Papert was one of the founders of constructionism, which builds on Piaget’s theories of constructivism — that is, learning occurs through the reconstruction of knowledge rather than a transmission of knowledge. In constructionism, learning is most effective when the learner constructs something meaningful.

Behaviorism Won

We have to break away from that, accept the fact that we have to give every child–not just one maybe, maybe several, but at least one–personal computer to be his or her own thing, to be used not to follow a curriculum, but to follow creative, personalized, diverse learning. That is possible. I think it’s just obscene to suggest that the richest country in the world can’t afford it.

Diversity in Learning: A Vision for the New Millennium

The central tenet of his Constructionist theory of learning is that people build knowledge most effectively when they are actively engaged in constructing things in the world. As early as 1968, Papert introduced the idea that computer programming and debugging can provide children a way to think about their own thinking and learn about their own learning.

Professor Emeritus Seymour Papert, pioneer of constructionist learning, dies at 88

For me, constructionism lies at the heart of what I want to study—how do students construct music knowledge in a school makerspace? My hypothesis is if students make music artifacts in a makerspace, they will construct music knowledge. At this proposal stage of my dissertation, prior to any research, I am using a constructivist/constructionist definition of music knowledge: meaning derived from an experience with aural phenomena (Shively, 1995). A music artifact would be a representation of this constructed music knowledge through performance, creation, or description (Shively, 1995Wiggins, 2015).

Constructionism is being practiced anywhere where people are making artifacts to represent their knowledge constructions.

On Constructionism, Makerspaces, and Music Education

Constructionism, collaborative niche construction, bricolage, and toolbelt theory go great together. Imagine the possibilities in your spheres, especially for spiky profiles.

Learn how we use constructionism on our bricolage page.