There are many varieties of epistemological and cognitive constructivism. They have in common an appreciation of the failures of centuries of attempts to realize a correspondence notion of truth and representation, and they all propose some constructivist programme as an alternative. The programmatic proposals, however, can differ greatly. Some contemporary constructivisms that are being vigorously advocated propose a social form of idealism with a consequent relativism. Such proposals risk giving constructivism a bad name. The main burden of this article is to show that such an idealism and relativism is not forced by constructivism, but, instead, is the result of an additional and questionable presupposition. Constructivism per se is a strong epistemological position that is fully compatible with realism.
Excerpt: Cognitive constructivism is not a unique theoretical framework, pedagogical approach, or epistemology, but a general, metaphorical assumption about the nature of cognition that virtually all cognitive educational researchers accept. Despite this unifying assumption, there are many different cognitive constructivist research programs and theories within the community at large. This article contrasts cognitive constructivism with several other forms of constructivism in the educational research community. It then attempts to represent the range of theoretical approaches within cognitive constructivism, pointing to examples and potential educational applications of cognitive constructivist ideas. Cognitive schema theory receives special attention as an important theoretical perspective that has been relatively neglected in recent theoretical discussions. It is believed to have significant potential for building conceptual bridges between information processing and radical constructivist viewpoints.
Dobrosovestnova A. (2019) Constructivism in educational robotics: Interpretations and challenges. . https://cepa.info/6551
Educational robotics (ER) is a subset of educational technology that includes robotic kits and social robots utilized with a goal to facilitate teaching and learning. Scientific publications on educational robotics are commonly anticipated by references to constructivism and constructionism. However, in philosophy, social sciences and cognitive science, constructivism is not a unified framework but a conglomerate of at least six different branches with diverse ontological, epistemological and pragmatic positions. This thesis takes a form of a critical survey where my aim was to map and to evaluate what constructivism means in and for educational robotics research. To meet this goal, I collected and studied 57 ER publications dated 2000–2018. Following an extended introduction into constructivist debates in philosophy and cognitive science, and the discussion how these in influenced contemporary educational paradigms in the first and second chapters of the thesis, in the third chapter I proceed to lay out the insights I gathered during my survey of educational robotics literature. As expected, interpretations ranged from less theoretically informed where constructivism is reduced to any instances of hands-on manipulations of robotic technology, to more informed where constructivism is interpreted through the lens of subject-centered constructivist strands (Piaget-derived cognitive constructivism and its spin-off constructionism). In the latter group, notions associated with authentic education paradigm, such as collaboration, personalization, exploratory learning, and others, are addressed either as pedagogical strategies or as objects of research on their own terms. Though fewer in numbers, the field is also represented by studies that integrate concepts from social constructivism with the overall authentic education orientation. Here, Vygotskian concepts such as zone of proximal development, more knowledgeable other and scaffolding are commonly referred to. The thesis concludes with a broader discussion and my suggestions for future research.
Doolittle P. E. & Camp W. G. (1999) Constructivism: The career and technical education perspective. Journal of Vocational and Technical Education 16(1): 23–46. https://cepa.info/7263
For over three-quarters of a century, the implicit learning theory underlying the curriculum and pedagogy of career and technical education has been behaviorism, but the emerging theory of constructivism may have implications for career and technical education practice in the future. Preparation of workers for entry into and advancement in the workplace of the next decade requires an educational program that provides not only job skills, as career and technical education did throughout the 1900s, but also higher order thinking, problem solving, and collaborative work skills. Classical behaviorist theory does not adequately address the latter kinds of learning, but constructivist theory may. Constructivist principles are examined in light of the fundamental requirements of career and technical education as we move into the new century with a new name for a redesigned profession. Of the three basic types of constructivism discussed, cognitive constructivism is most compatible with career and technical education. The authors recommend a more thorough examination of the relative efficacy of behaviorism and cognitive constructivism to serve as the learning theory on which to base career and technical education in the future. To embrace such a foundational change, leaders in the profession must re-think many of the fundamental assumptions underlying the mission, curriculum, and pedagogy of career and technical education. Perhaps such a rethinking is due.
Grandy R. E. (1997) Constructivisms and objectivity: Disentangling metaphysics from pedagogy. Science & Education 6(1–2): 43–53. https://cepa.info/3023
We can distinguish the claims of cognitive constructivism from those of metaphysical constructivism, which is almost entirely irrelevant to science education. Cognitive constructivism has strong empirical support and indicates important directions for changing science instruction. It implies that teachers need to be cognizant of representational, motivational and epistemic dimensions which can restrict or promote student learning. The resulting set of tasks for a science teacher are considerably larger and more complex than on the older more traditional conception, but the resources of cognitive sciences and the history of science can provide important parts of the teachers intellectual tool kit. A critical part of this conception of science education is that students must develop the skills to participate in epistemic interchanges. They must be provided opportunities and materials to develop those skills and the classroom community must have the appropriate features of an objective epistemic community.
Grandy R. E. (1998) Constructivisms and objectivity: Disentangling metaphysics from pedagogy. In: Matthews M. R. (ed.) Constructivism in science education: A philosophical examination. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht: 113–123. https://cepa.info/7466
We can distinguish the claims of cognitive constructivism from those of metaphysical constructivism. which is almost entirely irrelevant to science education. Cognitive constructivism has strong empirical SUPPO” and indicates important directions for changing science instruction. [t implies that teachers need to be cognizant of representational. motivational and epistemic dimensions which can restrict or promote student learning. The resulting set of tasks for a science teacher are considerably larger and more complex than on the older more traditional conception, but the resources of cognitive sciences and the history of science can provide important parts of the teachers intellectual tool kit. A critical part of this conception of science education is that students must develop the skills to participate in epistemic interchanges. They must be provided opportunities and materials to develop those skills and the classroom community must ha\‘e the appropriate features of an objective epistemic community.
O’Loughlin M. (1993) Some further questions for Piagetian constructivists: A reply to Fosnot. Journal of Research in Science Teaching 30(9): 1203–1207.
Catherine Fosnot’s labeling of my essay (O’Loughlin, 1992a) as “nihilistic, culturally relative, and dangerous” is rancorous and perplexing. Her characterization of my research on Piaget as meager, erroneous, and flawed is amusing, considering her stance as an avowed constructivist, and her argument for a rapprochement between her kind of cognitive constructivism and the social constructivism she attributes to me is mystifying considering the lambasting she gives my position. I stand by my original text. It depicts my attempt to weave together a story from diverse sources-and emphatically not from the single source Fosnot alleges-that articulates my concerns about the limitations of Piagetian forms of constructivism as the basis for a pedagogy that might enable diverse learners to gain ownership over scientific discourse and allow them to construct a critical understanding of the role of science in our society. My text is open to multiple interpretations and Fosnot is entitled to hers. However, she does a disservice by not laying bare the interpretive frameworks and interests on which her critique is based. Clues to her stance are to be found in her response, however, and I will use the brief space available to me to identify some of these so readers can draw their own conclusions about the relevance of her critique.
Powell K. C. & Kalina C. J. (2009) Cognitive and social constructivism: Developing tools for an effective classroom. Education 130(2): 241–250. https://cepa.info/7820
An effective classroom, where teachers and students are communicating optimally, is dependent on using constructivist strategies, tools and practices. There are two major types of constructivism in the classroom: (1) Cognitive or individual constructivism depending on Piaget’s theory, and (2) Social constructivism depending on Vygotsky’s theory. Similarities include inquiry teaching methods and students creating concepts built on existing knowledge that are relevant and meaningful. Differences include language development theory where thinking precedes language for cognitive constructivism and language precedes thinking for the theory of social constructivism. Understanding communicative tools and strategies helps teachers to develop individual learning methods such as, discovery learning, and social interactive activities to develop peer collaboration.
Saalmann G. (2007) Arguments Opposing the Radicalism of Radical Constructivism. Constructivist Foundations 3(1): 1–6 & 16–18. https://constructivist.info/3/1/001
Purpose: Examination of the main arguments for radical constructivism and the critical arguments put forward against it. Findings: Although there is no reason to doubt the value of constructivism as such, it can be stated that any epistemological radicalism lacks plausibility. There is ample evidence that we still can adopt a critical realist outlook, even if every part of our world view is a construction. Implications: We should engage ourselves in the development of an anti-metaphysical, non-objectivist epistemology. By far the most promising contribution should be a version of pragmatism.
Social media provide new means and opportunities for learning that are consistent with major tenets of both social and cognitive constructivism, and extend the process of learning and meaning construction to more diverse communities and universally accessible shared activities that are jointly and concurrently engaged in by both peers and experts.