of change are blowing through American classrooms from several
directions. Schools are serving a more ethnically, linguistically,
and culturally diverse student body than ever before. From
our universities and research institutions, studies about
education, cognitive psychology, and neurology have offered
new insights on how humans learn. And from the marketplace,
the infusion of technology has redefined work skills and
society's expectations about what it means to be an educated
In more and more
classrooms, teachers are using technology to help them meet
the challenges posed by these changes. Constructivism, a
theory of learning, provides a valuable framework for using
computers and other technology in productive, interesting
ways. Technology can enrich students' use of a variety of
resources and help them gain understanding about their world.
Assisted by teachers and peers in their growth as individual
learners, students can use technology to enhance their work
and increase their connections with resources outside school
walls. However, computers are not inherently instructional
tools, and most teachers need suggestions for using them.
This guide provides such suggestions. It is not a nuts-and-bolts
manual, but a discussion about using technology in environments
that support learning.
of "technology" is limited here to include only
computers and anything that attaches to computers. Beginning
with an overview of learning principles based on constructivist
theory in Chapter 1, Chapter
2 presents classroom activities without technology.
Chapters 3 and 4
examine ways computers can complement classroom instruction
to support learning. Chapter
5 is a practical compendium of questions, answers, and
considerations for introducing technology into the learning
environment. A resources section
is provided for those wishing more information on technology
and constructivist theory.