Sunday, December 26, 2010

Final Blog Reflection - week 8

As the course, Reaching and Engaging All Learners through Technology draws to an end, I am amazed at all the tools and resources I acquired. I learned about the principles of Universal Design for Learning and Differentiated Instruction, and already am implementing them in my curriculum. With the amount of diversity in the classroom continually increasing, I need to have the tools to give every student the chance to succeed. UDL/DI along with integrating technology gives me the best chance to help all my students reach their potential.

The best way to meet the needs of all my students is to get to know them as individuals. I need to learn the strengths and weaknesses of every student, hobbies, interests, learning preferences, multiple intelligences, and readiness levels. Luckily, there are countless inventories and surveys on the Internet available that make getting to know all my students possible. The information from the surveys and inventories allows for effective lesson planning. I can create lessons, assignment, activities, and projects that are geared to my students’ abilities and preferences. It also allows students choices to complete assignments. Students can work together in groups, pairs, or individuals. They are also given choices of how to create artifacts that demonstrate their learning. This year, my students have created podcasts, used IPod touches, wikis, essays, and digital comic strips. I also plan on using VoiceThreads, digital stories, Power Points, and many other web 2.0 tools that fit their abilities. UDL/DI does not mean a separate lesson for each student. Next year, I will begin my year with surveys and interest profiles and use my student’s choices to plan curriculum from the start. This principle will probably guide my lesson planning for many years to come.

This course has also shown me some ways to use incorporate technology into the classroom. We used SurveyMonkey, VoiceThreads, Google Chat, and Google Groups and they all could fit into my curriculum. In order to get to know my students, I could use SurveyMonkey. It is easy to customize and it would help me to differentiate instruction when lesson planning. VoiceThreads, Google Chat, and Google Groups could all be used for student collaboration. Students could easily work together on projects and even work outside of school. The social networking portion of the class also gave me many resources, ideas, and taught me how to use a group chat to collaborate with my colleague. Although I may never be able to use this feature because it is blocked by our filter at my school, it is a feature that could be very useful in education.

Finally, the resources and knowledge I have learned in this course has given me the opportunity to individualize instruction so all students can succeed. The application of this will allow me to become a better teacher and my students will be the beneficiaries.

Mr. D

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Final Blog Reflection

The creation of my GAME Plan will forever be a guide to integrating technology into my lessons. The integration of technology positively influences my student’s learning and makes my lessons more effective. As I constantly continue to implement more technology, the goals I set from my GAME Plan will continue the shift from traditional lesson to technological lessons.

The biggest influence the GAME Plan has had on my practice is goal setting. My goals have set the direction for incorporating more and more technology into my lesson planning and allowing students choices to complete their assignments. My first goal was to implement five new technologies into my curriculum. I currently am working on integrating digital storytelling and using flip cameras into language arts. In social studies, we are using timelines and virtual field trips. It takes more planning time when using technology, but the students will benefit from its use. The GAME Plan has also given me more confidence when using technology in the classroom and I am always thinking of ways to replace my textbook lesson with tech. I also have set a goal that when my five goals for this class run out that I will try to implement one new tech per month as long as I am a teacher. Hopefully my aspirations do not pass up the technology my district can provide!

With the GAME Plan now guiding my use of technology in my lessons, I have made many adjustments to my teaching. Now, my main focus is teaching 21st century skills in language arts and social studies without hesitation. My students will benefit from mastering web 2.0 tools and other technology and the experience that will prepare them for the rest of their lives. I also am more willing to allow students technological choices to complete assignments. I know that students, who create artifacts for learning, learn more than students who complete worksheets.

All in all, with the GAME Plan as my guide, my students will learn more, be more engaged in lessons, and prepare themselves for their futures. As a teacher, reflection after lesson completion has become a part of my growth as a teacher using technology. All the knowledge and experience I am gaining using technology in my classroom is making the use of technology the traditional way I present content.


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Using the GAME Plan Process with Students

My GAME Plan process had two goals: one was to incorporate five new technologies into my lessons (using ideas from Walden and elsewhere) and giving my students choices on how to complete assignment with their choice of technology. I recently have begun writing book talks for the book “Jennifer Murdley’s Toad”. For assessment, I offered my students choices. They could write the talk, type it into Word, and create a podcast using Audacity. They could do a ten-slide digital story. Or they could create a video book talk. They could pick the way they could complete this project and I would assess their mastery of the material. I have to admit giving students this much freedom was difficult at first and I think the results will be great, but it is hard to let go for some projects.

I have also found that the more technology we use in my classroom, the more comfort, confidence, and eagerness is instilled into the students. They are becoming more proficient with the technology and almost want me to eliminate any “traditional” lessons. They want to learn using 21st century skills even though they are unaware that what we are doing is learning with 21st century skills that will benefit them in the future. After the completion of this course, it will be my goal to keep up with new technology and that means setting a goal of incorporating one new tech into my lessons per month. I think that learning with technology will be a great asset to my students and I want to give them the best chance at success.

Many comments I have received from my learning community have been mostly about creating hands-on lessons using the free technology of web 2.0 tools. Through websites like Free Tech For Teachers,
there should never be a shortage of the new tech ideas that can be used in the classroom.

In conclusion, ditch the text and worksheets and bring in the tech!


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Revising My GAME Plan

As I continue to implement more technology into my lessons I am realizing more and more that is so beneficial for the students. I have just begun using some of the tech tools that I have set as goals with the students and the results are impressive. If I would compare learning the traditional way versus to incorporating technology, the technology side would be almost unanimously preferred. This week in social studies while studying Latin America I showed my classes using Google Earth, they were astounded. I would never have received any positive feedback when showing them a map from our text. Technology has a wonderful affect!


NETS-T #1 – Facilitate and Inspire Student Learning and Creativity--engage students in exploring real-world issues and solving authentic problems using digital tools and resources.

NETS-T #2 – Design and Develop Digital Age Learning Experiences and Assessments--develop technology-enriched learning environments that enable all students to pursue their individual curiosities and become active participants in setting their own educational goals, managing their own learning, and assessing their own progress

After reflecting back on the two goals I set for this class, I feel that I am still in the process of completing my goals and would not need to set new goals at this point but work on completing my existing goals of finding five new technologies and using them in my classroom, replacing traditional learning methods. If I master the five new technologies that I have chosen, I will set a goal of integrating one new technology into my curriculum per week. Currently, I feel that I need to continually work on becoming more comfortable and proficient using the new technology that I have chosen (VoiceThreads, using Flip Cameras, Digital Storytelling, using Google Earth, and Interactive Timelines). Sometimes it is a slow process but I need to keep in mind that I have to be flexible with the new technology.

To improve the chances that my goals with be successful, I have started to take notes on the new technology that was incorporated. I want to list the positives and negatives of the lesson so the next time I use it I will increase the chances of success and this will benefit my students.


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Evaluating Your GAME Plan Progress

Thus far I have came up with four new ways I will incorporate technology into my classroom: using flip cameras, Google Earth, VoiceThreads, and digital storytelling. I have began playing with and researching ways to use Flip Cameras. There are so many ideas! I downloaded Google Earth and began marking interesting places that we are studying. I plan to "fly" there using the software and showing my students the locations. What an impressive tool! For my VoiceThread, I am going to use it as to check my students background knowledge of WWII before we read "Number the Stars". Students can post and learn from each other. For digital storytelling, I have looked at a few sites but have not looked into it too much but it seems to a pretty popular tool to use. I have a lot to learn about digital storytelling.

My final goal for implimenting technology into my classroom is creating a digital timeline. I looked on the Internet and have found countless number of web 2.0 tools that create timelines. Using timelines will be great in not only social studies but in language arts too. I hope to pick one timeline generator by next week and become more familiar with it. I am not to concerned how to use it but want to find one with the coolest options.

My first goal of finding five new technologies that I will incorporate into my teaching fits with my second goal of finding more ways for my students to meet objectives. If I can get comfortable with the new technology from my goals, I can give my students some new tools to complete their work. My ultimate goal as a teacher is to eliminate worksheets and replace it with technology in one form or another.


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Monitoring Your GAME Plan Progress

At this point, I have found two ways to incorporate technology into my classroom, using flip cameras and incorporating VoiceThreads into social studies. To help me accomplish these goals, I have downloaded Audacity onto some work computers. Also, the sixth grade recently purchased a video camera and I brought in my flip camera.

This week I have found two more ideas that I want to add to my goals. The first idea is digital storytelling and it will be developed through the class I am enrolled in at Walden University, Integrating Technology Across the Content Areas. After reading ahead and learning that we are going to create lessons for digital storytelling, this is a no-brainer. I am thinking about my options for this project, I could have students complete it in the lab or we could use IPod touches. The other idea I want to add to my list is using Google Earth to supplement my social studies class. Today on the site I read an article on ten US history Google Earth tours. This is a perfect way to supplement my ten year old texts that lack substance.

I still need one more goal but I am starting to spend time thinking about how to put my four ideas into action.


Friday, September 24, 2010

Carrying Out My Game Plan

In order to strengthen my confidence and proficiencies to integrate technology in my instruction, I have begun to compile a list five goals to incorporate technology into my class. I looked back through my texts from previous classes I took at Walden and continually look on the Internet for new ideas. I am looking for virtual field trips, simulations, and interactive web-sites that I can incorporate into my curriculum. On the site Free Tech 4 Teachers,, I have begun looking for ideas how to incorporate flip cameras into the classroom. I found an article that gives 20 ways to use flip cameras into the classroom. Awesome! I am going to try to do a video book-cast later this year. From previous classes, I want to incorporate Voice Threads into my social studies curriculum. I will use the Voice Thread for the forum for current events discussion. I want to stimulate debate between my students about current issues, maybe the November election or the US position in Afghanistan. The Voice Thread hopefully will influence some of my quiet students into participating in a much bigger way than a discussion.

For my other goal, I will give students many options to complete assignments, promoting creativity. This is going to begin in our next project, when students pick a Canadian province/territory and give a report. The students will be given the option to do a wiki page, a video cast, a podcast, or to pick any of the web 2.0 tools from the site This will really force me to learn new technologies and to create rubrics to assess the projects. To create rubrics, I will use some of the information I gained in a previous Walden class and use Rubistar has become a huge part of my teaching because it is so easy to use. I literally can create rubrics in minutes because simply by following the directions on the site. This will help with projects that use technology.

Some of the additional resources I will need to accomplish my Game Plan are flip cameras and computer lab time. The rest is up to me to find on the Internet or in texts and implement. I set the goal of implementing five new ways to use technology in my classroom and currently I have found two ways and am always looking for new ways.


Monday, September 13, 2010

Developing My Personal GAME Plan

Technology is changing so fast that it is impossible to keep up. There are countless, free web 2.0 tools that create slideshows, podcasts, other widgets that are great to incorporate into my curriculum. In order to learn and use technology in my curriculum, I need to learn the new technology on my own. Self-directed learning (SDL) is the basis for the GAME Plan or the way I will learn new technology that I will use in my curriculum.

After reading, examining, and reflecting about the National Education Standards for Teacher (NETS-T) from the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), I have found some standards that I want to improve upon.

NETS-T #1 – Facilitate and Inspire Student Learning and Creativity

b. engage students in exploring real-world issues and solving authentic problems using digital tools and resources.


I want to create virtual environments to expand learning outside of my classroom. I will give students many options to complete assignments, promoting creativity.


In order to accomplish this goal, I will change my social studies curriculum by adding virtual field trips, simulations, and interactive web-sites. This will take some planning but will result in better instruction and more student engagement.


I will keep records of unit assessments and compare results of traditional teaching versus digital learning. I will keep notes concerning student engagement and motivation.


I will ask students their preferences. Do they prefer digital or traditional lessons? I will also reflect upon what went well and what did not, in order to improve the lesson.

In the video from week one, teacher Lacey Segal stated that teachers who are creative or foster creativity are incredibly flexible but are comfortable watching traditional boundaries dissolve (Laureate, 2009). Technology is the perfect vehicle for change because today’s students are so technologically skilled. If I achieve this goal, the traditional lessons will be replaced with digital lessons.

NETS-T #2 – Design and Develop Digital Age Learning Experiences and Assessments

b. develop technology-enriched learning environments that enable all students to pursue their individual curiosities and become active participants in setting their own educational goals, managing their own learning, and assessing their own progress


I want to create a listing of five new technological tools that I can use in my classroom and pair them with content to create effective lessons and have the ability to use the five technologies in any setting. I also want to incorporate the tools I learned from this Walden program into my curriculum (VoiceThread for example).


I will read the blog on a daily basis to keep up to date with the latest technology and its educational application. I will review past Walden courses to find technology that I could use in my classroom.


After each new lesson I teach using a technological skill from my list, I will reflect in writing about the lesson. Listing the positive parts and parts that need improvement. If I successfully meet my goal of five new applications of technological tools, I will add another tool to my goal list. If I am unsuccessful using a new technological skill, I will attempt to use the technology in another lesson until I achieve success.


I will constantly ask students their preferences. Do they prefer digital or traditional lessons? I will also reflect upon what went well and what did not, in order to improve the lesson.

The main objective for improving upon this standard is to use the technological skills I have gained at Walden and continually learning new technology and implementing it in my classroom. Technology provides many opportunities for students to engage in authentic learning activities and to be creative in different environments (Cennamo, Ross & Ertmer, 2009). This will increase student’s engagement and excitement and hopefully increase learning.

Cennamo, K., Ross, J., & Ertmer, P. (2009). Technology Integration for Meaningful Classroom Use: A Standards-Based Approach (Laureate Education custom edition. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2009). Integrating Technology Across the Content Areas. Baltimore: Author.

National Education Standards for Teachers (NETS-T) located at:

Monday, August 16, 2010

Final Reflection

As I near completion of Supporting Information Literacy and Online Inquiry in the Classroom EDUC – 6712, I cannot help thinking about the many ways my teaching ability will be enhanced because of this class. I learned about social bookmarking, how to evaluate web sites, the importance of essential questions and how they can guide student projects, collaboration with other schools using e-pals, the pros and cons of schools filtering the Internet, that there are other search engines my students could use instead of Google, and that information literacy is so important today.

The most striking revelation that the course taught me about the new literacy skills is that students are asked to find information, decipher if it is right or wrong, and synthesize information from many places. This is much more difficult that going to a text and finding "correct" information easily. Alvin Toffler stated that "the illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who can read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn" (Jukes & Macdonald, 2007). This statement really sums up where education is and where it needs to be headed. The staff at my school is teaching students how to read and write but are we giving students the skills to learn, unlearn, and relearn?

The knowledge and skills I have learned in this course will be incorporated into my curriculum. One way is that I will not allow my students to use Google for Internet searches. They will need to use or I will use diigo to list all the sites we are going to use in the classroom versus having students type in URL’s. I will incorporate the REAL method to test the validity of websites. REAL stands for:
R – Read the URL (what is the extension?)
E – Examine the content (is it a hoax?)
A – Ask about the author/owner (use to locate the owner)
L – Links (examine)

By using the REAL method, my students should be able to decipher whether a website is legitimate or a hoax. I will introduce my students to and will see if they can apply the REAL method and figure out if it is valid or not. Finally, when I assign students projects, such as the Canadian Provinces/Territory wikis, I will have checkpoints for assessment. "Although it is important to be able to evaluate what students have learned at the end of an inquiry unit, even more important for Guided Inquiry is consideration of formative assessment along the way" (Kuhlthau, Maniotes, & Caspari, 2007). In the past, I would only assess the final project and there were really no way of knowing if my students were getting it or not. If they were started completing the project the wrong way, there was really no way of knowing it unless they asked questions or if I caught it when patrolling the computer lab. This will give me a greater chance to assess skills along the way and evaluate the creativity of the final project presentation.

One profession developmental goal I would like to pursue that builds upon the knowledge from this course and develops my information literacy skills is to increase my student’s awareness that everything that they read on the Internet is not true. I want my students to improve their ability when finding information. Starting day one, we learn and practice Internet skills. First, we will search will without using Google. Next, we use the REAL method for every website. Finally, we will work on synthesizing information. It is an important skill that is not easy to master but if we use work on it from day one there will be tremendous improvement when my students move to seventh grade.

If I were to sum up this course in one word I would say valuable. Its content will play an important part of my teaching practice. It has given me tools to help prepare my students with 21st century skills that they will use throughout their education.


Jukes, I. (2007). 21st century fluency skills: Attributes of a 21st century learner. Retrieved from

Kuhlthau, C. C., Maniotes, L. K., & Caspari, A. K. (2007). Guided inquiry: Learning in the 21st century. Westport: Libraries Unlimited.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Final Reflection

For my final blog post for Bridging Learning Theory, Instruction, and Technology, I want to look back at week one and defining my personal theory of learning. In week one, I stated how all my students see lessons in different ways and to reach my I need to understand how they think during the learning process. I need to learn my students’ strengths and weaknesses so I can plan engaging lessons. It is my goal to create lessons that immerse the learner as described by Dr. Michael Orey (Laureate, 2009a). I try to plan most of my lessons based on Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences Theory that we all have multiple intelligences but there is one or two of those intelligences that makes of learning unique (Lever-Duffy & Macdonald, 2008, p.24). I want to set my students up for success and by learning how they learn best and allowing them to use this in lessons, I feel that I am giving them a great opportunity to learn from each other. I have learned to modify my instruction so that my students are actively engaged and create artifacts to show there mastery of content. According to Dr. Michael Orey, "Social Learning is the act of being actively engaged in constructing artifacts and conversations with others. Conversations that help them understand and learn from others." (Laureate Inc., 2009b) I want my students to learn the content from each other and rely less on teacher led instruction.

This caused some adjustments to my instructional practice. Throughout my education at Walden University I learned about using Web 2.0 tools in the classroom and I am continually impressed by the amount and quality of content. Web 2.0 tools allow a small-town school to create podcasts, videos, manage photos, create slideshows, comics, animation, wikis, concept maps, musical and graphical tools, and many others for no cost. In an era of school budget restraints, Web 2.0 tools allow my students a chance to experience 21st skills in practice. In this course we learned about VoiceThreads and I will implement them into my curriculum. VoiceThreads allow students to collaborate and build knowledge together by using their voices (with a microphone) or by typing. This is great because it allows students who are reluctant to participate in discussion, a chance to become involved in discussion that they would normally would not. Another tools that I want to incorporate into my curriculum is virtual field trips. A Virtual Field Trip is a web based tool that "provides a student the opportunity to go where they physically cannot" (Laureate Education, Inc., 2007c). For example, virtual field trips instantly allow my students in Reedsville, WI to visit and learn about the tropical rainforests in Brazil and store that information into long-term memory. The trip would include many sights, sounds, and excellent information that would allow for my students to make connections with prior knowledge and enter their episodic memory. Using technology and experiencing a virtual fieldtrip is a much more effective way for my students to experience the Amazon Rainforest rather than looking in a boring textbook.

A long-term goal I would like to make to my instructional practice are giving my students different choices using technology to meet lesson objectives (a leap of faith for me). For example, if we are learning about Canadian provinces, in which I would normally have students create a poster, I would give them a chance to create an Imovie, slideshow, podcast, or the chance to use any Web 2.0 tools. As long a the students can satisfy the rubric for the assignment, they can use technology to learn in different ways, hopefully using their strengths. Another goal I will incorporate is using IPod touches in my classroom that I ordered last week. Students can surf the Internet, reinforce skills, use dictionaries and encyclopedias, or use any of the over 10,000 educational apps. My students are really excited for this opportunity and this will engage my students with even less teacher-led instruction. IPods, VoiceThreads, virtual field trips, and other Web 2.0 tools make being a teacher wanting to incorporate technology into the curriculum exciting and will definitely improve student achievement.

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2009a). Program 8. Bridging learning theory, instruction, and technology. Baltimore: Author.

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2009b). Program 3. Instructional theory vs. learning theory. [Educational video]. Baltimore: Author.

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2009c). Program 5. Spotlight on technology – virtual field trips. [Educational video]. Baltimore: Author.

Lever-Duffy, J. & McDonald, J. (2008). Theoretical foundations (Laureate Education, Inc., custom ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc.

Friday, April 2, 2010

My Voicethread

Blogging is blocked at my school. How can I convince administration to change this policy and use blogging as an educational tool??

Here is the link to my Voicethread.

Mr. D

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Connectivism and Social Learning in Practice

The learning strategy in Using Technology with Classroom Instruction that Works that we studied this week was cooperation and that goes hand and hand with Connectivism and Social Learning Theory. In our DVD presentation, Dr. Orey (Laureate Education, Inc., 2009) maintains that the social learning theory is the idea that “students actively engage in constructing artifacts and conversing with others.” By completing group projects (cooperation) students are practicing the social learning theory. Through technology and web 2.0 tools students can experience collaboration and group skills at a distance. Wikis, Google Docs, WebQuests, blogs, and many other technological means are beginning to revolutionize collaborative education. “Technology can plan a unique and vital role in cooperative learning by facilitating group collaboration, providing structure for group tasks, and allowing members to communicate even if they are not working face to face.” (Pitler, et. al., 2007, p. 140). This is awesome for both teachers and students. This can eliminate the “strong willed” student who takes over a group project with their influence. Conversely, a quiet/shy student may be more aggressive or participate more because they are not face to face with other group members.

Another collaboration tool I explored was some of the web resources in our text. Pitler, et al. discussed web collaboration, keypals, web-enabled multiplayer simulation games, and communication software, such as blogs and wikis. The great part about these sources is that they all allow for group learning and facilitate collaboration. Collaboration is not limited to groups in one classroom, technology allows for cooperative learning from anywhere on Earth there is computers and the Internet. Students from Reedsville, WI where I teach can learn from students in Japan or England. I could have my students working on a wiki about the novel Number the Stars and students from throughout the world could make changes and learn from my students. It would be great to hear from some Jewish students, students from Germany or Denmark. The technology makes studying novels more engaging and the ability to converse with students from throughout the world makes wikis a great educational tool that correlates with the social learning theory. Some of the simulation games such as Revolution and Civilization III allow students to interact with players throughout the world. Students learn by participating in actual historic events. The ability to learn while playing a game with authentic historical events while interacting with historical figures is an awesome way to learn about history and a way I wish I could have experienced in school.

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2009). Program 8. Social Learning Theory. [Educational video]. Baltimore: Author

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

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Constructivism in Practice

Constructionism suggests that learners are particularly likely to create new ideas when they are actively engaged in making external artifacts that they can reflect upon and share with others, for example, helping them create their own video games, robots, and simulations (Thurmond, 1999). My students simply enjoy using technology to learn, they prefer wikis, podcasts, PowerPoints over textbooks, worksheets, and rote learning. I recently surveyed my sixth grade students about incorporating technology in our classroom and found that over 90% would rather create a podcast or an iMovie instead of a research paper. This data suggested that I should change my curriculum to accommodate my student’s desire to learn using technology.

Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn and Malenoski stated in Using Technology with Classroom Instruction that Works in Chapter 11 (Generating and Testing Hypothesis) that when students generate and test hypotheses, they are engaging in complex mental processes, applying content knowledge like facts and vocabulary, and enhancing their overall understanding of the content. I love the idea of using game software and simulations to teach content. My students would jump at the idea of playing an online simulation such as the Calm and the Storm, a World War II simulation where students take on the role of leaders of several different countries. They make economic, diplomatic, and military decisions to achieve their country’s goals.
High School history teacher Dave McDivitt used the game to teach World War II and also taught it the traditional way. After testing both groups, he found that the students using the simulation software scored significantly higher than those who learned the material the traditional way (Pitler, et. al., 2007, pp. 214). This is significant because using simulation software (learning in a way that my students love) will be more effective than the normal, boring school lessons that I experienced when I attended school. By implementing technology, my students will be engaged, apply new content that is introduced in the simulation, and enhance their understanding.


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

Thurmond, A. (1999). Seymour Papert & Constructionism. March 24, 2009 from

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Using Cognitive Tools to Enhance Learning

In our text this week, we learned how using cognitive tools can enhance the learning experience. As a teacher, I want to use technology along with strategies to enhance learning. Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn and Malenoski stated in Using Technology with Classroom Instruction that Works in Chapter 4 (Cues, Questions, and Advance Organizers) that cues, questions, and advanced organizers help students’ ability to retrieve, use and organize information about a topic. An example they use that I want to use with my students is advanced organizers. Advanced Organizers are easy to use, are free, can include clipart and multimedia, and help students organize information and access prior knowledge. In the video section of the course resources this week, Dr. Orey talked about Pavio’s dual coding hypothesis from the video (Laureate Education, Inc., 2009). The power of advanced organizers is that if students can associate a picture with a meaning and information is stored as images and text, the understanding will improve their ability to recall the information. Ideally, I would create organizers for my social studies units that include clipart from the countries we are studying and the students would absorb the information.

In Chapter 6 (Summarizing and Note taking) Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn and Malenoski state that note taking and summarizing strategies should focus on the students’ ability to synthesize information and distill it into a new form. The strategy that I found useful was using a word processor to take notes. Our text suggested using the graphic representation of an upside-down T (Pitler et al., 2007, p.121). On the top left of the T students would record notes, on the top right side of the T students would draw illustrations, and underneath the T students would create a two sentence summary. This would be an ideal way to introduce new concepts in social studies and character descriptions in language arts. For example for South America, they would list the countries on the left, copy and paste a map on the right, and write a two sentence description under the line.

The new technological strategies I learned I want to incorporate into future lessons because they help students make connections and organize information in ways that they can easily understand. By making connections to prior knowledge and concepts they are familiar with, students will achieve more.

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2007). Program 5. Cognitive Learning Theories. [Educational video]. Baltimore: Author.

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

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Behaviorism in Practice

In Using Technology with Classroom Instruction That Works I explored many strategies that embed technology and relate to the behaviorist learning theory. Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn, and Malenoski (2007) gave the example of using www.survey to collect data that you could use to encourage students to try harder. The objective of the survey was to connect effort with achievement (p.162). With some inspiration from our text, I used to create a survey similar to Figures 8.6 and 8.7 (p.163) on place a link on my wiki. I discussed with my students both before and after the survey that they are responsible for their learning. I wanted my students to think about taking more responsibility and after reviewing the data of the survey, clearly they do not feel this way. The almost immediate feedback from this survey gave me some ideas on helping students become more responsible students. At the beginning of each quarter of the school year, I will set goals with my students in every class I teach (change my student’s behavior). I need to spend more time teaching my students study skills, testing taking skills, and constantly practice to acquire skills.

Another example of a strategy that uses technology and relates to the behaviorist learning theory is web resources. The text list many sites that give students the opportunity to learn through repetition. I played “Wizards and Pigs” and found out that this game neatly teaches students alliteration, rhyming, and free verse (p.197). I played this game and found behaviorism throughout the course of this game. The more skills you master the more you are rewarded with keys and potions. The game features some animation and great speech synthesis. The ability to learn some difficult concepts and have fun is the best part of this site. I will definitely use this as part of my poetry unit next year.

In our text both chapter eight, “Reinforcing Effort” and in chapter ten, “Homework and Practice” the authors give some great strategies that show behaviorism in practice with technology. I learned that free survey tools can really help me help my students improve their ability to improve themselves as students. I also found some new ways to give my students activities that help reinforce their skills with the reward of having fun while learning. Behaviorism may be described as the “red headed step-child” of the learning theories by Dr. Orey (Laureate Education, Inc., 2009) but it is alive and well thanks to technology being integrated in to education.

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2009). Program 4. Behaviorist learning theory. [Educational video]. Baltimore: Author.

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

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Welcome Walden Classmates!

Welcome to all my EDUC-6711I-6 Bridging Learning Theory, Instruction, and Technology classmates!

I am looking forward to learning many new ways to incorporate technology in my classroom from this class and my classmates. I am extremely eager to learn more about Google Docs.