Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Social Learning and Technology

According to Dr. Orey, social constructionism is when students are constructing or building something while conversing with others (Laureate, 2009). Vygotsky had two key points to this, zone of proximal development and more knowledgeable others. The zone of proximal development is what the child is able to learn, and more knowledgeable others are the support the child needs whether it be from a teacher, peer, or parent. By teaching or helping with another student, they are showing what they know.

“Technology can play a unique and vital role in cooperative learning by facilitating group collaboration, providing structure for group tasks, and allowing members of groups to communicate even if they are not working face to face” (Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn & Maleonoski, 2007). Today there are endless technology resources to aid in students’ learning. When students are actively engaged they are creating meaning and learning. Students now have the opportunity to participate in a blog, wiki site, social networking, etc. These resources create lifelong learners.


Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2009). Constructionist and Constructivist Learning Theories. Baltimore: Dr .Michael Orey.

Pitler, H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007). Using technology with classroom instruction that works. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Constructionism and Learning

As a reading teacher I often think that “generating and testing hypotheses” applies only to Science; however “this strategy is applicable to all content areas” (Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn, & Malenoski, 2007, p. 202). Students can draw conclusions or make inferences on what they are reading. They also preview and predict when reading a book, whether it is independently or whole group. “Typically, students research a problem, form a hypothesis, and collect data to confirm, deny, or revise their last hypothesis”; therefore this is an ongoing process (Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn, Malenoski, 2007, p. 210).

In my reading class, students can use project based as well as problem based learning to achieve whatever reading skill we are striving for. This might be a prediction or what is to come in a story. The student could determine the solution as a result of his/her prediction. Using technology to do this would also be a great tool for students. I like to use or have students create PowerPoint documents, slide shows, or even hands-on projects to display the skill and information.

Using Microsoft Word my students created a paragraph where they had one sentence of rhyme, repetition, alliteration, simile, and metaphor and each sentence was a different color. This certainly correlates with the constructionist theory. The students were expected to create a topic and paragraph on their own. If they knew the skills, this assignment came very easy to them, however if they didn’t understand one of them it was obvious they needed to review. Dr. Orey discussed in the video Constructionism and Constructivism Learning Theories that students learn best when they are building something (Laureate, 2007). They certainly had to do this in the assignment described above.


Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2009). Program 6. Constructionist and Constructivist Learning Theories. [Educational video]. Baltimore: Author.
Orey, M.(Ed.). (2001b). Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved from http://projects.coe.uga.edu/epltt/ Section: Problem Based Instruction

Pitler, H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007). Using technology with classroom instruction that works. Alexandria, VA: ASCD

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Technology and the Cognitive Learning Theory

My students today are no longer satisfied with learning through pencil, paper, and a book. They are surrounded by a world of increasing technology. Since that is the case, the job of an educator is to bring those same experiences into the classroom. Technology is the key to the cognitive learning theory of helping students create long term memory in retaining subject content. As Dr. Orey discusses in his video Cognitive Learning Theories our goal as educators is to change short term memory into long term memory. We want students to be able to easily remember what they have learned (Laureate, 2008).

Using cues, questions and advanced organizers will help this connection to take place. Graphic organizers are something that we use daily in the classroom. There is not a better way to organize our thoughts or ideas during a lesson. These organizers lend themselves to technology use. Often times we create a graphic organizer through the use of Microsoft Word or Excel Spreadsheets. This goes hand in hand with summarizing and note taking as well. Students are summarizing information as they use a graphic organizer. This is note taking, without just copying something off of the board. These organizers “focus on enhancing students’ ability to retrieve, use, and organize information about a topic” (Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn, & Malenoski, 2007, p. 73).

Dr. Orey describes the “dual coding hypothesis” as a student’s way of connecting or storing information. Students remember an image much better than text. They are able to make the connection with an image along with the word to associate it (Laureate, 2008). I love using video clips, etc. to peak the interest of my students as we are learning. BrainPop and United Streaming are two great resources for supplementing your lessons. Students automatically make a connection with what they see and what the descriptions of those images are.

When students are engaged in learning and retaining that information I am definitely happy. This is supporting the cognitive learning theory. It is important as educators to keep up to date on the information that could help students learn and retain what they learn. Technology is ever changing and improving, therefore we should too.

Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). 2009. Cognitive Learning Theories [Motion picture]. Bridging Learning Theory, Instruction, and Technology. Baltimore: Author.

Pitler, H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007). Using Technology with Classroom Instruction that Works. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Behaviorism and Technology

I feel that behaviorism definitely has a place in classrooms today. Behaviorism has two components, reinforcement and punishment (Laureate, 2009). In my classroom I have a balance between both positive reinforcement and consequences.

In the book, Using Technology with Classroom Instruction that Works, there are instructional strategies for using technology in the classroom (Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn, Malenoski, 2007). The”reinforcing effort enhances student’s understanding of the relationship between effort and achievement by addressing their attitudes and beliefs about learning" (p. 155). Some students do not realize the importance of putting forth effort in their work. That being said, educators could use reinforcement to help them achieve the goal of putting their best effort forth.

The second instructional strategy discussed in the book, is homework and practice. Teachers today have so many opportunities through technology to help students learn, instead of just the traditional “drill and practice” that we are so used to hearing about. When a child reads and answers a question correctly, he/she is rewarded with playing an interactive game, etc. According to Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn, and Malenoski, students that practice with multimedia “increase their level of understanding to mastery” (p. 192).


Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2009). Program 4. Behaviorist Learning Theory. [Educational video]. Baltimore: Author.

Pitler, H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007). Using technology with classroom instruction that works. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.