This week, I have been researching how the cognitive learning theory can be used in the classroom through the use of technology. My focus has been on how cognitive tools are used to enhance cues, questions, and advance organizers in the classroom, along with summarizing and note taking.
How to Embed Technology into Cues, Questions, & Advance Organizers
In Using Technology with Classroom Instruction that Works, the authors describe cues as reminders given to students in order for students to know what they are about to learn, and questions are asked to trigger students’ prior knowledge (Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn, & Malenoski, 2007, p.73). The use of advance organizers can take cues and questions to the next level, by helping students focus their learning. Advance organizers can be created through word processing applications as well as concept mapping tools. (Check out one concept mapping tool I have used here at SpiderScribe) Advance organizers directly correlate with cognitive tools. One role of a cognitive tool is to present information in a “meaningful and appropriate representation” (Robertson, Elliot, & Robinson, 2007). Advance organizers allow students to show relationships among content in different forms. Students can organize information through the use of a Power Point, Word document, or concept map. If using Google Docs, students can share and edit each other’s organizers to help clarify information. For more information on advance organizers and concept maps check out this section on WikiEd.
How to Embed Technology into Summarizing and Note Taking
The purpose of summarizing and taking notes is to teach students how to take information and condense it down to the most important points (Pitler et al., 2007). One strategy that is presented in Using Technology with Classroom Instruction that Works is to use Microsoft Word to model for students how to summarize information. The authors describe how you can use the “track changes” feature to delete redundant information and simplify terms (Pitler et al., 2007, p.123). The other option the authors offer is to use the “AutoSummarize” tool, which will automatically summarize information in a document (Pitler et al., 2007, p.123). By using the “AutoSummarize” or “Track Changes” tools, students can see the information in the original and summarized form. This gives students a visual of how summarizing condenses information, which aligns with Paivio’s dual coding hypothesis that states information is stored as images and text (Orey, 2011).
Another great strategy offered in Using Technology with Classroom Instruction That Works is a note taking strategy called combination notes. Combination notes consist of notes or facts on the left, pictures on the right, and a one to two sentence conclusion at the bottom (Pitler et al., 2007, p.124). (Download a template here.) This strategy can be used in a word processing application. Students can use the Internet and clip art to find appropriate pictures that align with their notes on the left-hand side. If your students have access to Google Docs, they can also share their combination notes, so they can see how other students approached and organized the same information. This strategy also aligns with Paivio’s dual coding hypothesis because students are organizing and synthesizing the information through the use of text and pictures.
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.
Robertson, B., Elliot, L., & Robinson, D. (2007). Cognitive tools. In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved from http://projects.coe.uga.edu/epltt/