The Construction Zone

Occasional thoughts about education and 'who is in charge of the learning'

Favourite Articles

Favourite Articles

(This page is under development…but have made it live anyway. :-))

Humankind is Both Art and Science

A TEDx presentation – The Art and Science of Learning Disabilities

“It is not enough to judge humankind on scientific principles which historically have often been temporary truths.  Schooling must respect the art of human-ness and so we should design natural learning environments to maximize our children’s innate assets.” (Read more…)

Older – but Still of Interest!

MULTIMEDIA – Blogs, Digital Storytelling, Flash, Podcasting (pdf)
ECOO Output, Spring, 2006

So what has really changed? In the early nineties, I wrote an article focused on helping students to ‘construct knowledge’ using multimedia. It was motivated by my concerns that students were producing visually exciting – yet fairly superficial – hypermedia documents that were, at first, getting raves from teachers. The raves were usually a result of the technical competence of the students – not from the new knowledge of the content area under study. The information presented was often merely ‘a tantalizing telling’ of information without a great deal of higher-order effort in its transformation.
So what has really changed? The tools. (Read more…)

Transferring Knowledge with Technology (pdf)
Learning and Leading with Technology – vol. 30 no. 4, begins on p. 22

Does computer use lead to knowledge, skills, and attitudes that are transferable to other situations? Or maybe a better question might be, “How can students use computers in ways that will allow for this transfer?”

If you ever wonder at the end of a day just what your kids learned while working at the computers and you are dissatisfied with your thoughts, consider the following simple model. Gavriel Salomon (1992) has posed an analysis of the difference between “effects with” and “effects of” computers. (Read more…)

ThinkingLand—Helping Students Construct Knowledge With Multimedia
Learning and Leading with Technology – vol. 22 no. 7, begins on p. 12

Visual essays’ or ‘multimedia reports’ created with HyperMedia tools are relatively common in many school systems as a means by which students can report their project findings on a subject topic (e.g., ‘endangered species’). Multimedia reports typically include graphics, text, sound, animation, and video. But I question how much effect this has on the students’ understanding of the content or thinking processes involved. However, I believe that there are methods which encourage students to ‘transform’ knowledge into new forms rather than to simply ‘tell’ about something they read. (Read more…)

Reaching Out, Maturing Within  (pdf)
Dialogue – for Canada’s Independent Educators, Spring 2005, pp. 36-39

“I am sorry Jill. I should have tried to get closer to you. I should have stood up for you, girl. I am sorry. Please forgive me. I guess I was scared, please forgive me.” — Megan, Canada,
“Helping others — actually talking to other kids for this project — sure makes my own troubles look pretty pathetic! Why do I whine so much?” — Theo, Canada,

Because of their involvement in authentic projects focused on service to others, the students mentioned here have learned significant moral lessons. It’s hoped
that these powerful learning experiences will resonate with them throughout life’s struggles.

Maybe I’m old. Maybe I’m wiser. Maybe I’m just finally so discouraged with the everpresent violence, poverty and environmental troubles. Maybe I’ve reached the “tipping point.” I’ve been a long-time advocate of project-based learning, and it seems to me we should be revamping our curriculum to pay more attention to projects that serve a public purpose.

What is “powerful learning with public purpose”? (Read more…)

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