web site is a constructivist playground
that invites people of all ages
to learn and play. So much
of what we learn is simply stored,
not explored. Play is a
natural form of exploration, and
playing with scientific
concepts shows us how the sciences
fit together. Searching for models,
we learn about our own planet,
appling what we are learning makes
us see with new eyes. This
web site invites visitors to build
their own worlds, and gives them
some simply explained and relevant
scientific concepts to work with,
model of learning really makes
the learners think. It helps
with something at the heart of
science: question generation.
The questions in turn lead to
a need for knowledge, which can
be satisfied by searching for
information on the internet.
Once the knowledge has been found,
it still has to be evaluated and
selected for its usefulness in
a particular context. Technology
supports creativity and critical
thinking, and fills all of us
who are building planets with
enthusiasm and motivation.
advances are providing opportunities
for people to learn in new ways. Although
we develop our own methods of learning
as we come to know ourselves, providing
models for formal education is also
necessary. This course is intended
to be 'a course of the future' in
the following ways:
course is focused on solving a problem,
rather than mastering a well defined
body of knowledge.
course encourages students to generate
course creates an urgent need for
knowledge in all participants.
course requires analysis of situations,
questions, and possible solutions.
course requires high level thinking
skills and problem solving.
do not all learn the same things,
but specialize and share information.
occurs in a coherent social setting.
work together in groups, sharing information
and decision making.
course is 'open' to the wider community.
Guests are welcome at our meetings.
may get help from anyone with the
professors bring their expertise to
contribute strengths and interests
to the group project.
course is interdisciplinary, integrating
the natural and social sciences.
course requires the integration
of knowledge from many sources.
and creativity are integral to the
focus individually on learning in
different curricular areas.
Students explain what they have
learned to the group.
is used extensively, but transparently
search for knowledge on the World
author web pages to present their
use word processors and a variety
of graphics applications.
is used extensively, but transparently.
e-mail is an important element of
type of course is not intended
to replace traditional courses,
but rather to supplement them,
to spur student curiosity, and
to help students to integrate
what they already know. After
taking a problem-focused course,
students look to traditional,
structured courses to give coherence
to what they have learned.
students think of science as getting
the right answers. However, science
would have no answers to offer
us if someone had not asked fruitful
questions. This course stimulates
question asking and evaluation.
It encourages the integration
of knowledge by providing a safe
framework for speculation, creativity,
Elizabeth Anne Viau, 1998,
material may be used freely for
instructional purposes but not sold
for a price beyond the cost of reproduction.
Please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
if you use this material. I'd be
interested to know how it works