LEARNING AND TECHNOLOGY IN VIRTUAL ENVIRONMENTS WITH A CONSTRUCTIONISM THEORY
This work analyses the Constructionism theory of Seymour Papert in a group of students from the Faculty of Informatics of the University Autonomous of Sinaloa. These students interact with the Virtual Laboratory of Robotics project. An analysis of the Constructionism theory and the applications in higher education is represented in this paper.
Seymour Papert (1999) of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, developed a theory based on Piaget's constructivism. Piaget’s constructivism offers a window into what children are interested in, and able to achieve, at different stages of their development. The theory describes how children’s ways of doing and thinking evolve over time, and under which circumstance children are more likely to let go of—or hold onto— their currently held views. Piaget suggests that children have very good reasons not to abandon their worldviews just because someone else, be it an expert, tells them they’re wrong. Papert’s constructionism, in contrast, focuses more on the art of learning, or ‘learning to learn’, and on the significance of making things in learning.
Papert is interested in how learners engage in a conversation with [their own or other people’s] artifacts, and how these conversations boost self-directed learning, and ultimately facilitate the construction of new knowledge. He stresses the importance of tools, media, and context in human development. In his own words: “Constructionism —the N word as opposed to the V Word— shares contructivism’s view of learning as “building knowledge structures through progressive internalization of actions…” It then adds the idea that this happens specially easily in a context where the learner is consciously engaged in constructing a public entity, whether it’s a sand castle on the beach or a theory of the universe ( Papert, 1991).
Papert’s theory is focuses primarily in the art of learning or learning to learn with the use of technology and the important things to learn. For Papert projection of intuition and ideas become to be an important part of learning.
The objective of this project is improving the students learning level with the use of a Virtual Laboratory of Robotics. This laboratory will allow them interact with virtual robots like it was real robots. These tools are very useful for universities or institutes with a limited budget.
Incorporating the technology and linking to the learning process of students, they will develop a solid, ludic, holistic, systematic learning.
Making research in robotics area incurs in high costs, and doing in public universities is even more difficult because they depend for a limited budget, so in this project it has been treated use the benefits and the universe of possibilities that virtual reality has given. The virtual reality applications have been of vital importance for the development of research in areas such as robotics.
The use of new technologies by Tedesco (1992), has changed our categories of time and space and forced us to redefine, even, the concept of reality, beginning with construction of virtual realities. In this profound transformation the new technologies are perceived in an ambivalent way: as a threat or as solution for children and youth.
Therefore professors of century XXI must have skills in Information and Communication Technologies, as well as provide appropriate technological tool for students to build their own knowledge and their community learning.