I was prepping for a workshop on using Moodle here on campus yesterday. To give some background on social constructivism (which is the pedagogical starting place for Moodle), I had to go back to Jean Piaget.
Piaget was was a Swiss natural scientist and developmental psychologist. He is best known for his studies of cognitive development in children. He was a professor of psychology at the University of Geneva from 1929 to 1975.
Overly simplified, he reorganized cognitive development theory into four levels/stages (infancy, pre-school, childhood, and adolescence) and discussed the types of learning that is appropriate during those stages and how children construct knowledge. (Those of you with kids at home should do a little Googling and reading about his work.)
When I was an undergraduate education major, and when I was teaching in the K12 world, Piaget was frequently referenced.
He transformed much theory and practice, particularly in the direction of "student-centered" learning. You still hear educators talking about trying to get to that place after all these decades.
So where is the Web 2.0 connection? Certainly Jean Piaget had no connection to the Net and I'm not sure he wrote anything about the impact of computers on development. But I came across this quote in my little research:
"Education, for most people, means trying to lead the child to resemble the typical adult of his society... but for me and no one else, education means making creators... You have to make inventors, innovatorsâ€”not conformists."
(Conversations with Jean Piaget, Bringuier, 1980, p.132)
That sounds a lot like the chatter about Web 2.0 and the read/write web.
Piaget's influence may not be felt as strongly today as it was in the 1970's. Perhaps, as one commentator has said, that is because his model of the child's development implied a far more radical transformation of the education system than is acceptable.