Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Voice Thread

I have created this voice thread as an assignment for Walden University. I would like to have your opinion on the best place to mount the new smart board I will be getting next year. Here is my link.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Using Technology to Support Contructionism

“ Constructionism is both a theory of learning and a strategy for education” (Han & Bhattacharya, 2001).Constructionism suggests that new ideas are most likely to be created when learners are actively engaged in building some type of external artifact that they can reflect upon and share with others. The whole contructionist idea is to have learners involved in the total process of planning, building, sharing, evaluating and reflecting on their work. The role of the teacher is to become the facilitator, providing clear expectations, constructive feed back and fair assesment. Through constructionism students build knowledge that is personal and meaningful.

With contructionism in mind how does this week’s reading “Generating and Testing Hypotheses” in Using Technology and Classroom Instruction that Works, relate to project- based learning. The authers, Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn and Malenoski state that testing hypotheses in an inductive or deductive manner can be generated through six tasks; systems analysis, problem solving, historical investigation, invention, inquiry and decision making (2007). Lessons based on contuctionism theory have several of these tasks embedded in the lesson. Having student make a conjecture using prior knowledge and then testing and evaluating their conjectures is a skill that students need. Students also need to take any new information learned in the investigating stages to go back to their original hypothesis and make another prediction.

In geometry class one of the first concepts I teach is inductive and deductive reasoning. Conditional statements, “If: then” help students understand logical reasoning. As a geometry teacher I was anxious to see what on-line tools I could use to challenge my students. I spent a lot of time playing around with the catapult at, Although I am not a physiscs teacher my knowledge of angles and parabolas helped me hit the target. Gizmos found at was very helpful to understanding how technology and interactive software can help students to learn to make hypoteses, test and evaluate, then make a new hypothesis until a thorough understanding is met. I can’t wait until we reach a concept that is covered in gizmos.

ExploreLearning.(2010). Retrieved from

Han, S., and Bhattacharya, K. (2001). Constructionism, Learning by Design, and Project Based Learning. In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved March, 22, 2010, from

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

Sytina, J. (1998) SPECS. Retrieved from

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Cognitivism in Practice

“Cognitivist focus on learning as a mental operation that takes place when information enters through the senses, under goes mental manipulation, is stored, and is finally used”(Duffy & McDonald, 2008, p.16). Technology has given educators tools that support cognitive learning theory.

This week I have spent a lot of time investigating many of the resources found in Using Technology with Classroom Instruction that Works (Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn, Malenoski, 2007). With the use of technology, cues to check students’ prior knowledge do not have to be just verbal questions. Now a teacher can have students recall information from images, words and sounds presented in a power point presentation. Using many of the senses to get back information supports the cognitive theory that information is stored in multiple parts of the brain and retrieval is triggered by several senses.

In this week’s DVD, Dr Orey explains to us that three different types of information are stored in the brain; declarative/facts, procedural/how to do things and episodic/events in your life. Many schools have had to eliminate their field trips because of budget cuts. The number and variety of virtual tours available to teachers has increased. Although the virtual field trip is not an actual event, the use of them in the classroom can create lasting images stored for future reference. With a little creativity a teacher can make a virtual field trip that is a declarative, procedural and episodic memory.

James Hartley has identified some key ideas of learning that are based on cognitive theory. Hartley believes instruction should be well organized and structured (Smith, 1999). Advanced organizers such as mappings and spread sheets help teachers present material to their students in a very clear and visual manner. Teachers can use this tool for brainstorming, presentation of material, learning students’ prior knowledge and reviewing information before a test. Students can use advance organizers to help plan a research paper, note taking and organizing a group project. Organizers are useful tools for education.

Learning about the technology applications available to enhance student learning makes me envious of the teachers who have the hardware available to them at school. A handful of teachers at my school have the technology in their classrooms but I can see that it is not being used to its potential.


Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2009). Program 5. Cognitive Learning Theories. [Educational video]. Baltimore: Author.

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

Pitler, H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007). Using technology with Smith, M. K. (1999) 'The cognitive orientation to learning', the encyclopedia of informal classroom instruction that works. Alexandria, VA: ASCD

Smith, M. K. (1999) 'The cognitive orientation to learning', the encyclopedia of informal education, Retrieved March 11, 2010, from

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Bribe them with Technology

My students think I am bribing them when I say.” If the class gets all their work done by Thursday, they can go down to the computer lab on Friday”. If I told them I was using negative reinforcement from behavior theory they would laugh at me and say “what ever”. To them they know from experience that if they get all their work finished by the end of Thursday, they won’t have any to do on Friday. Taking away the fifth day of boring class room activities and allowing them to work on the computers with geometry sketch pad and other math related activities is a use of negative reinforcement. When educators say that behaviorism is out dated and doesn’t have a place in the classroom, I have to disagree. After twenty years of teaching I have seen my behaviorism practices diminish, I have eliminated all severe punishment, but positive and negative reinforcements play an important part of my classroom management. “Using behaviorist theory in the classroom can be rewarding for both students and teachers” (Standridge, 2002).
Reinforcing effort through technology sounds like a great idea that I can implement at our school. Our administrators are always looking for ways to promote outstanding efforts made by our students. We have examples of the our student’s national recognized art works on the web page but there isn’t anything about the hard work some of the students have done to turn their lives around. I know one young man that had no goals or vision his freshman and sophomore years. At the end of tenth grade he had one credit and was about to drop out of school when a mentor changed his attitude. In two years he has earned his Eagle Award for the Boy Scouts, caught up on his credits so he can graduate with his class this year, and he has passed all his tests so he can enlist in the US Navy. He is a model for other students, parents and community members to see how with the right help it is never too late to change your life around and be successful. Getting this type of story out to the public on the school web page is a great use of technology reinforcing efforts of our students.

Standridge,M.. (2002). Behaviorism. In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved March 8, 2010, from