Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Cognitivism in Practice

The instructional strategies described in this week’s resources correlate with the principals of cognitive learning theory. They will allow me to teach for understanding. These instructional strategies are Cues, Questions, and Advance Organizers. The other is Summarizing and Note Taking.

According to Dr. Orey, when information is received, it can move into the short-term or working memory of the brain. For it to move onto the long-term memory, we must provide what he called “sensory registers.” One example of a sensory register would be some sort of visual tool. If we use visual tools we can help to connect new ideas to other ideas that have already been learned, which will create episodes (Laureate Education, Inc., 2010).

Using Cues, Questions, and Advance Organizers will allow students to recall, apply, and organize information about a particular concept (Pitler, H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K., 2007). I liked the idea of using brochures, rubrics, definitions, and programs as expository advance organizers. These organizers are a great way to introduce a lesson. The idea of getting the students to create a brochure before a field trip is a great idea. This will get their minds where they need to be when they begin to receive information, which needs to be stored into the short-term memory or working memory. Another idea was to have the students skim their brochure prior to the field trip as an additional advance organizer. The next application example of a word processing program was making a table feature as an advance organizer for taking notes. I know this example was to keep the organizer saved into a file for all-access, but you could have the students create a table and print it. This could be carried during the field trip, and after they visit various places, they could jot down notes of things they observed. This would be useful with a virtual field trip as well. In addition to the lesson, a virtual field trip can provide a much richer experience by also creating the episodes for the students to understand the concepts (Laureate Education, Inc., 2010).

Another idea would be to use a multimedia tool such as a concept map to pose a question that would tie into a virtual field trip. Dr. Orey called this a mind tool. In this mind tool, the central node would pose a question, and then the outer nodes would then contain basic facts that would answer the question. According to Dr. Orey, we need to provide episodes to students to tie their learnings (Laureate Education, Inc., 2010).

For summarizing, I liked the option in a Microsoft Word document that automatically summarizes. My students hand-write a body report in science. They also practice their typing skills by typing the report. This also allows them to catch spelling errors, etc. before turning in the report. One way to present this report to the class would be to use this tool. I liked that it also has another purpose. When the tool summarizes, the students can view whether or not the computer and the student agree on the summary. I would then conference with my students to see the accuracy. They may then need to revise (Pitler, H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K., 2007).

According to the McREL’s research from chapter six on note taking, “The more notes taken, the better.” The idea of using combination notes is a great way for students to revisit what they learned, but they are also able to view what the notes look like through illustrations of the notes. I like that they can use this strategy in PowerPoint. My students are very fluent with PowerPoint, and I think this strategy would fit many of our lessons.

All of these strategies are wonderful. I am so excited to use many of them in my own classroom. After creating a concept map as a brainstorming tool, then creating charts to take on a virtual field trip, students could then take what they created and learned and apply it to some sort of communication tool such as a blog or wiki. Instead of just giving a paper-pencil test, the students will be assessed on a hands-on experience. Not only will it engage the students, but it will also enhance the whole learning experience through episodes, which allow sensory registers to make connections. These connections will then allow students to store their learnings into their long-term memories (Laureate Education, Inc., 2010). 


LaureateEducation, Inc.(2010). Cognitive 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.

1 comment:

  1. In my health education classes I use guided note taking. Instead of having the students write down everything off of my PowerPoint slides I give the students the PowerPoint notes but leave words out. This forces the students to follow along with me when discussing the PowerPoint. Also since the students are not always writing, I feel they ask more questions in class and are listening to their peers’ discuss the topic. This strategy also helps me with my special education student who I am required to give a hard copy of notes too.