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.


  1. Michele, of the strategies shared in this weeks readings which do you use the most in your classroom? In kindergarten I use many visual strategies to guide instruction. While five and six year olds do not take notes, I do lessons that have the students use a hilighter to identify key words. I am looking forward to using virtual trips more in my classroom. The students will have the advantage of exploring a variety of places and topics that through exciting new measures.

    Kelly McCarty

  2. Kelly, I work with at risk students grades 2-4. I use summarizing note strategies with 4th graders specifically in the social studies content areas. I am working with my 3rd grade students to on summary skills after reading a chapter book.

    I use kidspiration with 4th grade students to organize writing ideas. This is helpful for them before they start writing. I want to implement some of the virtual field trips in a co-teaching situation to support the grade level content areas of social studies and math.

  3. Michele,
    I am a band director for grades 5-12 and I am currently working with my students to develop their knowledge of musical styles into their long term memory. For example a ballad/love song would be played softly, slowly, and in a very smooth and connected way, and a march/parade song would be played loudly, boisterously, with short articulations. It seems students have trouble playing pieces with correct styles sometimes because while they may know in their minds the correct style to use in a song, they may not be performing that song with correct style. Can you think of any source of technology or organizational tool that would help with performance fundamentals? I apologize that this may be a question for another music teacher.
    Thanks for your post and have a great week!

  4. Dustin-
    Thanks for the post. The only form of technology that I can think of that may be applicable to your situation is recording students and have them observe the performance. I received a grant last year that allowed me to purchase 5 flip recorders. I use the devices to have students record and evaluate their reading fluency. You may be able to have the students evaluate their performance based on this type of observation.
    Enjoy your week!

  5. Michele,

    Have you used concept maps for making outlines? I have not, but think they could be very useful. It would be one more way students would be able to arrange information in a way that is meaningful to them. I also feel that virtual field trips could be valuable in the learning process. Putting information into visual form is how many students learn best. Allowing students to learn through as many senses as possible, as well as making connections to knowledge in a variety of ways is what the cognitive learning theory is based upon. I enjoyed readying your blog.

    Have a good week!