The world is flat says author Thomas Friedman. Technology, along with new ways of working and doing business are 'flattening' the world. Corporations are spreading out globally to reach new markets and technology is providing them this edge. Many jobs can be done at any time of the day with simply a computer and an Internet connection.
Emerging web-based tools, i.e. Web 2.0, is furthering the flattening of education. Creative educators that hold to the Constructivist theory know that technology allows them to build connections outside the confines of their classrooms. These educators also hold to the belief that learning occurs when students are allowed to direct and manage their own learning. They modify their instructional methods and cater more directly to the learning needs of their students. They create a learner-centered classroom that encourages higher level thinking in students because it supports independent work and collaboration.
Studies done on the use of technology with at-risk students show promising results primarily because technology provides a safe environment for students to learn and students can learn at their own pace. Furthermore, interactivity, multimedia, sound, and large print accessible books engage students with learning disabilities and make them feel less isolated from other students.
Constructivism is a learning theory that considers learning a personal event. Educators that embrace constructivism demonstrate different teaching methodologies compared to 'traditional' teaching. Students are given the freedom to self-direct their learning by engaging in collaboration and small group discussion/reflection. Teaching the student how to learn now becomes the crux.
Solomon, G. & Schrum, L. (2007). Web 2.0: New tools, new schools. Eugene: OR. International Society of Technology in Education.
Pitler, H., Hubbell E., Kuhn, M., Malenoski, K. (2007). Using Technology with Classroom Instruction that Works. Alexandria: VA. Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning (McRel)
Southwest Educational Development Laboratory. (1999). Learning as a Personal Event: A Brief Introduction to Constructivism. Retrieved on February 20, 2001 from http://www.sedl.org/pubs/tec26/intro2c.html
Sprague, D. & Dede C., (September 1999). Constructivism in the Classroom: If I Teach This Way, Am I Doing My Job?. Learning & Leading with Technology, Volume 27, Number 1. Retrieved on February 20, 2011 from http://www.iste.org.