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.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Michele

    Very well put post. Have you tried any of the spreadsheet software to help students track their effort and achievement? If so, would you share what you are using? We do not have access to computers during class so I have only use a check sheet for missed problems during math lessons. However, this is more a tool for me to see what I need to review and check for understanding, then allowing students to measure their effort.

    I need to find a way for my students to see the direct correlation between effort and achievement. I am eager for the rest of the class hoping I will learn about incorporating technology tools that will help my students be more successful.

  3. Hi Carolyn- I teach at the elementary level mainly with 2nd and 3rd grade this year. When we do look at progress I fill in the info for the spread sheet and turn it into a bar graph representation. We look at progress and get in some math work at well when we read the graph. The most difficult obstacle is that many of the students that I work with do not have access to computers at home so implementing technological tools can be difficult at times.

  4. Hi Caroly,

    I agree with what you posted. I really would like to use the spread sheet idea but I somewhat feel it is too late in the year to do so. I teach High Schoolers and there are several who really don't seem to understand what putting a little effort into an assignment may actually help them to succeed. If they saw it through actual data that it does help to would help to motivate them to continue.


  5. To build onto what many have already comment on, I feel that the shear act of quantifying effort can be difficult. I have struggled with many ways for student to reflect on the work that they do. What I have found is that the definition of "hard work" is as elusive as recognizing it. Many students report that they "worked hard" only to have little evidence of that show through their quality of work. If you were to implement a tracking system (of any kind) how would you have your students quantify (or even qualify) the work that they are doing?

  6. In my school we use DIBELS to access oral reading fluency in grades 2-4 (in my building) within this site you can pull up data for an individual student. I will do this before progress monitoring and show the students how their hard work is paying off by observing the data bar going up. I try to build a correlation between working hard and visually improved results. Drawing a relationship between data and hard work at an early age 7-9 yrs will hopefully build a foundation for "hard work".