Welcome to Tuna Runa

Educational Philosophy &

Lesson Design

As prevailing literature suggests, technology and constructivist pedagogy, when applied properly, complement one another. Constructivist learning theory implies that:

  • People learn by doing.
  • Each learner is a unique learner.
  • Learners assimilate new knowledge and accomodate disparate situations into a schema.
  • People learn by interacting with information, ideas, and other people.
  • Learning is contextual.
  • Learning is revisiting ideas over time.
  • Learners must be motivated to learn.

(Hein, 1991)

With these ideals in mind, TR sets out to create lessons that offer children the opportunity to use computers to solve real life problems. Some of these ideals are presented in original strategy for TR. Below are other units not included in the original strategy but demonstrate the intent behind the learning environment with TR at it's center.

  • 2004 - Civil War Strategy Game - This was one of the first computer based interactions developed for TR. Much of the design was created prior to in-depth study of virtual learning experiences. Some of the materials for this unit are also intented to be used without computers.
  • 2005 - Time Travel Podcast - This unit was developed as a collaborative team assignment. Children work in groups of four to explore an event in history.
  • 2006 - Geocaching - This unit is the most inline with Vygotsky's constructivist triangle. Although the children did not utlize the discussion forum during the unit's initial year, it is intended to be untilized by students in the future.
  • 2005 / 2007 -Animal Research - This unit was design in collaboration with the First Grade team. Initially, all the entries were teacher driven. During the 2006-2007 school year the site became dynamic and students are now working with teachers to edit the entries to fit student findings about each animal.
  • 2007 - WikiRuna - This unit has not been launched but will during the 2007-2008 school year. The site will allow all children from the school community to create entries about the world around them.

These units were presented in chronological order. Progressively, each unit evolves in amount of work required by the student. Each unit requires considerable development time. To say that the teacher become less involved with the unit is not correct. The teacher time spent is during the planning and development phase. The teacher(s) serves as a guide during the units assisting students with particular skills.

Most units developed for TR are long term units taking several weeks to complete, students come to class with specific goals and expectations for each class period. These expectations, objectives, and products are listed on each class's page (the top menu). These pages are dynamically driven and can be edited to meet the needs of each class and even individuals within the class. Children are encouraged to refer to the class pages during the course of the lesson.