Friday, December 21, 2012

Final Reflection

          As my current course “Bridging Learning Theory, Instruction, and Technology” closes that I am taking through Walden University it is time to reflect on my “Personal Theory of Learning” that I developed during week one of the class.   This class has brought forward the theories that I had learned in my undergraduate classes in a new light letting us explore them and gain understanding of how they might be used in today’s classrooms. When I am teaching during the week I do not go through each learning theory and apply them to my student’s education in my classroom.  Because I have continually educating myself I feel that in my teachings I use bits and pieces of each learning theories such as the Behaviorist, Cognitive, Constructionist, Constructivist and Social learning theories that we explored in this class.  This class has made my understandings of each of these theories more clear and expanded my world of the educational technologies available to my students and me. 

           In my school there are limited resources when it comes to technology tools in my classroom.  I do have access to the computer lab so when thinking about technology tools that I would like to use with my students concept mapping and virtual field trips come to mind.  Both of these tools can be used together or separate to enhance and help students organize ideas, understand concepts, visualize and they support dual coding so that students will remember ideas taught down the road in life.               

          Two long term goals or changes that I would like to make to my instructional practice are to implement more technology in my classroom and to use that technology so that it is effective for students as a learning tool.  When it comes to implementing technology in my classroom I need to approach my administration and let them know that my art students need this to further their education in visual arts and how these resources could advance their knowledge in the content area.  I also need to put research into writing grants for this purpose so that I know I am doing all I can do for what is best for my students.  The second goal of effectively using technology as a learning tool would come into play when I get things such as whiteboards, printers, scanners or digital cameras for my classroom.  A lot of times teachers have these things and it is the teacher who is using them and not the students.  I want my students to be hands on in their learning and they need to learn how to operate and use these types of resources. After all, our students are our students and eventually we have to release them and give them the tools so when they leave our classroom they can fly on their own. 

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Connectivism and Social Learning in Practice

          According to Orey, Social Learning Theories actively engage students in constructing artifacts and conversing with others. In turn Cooperative Learning is an instructional strategy that has students interacting with each other in groups in ways that enhance their learning (Pitler, 2007). Both of these can work together in the classroom so that students gain what is needed for and enriching learning environment.
            Students normally interact with each other socially.  Doesn’t it make sense to use that to our advantage as teachers? There are many opportunities as teachers that we can use such sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Webquest, Google Docs, Edublogs and so on to our advantage when getting our students to have an urge to learn.  I know that I use some of these resources everyday and I gain insights and knowledge from them.  They use these sites anyway, so why not use them in a way that it is benefiting us as teachers also? It makes sense! We can take our content and have students work together on projects through online tools and collectively and cooperatively learn.
Laureate Education, Inc. (2010). Social learning theories. Baltimore, MD: Dr. Michael Orey.
Pitler, H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007). Using technology with classroom instruction that works. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Constructivism in Practice

              In week four in the learning resources theories and ideas that were discussed were Constructionist, Constructivist, Project-based and generating and testing hypotheses in the classroom. According to Dr.Orey Constructivism is a theory of knowledge stating that each individual actively constructs his or her own meaning and Constructionism is a theory of learning that people learn best when they build an external artifact or something they can share with others (Laureate, 2010).   Project-based learning is according to Orey a teaching and learning strategy that engages learners in complex activities. It usually requires multiple stages and an extended duration and more than a few class periods and up to a full semester. Projects focus on the creation of a product or performance, and generally call upon learners to choose and organize their activities, conduct research, and synthesize information (Orey, 2012).  Project-based learning occurs often in my art classroom, but because of the thirty day rotation that occurs in the classroom there are limits on how long my students have to complete an art project although they are given the limit to the last day of the rotation.  Project-based learning and Constructionism work together where students create an artifact where they have to organize, research, and synthesize information to show they have retained information and created a project out of what they have learned. 

            When it comes to generating and testing hypotheses Howard Pitler suggests that this instructional strategy engages students in complex mental processes, applies content knowledge like facts and vocabulary, and enhances student’s overall understanding of the content (Pitler, 2007).  The chapter suggests three different technologies that generate and test hypotheses: spreadsheet software, data collection tools, and Web resources (Pitler, 2007). All of these sources can be used in such a ways that the Constructionist theory of sharing knowledge and artifacts with others can be used and expressed.  



Laureate Education, Inc. (2010). Constructionist and Constructivist Learning Theories. Baltimore, MD: Dr.Michael Orey.

Orey, M. (Ed.). (2012). 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.