Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Constructivism and Constructionism

Constructivism and constructionism are two learning theories. Constructivism, or the V word, has to do with the schematics of learning. When we learn, our mind groups similar ideas together based on previous knowledge (Laureate Education Inc., 2011). Constructionism, or the N word, uses building or creating as a vehicle for meaningful learning (Laureate Education Inc., 2011).

There are many ways to use these learning theories in the classroom. Two ways are through generating and testing hypothesis, and creating project based lessons. When students generate hypothesis with careful reasoning it gives proof that students are critically thinking (Pitler, Hubbell, & Kuhn, 2012). Creating hypothesis takes previously learned knowledge and uses it to inductively reason. This is an example of constructivism. Students can test and chart their findings compared to the hypothesis and present it in a digital way; this is example of constructionism. There are so many ways to incorporate technology when generating and testing hypothesis. Excel spreadsheets, phone apps, and simulation software can be useful tools (Pitler el at., 2012). Project based learning is closely tied to problem based learning. When a real world problem is introduced to students they must use higher level thinking skills to solve this problem (Orey, 2001). These lessons are tied to large-scale projects that often culminate in a presentation of student findings. Project based learning is an example of constructionism. When solving a big-picture problem, there are many smaller problems that must be figured out. The student guides the learning activities. This quest of knowledge results in meaningful learning opportunities.  

Throughout the week, I thought of the proverb “Tell me and I'll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I'll understand”. I believe the proverb sums up the idea of constructionism.


Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2011). Program seven: Constructionist and constructivist learning theories [Video webcast]. Bridging learning theory, instruction and technology. Retrieved from

Orey, M. (Ed.). (2001). Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved from

Pitler, H., Hubbell, E. R., & Kuhn, M. (2012). Using technology with classroom instruction that works (2nd ed.). Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Cognitive Learning Theories in Classroom Strategies

Cognitive theories in education are geared into how the brain works and processes information. Two chapters that correlate to these ideas are “Cues, Questions and Advanced Organizers” and “Summarizing and Note Taking” (Hubbell, Kuhn & Pitler, 2012).

Questioning in the classroom can be used as an informal assessment tool. When a teacher uses this form of assessment they can gauge where the class knowledge based lies. From here, the instructor can use scaffolding and cues to build upon this knowledge. Organizing information in a visual way can help with remember and learning. When technology is added to the equation, there are many ways to amplify these techniques. Graphic organizer software can be used to present information to students using pictures, video clips or web links (Hubbell, 2012). This way of brainstorming can also become a learning activity. There are social bookmarking such as Diigo, and Pinterest that can be used to allow students become a real part of the brainstorming process.  

Note taking and summarizing are skills that develop over time. In order to take clear notes the student must have an understanding of the material, and must be able to use higher levels of thinking by synthesizing the information. Some of the strategies suggested in this week’s readings I currently do to help my students with learning disabilities. Guided notes can help students of all abilities connect information in a visual way. The tool, Ultimate Research Assistant, can be used in addition to note taking. This tool “reads” articles and “listens” to lectures and then composes a report summarizing the information (Hubbell, 2012).

Concept mapping is an advanced way to organize information. Students can connect information to prior knowledge and new ideas (Laureate Education, Inc., 2011). They can gather ideas using pictures, texts, links or links to videos. This visual way to represent information can be an exciting tool that students and teachers alike can use.

Virtual field trips are online tours of a location. Students can tour museums, cites, historic sites, factories, etc. This uses of technology is beneficial since the whole world is available to be explored. A student can tour museums that are across the globe without leaving their school building. Virtual field trips can build on cognitive learning because students are connecting learned topics to real places.

Using cognitive learning theories along with the above strategies can help learning in you classroom. When we proved students with useful tools and rich experiences we encourage students to learn to their fullest potential.


Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2011). Program five: Cognitive learning theory [Video webcast]. Bridging learning theory, instruction and technology. Retrieved from

Pitler, H., Hubbell, E. R., & Kuhn, M. (2012). Using technology with classroom instruction that works (2nd ed.). Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Technology and Behaviorism

This week in my grad class, Bridging Learning Theory, Instruction, and Technology, we explored two teaching strategies that implement technology. These strategies are reinforcing effort and providing recognition, and assigning homework and providing practice. This week we also reviewed the behaviorist educational theory (Laureate Education, Inc., 2011). In this blog post, I will explain how these strategies can connect with the behaviorist model. 

When a teacher reinforces effort in the classroom it provides students with positive feedback. This encourages students to continue learning.  It is important for students to realize that their success is linked to the effort they put in (Pitler, Hubbell & Kuhn, 2012). When students are able to keep track of their progress in class they take ownership of their own learning (Pitler, Hubbell & Kuhn, 2012). The recognition of positive behavior is a basic behaviorist idea (Laureate , 2011). I have seen an improvement in effort in my own classroom when I discuss participation grades with each student daily.  It would be interesting to add the element of technology to this strategy. I believe students would like to manipulate the data into various charts and graphs. As an art teacher, I enjoy bragging about my student’s talents. At this time, I have an art student of the month on a cork board in the hallway. It would be more of an honor if I put together an artist of the week portion of my blog that highlights one student. Perhaps students would link this post to their social media, or email the link to their parents.

Homework is not a typical occurrence in my art courses. Much of the work is completed during studio time in the classroom. However, students do sketch outside of the classroom when brainstorming project ideas or themes. In previous courses, I have set the goal to set up a class wiki or blog where students can post pictures of their artistic process or completed artwork for peer review. This gives students the chance to interact with other students who may be different periods. It is also beneficial since there is a limited amount of classroom time and students can respond to peers at their leisure. When students practice responding to each other online the in class critiques will become smoother. Teacher would be involved this process to give feedback and encourage learning. The idea of giving feedback, both positive and negative, is a behaviorist idea (Laureate , 2011).


Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2011). Program four: Behaviorist learning theory [Video webcast]. Bridging learning theory, instruction and technology. Retrieved from

Pitler, H., Hubbell, E. R., & Kuhn, M. (2012). Using technology with classroom instruction that works. (2nd ed.). Denver, Colorado: McRel.