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080 - Computer support for constructionism in context


The benefits of constructionism as a learning paradigm are widely recognised. Though the constructionist philosophy can be seen as applying to activities that are not necessarily computer-based (such as bricolage and concept mapping), its modern application in educational technology has been closely linked with computer use. In particular, Papert's work on LOGO programming in schools has both informed the original concept of constructionism and been a major influence over subsequent computer-based constructionist developments. This paper questions whether - despite these precedents - traditional computer programming is well-suited for the constructionist educational agenda. It argues that other approaches to computer modelbuilding, such as those based on spreadsheet principles, are in fact much better aligned to the objectives of constructionism. Building on this basis, it proposes that more effective computer support for the constructionist perspective is offered by Empirical Modelling (EM) within a conceptual experiential framework for learning (the EFL).