students' test scores, leaving technology as a low priority item. The teacher remains a major
gatekeeper to technology integration in the classroom.
Constructivism is most simply defined as a philosophy of learning in which learners
construct meaning by building on their own knowledge and understanding by reflecting on their
experiences. Constructivist teaching suggests that students learn best when they are engaged in
the learning process, actively constructing their own knowledge through collaboration, critical
thinking, and inquiry. It promotes using curricula customized to the students' prior knowledge
and emphasizes hands-on problem solving while educators focus on making connections
between facts and fostering new understanding in students. Instructors tailor their teaching
strategies to student responses and encourage students to analyze, interpret, and predict
Murphy (1997) provides a concise review of constructivist principles as they are
manifested in teaching and learning environments. Activities, opportunities, tools and
environments are provided to encourage metacognition, self-analysis, regulation, reflection, and
awareness. The student plays a central role in mediating and controlling learning. Learning
situations, environments, skills, content and tasks are relevant, realistic, authentic, and represent
the natural complexities of the "real world." Teachers serve as guides, monitors, coaches, tutors
and facilitators. Knowledge construction, and not reproduction, is emphasized. This construction
takes place in individual contexts and through social negotiation, collaboration and experience.
The learner's previous knowledge constructions, beliefs and attitudes are considered in the
knowledge construction process. Problem-solving, higher-order thinking skills and deep
understanding are emphasized. Errors provide the opportunity for insight into students' previous
Oxford, Raquel Malia Nitta. Effects of Technology-Enhanced Language Learning on Second Language Composition of University-Level Intermediate Spanish Students. Denton, Texas. UNT Digital Library. http://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc4688/. Accessed September 23, 2014.