Social Constructivism and Open Source

Mar 08, 2010

Miles Berry

Teachers TVLast November, I had the rather strage experience of having one of my lectures filmed, the resulting programme now having been broadcast on Teachers’ TV. Whilst the BBC haven’t yet been in touch about my taking over from Jonathan Ross, folks here might be interested in a 45′ peek into the day job, especially as the subject matter for that Friday’s lecture was ‘Social constructivism and open source software’.

The lecture was number eight in a 10 module ‘Introduction to Programming for Primary Teachers’ course for our first year ICT specialist primary education cohort. Rather than just focussing on programming in Scratch, the lectures in the module weave together relevant educational or computing theory with more practical hands-on programming activities, hence the above title. I spend the first part of the lecture giving a quick synopsis of a number of social and constructivist educational paradigms, making some explicit connections with learning ICT where I can, before discussing open source and creative commons development as real world examples of social constructionism. The best bit of the film though is the last 10 minutes or so, where you get to see my students critiqueing some pupils’ work on the Scratch website as well as providing feedback to one another on the educational games they developed in Scratch. I’m hoping that the course materials might yet be released under a creative commons licence – I’ll keep folks here informed…

There’s more on social constructivism and its links with Web 2.0 in a paper that Steve Lee and I wrote for Terry Freedman‘s ‘Coming of Age: an introduction to the new world wide web‘, an off-print of which is available here. The audio from my ‘Finding Nemo from Scratch’ micro-preso from the BETT teachmeet is also online, thanks to David Noble, for anyone interested.