GSE Professor’s Article Proves Popular with Educators

Posted: March 13, 2003 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Amy Biderman

A feature story written by Debra Sprague, associate professor in the Graduate School of Education (GSE), is one of the five most requested articles published in Learning & Leading with Technology, the journal of the International Society for Technology in Education. “Constructivism in the Classroom: If I Teach This Way, Am I Doing My Job?” cowritten with former Mason professor Chris Dede, was published in September 1999.

The article describes the value of integrating technology into the teaching process through constructivist theory, which allows students to learn by constructing their own meaning from experiences rather than from someone imparting information. Sprague maintains that students in a constructivist classroom are more actively involved than those in a traditional classroom–sharing ideas, asking questions, and discussing concepts.

Noting that she was “shocked” by the number of requests for the article, Sprague says the response affirms the need to ease teachers’ concerns about using constructivism in the classroom. “Particularly with the push for standardized testing, and a backlash against constructivist theory, teachers are looking for something to point to and say, ‘We can teach in a constructivist manner and still accomplish our goals.'”

Sprague believes that educators need to write more articles like hers. “There is a sense in the education and political communities that if you criticize standardized testing, then you’re also against accountability. In fact, there are other ways to teach that can have a bigger impact than just focusing on discrete facts of knowledge.”

For more information on the article, contact Sprague at (703) 993-2069 or dspragu1@gmu.edu.

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