learners reflect, discuss, and evaluate their projects and their choices.
||learners test and debug each small piece of the puzzle, revamping the project plan as needed.
||extension activities promote reflection on big ideas and details, providing a constructivist means of self-assessment, peer assessment, and teacher assessment. |
|learning is a social activity; learners tend to construct knowledge through collaboration rather than competition.
||teams of learners may work together to develop projects. Learners turn to peers for testing and feedback and may be trained to help mentor peers.
||learners often turn to peers for ideas and support as they develop and debug a project.
||projects are well-suited for group or solo exploration. Extension activities facilitate peer assessment. |
|learning takes time.
||learners may develop and complete projects at their own pace.
||the rich multimedia environment inspires learners to tackle ambitious projects.
||all activities are self-paced; in-depth or cursory exploration is possible. |
|learning involves language.
||teachers ask open-ended questions stimulating learners to analyze, predict, and discuss the learning process with their peers.
||learners explore a new form of communication: conveying new meanings to a computer through a programming language.
||self-help is encouraged through FAQs, project notes, and sample procedures. Extension activities promote discussion and analysis. |
|assessment becomes part of the learning process.
||a learner, peers, and the teacher may be involved in assessing projects, with a focus on sharing and refining skills and concepts rather than on grades.
||a learner self-assesses a project frequently and incrementally by testing procedures and by sharing the project with others.
||extension activities encourage self-assessment (and sometimes external assessment) at different levels of complexity. |