Amy Potthast | Instructional Coach & Designer | Learning Design Studios

Is there even an answer to the question I have?

First step – research and read to better understand constructivism as an instructional theory or ISD model — versus educational philosophy. For the past several days I have been searching on the OSU library (and ERIC etc.) for articles and books that can orient me to constructivism.

I think I’d like to investigate whether constructivist models of ISD work better with some kinds of learners than others. Like rich/well educated hippie college kids with intrinsic motivation and great work ethic and self discipline and an academic history of inquiry based learning. But I am not finding a huge body of writing on the topic which makes me doubt there is research to look at to answer my question.

Tonight I found a book review for Constructivism and Instructional Technology (book is by Duffy and Jonassen) helpful. The review points out that it’s hard to ask good questions about a topic you don’t know much about (Miyake and Norman, 1979). Ringing very, very true!

Could “scaffolding” be the answer to the problem of learners not knowing enough to ask good questions in constructivism? Clark and Graves 2008 — study on contrasting literature methods in elem classrooms (PDF is on the macbook):

Inherent in the concept of scaffolding is the gradual release of responsibility model (Pearson & Fielding, 1991). In this model, students progress from situations in which the teacher assumes the majority of responsibility for successful completion of a task to situations in which students assume all or most of the responsibility for the task. – page 10

First clue that constructive isd works better with some populations than others. In a comparison of open and directed literature text mediation in fourth and fifth graders, it seems that the fifth graders enjoyed the books better when the approach was more constructivist while the fourth graders enjoyed the books better with the objectivist approach. p. 22 – Mean ratings of interest table.

–CLARK & GRAVES • AUSTRALIAN JOURNAL OF LANGUAGE AND LITERACY, Vol. 31, No. 1, 2008. pp. 9–29

How I am feeling:
Before I found the book review corroborating George’s take, I was feeling frustrated
Feeling better now, like I am onto something, not sure what
Afraid that this whole process is going to take a long time
Scared about developing an assessment and rubric for myself

One thought to answer my research question (if it is the same one I mention above) is to chat with some professors at Evergreen (to the extent that Evergreen is constructivist in its approach — how will I confirm that?) and see what admissions criteria looks like as far as predicting success in that environment. Also — interview George?

SMEs:
– Chinese faculty member at Evergreen who Maggie knows
– Maggie
– Gail
– George?

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