Piaget’s Constructivism versus Papert’s Constructionism: What’s the difference and Why is it Important?
In her article, Edith Ackermann discusses between Constructivism (developed by Piaget) and Constructionism (developed by Papert). She argues that integrating both views helps educators to understand how people learn and grow cognitively. Piaget’s constructivism offers a window into what learnners are interested in, and able to achieve, at different stages of their development, while Papert’s constructionism, in contrast, focuses more on the art of learning, or ‘learning to learn’, and on the significance of making things in learning. Unlike Piaget, Papert stresses the importance of tools, media, and context in the construction of knowledge.
Ackermann feels that both Piaget's and Papert's theories allow educators to gain insight in the three following areas:
a. How can we rethink education?
b. How can we imagine new environments
c. How can we integrate new tools, media, and technologies at the service of the learner?
Additionally, these theorists remind us that "learning, especially today, is much less about acquiring information or submitting to other people’s ideas or values, than it is about putting one’s own words to the world, or finding one’s own voice, and exchanging our ideas with others."
Other sections of this Libguide have discussed Constructivism. Papert's Constructionism differs in the following ways.
Papert, a Mathematics professor at MIT developed the theory of construtionism, which is largely based on contructivism’s view of learning as “building knowledge structures”through progressive internalization of actions." In contrast to constructivism, there is a greater focus on learning through making rather than overall cognitive potentials. Additionally, it emphasizes the shifts from universals to individual learners’ conversation with their own favorite representations. Papert feels that "projecting out our inner feelings and ideas is a key to learning." He argues that expressing ideas makes them tangible and shareable which, in turn, sharpens these ideas, and helps us communicate with others through our expressions.
Similarities in Piaget and Papert:
Differences between Piaget and Papert:
Papert himself states that the simplest way of understanding Constuctionism is thinking of it as learning by making, and it demands that that everything be understood by construction. He advocates for student-centered, discovery learning where students use information they already know to acquire more knowledge, and feels that students learn through participation in project-based learning where they make connections between different ideas and areas of knowledge facilitated by the teacher through coaching rather than using lectures or step-by-step guidance.
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