Μαθαίνω - Κατασκευάζω - Συνεργάζομαι - Επικοινωνώ
will take place in Trinity College Dublin, Ireland from the 26-29 of May 2020.
Conference Theme – Exploring, Testing and Extending our Understanding of Constructionism: what does Constructionism have to offer today?
Echo chambers, digital wildfires and fake news. The rise of AI, big data and robotics. Widening gaps in society, refugee crises, climate change, and so on. We certainly are “living in interesting times”. Times which require all of us working in education to do everything we possibly can to provide everyone with the best possible education to help them navigate and construct the “brave new world” in which they will live. As Lord David Puttnam put it ‘There won’t be much of a future for any of us unless we’re prepared to become significantly more imaginative – most particularly in respect of the way in which we approach the education of our young people.’
While much has changed in the world since Seymour Papert coined the term ‘Constructionism’ over 30 years ago, we might argue that little in education has. Constructionism has proven to be a pedagogical approach which flourishes in informal educational settings, yet in the formal classroom it is stymied by the traditional internal structures of schools such as timetabling and siloed subject teaching, as well as external expectations and measures. Perhaps Constructionism’s most visible contribution to formal education has been in the area of computer programming and computational thinking. Clearly Constructionism has a lot to contribute to how these topics are taught in schools, but Papert’s vision was much broader than that. Indeed James Clayson argues that “Constructionism has always been overly concerned with mathematical and computational literacy at the expense of kindred constructivist disciplines”.
Given the challenges and opportunities both within education and wider society today, what does Constructionism have to offer? Does it have a place in the traditional classroom and if so, how? How do the experiences of constructionism in different settings, e.g. corporate, community, makerspaces etc., inform each other? What are the kindred educational perspectives, sociological, psychological and other perspectives that the Constructionist Community should be engaging with? Are there limits to Constructionism and what is the evidence base? This conference aims to reflect on past experience; challenge existing ideas and explore new ones; consider how we engage with academics, teachers, parents, students and policy makers beyond our existing community; renew the vision of what Constructionism has to offer; and identify how we can collectively move that vision forward.