Thursday, September 29, 2011

Constructivism in Practice

Being able to construct, create, or build something based on your learning is an extremely powerful skill. This is what the Constructionist/Constructivist Theory is all about. There are certain instructional strategies that correlate very well with this theory. For example, the "Generating and Testing Hypotheses" strategy. When we are able to make a prediction on something and then test whether our prediction is correct, we are "DOING" something to prove whether our hypotheses is correct or not.

I have always thought that this strategy could only be used in Science class, but after reading more about this strategy in our textbook, I learned that it can be used in any subject area. The book listed six tasks that help students generate and test hypotheses: systems analysis, problem solving, historical investigations, inventions, experimental inquiry, and decision making (Pitler et al, 2007). I was very interested in learning more about the historical investigations and the web resources that have to do with Social Studies, since this is the subject I teach. Then it talked about technology programs that support this strategy (Spreadsheet software, Data collection tools, and Web resources), all which help students focus on "interpreting the data, rather than gathering the data" (Pitler et al, 2007). All of these ideas are great ways to interact with their information that they have found and since they are able to manipulate the information, they are actually able to understand the process, make decisions, decide whether their hypotheses are correct or not, and revise it if necessary.

Because the students are using these different technology programs to create an artifact that they can use or share with others, they are following the Constructionist Theory. The fact that they are actively constructing their own meaning from the activity, means they are followign the Constructivist Theory (Laureate Education, Inc, 2011). Either way you look at it, using these technology programs with this instructional strategy (Generating and testing hypotheses) directly correlates with the Constructionist/Constructivist Theory and promotes higher level thinking skills and transfer to long term memory!

Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2011). Program seven: Constructionist and constructivist learning theories [Video webcast]. Bridging learning theory, instruction and technology. Retrieved from

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

Crystal Moyer

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Cognitivism in Practice

According to Dr. Michael Orey, Cognitive Learning Theories focus on the mental processes and are made up of four components: Limited short term/working memory, Elaboration, Dual coding, and the Network model of memory (Laureate Education, Inc, 2011). There are many different cognitive tools and instructional strategies that we can use to activate these components, that are necessary for storing information into the long term memory. Two of the instructional strategies that I want to focus on are, "Cues, Questions, and Advance Organizers" and “Summarizing and Note Taking " (Pitler et al , 2007). Both of these strategies relate to the Cognitive Learning Theory because they are strategies that are used for teaching for understanding or comprehension of material, which we know is a mental process and can be linked to the four components of the Cognitive Learning Theory.

When using the cues, questions, and advance organizers strategy, you are helping the students make connections through the use of verbal cues and questions, visual images, and interactive experiences, which in turn will help them to be able to store that information into their long term memory. An excellent tool to use is concept mapping. This is a great visual for the students to organize information. They are interacting with the information, sythesizing it, and creating those meaningful connections. There are many other technological programs that can be used for this strategy, concept mapping is just one example.

Summarizing and Note taking is another very powerful strategy that can be used to aid comprehension and understanding. In one of Dr. Orey's articles (Orey, 2001), he describes a scenario where a student takes a virtual field trip and records his thoughts and experiences using a multimedia journal. This is an example of how he can summarize and take notes on his field trip. He could have also blogged about his thoughts and experiences. Higher level thinking skills are evident in this type of activity because the student had to understand and apply his knowledge in analyzing, evaluating, and creating his journal entry. Being able to use these higher level thinking skills directly correlates with Cognitive Learning Theories. There are many other great ways to summarize and take notes, all of which can deepen understanding. In fact, both of the strategies I have discussed, are excellent ways to deepen understanding and isn't that, as teachers, our goal for our students?

 Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2011). Program five: Cognitive learning theory [Video webcast]. Bridging learning theory, instruction and technology. Retrieved from

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.

Crystal Moyer

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Behaviorist Theory in the Classroom

This week, in our resources, we read about "Reinforcing Effort” and “Homework and Practice" (Pitler et al , 2007) and how these two strategies can embed technology and can relate to the Behaviorist Theory . First of all, being able to use technology in school is a very positive and motivating learning experience for most children. Using behaviorist-based technology resources for learning can definitely reinforce effort and encourage children to do their homework and practice their skills without dread or trepidation. It is because of this reason, that these instructional strategies correlate very well with the Behaviorist Learning Theory and the use of technology. Today's children are exposed to numerous types of technology at home and are aquiring many of the 21st Century Skills. So it is essential that we offer them these same types of opportunities in the classroom. However, due to many inhibiting factors, this isn't always possible. We are not always able to provide them with the technological experiences that they need and will be required for the "real world" and their future work environments, that we are supposed to be educating them for. So as effective educators, we have to find ways to overcome these obstacles and do our best at providing them with the technological knowledge and skills needed to be successful individuals in our diverse and competitive society. Even if this means, giving them lists of useful websites to use at home or at the public library, sharing computers among small groups, using our teacher stations to have students practice, incorporating videos or images into lessons, or even letting students use our own personal equipment (laptops, camcorders, cameras, etc.), it is important to provide these opportunities to students, no matter what!!

Reinforcing Effort and Homework and Practice are two of the easiest instructional strategies for incorporating technology and creating positive learning experiences, and creating positive learning experiences are what effective educators strive for!!!!

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

Crystal Moyer