Pedagogical Theory

The Time To Know curriculum is based on social constructivist theory. Curriculum built on social constructivist principles must develop conceptual understandings together with fluency and problem-solving skills in a manner that makes these attributes mutually supportive.

In the constructivist approach, instruction is a process that supports knowledge construction rather than communicating that knowledge. The teacher serves as a guide, rather than as the expert who transfers knowledge to students. Learning activities are authentic and leverage the learners’ puzzlement and curiosity that arises when their faulty or incomplete knowledge fails to predict what they observe. Teachers encourage students to reflect on these experiences, to seek alternative viewpoints, and to test a variety of ideas. Student motivation to achieve these goals is determined by factors such as challenge, curiosity, choice, fantasy, and social recognition.

The National Research Council lists the essential goals of learning in a constructivist approach:

    Building a deep foundation of factual knowledge and procedural skills;
    Developing conceptual frameworks;
    Organizing domain knowledge as experts do;
    Improving the thinking processes.

Student motivation to achieve these goals is determined by a variety of intrinsic and extrinsic factors, such as satisfaction from achievement, contributing to others, and challenge and curiosity.

According to Walters and Dede, “Time To Know is a next-generation system that allows schools to improve teaching effectiveness and to reap the benefit of their investment in computers and other classroom technologies."