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Constructivism in Computer Science Education

, Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

JCMST Volume 20, Number 1, ISSN 0731-9258 Publisher: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE), Waynesville, NC USA


Constructivism is a theory of learning, which claims that stu-dents
construct knowledge rather than merely receive and
store knowledge transmitted by the teacher. Constructivism
has been extremely influential in science and mathematics
education, but much less so in computer science education
(CSE). This paper surveys constructivism in the context of
CSE, and shows how the theory can supply a theoretical ba-sis
for debating issues and evaluating proposals. An analysis
of constructivism in computer science education leads to two
claims: (a) students do not have an effective model of a com-puter,
and (b) computers form an accessible ontological real-ity.
The conclusions from these claims are that: (a) models
must be explicitly taught, (b) models must be taught before
abstractions, and (c) the seductive reality of the computer
must not be allowed to supplant construction of models.


Ben-Ari, M. (2001). Constructivism in Computer Science Education. Journal of Computers in Mathematics and Science Teaching, 20(1), 45-73. Norfolk, VA: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE). Retrieved April 22, 2019 from .


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