Thursday, March 18, 2010

Cognitive Theory

Robertson, Elliot and Robinson (2008) consider cognitive learning as using resources to learn and apply, rather than watch or absorb passively. It becomes quite clear that technology is a very good tool that coincides with this belief. Having students apply knowledge and explore its depths through powerpoint, webquests, blogs, wikis, Inspiration, and other technological avenues is a "no-brainer" for one trying to create a cognitive theory-based learning environment. While students are usually off-put by such tasks as taking notes, it is much more interesting for students, and it also becomes easier for students to divide information and outline.

Of course, when one takes notes, it all becomes very uninteresting and difficult to sift through, especially for a young student who is not used to note-taking in general. This is why it is important "to use a variety of formats" (Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn & Malenoski, 2007, p.124). I love the idea of using interesting graphics or mobile features to keep notes varied and also grounded in previous knowledge. “For many students, multimedia is very effective because it helps them both activate prior knowledge and develop a mental model to help them understand new information” (Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn & Malenoski, 2007, p. 82). Programs like Powerpoint, Inspiration and even a website like allow students to do this (2007, pg. 128).

I actually have students hand write notes in my math class using charts and student's hand drawn pictures. I would like to have students begin to use flowcharts and graphic organizers on or Inspiration to reinforce student's learning and put notes in their own words and organization. I am also planning on having students create their own online posters on as a review for standardized tests, a further instillation of our spiralling curriculum.


  1. My students have created many glogster posters and love them. We share them in class on the SmartBoard. It is amazing what the kids are able to do. I neverr did think of using it to review for standardized tests though. Very interesting! If you use it is free and a safe site for you kid. You, as a teacher, can get up to 200 free accounts through this site and then assign them to your students. THey are all stored in your account so you have simple access to them. The students still have their own passwords and log in's though. Hope that helps and thanks for the ideas!


  2. Now that you mention it, I suppose my system of having students take notes on new vocabulary by drawing a picture representation of the term ties in with cognitive theory. I don't know it didn't occur me until just now reading your post about students' hand drawn pictures.

    Online posters are an intriguing idea...

    Thank you for your thoughts!

  3. No probelm Meghen. Just be careful, even as a teacher I get lost playing with the program. I have been known to stay well after 5pm at school without noticing it just so I can tweak my "glogs." You may need to set standards for your children as well!