Thursday, October 6, 2011

Social Learning Theories in Practice

Our classrooms are evolving and 21st Century Skills are becoming a must in the classroom. One of the ways to meet the demands of the 21st Century is to provide our students with more opportunities to use Web 2.0 or the Read/Write Web. With Web 2.0 the students are able to collaborate and share information online (Pitler et al, 2007). This is a perfect resource for supporting the "Cooperative Learning" instructional strategy. Cooperative learning focuses on having students interact with each other in groups in ways that enhance their learning (Pitler et al, 2007). Our students need to be able to learn and work cooperatively with their peers. With the use of many different Web 2.0 programs collaboration and cooperative learning amongst students is made simple and will help prepare our students for the ever increasing, fast-paced, virtual world.

Some great programs that can be used to encourage cooperative learning are blogs, wikis, keypals, webquests, web site creation, shared calendars, shared bookmarking, simulation games, skype, and voicethread, just to name a few (Pitler et al, 2007). As you can see, it is easy to incorporate technology into this instructional strategy. With these programs, the students are able to build artifacts that can be shared with others and that is the basis of all Social Learning Theories. In cooperative learning, the students are able to work together with More Knowledgeable Others (MKO) to achieve goals that might otherwise be unattainable if working independently. This is also a characteristic of Social Learning Theories.

The Social Learning Theory is another one of the learning theories that teachers should embrace and apply in their classroom, along with all of the other learning theories. I feel that as educators, it is important that we use all of the different theories and instructional strategies in our teaching practices to help our students develop balanced and well-rounded learning experiences.    

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

Crystal Moyer

1 comment:

  1. Hi Crystal,

    You have a huge list of technology applications that can be used to promote the social learning theory in the classroom. Have you used any of these applications in your own classroom? How did it go? I use cooperative learning a lot in my classroom; however, incorporating technology is a new step for me. I wonder what you think is the easiest tool to use in a classroom with limited access to technology. I have used these tools in my own learning, but am struggling the find the resources and time to incorporate into my students' learning. Do you have any advice to help with this integration? Thanks for your input!

    -Jill Morris