Today, teaching and learning is evolving towards a practice that is ‘student centred’, rather than ‘teacher centred’. As Oluwafisayo (2010) explains, teachers are there to facilitate learning and offer guidance and support as they assist children in building on previous knowledge and experience to create new knowledge. Social constructivism relies on the theory that children learn through collaboration and interaction with their peers and more knowledgeable others. That is, they bring what they already know to a situation and build on their knowledge through their interactions.
Vygotsky, the father of social constructivism, notes that the collaboration and social interaction in the classroom is important in achieving deeper understanding and helps students internalise knowledge and understanding. Peers have a lot more to offer to one another in the classroom. (Kalina & Powell, 2009).
We are fortunate in that technology is providing more and more tools, such as the internet, for the classroom. The internet, in particular, has now advanced much further so that we do not just receive information from it (Web 1.0), rather we can add and modify information and collaborate with others (Web 2.0). These tools can be integrated into the curriculum in a way that puts the learning the hands of the student. Furthermore, they aid in delivering a lesson that follows the social constructivist theory as many of the elearning activities encourage interactivity and collaboration (Oluwafisayo,2010).
“Most recently, with the advent of the WWW, it is now not only possible for learners to access tons of information almost instantly, but it is also possible for them to be in control of the direction of their own learning.” (Oluwafisayo, 2010, p 19).
Wikis, Blogs, Social Networks and webquests are all seen to be great tools that a teacher can utilise in his/her lesson planning. The advantage, from a social constructivist view, of having these tools available is obvious to me: it gives teachers the opportunity to let children do the thinking for themselves, rather than spoon-feeding them with information as would have been the case with a transmission approach.
Kalina, C. J. & Powell, K. C. (2009). Cognitive and social constructivism: developing tools for an i effective classroom. Education, 130(2), 241-25
Oluwafisayo, E. (2010). Constructivism and Web 2.0 in the emerging learning era: A global perspective. Journal of Strategic Innovation and Sustainability, 6(4), 16- 25. Retrieved from: http://www.na-businesspress.com/JSIS/EnobunWeb.pdf