Discovering and Uncovering Piaget



Prior Knowledge: Have you ever heard of Jean Piaget before? If so, what do you already know about him and his ideas? Have you ever heard of Constructivism? If so, what do you know about it? What considerations should you make about teaching, based on Piaget's theory of intellectual development and its educational implications? Do you know the difference between Cognitive Constructivism and Social Constructivism? How would you characterize these differences?  

Objectives:  This WebQuest was developed for my graduate and undergraduate teacher education students  at CCNY. In some cases it is part of a larger WebQuest project in which they have to develop their own WebQuest. One reason I developed this WebQuest is that students often don't like learning about psychological theories through the use of traditional instructional methods. I thought that using an Inquiry approach, with an assortment of web-based resources, including multimedia, might make learning about Piaget's theory both challenging and fun!   Another reason I developed this webquest is that too often teaching Piaget is limited to focusing on his stages and neglects the important educational implications of his theory of cognitive development. Currently we are not using the Zunal Quiz or Google Map features of the webquest.

Think about the following:

1. What are Piaget's main contributions to understanding how students think and learn?

2. What are Piaget's stages and the characteristics of his stage theory?

3. How does Piaget view the roles of biology and experience in cognitive/intellectual development?

4. How does Piaget explain the mechanisms of cognitive/intellectual development?

5. What are the implications of Piaget's theory for teaching?

6. Why and how is Cognitive Constructivism used in teaching?

7. Why and how does the Piaget-based Learning Cycle help students develop intellectually?

8. How can you design a lesson for adolescents using Piaget's theory?   

9. How can you analyze a lesson to assess its consistency with Piaget's theory?

10. What are common misconceptions about Piaget's theory?

11. What are criticisms of Piaget's theory?

12. What are modern views about Piaget's theory?
13. How could you improve your performance on a similar assignment in the future?

This WebQuest will help you:

1. answer these questions,

2. develop strategies for applying Piaget's ideas to your current and/or future students,

3. apply what you learn about Piaget and Cognitive Constructivism working with at least one of your classmates to the development and implementation of an instructional activity based on what you learned.

4. share what you have applied with the rest of the class,

5.  develop your own WebQuest using Zunal.

Photo  The picture at the top of this page shows Piaget (center) with my mentor, Howard E. Gruber (left) and Jacques Voneche (right). Gruber and Voneche wrote "The Essential Piaget" (1977, Basic Books). Voneche was a psychology professor at CCNY until his death. Because of Gruber's relationship with Piaget, I met Piaget and Inhelder at a conference in New York in the mid 1970s.  Shortly before Piaget died in the 1980, Gruber took over his role in Geneva. Here is a link to the official web site honoring my late mentor, Howard Gruber http://davidlavery.net/Gruber/ 

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