Monday, March 29, 2010

Social Learning

Collaborative Learning projects and Social Learning theories go hand in hand.  Social learning theorists believe that meaning is gained through interactions with others and the environment, (Orey, 2001).  By working collaboratively with others, students are constructing knowledge and learning to work in today's face paced and socially global society.  There are many web based activities that provide for cooperative learning.  What is the most exciting, in my opinion, is that the learning can extend past the walls of the school, and into the global community.  Students can collaborate with other students from around the world.  This is the modern day pen pal.  Students can reach out to cultural experts through the web to gain, gather, and provide information and knowledge.  Sites like ePALS and Key Pals International are great for this.  By far,the most exciting collaborative project for me to have be successful in my classroom would bbe the website creation.  I think this teaches so many skills while the students gain a vast amount of information on a specified topic. I love the fact this requries students to become an expert in an area.  With free and inexpensive tools this is easier than ever.  All these activities, and more, require students to work with each other, gain knowledge from each other, and learn life skills in the process.


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

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Constructionism in the Classroom

Dr. Orey relates the work of Piaget to the Constructionism theory in which information is not simply transfered from teacher to student.  The students create ideas when they are actively engaged.  Classrooms that follow these beliefs allow students to investigage, create and solve problems with a specific instructional goal implemented, (Orey, 2001).  The instructional strategies that were presented in the readings this week support the theory because the students are guiding their own learning.  There is a specific goal at the end that needs to be me, but how they get there is determined by the student.  Technology plays a great role in this.  It seems the  most common technology used may be the Point Point.  Students work on an assigned problem and build upon it through research and gathering information to compile an emd project to display what they learned.  I use a similar process, but with a different "showcase" for their learning.  Glogster (edu, - free for teachers) allows students to make interactive posters.  Same concept, different form.  When I compared the knowledge retained from my students when they researched famous people using books and that from using the internet and creation of Glogster posters, the ladder was greater.  The students were more engaged and they were exposed to so much more material this wasy too.  It only makes sense they would gain more.  I think web quests are a great tool.  Students are required to meet specific goals, but the projects vary and the depth to which they research also will depend on the learner.  I have found it to be a great tool.  With all the afore mentioned activities, guidelines are imperative.  These guideline will keep the students focused on the outcome and allow them to gauge their leaning.  Rubrics are a wonderful tool to do this.  This theory fits seemlessly into the classroom in my opinion.


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

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Cognitivism in Practice

Cognitive orientation to learning is based on "the act or process of learning," (Smith, 1999).  The belief is that students learn best when they are actively engaged in high interest activities.  This is nothing new to any teacher.  "Learning results from inferences, expectations and making connections. . .prior knowledge is important," (Smith 1999). 

By using cues, questions, and advance organizers, teachers are able to enhance the student's ability to retrieve, use and organize information, (Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn & Malenoski, 2007).  These types of strategies provide for multiple modalities.  The more channels that the information is presented in, the more connections can be made in the brain, providing easier retrieval.  Teachers can use technology to enhance the digital learners interest and learning, and allow them to use higher-level thinking.
Note taking and summarizing enhance "students' abilityto synthesize informations and distill it into a concise new form," (Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn & Malenoski, 2007).  This too requires students to actively become a part of their learning to do this.  They are required to filter through information to determine what is the most important, rather than the most interesting, then put it into their own words.

The cognitive theory believes that students need to manipulate information to make it their own thinking.  The strategies that were presented this week require just that.  Students do not just sit and absorb the information.  In each strategy they have to take the information, manipulate it, visualize it, summarize it, connect to it and store it.  The more they are actively involved, the better the recall is. 


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

Smith, M.K. (1999) "The cognitive orientation of learning', the encyclopedia of informational education,, last update: September 03, 1999.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Behaviorist Ideas in the Classroom

Effort is often over looked by many teachers.  I encorporate effort into my behavior plan, but love the idea of using a spread sheet to track effort.  I would like to see the comparisions between how much effort I believe students are putting forth, and what they think they put forth.  I think by providing the with a rubric toscore themselves, we can "train" the students to accurately rate their effort.  IF we can get students to see the correlation between effort and success, then we can get the most out of all our students.

Homework and practice can be daunting to some students, as well as parents.  i have parents complain and say it is a waste of time.  Over the years I have tried to make it more interesting for the students from time to time.  I will occassionaly have students visit websites foro homework.  One site I like to use it  This website allows me to assign reading levels to students.  They listen to and read books into a microphone.  We can both listen to how they have read and traxck their fluency.  It also provides them with worksheets they can print out and a quiz to take.  Report are sent to me so I can see if the students have comleted their assignments and what scores they received on the quiz.  There is also a math site our school has on the server that students can access from home,complete an assignment and print a reprot card of their work.  Homework is a important for the drill aspect of learning and behaviorist views.