SECOND INTERNATIONAL HARVARD CONFERENCE ON INTERNET & SOCIETY may 26-29, 1998
Novel Constructivist Learning Environments and Novel Technologies
by Gavriel Salomon
Three issues are discussed. One concerns the instructional goals of constructivist environments: Are they to be aimed at the processes of social participation and the joint system's operation, or at more lasting attainments of it? A solution is offered based on conceptions of reciprocal interdependence between approaches. The other issues pertain to the technology's role in constructivist learning environments. One concerns the possibility of a Butterfly Defect whereby students may learn to construct cognitive webs in terms of the casual links typical of the hypermedia they construct. The second issue pertains to the flood of unstructured, fortuitous information students in constructivist learning environments face when surfing the Internet: Might it not debilitate their construction of knowledge? Researchers and designers should therefore beware of being led into a technological promised land that redefines the nature of constructionist learning environments.
Gavriel Salomon currently serves as the Dean of the Faculty of Education at Haifa University in Haifa, Israel. His field of study is cognition, learning, culture and technology, an area in which he has written and edited four books, one of which was declared a Classic Citation, as well as about 100 empirical and theoretical articles in various international journals. Salomon has taught at Hebrew University, Tel Aviv University and Haifa University in Israel, as a visiting professor at Stanford, Harvard, Michigan, USC, and the University of Arizona in the U.S., and as a guest lecturer in Japan, Mexico, Spain, Norway, Canada, Holland, and Denmark.