Volume 10 · Number 3 · Pages 313–314
Objects To Think With

Karen Brennan

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Open peer commentary on the article “Designing Constructionist E-Books: New Mediations for Creative Mathematical Thinking?” by Chronis Kynigos. Upshot: Chronis Kynigos’s article invites us to explore how to make familiar objects for learning — namely, books — more constructionist. In my response, I ask questions about the affordances and potential limitations of books as central objects, particularly about the role of the learner in relation to the objects.


Brennan K. (2015) Objects to think with. Constructivist Foundations 10(3): 313–314. http://constructivist.info/10/3/313

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Comment by Robert Modlitba · 17 Jul 2015
Hi Karen
I have a question concerning your expression – “In general, books offer structured information from an author to a reader.”
The definition of radical constructivism is:
“What is radical constructivism? It is an unconventional approach to the problem of knowledge and knowing. It starts from the assumption that knowledge, no matter how it is defined, is in the heads of persons, and that the thinking subject has no alternative but to construct what he or she knows on the basis of his or her own experience. What we make of experience constitutes the only world we consciously live in. It can be sorted into many kinds, such as things, self, others, and so on. But all kinds of experience are essentially subjective, and though I may find reasons to believe that my experience may not be unlike yours, I have no way of knowing that it is the same. The experience and interpretation of language are no exception.” (von Glasersfeld, Definition of Radical Constructivism, u.d.)
If a book contains “information” it can not be “knowledge” since that is an idiosyncratic construction. What it can contain is a scaffold for the construction of knowledge. What do you think?