Thursday, May 26, 2011

Constructivism in Practice

In teaching science I have an added advantage over other subjects. We are not only learning and recalling new information, but we are often delving deeper into a subject in a way that many other subjects either do not offer or have trouble working in that fashion. Generating a hypothesis and taking an experiment to a logical conclusion, and then comparing your personal thoughts to the results, is a daily occurrence.

When students are able to construct their own vision within an assignment they become a part of it. I have seen some students who hate school (or at least they put that off as their defense mechanism) give me their absolute best effort in research and the carrying out of an experiment, when they have a say in parts of it. I will often allow the students to deviate from the norm of an experiment and let them roam free. This is when they truly get excited. Now I have planned for 90% of the possible directions that they can go, but there are some original ideas that come out if this that I have not heard. As long as the student can justify the reasoning of their venture, I am game.

Constructivism within the classroom is essential to a true measure of growth of an individual student. Not only can they develop a new appreciation for the content, but they learn life skills as well along the way. It is a higher level of cognitive ability as well as a higher level of maturity that we are teaching our students. They need to have the structure, but also need to perceive they have the freedom to incorporate their own ideas and ideology into the lesson. Only then will we get the greatest outcome.


Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2010). Program seven. Constructionist and constructivist learning theories [Webcast]. Bridging learning theory, instruction and technology. Baltimore, MD: Author.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Cognitivism in Practice

There are sometimes that teachers often attempt to reinvent the wheel. Some of the basic practices that have been used over the years still work. Now often we see our pedagogy as outdated but some of the basic strategies that we use everyday are tried and true strategies.

Recall is an important stage of one's learning, and is often overlooked for a higher cognitive level of thinking. Basic recall can help to establish long term memory and create good habit. These questions and cues given to the student at the appropriate times can create instances in which the student can then build upon the knowledge with higher level cognitive abilities. The first strategy works towards these goals and uses additional types of organizers to achieve these goals.

The second strategy, note taking and summarizing, allows students to create the skills necessary to compact and organize information. This will lead to increased cognitive ability in ways such as a more effective system of studying and recall. All of these steps are additional tools that will give a student a more complete focus on a subject and will allow them to be able to access a more stable amount of long-term memory. This is the most important goal of any cognitive strategy.

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2010). Program five. Cognitive learning theory [Webcast]. Bridging learning theory, instruction and technology. Baltimore, MD: Author.

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

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Behaviorist Theory

Student motivation is often at the forefront of what we are trying to accomplish as educators. Behaviorist theory can help us achieve that by directing a student's behavior in such a manner that they are able to channel themselves into a routine that will encourage and foster academic success. This can be seen in two different ways, at least from the perspective of the teacher, reinforcement and punishment. Old school thought might lean itself towards the punishment ranks to redirect behavior, but over the years educators have become more and more adopting of the reinforcement ideals. It is just another way to foster encouraged behavior in an effective way.
DC Physics allows for a constant flow of information and tutorial simulations. Both of these supplements will allow students to achieve a higher level of comprehension. The fact that these are on the web might actually help as well. In addition to placing them in a forum that many students conduct much of their free time, it also has an ease of access. Students will be able to freely come and go as they please. This sense of accomplishment and freedom gives them a level of instant gratification, whcih can be considered a reinforcement of behavior. A teacher can also place additional activities that correlate with this website to get them initially engaged in the process of online tutorials.
This goes along the lines of giving a certain level of homework and practice for a student, whcih can also increase desired behavior (Pitler, et al., 2007). By allowing for the continuation of the skill, students will have the opportunity to increase their level of performance. They will also be able to achieve a level of immediate feedback in such online forums. This will allow for the reinforcement that a student feeds on and will ultimately lead to a higher level of work completion and continuation of the skill. These two achievements will then lead to a deeper understanding of the material, which is what educators are ultimately trying to do.

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2010). Program four. Behaviorist learning theory [Webcast]. Bridging learning theory, instruction and technology. Baltimore, MD: Author.
Pitler, H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007). Using technology with classroom instruction that works. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.