Final Reflection

Posted on June 18, 2012 in Uncategorized by sjackson2

Seven short weeks ago (and I do mean short… I cannot believe we are in the final week of this course!) I created a GAME plan based on Cennamo, Ross, and Ertmer’s 2009 book Technology Integration for Meaningful Classroom Use:  A Standard’s Based Approach.  In this book, they use this acronym to help teachers and students set a goal for their own personal learning growth.  I chose to set a GAME Plan for improving my skills with National Educational Technology Standards for Teachers (NETS-T) Indicator 1C, which states that teachers should, “promote student reflection using collaborative tools to reveal and clarify students’ conceptual understanding and thinking, planning, and creative processes” (International Society for Technology in Education [ISTE], 2008).

 

In early May, I decided that I wanted to implement more reflection time in my classroom.  There is no doubt that reflection is a powerful strategy for helping students internalize and cement their learning; however, I often neglect this aspect of lesson planning.  Although we were near the end of the school year, I decided to implement a few experimental reflection exercises with my second grade students.  First, they used VoiceThread to reflect upon their completed work.  They took pictures of examples of outstanding work and examples of unsatisfactory work.  They recorded themselves talking about their work.  Another activity utilized blogs at kidblog.org.  Students posted personal reflections at the end of classroom lessons.  This public forum allowed them to comment on each other’s posts to deepen their learning (and allowed me to comment and see the conversations as well).  As a result of these activities, I learned that first of all, my students thoroughly enjoyed writing and talking about what they had learned.  Kids have this innate need to share what they know (Ever heard “Look what I can do!”?) and they had a great time showing off to me and each other what they had learned.  Using technology for reflective activities allowed them to be more engaging and motivating.  The students knew that their classmates would be reading and watching their work; that tends to improve the quality more than just knowing the teacher is going to see and grade it.  This GAME plan has shown me the importance of adding refection time into my lessons.  No more can I allow myself to use time as an excuse; it’s a powerful learning tool that must be utilized.  This next school year I plan on making reflection a regular part of my lessons, rather than as an added part at the end when there is “extra” time.

 

Even though I cannot believe this course is almost complete, I am excited about the new strategies and ideas I have learned.  The one thing I want to put a lot of effort into is online collaboration.  I want to use social networking tools to enhance my students’ learning.  My sister recently graduated college with her elementary education degree and is currently looking for a teaching job in Killeen, Texas.  We have started making plans for our classes to collaborate using Skype, blogs, wikis, and other online tools.  I plan on helping other teachers at my school use blogs in their classrooms as well, and I hope we can combine our classes for even more peer interaction.

 

This course has been extremely productive for me; I have learned about a lot of new technology tools that I can use with my second graders right away.  The collaboration aspect of this course through this blog and the wiki was helpful as well.  It was nice getting my classmates’ feedback before submitting final products; collaboration is as powerful for teachers as it is for our students!

 

References:

Cennamo, K., Ross, J. & Ertmer, P. (2009). Technology integration for meaningful classroom
use: A standards-based approach. (Laureate Education, Inc., Custom ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

International Society for Technology in Education. (2008). National education standards for teachers (NETS-T). Retrieved from http://www.iste.org/Libraries/PDFs/NETS_for_Teachers_2008_EN.sflb.ashx

 

GAME Plan Update #2

Posted on May 24, 2012 in Uncategorized by sjackson2

Two weeks ago, I studied the NETS-T standards and decided that I need to improve on Indicator 1C, which states that teachers should Promote student reflection using collaborative tools (International Society for Technology in Education [ISTE], 2008). I know this is an important part of teaching and instruction. Reflection allows students to process and clarify the new knowledge and/or skills (International Society for Technology in Education [ISTE], 2008).

Because school is almost out (4 days!), I have been thinking about how I can incorporate reflection into my teaching next year. Next year, I will have access to laptops, iPads, and the computer lab on a regular basis. Because of this, I think I want to use blogging for student reflection. I currently use kidblog.org and I think this platform will be a good fit for this goal. First, it is easy for students to use. Even my students who do not have a computer at home became experts at using Kidblog after just a few tutorial sessions. Also, it is a secure site. You have to have a password to access any content on any blog, so my students will be safe from scammers and inappropriate content. Last, blogs are interactive. My students and I will be able to comment on others’ entries and ask questions to help encourage deeper thinking,

I have been “experimenting” with reflection activities with. Y current students. Last week I mentioned that I wanted to try VoiceThread. My students recently finished book units. I had them choose their best assignment and worst assignment from the unit. They then took a picture of each and recorded their thoughts on why each piece was either the worst or the best. You can view examples here and here.

While my students enjoyed doing the VoiceThreads, it took a lot of direction on my part. I’m sure they would be able to do it independently with more practice, but with time at a premium, I think blogs are quicker, easier to use, and just as engaging (honestly, hand a kid an iPad everything becomes engaging!). As of right now, I think I am going to pursue the blog avenue.

Reference:
International Society for Technology in Education. (2008). National education standards for teachers (NETS-T). Retrieved from http://www.iste.org/Libraries/PDFs/NETS_for_Teachers_2008_EN.sflb.ashx

GAME Plan Update #1

Posted on May 17, 2012 in Uncategorized by sjackson2

My goal as a teacher is to never stop learning and evolving.  After reviewing the NETS-T standards last week, I realized that there is one glaring area in need of improvement in my teaching.  I need to work on Indicator 1C, which states that teachers should, “promote student reflection using collaborative tools to reveal and clarify students’ conceptual understanding and thinking, planning, and creative processes” (International Society for Technology in Education [ISTE], 2008).  Using Cennamo, Ross, and Ertmer’s (2009) GAME Plan model, I came up with a plan for improving this standard.  I want to incorporate reflective blogs and other technology activities into my teaching.

Before I can make any progress, I must have the appropriate resources available!  I need a computer or mobile device with internet access.  Currently, I have 6 iPads to use in my classroom.  Next year, there is supposed to be a traveling laptop lab for the second and third grade classes to share (8 classes).   I also have 35 minutes in the computer lab each week.

Although the laptops are not yet available and students have to share iPads, I have made some headway on my goal.  For the past 5 weeks, my students have been engaged in literature circles.  They have been reading chapter books based on interest and reading level.  Each week, the students have a packet of work that corresponds with their book.  Now that all groups are finished with their books, they are going to make an electronic portfolio using VoiceThread.  Out of their graded packets from the unit, they will choose their worst assignment and best assignment.  Using iPads, they will take a picture of each assignment and upload the pictures into a VoiceThread.  They will then add audio in which they describe why they chose each piece; for the worst assignment, they will describe what they could have done to make it better; and for the best assignment, they will explain what they did well.  I plan on doing this in small groups so each child can use the iPad on his/her own.  I realize that some students will need very little technology help, and others will need me to sit with them for the duration of the process.

I will be sure to post the link when the VoiceThreads are completed!

 

References:

Cennamo, K., Ross, J. & Ertmer, P. (2009). Technology integration for meaningful classroom
use: A standards-based approach. (Laureate Education, Inc., Custom ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

International Society for Technology in Education. (2008). National education standards for teachers (NETS-T). Retrieved from http://www.iste.org/Libraries/PDFs/NETS_for_Teachers_2008_EN.sflb.ashx

 

 

NETS-T and My GAME Plan

Posted on May 10, 2012 in Uncategorized by sjackson2

I hope to provide each and every second grader who walks through my classroom door with a love for learning and an eagerness to explore the world around them.  I know the best way to accomplish this is to model and embody those traits and behaviors myself.  I am always striving to be a better teacher, to find a new instructional method, or a new way to engage and challenge my students.  Organizations such as the International Society for Technology in Education have devised a list of teaching standards to help me and other teachers accomplish just this.

 

After examining the National Educational Technology Standards for Teachers (NETS-T), I have found a couple of indicators into which I would like to devote the most time and energy.  The first indicator I have chosen is Indicator 1C, which states, “promote student reflection using collaborative tools to reveal and clarify students’ conceptual understanding and thinking, planning, and creative processes” (International Society for Technology in Education [ISTE], 2008).  I chose this standard because I want to develop stronger reflection and closing exercises for my lessons.  Just like every other teacher, I struggle with time constraints and often neglect this important part of learning.  The other indicator I want to focus on is Indicator 5B, which states, “exhibit leadership by demonstrating a vision of technology infusion, participating in shared decision making, and community building, and developing the leadership and technology skills of others” (ISTE, 2008).  My school building is currently suffering from a lack of leadership and we have many teachers who are reluctant to infuse technology into their teaching.  I hope to take on a leadership role and help my coworkers learn how to use the technology themselves and use it to teach their students.

 

One of the best ways to set up my own learning is to use the GAME plan devised by Cennamo et. al. (2009).  GAME is an acronym that stands for Goals, Action, Monitoring, and Evaluating.  To set up my own personal GAME plan, I must first set a goal for myself.  I must then decide on a plan of action and carry it out.  As that is happening, I must monitor my progress and my students’ progress.  Last, I must evaluate the effectiveness of my actions in meeting my original goals (Cennamo, et. al, 2009).

 

For Indicator 1C, my goal is to improve my students’ reflective thinking and self-monitoring of learning by including a wrap-up or conclusion portion to all major lessons.  My action plan is to introduce a reflective blog to my students.  I am fortunate to have regular access to iPads (and next year traveling laptops), so my students will be able to utilize this blog often.  On the blog, my students will re-state the purpose of the lesson in their own words, reflect on their own level of learning, and explain how the lesson relates to their lives.  In addition, I will encourage students to comment on each others’ blogs and even encourage parents to read and comment on their child’s blog.  To monitor this action plan, I will closely monitor the blogs and take observational notes on students’ engagement, motivation, and learning.  I can also compare their graded work from before the action plan to their graded work during the action plan.  Last, I will reflect on the notes and graded work to assess whether the blogs were effective in meeting the instructional goal.

 

For Indicator 5B, my goal is to provide my coworkers with practical ideas and tutorials for using technology in their instruction.  My action plan is to create a wiki in which I can share files (we have Promethean boards, so I can link ActivInspire flipcharts), videos, written tutorials, and other valuable resources.  To monitor the plan, I will talk to other teachers and ask them whether the wiki is helping them or whether they are utilizing it at all.  I will pay attention to the activities happening in their classrooms and the chatter of the students.  At the end, I will evaluate the effectiveness of the wiki based on how often it is used and how it is used.

 

Although the school year is drawing to an end, I am already thinking of the next school year and how I can improve my instruction for my incoming second graders.  Using Cennamo et. al’s GAME plan is an excellent way to monitor my own practices and learning.

 

 

References: 

Cennamo, K., Ross, J. & Ertmer, P. (2009). Technology integration for meaningful classroom
use: A standards-based approach. (Laureate Education, Inc., Custom ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

International Society for Technology in Education. (2008). National education standards for teachers (NETS-T). Retrieved from http://www.iste.org/Libraries/PDFs/NETS_for_Teachers_2008_EN.sflb.ashx

 

EDUC 6711 Reflection

Posted on December 18, 2011 in Uncategorized by sjackson2

Seven weeks ago, at the beginning of this course, I described myself as a cognitivist-constructivist teacher.  I envisioned my classroom as a place where students were given the opportunity to explore, create, and dialogue.  This vision has not changed; however, the way I execute this vision has changed, due mostly in part of the learning I have incurred throughout the duration of this course.

 

Learning theories, instructional strategies, and technology go hand-in-hand, which became very evident to me as this course progressed.  I have to admit that before this course my approach to using technology was more haphazard than it is now.  I did not use our weekly trip to the computer lab very efficiently.  My students would spend their half-hour of lab time playing learning games (which I still believe have merit) or writing in their blogs.  Our computer lab activities were not connected to the reading/math/writing/social studies/science curriculums.  I did not think I could do that because of how limited my students’ computer access is.  Well, we still have those limitations, but, because of the resources I learned about in this course, our time is better spent.  For the past few weeks, my students have started using web resources to create projects that tie in to our social studies and reading curriculum.   Now, instead of hitting the “pause” button on our curriculum, our computer lab time is spent expanding upon our content-area learning.  My students have created Prezis, gone on virtual field trips, created concept maps and timelines, and have become more interactive with each other on their blogs.  I have incorporated the learning strategies, such as cooperative learning, nonlinguistic representations, and questions, cues, and advanced organizers into our computer lab time.  My students are still creating, exploring, and dialoguing; only now, it is enhanced with this motivating and engaging technology tools.

 

There are so many excellent web resources for teachers.  I can hardly wait to introduce them to my students.  I really enjoyed creating and sharing a VoiceThread with my students and I think this could be a valuable tool for them to try on their own.  After winter break, we will start a science unit on animals and I think VoiceThread would be a wonderful resource for students to use to showcase their learning.  I also want to start taking my class on more virtual field trips.  As in many school districts, our funds are limited and field trips were the first to be cut from the budget.  Textbooks and pictures just do not do it for today’s digital kids.  They want and need more!  During this course, my students participated in a virtual field trip to Plymouth Plantation.  They enjoyed this activity and were captivated by the video.  I think virtual field trips will result in powerful learning for my students.

 

I think my use of technology has come a long way in the seven weeks of this course.  I know I have a long way to go, though, to get my classroom to where I want it to be.  My ultimate goal is to secure more consistent access to computers, laptops, or iPads.  While the district’s budget is out of my hands, there are other directions I can go to get these resources.  There are grants and websites such as donorschoose.org.  It is up to me to be proactive to get the technology my students need, instead of passively blaming it on the budget and the Illinois state government.  Once I have that technology, my goal is to integrate it into all subject areas.  Right now, I have no problem creating technology-integrated lesson plans for social studies and science, but I want the language arts and math to be technology-rich subjects as well.   I need to continue researching web resources that and networking with other teachers, both in person and through blogs and such.  It is time for me to take a proactive role and advocate for my students!

 

Technology is not going anywhere.  When today’s second graders grow up, their lives are going to be so dependent on technology they will not be able to fathom how to live without it (even more than we digital-immigrants do).  It is our job as educators to prepare them for this technology world and teach them the 21st century skills they will need to have a successful future.

Social Learning Theories

Posted on December 2, 2011 in classroom,Walden University by sjackson2

Social learning:  the teachers’ secret weapon.  Social learning theories state that learning is best accomplished through interaction and meaningful conversations with others (Orey, 2001).  Teachers who utilize social learning allow students to collaborate with their peers.  Together, students are free to problem-solve, make decisions, acquire knowledge, and create together.

There are many proven instructional strategies and technology resources that lend themselves to social learning.  In Using Technology with Classroom Instruction that Works, Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn, and Malenoski (2007), describe how teachers can effectively use cooperative learning in their classrooms.  Cooperative learning is just as it sounds; students work in groups to learn new information.  They collaborate with each other to make sense of their new knowledge (Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn, & Malenoski, 2o07).  This strategy captures the essence of social learning theories.  Students are interacting with their peers and engaging in conversations to solidify their understanding of the subject matter.

Cooperative learning has been utilized for a long time in classrooms, but new Web 2.0 tools are making this strategy more engaging and productive.  Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn, and Malenoski (2007) suggest having students create multimedia projects with video and audio.  They also suggest having students complete WebQuests, create their own websites, or use social networking sites like Skype or e-mail.  These resources promote cooperation and interaction among students.

In my personal experience, I have found that my second graders love creating “projects.”  Refer to the activity or lesson as a “project” and all of a sudden, they come alive!  They are especially engaged when they get to work in groups and on the computers.  I have used Prezi, Voki, KidBlog, and Glogster for group projects in the past.  I was amazed at how quickly these 7-year-olds learned how to use the programs!  Don’t let sophisticated software scare you off; today’s kids are growing up in a digital world and are very quick to adapt to new programs!

I want to my classroom to be a student-led classroom in which my students are actively involved in their learning.  I want them to know how to collaborate with others so that they will be able to do it in “the real world” when they are older.  I want them to know how to use different technology tools, as they will be using these as they grow older.  Social learning theories fit right into my classroom.  With interaction and conversation, my students are able to meet the learning goals I have in mind.

 

References:

Orey, M. (Ed.). (2001). Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved from http://projects.coe.uga.edu/epltt/index.php?title=Main_Page

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

 

 

 

 

VoiceThread

Posted on November 30, 2011 in Uncategorized by sjackson2

Two weeks ago, I attended the Illinois Education and Technology Conference, and ever since then, I have been showing my students all of the “cool” new web resources I learned about.  They beg (even offer to give up recess!) for more computer lab time, so I thought the perfect topic for a VoiceThread would be the limited access to technology we have.

Though, now, they just want more lab time so they can create their own VoiceThreads!

 

My VoiceThread

Constructionist/Constructivist Theory in the Classroom

Posted on November 23, 2011 in classroom,Walden University by sjackson2

The constructionist and constructivist learning theories, I hope, are often present in my classroom.  These strategies emphasize a hands-on, student-centered approach to teaching and learning.  Instead of passively listening to the teacher, students create their learning.  They are engaged in activities that allow them to create something (Orey, 2001).  I think this is such a powerful learning strategy.  We know that students are more engaged when they are interested in what they are learning; what better way to get them interested than to get them involved?  There are a lot of ways to incorporate constructionist/constructivist philosophies into your classroom, some of which are highlighted in Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn, and Malenoski’s (2007) Using Technology with Classroom Instruction that Works.

 

Chapter 11 of this book discusses an effective teaching strategy during which students generate and test hypotheses.  When teachers use this strategy, their students must use the vocabulary, concepts, and knowledge of the topic at hand to come up with a hypothesis of their own that relates back to the material.  They then test out their hypothesis, for which there are numerous technological tools (Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn, & Malenoski, 2007).  In the process, students are cementing their learning because they are expanding upon the concepts and building cognitive connections.  I chose to highlight this strategy because it fits the constructivst/constructionist learning theories to a tee.  Constructionism is all about letting students take the lead.  When using this strategy, the teacher takes on a facilitator or guide role and helps the students through the process.  They do not tell the students what hypothesis they should make; they help students synthesize the information to create their own.  Students determine their own learning destiny.

 

Project-based learning is another instructional strategy that makes use of the constructivist/constructionist learning theories.  When students engage in project-based learning, they devise a solution to a real-world problem.  Often, they work in cooperative groups to research, analyze, and evaluate the problem and possible solutions (Orey, 2007).  Teachers can teach the material, but do so in a real-world context.  Once again, students take on the leadership role and have control over their own learning.  The teacher facilitates and directs when necessary.  Students are creating their own knowledge, and are doing so in a way that is engaging and relevant to them.   Constructivists/constructionists also believe that learning is most evident when students work with others to show and represent their learning (Orey, 2007).  If teachers allow students to do their projects in groups, they are taking advantage of this theory and leading their students to a strong, deep understanding of the material.

 

Although I teach second grade, there are many opportunities for me to implement constructionism and problem-based learning.  For example, during our graphing unit in math, I have students identify problems in our school and graph what their peers think is the highest priority.  During our weather unit in science, students research and prepare presentations on what would happen if our Illinois weather patterns completely changed.  It is my goal to start implementing more real-world projects with my young students.  The more they are interested and invested in the outcome, the more learning occurs!

 

 

References:

Orey, M. (Ed.). (2001). Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved from http://projects.coe.uga.edu/epltt/index.php?title=Main_Page

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

Cognitive Learning Theories

Posted on November 16, 2011 in classroom,Walden University by sjackson2

In contrast to last week’s post, cognitive learning theories focus on the brain and invisible cognitive processes, rather than the visible behavior changes explained by the behaviorism theory.  Cognitive learning theories are all about information processing (Laureate Education, Inc., 2011).  There are several instructional strategies that take advantage of brain research and follow the principles of cognitive learning theories.

 

Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn, and Malenoski, authors of Using Technology with Classroom Instruction that Works (2007), suggest that teachers use cues, questions, and advanced organizers to help students learn information.  When teachers give a cue, they tell students what they are about to learn.  When they question, they ask thought-provoking questions that require students to analyze and synthesize the information.  Advanced organizers help students organize the given information (Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn, & Malenoski, 2007).  This strategy fits right in with the cognitive learning strategies.  Dr. Orey explained that these theories focus on how information is received, stored, and recalled.  Information is received through sensory experiences.  When these experiences are expanded upon, the information is placed into long-term memory.  The more senses that are involved, the more information is stored (Laureate Education, Inc., 2011).  Advanced organizers give students the sensory experiences and expansion they need to get the information into their long-term memories.  The organizers provide them with visual images and written words.  They allow students to connect to abstract information by providing a concrete way to organize it.

 

Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn, and Malenoski also suggest using summarizing and note taking to teach new information.  When students summarize, they restate the most important information in their own words.  Note-taking requires that students write down and organize information as it is presented (Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn, & Malenoski, 20o7).  This is another strategy that demonstrates the cognitive learning theories.  Cognitivists stress that students need to interact with information to retain it (Orey, 2001).  Whether they are summarizing or taking notes, students are interacting with the new information.  They are analyzing and determining importance.  They are categorizing and organizing.  They are making connections to the information, which allows them to store that information in their long-term memory.

 

The best thing about Using Technology with Classroom Instruction that Works (2007) is that the authors give practical ways to integrate technology into these teaching strategies.  Teachers or students can create an organizer or note-taking template  in Microsoft Word or Excel.  There are software and internet resources for these tasks as well.  The authors give examples with the software program Inspiration, but there are free sources available as well.  If you want to “spice up” your Powerpoint presentations or organizers, you can try Prezi.    I just learned about this free tool at the Illinois Education and Technology Conference today, and am excited to use it with the upcoming U.S. history unit I am doing with my second graders.

 

Last week, I realized that the behaviorist learning theory is everywhere in education.  This week, I learned that cognitive learning strategies have also permeated the classroom.  When I think of learning, I think primarily of cognitive strategies, but there is a place for all of the learning strategies in the classroom.  They work together, and with the aid of technology, result in powerful student learning.

 

 

Resources:

 

Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2011). Program five: Cognitive learning theory [Video webcast]. Bridging learning theory, instruction and technology. Retrieved from http://laureate.ecollege.com/ec/crs/default.learn?CourseID=5700267&CPURL=laureate.ecollege.com&Survey=1&47=2594577&ClientNodeID=984650&coursenav=0&bhcp=1

Orey, M. (Ed.). (2001). Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved from http://projects.coe.uga.edu/epltt/index.php?title=Main_Page

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

Behaviorist Learing Theory & Classroom Instruction

Posted on November 10, 2011 in classroom,Walden University by sjackson2

This week, I have been exploring the behaviorist learning theory.  Previously, I thought behaviorism had its place exclusively in classroom and behavior management.  Boy, was I wrong!  I now understand that the behaviorist learning theory comes into play in academics more often than I ever realized.  Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn, and Malenoski (2007) together authored the book Using Technology with Classroom Instruction that Works.  This book presents educators with several research-based teaching strategies that all involve the use of technology.  Many of these strategies fit in with the behaviorist learning theory.

 

Chapter 8 focuses on the reinforcing effort strategy.  When using this strategy, teachers explicitly teach the importance of effort and help students make the connection between the level of effort they apply and their academic achievement (Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn, & Malenoski, 2007).  In my opinion, effort is a behavior that is learned.   I teach second grade, and this is something I am working on with my students right now.  Instead of blaming their bad grades on their own lack of attention or participation, they may say “Miss Jackson always gives me F’s.  But she always gives XXX A’s.”  I need to teach my students that when they put effort into their learning and work, they will reap the rewards in the form of good grades.  Using the principles of the behaviorist theory is an excellent way to teach this.  Behaviorists believe that people change their behavior based on the reaction they get to a particular behavior.  If they receive a favorable reaction, they increase the behavior; on the other hand, if they receive a reaction they were not expecting or hoping for, that behavior will probably decrease (Smith, 1999).  When my students put forth  effort, recognizing and rewarding that effort will increase the chance that they show more effort on the next assignment or activity.

 

Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn, and Malenoski (2007) suggest that teachers use technology to teach effort to their students.  They suggest that teachers allow students to keep track of their own effort with a student-friendly rubric and spreadsheet program.  The program allows for immediate feedback.  Students will be able to see that when they give more effort, their grades increase and that when they give less effort, their grades decrease.  This is what behaviorist learning theory is all about:  altering behaviors (effort given) based on the response the behavior evokes grades).

 

Chapter 10 focuses on homework and practice, which is another teaching strategy that fits in with the behaviorist theory.  The authors believe that focused practice and homework allow students to master the skill.  It gives them the opportunity to clear up any misconceptions they may
have and cement their understanding (Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn, & Malenoski, 2007).  In the book, they give many technology resources for practice and homework, including word processing software, presentation software, and web-based games.  Once again, these activities are the epitome
of behaviorism.  Take web-based games, for example.  My students recently played a game called Noun Dunk, during which they have to identify whether a word is a proper noun, common noun, or not a noun at all.  Students choose the category (the behavior) and if they are correct, the basketball soars through the basket.  If they are incorrect, the ball bounces off of the rim (the response).  My students really wanted that basketball to go through the hoop, so they started altering their behavior based on the response they were getting.  This practice session was engaging and allowed my students to solidify their understanding of nouns, all thanks to the behaviorist learning theory.

 

I have just started this book, but it has already provided me with two great instructional strategies that I can immediately implement in my classroom.  Even better, it gave me specific ways to incorporate technology into these strategies to make learning more engaging and relevant to my students.

 

References:

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

Smith, K. (1999). The behaviourist orientation to learning. In The encyclopedia of informal education. Retrieved from http://www.infed.org/biblio/learning-behavourist.htm

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