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Social connectivism trumps constructivism for third world child learning

Steve Wheeler offers an interesting quote at the end of this post: “Minimally invasive education has been shown to be better than direct instruction for promoting intellectual maturity. Thus, said Sir John, social connectivism trumps constructivism for third world child learning.”

This comment was picked up by Pontydysgu under the post of Connectivism vs Constructivism:

Finally, I am genuinely confused by social connectivism being presented in opposition to constructivism. Is Social Connectivism now a distinct pedagogy that has fallen bellow my radar? Or, for that matter is Constructivism a pedagogy? Constructivism is a theory of knowledge not a specific pedagogy – Constructionism is the educational theory proposed by Papert using Piaget’s constructivist ideas.

For most educators, at least as is presented in graduate theory courses, constructivism is very much a learning theory…a pedagogy. The distinction between OLPC and Mitra’s research is interesting, especially in light of the open courses we’re currently offering. Providing technology without information and social connections doesn’t guarantee effective learning. While not hierarchical, knowledge does have shape or structure. In connectivism, the assertion is made that learning and knowledge are essentially the same thing – patterns of connectedness, or network growth.

4 Comments

  1. Charles wrote:

    Yes, for most educators, constructivism is presented as a pedagog

    Thursday, September 23, 2010 at 2:36 am | Permalink
  2. Charles wrote:

    Let’s try this again.

    Constructivism is used as a pedagogy by most educators and for them, it’s simply another term for learning by doing. For those who take a Piagetian perspective, the individual is a self-organizing system, who learns through a process of assimilation and accommodation, which in turn is a process of forming neural connections. However, neural connections are not at the same system level as the connections made by individuals in a network. Thus, perturbations at the neural level are necessary for an individual to “learn.” Without perturbations, new information is assimilated into present understanding, and learning hasn’t yet taken place.

    We can also apply the notions of assimilation and accommodation to a social level. At the social level, we might consider assimilation to result in groupthink. So, although new connections may be made between individuals, and individuals and material items, that doesn’t mean that learning has taken place.

    In what ways does connectivism separate between learning at the individual and social levels? In what ways does connectivism consider, as with the notion of assimilation and accommodation, that not all network growth may result in learning?

    Thursday, September 23, 2010 at 2:56 am | Permalink
  3. Charles wrote:

    Let’s try this again.

    For those who take a Piagetian perspective of constructivism the individual is a self-organizing system, who learns through a process of assimilation and accommodation, which in turn is a process of forming neural connections. However, neural connections are not at the same system level as the connections made by individuals in a network. Thus, perturbations at the neural level are necessary for an individual to “learn.” Without perturbations, new information is assimilated into present understanding, and learning hasn’t yet taken place.

    We can also apply the notions of assimilation and accommodation to a social level. At the social level, we might consider assimilation to result in groupthink. So, although new connections may be made between individuals, and individuals and material items, that doesn’t mean that learning has taken place.

    In what ways does connectivism separate between learning at the individual and social levels? In what ways does connectivism consider, as with the notion of assimilation and accommodation, that not all network growth may result in learning?

    Thursday, September 23, 2010 at 2:57 am | Permalink
  4. Charles wrote:

    I apologize for the multiple posts.

    Thursday, September 23, 2010 at 2:58 am | Permalink