eJournalism – an Approach to Project-based eLearning (PBeL) and Social Constructivism
eJournalism in short:
- Hands-on, project-based eLearming method that results in the creation of a common shared product
- Learning by doing
- Collaboration among learners and practitioners in society
- Peer collaboration – discussion among peers to come to a shared understanding and/or meaning
-Students communicating and collaborating to solve real-world, applicable problems
eJournal is a tool (Web based working environment) specially developed for implementing collaborative projects, based on ideas about PBeL in the context of Social Constructivism.
There is a need to improve the quality of teaching and learning processes in the Internet through the diffusion of new and innovative teaching methods. eJournalism has been developed by the Comenius 3 network to face the educational and didactic challenges of eLearning . eJournalism is an approach to project-based eLearning, the way of eLearning implemented in international project work .
Two main components of this approach are web-based partner projects and “learning by doing together”, i.e. social constructivism as a theory of learning.
Teach, learn and cooperate are the core activities of eJournalism. The work is aimed at improving the quality of eLearning by developing new and innovative methods of project-based eLearning, (collaborative learning). eJournalism has focus on promoting professional project work and on giving teachers web skills, tuition of projects and web tools which allow them to structure their web-based project work and to coach their students effectively.
Our approach, which we call eJournalism, can include a wide range of different e-journalistic activities from writing articles to moderating live online conference sessions. E-journalistic activities are performed by students and learners in collaboration in the Internet where regional or national borders do not hinder promotion of innovation, techniques or methods. A special focus is on promoting foreign languages as part of projects, and new approaches are being developed for that.
Another focal point is to develop relevant didactic methods for international project work. This is a very challenging task, especially now that web conferencing enables spoken interaction in the Internet. New didactical approach is needed for moderation of live sessions of teachers and students, for example. At the same time there are other questions of project-based eLearning that were not answered satisfactorily so far: How to combine the authentic creative work of the students and the use of the existing Internet resources? How to ensure interaction of learners? How to guarantee a good content and a high quality of projects? Should the main emphasis lie on learning processes or on products? How to evaluate ”learning by doing”?
Social Constructivism and Project Based eLearning (PBeL)
||a Lecture about Social Contructivism and Intructional Models
Social Constructivism script prepared by Daniele Facundo, Sheri Howard, and Buffalo Shuford – Fall 2006.
What is social constructivism? Social Constructivism emphasizes how meanings and understandings grow out of social encounters. It is closely associated with the theories of Vygotsky, Bruner, and Bandura.
Social Constructivism is based upon assumptions about reality: first of all, that it is constructed through human activity, and then, that it is non-existent prior to social invention.
Social Constructivism is based upon assumptions about knowledge. It is a human product. It is socially constructed and culturally constructed. Individuals create meanings through their interactions with others and the environment.
Social Constructivism is based upon assumptions about learning. It is a social process. Meaningful learning takes place when individuals are engaged in social activities.
These assumptions led to the belief that young children develop their thinking abilities by interacting with adults. Children are active participants in their learning in that they are continually creating (or constructing) meaning from what the teacher or More Knowledgeable Other is teaching.
Intersubjectivity is a shared understanding among individuals whose interaction is based on common interests and assumptions that form the ground for their communication. Therefore, social meaning and knowledge are shaped and evolve through negotiation with the communicating group. For example, a new student coming to a new school may find rules and procedures and/or social behaviors to be different from those of his former school. This student will develop new personal meanings about school and socially acceptable behaviors due to his intersubjectivity among new and different individuals and a new and different community.
Context in which learning occurs and the social contexts that learners bring to their learning environment are both crucial. Learning within a framework of Social Constructivism can be facilitated by: a cognitive tools perspective, which is a hands-on, project-based method that results in the creation of a product; idea-based social constructivism, which is a “big-idea” approach; a pragmatic or emergent approach, which is a belief that knowledge, meaning, and understanding can be addressed in the classroom; a transactional or situated cognitive perspective, which is a belief that learning should not take place in isolation from the environment.
Social Constructivism and Instructional Models. Instructional models based on the social constructivist perspective stress collaboration among learners and practitioners in society.
Social Constructivist approaches: Reciprocal teaching – teaching to another what has been learned; peer collaboration – discussion among peers to come to a shared understanding and/or meaning; cognitive apprenticeship – learn by doing and expert modeling; and problem-based instruction – students communicating and collaborating to solve real-world, applicable problems.
||Read more about Social Contructivism
||READ MORE about Project Based Learning
by Beaumie Kim
The University of Georgia