Information and communication technology (ICT) is a tool that is used every day by many people, wether it is for word processing, communicating with others, accessing information via the internet or playing games. ICT promises a faster and more exciting future but what is its place in the classroom? Does the mere presence of a computer in a classroom automatically guarantee improved learning and teaching? This paper is going to explore the use of ICT in constructivist classrooms and look at both the strengths and the limitations to the use of ICT to promote learning.
‘Many people believe that computers enhance learning because they support a constructivist approach to learning’ (Schrum,2005). The constructivist approach to teaching and learning ‘focuses on cognition as a collaborative process involving social processes, interactions with the environment and self-reflection’ (Rogoff, 1998). It is viewed as a self regulated process that builds on learners’ existing knowledge and in which learners are active participants. There are key principles of the constructivist approach to teaching. These include;
• Learners are active participants, ‘learning by doing’
• Learners are self-regulated. They construct and monitor their own ideas
• Importance of social interaction in cognitive development
• Encourages students to make sense of new information for themselves rather than being ‘spoon feed’ information.
(Krause, Bochner and Duchesne, 2003)
The use of ICT in the classroom contributes to all the above key principles for this style of teaching. Interactivity occurs when ICT is introduced into the classroom, between both the machine and the student and between students. It promotes social interaction, problem solving and requires students to make meaning out of information. A study was done by Olson (1997) which investigated 17... [continues]
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