At the beginning of this class, I wrote a personal learning theory which supported Garner’s multiple intelligence model, in that every individual has their own area of strength when it comes to how they learn. Some are visual learners, some are auditory learners, and still others are kinesthic learners. (Lever-Duffy & Macdonald, 2008, p.24) I still believe that to be successful at teaching, an instructor needs to change their delivery style in order to reach all the multiple intelligences in the classroom. However, after reading about several different learning styles in this course, I now believe the ideal method of teaching would be to have a teaching style that is multi-faceted so as to target all learning styles, but at the same time engaging so that students buy into the lesson and become actively immersed in the learning. Dr. Orey stated in one of our DVD video’s that “people learn best when they build stuff, such as an external artifact or something they can share with others.” (Laureate Education, Inc. 2009a) Dr. Orey called this theory of “building stuff” the constructionist learning theory. (Laureate Education, Inc. 2009a) Therefore, when asked how I could modify my instructional style to make it even more effective, I would have to say that one way would be to change my personal learning theory to integrate a requirement for my students to construct artifacts that reflect their learning when appropriate.
One immediate adjustment I would like to make to my instructional practice is to use Web 2.0 technology as learning tools for students. Dr. Orey describes learning tools as digital technology such as Microsoft applications, Web 2.0, and multi-media, which students can use to enhance and support their learning. The goal is to create a learner centered environment (students are using the technology to learner) rather than a teacher centered environment (the focus is on the teacher and not on the students. One example of this is a teacher that only lectures). Two Web 2.0 tools that I would like to begin using with my students are concept mapping and voicethreads. (Pitler et. al., 2007) Concept mapping promotes long term memory by enabling students to use graphic images to represent content. Paivio calls this “dual coding” and it means delivering the same information in more than one format. According to Paivio, people can remember images better than text. (Laureate Education, Inc. 2009b) Concept maps can be used to learn vocabulary, or determine the organization of a website, similar to a storyboard. The second instructional tool Voicethreads is a tool that can reinforce and review prior learning while building something to share with others. It is a great collaboration tool as well as an alternate way to “dual code” by using graphics and text to establish long term memory retention, leading to real learning rather than memorization.
Two long term goals that I would like to make to my instructional practice regarding technology is to involve students in demonstrations rather than just having a show and tell led by me. I am in the process of ordering a student response system which will allow for continuous interactivity during classroom lecture, review and demonstrations. I am excited to have this equipment and looking forward to using it to engage my students even more. The second long term goal is to develop lessons that utilize dual coding. I would like to add “extension” sections to my lesson plans to have alternate ways of teaching the same lesson using methods other than just text. For example, having students find graphics that will reflect technology vocabulary that they are learning for a particular week, or have them select 8 out of 15 technology terms and have them write sentences reflects that true meaning of the term, and adding a graphic image by each sentence to support it visually.
Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2009a). Cognitive Learning Theories. [Educational video]. Baltimore: Author.
Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2009b). Instructional Tools vs. Learning Tools. [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