Thursday, September 22, 2011

Cognitivism in Practice

After reviewing the chapters in Using Technology with Classroom Instruction that Works book I was able to see how “Cues, Questions, and Advance Organizers” and “Summarizing and Note Taking” share common themes with the cognitivism theory (Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn and Malenoski, 2007).
            As far as the, “Cues, Questions, and Advance Organizers” chapter goes it is clear to see that the concept mapping tool would be perfect to help students organize their thoughts and thinking (Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn and Malenoski, 2007). As Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn and Malenoski state, “Advance organizers are structures that teachers provide to students before a learning activity to help them classify and make sense of the content they’ll encounter” (2007). This made me think back to my idea of having one big concept map that I had created for planning purposes and cutting it up into the different bubbles so that my students, at the beginning of a unit, could work as a group to put the concept map back together in a way that made sense to them. For example, in my concept map on ecosystems I used the terms herbivores, omnivores and carnivores so it would be good for me as a teacher to see which students knew those terms were connected. The cognitive theory is all about how we as learners take in information and organize it in our brains. A concept map is just a visual aid showing what is in our brains.
            As far as the, “Summarizing and Note Taking” chapter goes I believe that students can not only gain a lot from just watching the virtual field trips, but also taking notes on the virtual field trip and taking note of information that stuck out at them. Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn and Malenoski discuss how this strategy is, “enhancing students’ ability to synthesize information and distill it into a concise new form” (2007). This again goes hand in hand with the cognitive theory since it is asking the students to put the new information into an organized manner so that they better understand it and can access it better when needed. In the video on virtual field trips, the teacher used the virtual field trip of Ford’s Theatre to summarize and go over information the students had already learned about the assassination of Lincoln (Laureate Education, Inc., 2011).
            Both of these strategies along with concept mapping and virtual field trips provide students with many avenues to help organize their thinking and learning new information.

Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2011). Program six: Spotlight on technology: Virtual field trips [Video webcast]. Bridging learning theory, instruction and technology. Retrieved from
Pitler, H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007). Using technology with classroom instruction that works. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.


  1. Katie,
    I like your idea of using the bubble map to see what prior knowledge your students have. With this information you add breadth and depth to what the students already know. I am interested in finding out what your students already know!

  2. Katie,

    The concept map that you created for your students to do at the beginning of the unit sounds like a great idea. That activity incorporates a lot of important skills that students need. The summarizing and not taking section made a suggestion about creating a template for the students that highlights the main phrases and terms. I believe that this is a strategy that would be useful for a lot of students because it is amazing how many of them do not know how to take notes.