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Roller Coaster Constructivism

Theory Application Product #2

Alicia Fox

on 23 October 2014

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Transcript of Roller Coaster Constructivism

Roller Coaster Constructivism
Alicia Fox
USC Rossier Online
School of Education
EDUC 518
October 14, 2014
Dr. Corinne Hyde
How is knowledge "constructed"?
IC's model views knowledge construction as an internal process, fueled by personal motivation, that transfers previously created knowledge to the processing of new stimuli.

Witnessing the construction process through metacognitive awareness and the vocalization of cognitive strategies provides a model for how an individual can create their own knowledge and how that process is unique to that person (D'Angelo et al, 2009).
What is Individual Constructivism?
Born out of Piaget's Cognitive Development Theory, Individual Constructivism (IC) asserts that an individual learns by actively and independently engaging with their environment to create knowledge (D'Angelo et al, 2009).
The cognitive conflict resolution model
D'Angelo et al (2009) observed that learning is motivated by the resolution of "cognitive conflict."
Ack! I must resolve this conflict!
Cognitive Strategies
Assimilation or Accommodation
Reestablish Equilibrium!
What is the implication for learning?
Learning is "knowledge-dependent" driven by personal attention to the environment rather than dictated or created by external forces like a teacher or classmates (Anthony, 1996).
IC: You can go your own way.
IC learning is autonomous, and explains how two students in the same class can process information differently, as Glenda Anthony observed with students Gareth and Adam (1996).
Gareth and Adam were given the same tools and instruction by the math teacher, but utilized different cognitive tools to process and store knowledge into their personal mental banks.
What are the strengths of IC theory?
The strength of IC's view of learning is in the empowerment of the individual, active learner, and the focus on personal motivation as the critical determinant to constructing knowledge.
IC enables each person to take ownership of his/her own learning with the promise that if they just apply themselves that they will learn. Individuals become the sole architect of their own cognitive design.
It's your way or the misinformation highway.
IC theory promotes self-directed learning, but unchecked can lead to potential misconceptions and the creation of inaccurate and poorly formed knowledge.
As seen in Anthony's (1996) analysis of Gareth's math skills, a student can actively engage in learning but employ faulty strategies that do not correspond to the cognitive demands of the task. By working with ineffective tools, Gareth constructed a tower of knowledge that will eventually collapse.
How can we circumvent the weaknesses?
As evidenced in Anthony's study (1996), Adam achieved academic success whereas Gareth did not. Why?
Through the application of complex cognitive processes, Adam was able to select the right tools that fostered meaningful learning and ensured not just the resolution of a math problem but also his long-term success in constructing new knowledge.
What are complex cognitive processes?
Complex cognitive processes (CCPs) are tools that learners use to construct knowledge.

CCPs regulate the quality of information received by basic sensory resources and inform the process by which knowledge is stored.

In fact, Anderson et al (2001, p. 89) conclude
that effective knowledge construction entails
active and meaningful learning by engaging
multiple CCPs such as transfer,
metacognition, and problem-solving
Example of IC and CCP in
"Roller Coaster Physics: STEM in Action"
Teacher Donna Migdol fosters knowledge construction of math and physics concepts by her students through the use of IC and CCP tools as seen in the "Roller Coaster Physics" video (2012).
Example of IC and CCP in
"Roller Coaster Physics: STEM in Action"
In addition to a group design, Migdol gives students four minutes to create individual design proposals that they will present for approval to the team. This activity exemplifies IC as each child must independently transfer what they have learned from the previous week's safety project towards the construction of a new proposal addressing "fun". The design journals offer a formal assessment of what students have learned thus far, while challenging them to apply it to new tasks.

Migdol's request that students' label their designs and include rationales for their choices, also supports metacognition by making "their thinking public" (Chinn & Chinn, 2009).
Example of IC and CCP in
"Roller Coaster Physics: STEM in Action"
"Roller Coaster Physics" employs project-based problem-solving techniques to provide active engagement in students' learning while creating a final product. Migdol sets the parameters for the project with explicit goals, scaffolding, and a collaborative teams of 4 students each.

Each team member chooses a role based on his/her learning styles or strengths. Allowing students to determine their tasks gives them opportunities for self-motivated learning (a feature of IC) while supporting social connections that D'Angelo et al (2009) suggest facilitate knowledge construction.

Students also transfer their specialized skills - math, writing, organization - towards the resolution of new problems.
What is the learning objective of
"Roller Coaster Physics: STEM in Action"?

Students will be able to construct "a roller coaster that is both fun and safe at the same time"

- Donna Migdol.
Enhancing the RCP Lesson: Redesign #1
Enhancing the RCP Lesson: Redesign #2

"Roller Coaster Reenactment": As a formal, summative assessment, teams would create a portfolio that would document their designs' progress from initial sketches to final design. The presentation would feature step-by-step journaling of their problem-solving strategies including "great findings", "great questions", and modifications. Notes taken from their chimings would be added as would reflective observations of what did not work and why. Portfolios would be presented by each team to the class (and, if possible, to parents or other classes). Demonstrations and portfolios would allow all teams to reflect on their accomplishments and lessons learned, while gathering knowledge from other "expert" teams. Students would respond to a self-assessment tool and share their experiences.

In addition to utilizing problem-solving and metacognitive skills, students would be transferring skills from writing and graphic design disciplines towards the presentation of final design projects.
Individual Constructivism implies that individuals independently construct their own knowledge. However, effective cognitive development results from the integration of complex cognitive strategies such as transfer, metacognition and problem-solving skills. Engaging multiple strategies and multiple forms of knowledge through exploration and collaboration ensures that the results will be meaningful.
Microsoft Word clipart
Anderson et al state that the two "most important educational goals are to promote retention and to promote transfer" (2001, p.63).

Transfer is the ability to apply prior knowledge to new knowledge construction sites.

Transfer may happen autonomously or through the support of outside experts, like teachers, who may promote interdisciplinary learning.
Simply, metacognition is thinking about thinking.

According to Clark and Lisa Chinn (2009), metacognitive awareness enables a learner to:
* select and use the best cognitive strategies
* monitor understanding during the process
* reflect upon what did and did not work
* modify strategies for successful outcomes
Problem-solving skills

Aided by other CCPs, problem-solving skills approach new information with investigative tools to identify and resolve problems or cognitive conflict.

D'Angelo et al (2009) outline several instructional methods that engage problem-solving skills:
* Case-based learning: learning by example
* Discovery learning: learning by exploration
* Inquiry-based learning: using scientific methods
* Problem-based learning: learning in small groups
* Project-based learning: learning by creating

Migdol initiates a "chiming" exercise where each team shares their greatest challenge in achieving last week's goal while taking notes and providing feedback to other teams. As well as being a formative assessment tool for Migdol, the "chime" encourages students' metacognitive awareness and problem-solving skills as they must identify what went wrong and discuss ways to modify and improve upon their designs.

"Chiming" supports the views of Anthony (1996) who asserts that effective intellectual development relies upon meaningful learning experiences "characterised by increased insight."
If you do a little bit of a hill and make it down, maybe it will gather a little more potential energy so it'll have the energy to make it across the loop...
The Measurer
The Recorder
The Organizer
The Accountant
Although Migdol states that the goal is to create a roller coaster that Anderson et al (2001) would classify as "creating conceptual knowledge", there are multiple objectives embedded within this task. For example, she expects that students will be able to apply procedural knowledge while designing their models, and evaluate their own metacognitive knowledge to make any modifications necessary.
If you're thinking of clothoid loops, make sure you say the word "clothoid"

Although Migdol monitors each group's progress during the lesson, misconceptions still persist and may go unchecked. When Rebecca suggests adding a hill to give it less energy, Migdol has the team reexamine the model to verify whether that would be the result.

Chiming, as Migdol defines it, only checks in at the end of a project when corrective measures are too late to be implemented. Migdol also limits chiming to the sharing of student-perceived issues, and may not expose misconceptions until Migdol or the computer simulation exposes them.

Adding the role of "Ambassador" to each team creates an additional pair of "cognitive eyes" that can contribute an outside perspective to such dilemmas. The Ambassador would represent his/her team during a scheduled tour around the room to view other teams' projects. As a kind of in-progress "chiming", teams would present their successes and challenges while allowing the Ambassadors to provide alternate strategies based on their own team's discoveries. The process would intercept cognitive errors, and also offer new ideas that the Ambassadors could share with their own team upon return.
The Ambassador

The creation of the Ambassador role, and the visitation of other team projects while in progress, establishes a formative assessment tool that determines the quality of metacognitive processing through observation of student reporting and interaction.

In having to explain the strategies they use, teams provide valuable information from which the teacher can assess effectiveness and intercede if additional scaffolding or instruction is required (Chinn & Chinn, 2009).
Anderson, L.W. & Krathwohl, D.R. (Eds.). (2001). A taxonomy for learning, teaching and assessing: A revision of Bloom's Taxonomy of educational objectives: Abridged edition. New York: Longman.

Anthony, G. (1996). Active learning in a constructivist framework.
Educational Studies in Mathematics, 31
(4), 349-369. Retrieved October 8, 2009, from http://www.jstor.org/stable/3482969

Chinn, C. & Chinn, L. (2009). Cognitive strategies. Retrieved September 12, 2014, from http://www.education.com/reference/article/cognitive-strategies/

D'Angelo, C., Touchman, S., Clark, D., O'Donnell, A., Mayer, R., Dean, D. Jr., & Hmelo-Silver, C. (2009). Constructivism. Retrieved September 12, 2014, from http://www.education.com/reference/article/constructivism/

Roller Coaster Physics: STEM in Action. (2012). Retrieved October 14, 2014, from https://www.teachingchannel.org/videos/teaching-stem-strategies

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