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.


  1. Hi Linzie,
    Graphic organizers are great tools to help students take notes and connect ideas. Using technology with graphic organizer make it more engaging for students and also helps teachers do the same standard practices such as note taking in a new format. Have you ever used inspiration software? It is great because students can insert images to help students make connections.

  2. Scott,

    I have not used the Inspiration Software. To be honest before this week's resources I didn't know that it even existed. I feel like I have missed out having not used it. I typically use flipcharts that go along with my Promethean board, or just Microsoft Word. I look forward to learning more about this program and trying it the next time I need a graphic organizer.

  3. Linzie,

    Do you use graphic organizers that you have created on Microsoft Word? I am not very familiar with Inspiration either. I would love to become more familiar with it and begin using it. However, I was interested as to how you use Word.


  4. Inspiration software is a great program that is easy to use. I teach 8th grade and my students have not problem using the program. It is a easy way to organize their notes.