Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Connectivism and Social Learning in Practice

Different learning theories can be applied in a classroom setting to maximize learning taking place between teacher and student. Throughout this week of my master’s level coursework we looked at cooperative learning as an instructional strategy and how it relates to social learning theories. “Cooperative learning focuses on having students interact with each other in groups in ways that enhance their learning” (Pitler, H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. 2007). Ways in which to do this while tying in technology include social and professional networks such as blogs, podcats, wikis, personal spaces, read write pages and other student friendly and appropriate forms of communication.

One specific tool I familiarized myself with this week was that of Voice Thread. Voice Thread allows students to upload images and then interact with them. (Laureate 2009) By doing this they can collaborate with students inside their classroom to create projects that are centered around any kind of curriculum. However, they are not limited to collaborating with only students in their room, but also can receive feedback information from students outside of their building and even across the world. Voice Thread can be used in both creative and logical endeavors to enhance the educational process of students of all ages. Using multimedia such as this connects students on a global level and maximizes cooperative learning.

Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). 2009. Spotlight on Technology.[Motion picture]. Bridging Learning Theory, Instruction, and Technology. Baltimore: Author

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

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Constructivism in Practice

Constructivism is a theory of knowledge stating that each individual actively constructs his or her own meaning throughout learning, while constructionism is a theory of learning that people can learn best when they build an external artifact or something they can shape with others (Laureate 2009).

I believe constructionism is heavily reliant upon project based learning and group effort. “Project learning, also known as project-based learning, is a dynamic approach to teaching in which students explore real-world problems and challenges, simultaneously developing cross-curriculum skills while working in small collaborative groups” (Edutopia 2008). Challenging my students to face problems together, to meet their learning style needs through many different sensory inputs and incorporating technology are all significant to me as a visual arts educator in the 21st century. If students have the opportunity to collaborate with one another in a group setting, they can truly learn by shaping an external artifact along side of their peers.

“When students generate and test hypotheses, they are engaging in complex mental processes, applying content knowledge like facts and vocabulary, and enhancing their overall understanding of the content” (Pitler, H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. 2007). Although this sounds scientific, I believe my students recently mastered this in my art room setting with a chalk mural they created as a class. After studying artist Eric Grohe, they looked at his three-dimensional murals and learned about basic perspective including foreground, middleground and background. Objects in the background appear very tiny, like in Grohe’s work, while objects in the middleground and foreground get larger respectively. When collaborating on one large piece of art as my third graders were, they had to problem solve where there horizon line would be and how large and small to make objects to keep their scene to scale. This required discussion, cooperation, creativity and understanding by all that were involved.

Edutopia Staff. (2008). Why Teach with Project Learning?: Providing Students With a Well-Rounded Classroom Experience. Retrieved March 22, 2010 from

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2009). Constructionist and Constructivist Learning Theories. Baltimore: Dr .Michael Orey.

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

Monday, March 22, 2010

Picasso Kids create their first installation art piece!

I am an elementary art teacher and have an afterschool art club called, Picasso's Kids. Recently my afterschool artists painted this scupltural dinosaur keeping in mind color theory and inspiration from many artist's styles. I couldn't be more excited about their creation!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Cognitivism in Practice

Cognitive learning theory is based on the fact that students process information in a variety of ways. Our goal as educators is to get them to move that information past their short term memory and into their long term sector. Creating memorable experiences will help this to take place. In this week’s learning resources I found that a concept map is great technological and cognitive tool to help my students organize information in a suitable fashion. Similarly, using Paivio’s Dual Coding Hypothesis, it is important for me to link ideas with pictures and images to enhance the learning process (Laureate 2009). I found this exciting and relatable because I am a visual arts teacher and this is something I already feel very strongly about.
To see a concept map for a virtual field trip that I recently created for my students about artist Chuck Close, go

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2009). Bridging learning theory, instruction, and technology. Baltimore: Author

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Second Grade Artists!

"I shut my eyes in order to see."
~Paul Gauguin

My second grade students are in the midst of learning about artist George Rodrigue and read the book Why is Blue Dog Blue? before beginning this unconventionally colored painting project. They loved creating art about their pets!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Two Strategies that Support Behaviorist Theories in Learning through Technology

Recently, I looked at two strategies that support behaviorist learning theory in my master’s coursework. I am a visual arts elementary teacher earning a degree in Integrating Technology into my Classroom. A behaviorist learning theory supports that “a stimulus is the initial action directed to the organism, and a response is the organism’s reaction to that action” (Lever-Duffy, J. & McDonald, J., 2008). Teachers everywhere, everyday are using this approach in one form or another in their classrooms. Whether it be through reinforcing behavior to obtain classroom management or to instruct to meet certain curriculum goals, teachers are the stimuli that offer reinforcement to a learner’s reaction. Students can be stimulated through a series of steps when it comes to using technology in the classroom also.

Behaviorist theories such as reinforcing effort helps to form the student’s attitude towards his or her individual progress throughout the learning experience. Technology can be incorporated because it can “make it easier for students and teachers to track the effects of effort and facilitate more immediate feedback”(Pitler, H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. 2007). This is effective because students can take more ownership over the outcome of his or her learning by seeing collective data overtime, much like a teacher would in a grade book. Once broken down into various areas, students can understand where they may be missing the mark. This idea of reinforcing effort provides a positive avenue for students to feel good about their accomplishments.

“Homework and practice” is another behaviorist notion that supports tutorial-type strategies for learning. “Having students practice a skill or concept enhances their ability to reach the expected level of proficiency” (Pitler, H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. 2007). As Dr. Orey acknowledges, this is more than drill and practice because after the concept is comprehended, higher level thinking can take place.

These two instructional strategies correlate with the principles established in behaviorist learning theories.

Laureate Education, Inc. (2009) Behaviorist Learning Theory [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 classroom instruction that works. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.