I love that quote from Field of Dreams with Kevin Costner. I think it is true of anything. Living outside of Detroit is not such a bad thing. Our sports teams are legendary, just not all in the right direction. So, the owners of the Lions (NFL for you non-football folks) thought they should build a new stadium, Ford Field. If we build it, they will come (to learn how to play?). That didn’t work, but the Field is beautiful, see for yourself here.
The same is true about teaching in a constructionist classroom! If THEY build it, “it” will come (to them.) It is a great theory because the kids are immersed in the artifact they are building; but we have to get them to build it! I teach science, so building things is an easy way for me to teach, if you can call it that. I give instructions, over and over and over, and hand out the instructions, with plenty of additional copies for those lost, and then I coach and cheer for my team to build. More times then not, I get a decent turnout of the project artifacts being created. The other great thing about science is the hypothesis! I do not teach my kids the scientific method; I completely submerse them in it. I teach around inquiry (Pitler & Hubbell, 2001) which is a founding component of the hypothesis.
Now that January is on it’s way out (yeah, can you believe it!!), my students have finally figured out I will not be solving their problems or giving direct answers to every question. They must search and test their own theory and get back to me with the result. It is a nice feeling to round that base! Using technology to gain insight, gather information, and work towards the creation of artifacts and knowledge are a dream. Some days, that is a pipe dream because of the lack of computers and internet for my students, both at school and home, but I keep trying to round the bases. Some days we hit singles, but others we get the homer! And so, they build those artifacts and keep learning and connecting the dendrites into permanent long-term memory. Guess I believe in constructionism, for “If they build it, they will come (to know it.)”