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The Double Bind of Constructionism: A Case Study on the Barriers for Constructionist Learning in Pre-college Engineering Education

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Conference

2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access

Location

Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Novel Strategies for Studying Liberal Education

Tagged Division

Liberal Education/Engineering & Society

Page Count

19

DOI

10.18260/1-2--35303

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/35303

Download Count

220

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Paper Authors

biography

Michael Lachney Michigan State University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0003-3310-8707

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Michael Lachney is an Assistant Professor of Educational Technology in the College of Education at Michigan State University. He has expertise in culturally responsive education, science and technology studies, qualitative research methods, and critical race theory. Michael’s research explores the cultural politics of educational technology design and implementation, with specific attention to the ‘construction genre’ of ed tech in pre-college computer science and engineering.

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biography

Madison C. Allen Michigan State University

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Madison C. Allen, Michigan State University - allenm72@msu.edu

Madison Allen in a Ph.D. student in the Educational Psychology and Educational Technology Program at Michigan State University. Her doctoral research focuses on the development and implementation of culturally responsive computing and technology and how using learning technology can support justice and equity in in-school and out-of-school educational contexts.

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Briana P. Green Michigan State University

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Briana Green, M.S. is a doctoral student in the Educational Psychology Educational Technology program at Michigan State University. Her research focuses on exploring how different types of belonging and different supports of belonging, in classroom and out-of-school learning spaces, can serve to foster STEM-related identities and career aspirations in Black youth.

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Abstract

In the United States, constructionist learning theory (i.e. constructionism) underpins many instantiations of pre-college engineering education both out-of-school and in-school. In either context, constructionism has been framed as a means to breakdown traditional teaching/learning hierarchies, reconstituting education as student-centered, design-based, and hands-on. The common positioning of the teacher or adult by constructionism is that of the facilitator or coach who provides young people with resources and a context for creative and self-directed exploration but does not lead, lecture, or insist on predetermined outcomes. It has long been recognized that the constructionist positioning of the teacher creates tensions and difficulties when pushed up against the standardized and top-down structures of traditional schooling. Considering this history, how does the constructionist positioning of the teacher play out in 21st century pre-college engineering education? To begin answering this question, this paper uses a descriptive case study methodology to analyze qualitative data of one Upstate New York middle school technology teacher who embodied constructionism while exposing students to engineering design across in- and out-of-school contexts. This case reveals how the constructionist positioning of the teacher can create a pedagogic double bind where self-directed and hands-on learning with constructionist technologies may be simultaneously perceived as an advantage for personalized student learning and development, and also as a disadvantage for their achievement in larger educational structures in- and out-of-school.

Lachney, M., & Allen, M. C., & Green, B. P. (2020, June), The Double Bind of Constructionism: A Case Study on the Barriers for Constructionist Learning in Pre-college Engineering Education Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--35303

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