This week we heard from Dr. Orey about how students need to process information in order to be able to move knowledge from their short term memory to their long term memory. Students are able to store information in their long term memory by connecting it to their prior knowledge. Information can be classified into three categories: declarative, procedural or episodic (Laureate Education Inc., 2011). When teachers are able to take the concept they want students to comprehend and apply it to an activity students will be engaged in then they are more likely to store it and be able to retrieve it as an episodic memory.
We looked at two strategies teachers use in classroom instruction. In order to make them more effective and engaging, teachers are encouraged to integrate technology. The first strategy discussed was cues, questions and advance organizers (Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn, & Malenoski, 2007). Teachers are encouraged to use cues and questions to engage students’ prior knowledge but not to be too vague. Be specific and tell the students what is expected of them. Teachers need to elicit critical thinking skills through the types of questions they ask. Watering down a lesson does not stimulate deeper thinking and understanding. Moving questions down Bloom’s Taxonomy will deepen their thinking. Using advance organizers help students organize information to enhance their learning. They are able to make sense of lessons and use the organizer to help study for tests. They are several ways teachers can enhance understanding by using technology instruction with their cues, questions and advance organizers. One method is creating concept maps. Here teachers are able to give the students an essential question along with bits of information to stimulate their prior knowledge to create a base to apply their new understanding. Then students gather information to connect their new learning to other concepts. Teachers can also incorporate videos, pictures and audio clips with the map to reach all learners. Having students apply their learning to complete advance organizers carries them through a process which helps them move the knowledge from their short term memory to their long term memory.
The second strategy studied this week was summarizing and note taking. This strategy requires students to learn how to take new knowledge, summarize it for their own understanding and create a visual they can use to study for assessments. They are several ways students need to practice taking notes to find which works best for them and it is important that teachers demonstrate these various methods (Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn, & Malenoski, 2007). Students need to learn that the more notes they take the better. There are ways teachers can use technology to teach these strategies as well. The newest one is found in Microsoft Word. Students can set up the software to delete repeated information or help summarize typing. This creates a visual of how they need to change their writing to fit the concept being taught. Another method can be used in Word or Power Point; it is the idea of combination notes. Here students record facts, pictures and then a summary if information gathered. This method seems better suited for teaching third graders. It also reaches both the linguistic and visual learners as well as some kinesthetic learners. The strategy of note taking engages students to focus on what is important. They can delete unnecessary information; replace words they do not know with synonyms; and keep only the important information new to them. They can reflect on their prior knowledge to connect the new facts, procedure or episode. Having them create a visual outline of their notes or summary using one of several typing software helps stimulate the learning process to create permanent relationships among the new material.
Students are generally eager to learn when they can relate the information to something they already know. They become engaged when the lesson involves them using some form of technology. Effective teachers are able to create stimulating lessons that engage students in the learning process.
Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2011). Program five: Cognitive learning theory [Video webcast]. Bridging learning theory, instruction and technology. Retrieved from http://laureate.ecollege.com/ec/crs/default.learn?CourseID=5700267&CPURL=laureate.ecollege.com&Survey=1&47=2594577&ClientNodeID=984650&coursenav=0&bhcp=1
Pitler, H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007). Using technology with classroom instruction that works. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.