First of all, a quick confession . . . I have been completely, totally, fully, and wholly brainwashed by my colleagues connected to the National Writing Project of Indiana (ITW). Just one summer, one month really, of sessions devoted to the practice of writing workshop and the incredible quality of the professional development that ensued was enough to convince me that the process writing approach via writing workshop is the only REAL way to "teach" writing in school. Perhaps it is this particular bias of mine that caused me to read everything in Bers' introduction about technology and coonstructionism in early childhood as pure validation for the hunches that I already had . . .
Here are some similarities I noted:
**Writing Workshop involves "learning by designing meaningful projects to share in the community." (Especially if the teacher plans a read-in, share, exhibit, etc day after portfolios are finished.)
**Writing workshop also focuses on ideas, dictated by each student's interests . .
** The self-reflections I had students do on their portfolio certainly aid in engaging metacognitive skills.
**"Technology circle time" seems nearly identical to "author's chair" time.
**"Debugging" according to children's needs are favored over general lectures.
**Gaining help from peers (through peer review and peer writing groups) are essential.
**Both content AND process is emphasized
Of course a myriad of distinctions set apart manipulating concrete robots and writing a sci-fi short story. But I think an important truth unites both actions. Good teaching, clothed in any garment, is good teaching. Bad teaching, despite the good intentions, is bad teaching. It seems to me that Bers' description of constructionism is just about as pure a form of "common sense powerful pedagogy" as is out there in the world of education.