Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Week 5 Blog

Social learning theories are essentially creating an environment where students can work cooperatively toward a common goal. The knowledge gained from this experience is extremely meaningful. Students interact with each other to construct meaning by incorporating the knowledge of individuals that are working in their group. As education changes, students must be prepared to work cooperatively using social networking tools and collaboration tools to gain meaning from information.

Some of the strategies discussed in the course text are examples of technology that can be used to cooperatively interact with individuals without taking one’s geographical location into account. The first instructional strategy that allows students to work cooperatively is through using multimedia to create an artifact that is reflective of knowledge student’s achieved. Students can work collaboratively to create a video that encompasses many elements from the content area that are specified by the teacher. Since there are many roles in constructing a video as an artifact, students can participate in a cooperative group.

The next strategy that can be used in a cooperative setting and is reflective of the social learning theory is the use of web resources. These resources allow students to work toward ascertaining information and testing hypothesis for their projects in a virtual setting. Students can use web based interactions to consult experts in their field of expertise and experience a deeper level of understanding.

The final strategy allows students can work as a team with technology and create a web site. Students can work collaboratively to develop web sites that are reflective of information gained through data collection. Websites can be used to illustrate theories based on research from the cooperative group. These strategies will enable students to gain real world experience by using technology to work collaboratively toward a common goal.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Week 4 Blog Post

The instructional strategies that were presented in this week’s resources align and support the constructivist/constructionist learning theories. The constructivist/constructionist learning theory supports the belief that optimal learning takes place when artifacts are built in response to concepts (Orey, 2009). This theory actively engages learners when building understanding of concepts. The depth of engagement often requires the learner to be in a state of disequilibrium in which they create artifacts to address the disequilibrium in the brain (Orey, 2009).

The project based learning examples that were provided were excellent examples of different avenues teachers could use in the classroom to create artifacts that related to content areas. Students can collaborate with others to create projects that were reflective of learning in the content area. I would like to try and implement some of these project based learning sites in a co-teaching situation. Then all students would be able to display their understanding of curriculum concepts through the creation of artifacts. As a special education teacher, I can see the benefits of this type of learning because all students are able to “build stuff” which creating confidence in all learners.

The instructional strategies that were discussed in the course text, Using Technology with Classroom Instruction that Works, also support the constructivist/constructionist learning theory. The strategies that were discussed involved generating and testing hypotheses. The emphasis was to implement technology that would allow students to focus on interpreting the data they were collecting opposed to the cumbersome task of gathering data (Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn & Malenoski, 2007). Students can use data collection tools such as spreadsheets to create artifacts that are reflective of the data they have generated.

Web resources and gaming software are also interactive avenues in which students can use simulations to test hypothesizes (Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn & Malenoski, 2007). Students are able to interact with data as they are building artifacts to support their findings. This type of learning directly correlates with the constructivist/constructionist learning theories. Through the use of these technological tools, students are able to take risks when testing out hypothesizes and there is no sense of failure when using the interactive software. In the special education classroom, the gaming software would be beneficial. Students are strong in the area of gaming, so using interactive software to investigate hypothesis would allow students to gain a deeper understanding of the concepts.

Pitler, H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007). Using technology with classroom instruction that works. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.
Orey, M. (2009). Constructionist and Constructivist Learning Theories. (Laureate Educational, Inc., DVD, 2009 release).

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Week 3 Blog Post

This week’s reading, from Using Technology with Classroom Instruction that Works (Pitler, Hubbel, Kuhn, Malenoski, 2007), explores various forms of technology in the classroom that can be used to enhance the cognitive learning theory. Cognitive learning theory is the belief that students process information using sensory registers which include visual and auditory modalities to process information into long term memory (Orey, 2009). The more avenues that we make available for students to make connections to information the better equipped they will be to retrieve information.

The instructional strategies of cues and questioning help trigger the memory in order to access information that is in long term memory (Pitler, Hubbel, Kuhn, Malenoski, 2007). When educators prepare meaningful, thought out questions related to subject matter, we are helping the students retrieve information. These strategies relate to the cognitive learning theory by creating pathways in which information may be accessed through long term memory.

Advanced organizers are also strategies that aid in creating pathways for information to be moved from short term memory to long term memory. Advanced organizers help the student organize information using visual and auditory methods. This type of strategy is related to the cognitive learning theory by the ability to connect a pictorial representation of information. Students are able to organize and understand information using graphic representation which allows information to go into long term memory.

Summarizing and note taking are strategies that focus students synthesize content information. Students make connections to information if they are able to concisely extract information from content information. These strategies correlate with the cognitive learning theory by allowing the student to elaborate on information and keeping the information chunks limited to roughly seven plus or minus (Orey, 2009). These strategies also allow students to process chunks of information and focus on important facts which support information going into long term memory.

The technological tools virtual field trip and concept mapping are excellent resources for students to use when presenting content information. These tools are a great resource for providing students with memories and organizing the content of these experiences. Concept mapping tools are ways to graphically represent data which organizes and links ideas together visually. The cognitive learning theory is closely linked to learning information in this fashion. Students can then use these concept maps to formulate information in outline form (Orey, 2009). The virtual field trip is a wonderful way to allow student to create episodic memories by having them experience different places. . In the cognitive learning theory, memories are a strong way to input and recall information. Students are visually immersed in the learning environment when experiencing a virtual field trip.

All of these strategies discussed above will increase the understanding of content material and enhance the ability for students to recall information. When using these strategies students are able to make rich connections to content material and derive deeper meaning from the material. Teachers and students can use a variety of technology to make connections to content material and strengthen understanding of information while making learning fun.


Orey, M. (2009). Cognitive Learning Theories. (Laureate Educational, Inc., DVD, 2009 release).
Orey, M. (2009). Spotlight on Technology: Virtual Field Trips. (Laureate Educational, Inc., DVD, 2009 release).
Pitler, H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007). Using technology with classroom instruction that works. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Week 2

Chapters eight and ten in the course readings this week discussed the ideas of “Reinforcing Effort” and “Homework and Practice”. Both of these subjects have several principals that can be linked to the behaviorist learning theory. The technology cited in these areas also has a behaviorist learning theory basis.

Spreadsheet software can be used in a way so that students can see the connection between their effort and achievement. As students look at the data they can see the relationship between their effort and achievement. This type of technology embodies the behaviorist learning theory by allowing the student’s efforts to be reinforced. Students can make changes in their beliefs about their learning and start to make connections between learning and effort ((Pitler,Hubbell,Kuhn, & Malenoski, 2007). When students are taught to correlate the relationship between the data and their achievement they can then are able to realize the importance between effort and achievement.

Data collection tools are another way to help student make the connection between achievement and effort. These tools show students data related to groups that they are associated with and how obstacles may be overcome with effort. Students need to be directly taught the importance of strong effort. Once students visualize how effort is reinforced through data collection, they may begin to take responsibility for their own success. Data collections tools relate to the behaviorist learning theory through the immediate feedback and reinforcement that the student experiences through the connection between effort and achievement.

Homework and practice allows students to further understand and gain proficiency in skills they learn at school. Homework can be controversial with student and parents because it is designed to be a tool that allows students to review and apply what they have learned in class. Technology can enrich homework through word processing, applications, spreadsheet applications, multimedia, web resources and communication software (Pitler,Hubbell,Kuhn, & Malenoski, 2007). Students can use these tools to complete curriculum tasks. The behaviorist learning theory traits are observed through increased awareness by students of the correlation between practice and academic achievement. Technology can lend itself to providing reinforcement of desired behaviors outside of the classroom.

All of the technological strategies that have been mentioned above relate to the behaviorist learning theory through reinforcement of desired behavior. When educators help students become aware of the correlation between effort and achievement in the learning environment desirable outcomes will increase. The behavior of the students will change if there is a reason for it to change (Orley, 2001). Implementation of the technological tools mentioned above will aid in fostering behavioral changes and raising achievement.


Orey, M.(Ed.). (2001). Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved from

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