Applying 21st Century constructivist learning theory to Stage 4 design projects

Year: 2013

Author: Mellis, Scott, Carvalho, Lucila, Thompson, Kate

Type of paper: Refereed paper

This research applies a conceptual framework to the development of a classroom resource: design process folios. The conceptual framework is comprised of three overlapping lenses that account for the syllabus from the New South Wales Board of Studies (BOS), social constructivism theory and 21st Century learning needs. The use of this framework in design for learning provided a structured approach for the improvement of teaching and learning, aligning both the mandated curriculum as well as theories of learning. The aim for developing this resource was to provide opportunities for meaningful and engaging experiences for learners. In this paper, we report on the application of this conceptual framework to the analysis of a school-developed folio. The folios were comprised of engaging learning materials and tasks that make use of ICTs to support learning of design processes by Stage 4 Technology students in an Australian Independent School. The experience of the lead author was that the folio was an effective and engaging way to deliver design projects. The school-developed folios have an inherent quality: they can be continually refined and improved to reflect changes in society, technology and the curriculum. Analysis of the folios suggested that these resources can be seen as systems that evolve and this has applications to other curriculum areas that engage project based learning approaches.