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Constructionist Principles as an Aid for Teaching: Notes from Experience

Constructionist Principles as an Aid for Teaching: Notes from Experience
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Author(s): Carlo Gabriel Porto Bellini (Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul - UFRGS, Brazil)
Copyright: 2001
Pages: 3
Source title: Managing Information Technology in a Global Economy
Source Editor(s): Mehdi Khosrow-Pour, D.B.A. (Information Resources Management Association, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-930708-07-5.ch123
ISBN13: 9781930708075
EISBN13: 9781466665323


This paper presents an application of constructionist principles and the programming language LOGO (Papert, 1994) as an aid for teaching Logic for Computer Science. The work reflects observations made by the author during a two-year experience as an educator in the Data Processing curriculum at the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) in Porto Alegre, South Brazil. During that period, it was possible to cross data from “traditional” class meetings and from meetings supported by LOGO and a set of constructionist assumptions. From the experience, perceived benefits and difficulties faced by both tutor and pupils are presented, as well as comments on applying constructionist principles and the programming language LOGO to class meetings. The general conclusion is that Constructionism is actually very appropriate to foster the individual commitment to building the individual and the collective knowledge in a group of students. Some important benefits observed in the study were (1) the students’ increased motivation to participate in the class meetings, (2) their improved depth of analysis of problems, and (3) the unique hands-on experience provided by this approach to teaching and learning. Benefits are supposed to be related to the approximation of examples and exercises to the reality of each individual student. On the other hand, it is worth of note that applying constructionist ideas to class meetings requires teachers to be well-prepared in fundamentals of this approach, as well as students to be open to a new class format (not passive, but proactive). The programming language LOGO is another factor of influence in meetings, as it requires instructors and students to have at least a minimum knowledge about Math and computer operation.

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