Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Cognitivism in Practice

In today's time, there are so many opportunities for students to enhance their learning in the classroom through the integration of instructional strategies and technological tools. No longer are students confined to simply taking notes with pencil and paper while listening to their teacher lecture, but with the support of technology, students now have a world of knowledge and cognitive strategies presented to them in very meaningful and engaging way. In today’s classroom, teachers can provide more comprehensive lessons for students as they take notes with advanced graphic organizers that help them summarize their thoughts about new and complex concepts (Lever-Duffy and McDonald, 2008). Through the use of word processing applications, teachers can present their notes to the class on the projector and provide students with spreadsheets, charts or tables to help further organize their thoughts about the lesson or concept being taught (Lever-Duffy and McDonald, 2008). What is even more fascinating is that if students have the opportunity to take notes on their computers during a lesson, then they can share their thinking with their classmates on their class webpage. This will help to provide additional support for students and provoke meaningful discussions about various concepts and skills being taught in class. With the support of technology, these cognitive instructional tools help make learning more powerful and more interactive than ever before.

When I think about my own experience as a young student, I immediately remember being in my American history class and feeling completely bored and disconnected with learning. My teacher would always sit on the corner of his desk and read us his lesson to us in a very monotone voice. We would try to swiftly record everything he said to us so that we could memorize it for the next exam. I remember thinking this was the most uninteresting class I have ever had and it took everything within me not to fall asleep during the lesson. Just imagine how much American history would have come alive if our teacher added just one simple component and that was technology through cognitive learning. Envision our teacher taking his students on a virtual field trip to an historical place. The virtual field trip would have created episodic memories for us that would provide wonderful, solid learning experiences to enhance our short and long term memories (Orey, 2009). These visual experiences would help provide the tools needed not only to do well on our exams, but to also help instill a love of learning for the remainder of our lives. No longer would I have approached his class with hesitation and boredom, but through the use of technology-based cognitive learning, I would have come with much more excitement and eagerness to learn at my highest level.


Lever-Duffy, J. & McDonald, J. (2008). Theoretical foundations (Laureate Education, Inc.,
custom ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc.

Orey, M. (Presenter). (2009). Bridging learning theory, instruction, and technology. [DVD]. Baltimore, MD:

Laureate Education, Inc.


  1. Jewel,

    I love technology.... but didn't learn about it and how to use it until college. I often think about how different my high school classes would have been with technology integrated into them. I had several "boring" classes with teachers reading in monotone voices. I agree that my classes would have come alive if my teachers had added that one simple component of technology through cognitive learning. The HS that I attended is now adding that component. Unfortunately, my current school is very behind in the world of technology. This year; jobs will be cut and services will be lost, because of budget cuts from the state. I don't see us jumping into technology for a long time!


  2. Jewel,
    Nice post! Sounds like we had the same American history teacher. The only thing different he did was he would show movies along with his boring lectures. The sad thing is he is still teaching at my high school. I think he is retiring this year and hopefully they hire an enthusiastic individual that will incorporate technology.

    Our district has technology (not top of the line but adequate). At the elementary we only have a small amount of teachers that are willing to incorporate technology. The elementary recently received a Mimio to demo now their is a long list of classes that would like to sample it. Maybe this little device will improve the implementation of technology into the classroom.

  3. Megan, it's amazing that in our technological advance society, the education system would cut technology resources first when considering budget cuts. Unfortunately, the students are the ones who ultimately suffer in the long run. Due to lack of appropriate training and access to technology, students will be left behind the learning curve when it's time to begin work in corporate America.

  4. Kelley, that's crazy that your former teacher is still teaching there and probably teaching the same way since he started. My American history teacher was also young and he's probably still teaching at my former high school as well. I do hope that the next generation of teachers will have more exciting and engaging lessons for students to learn and grow from.

    Our school just recently received lots of money from a school fundraiser so that every two teachers could share a mimio. It has been great so far as long as both teachers are flexible and can work out a schedule in which they both can enjoy the mimio equally. I hope that one day your school can receve enough money to spend towards technology as well. I know your teachers would really appreciate it.

  5. Jewel,
    As a history teacher, I know exactly what you are talking about. The teacher you had is the teacher that I never want to become. At least you too know what not to be like.
    I love to bring various forms of technology into my class and really try everything that I can to make my students interested. though we dont have a lot of computers that can be accessed daily, I do have a smartboard and use it every single day. I am even going to allow my students to use it as part of a jigsaw that they will need to complete. Anythign that will keep them actively engaged and connecting with tools that they are used to will help them gain a better understanding of the material and hopefully make it not so boring for some of them.

  6. Wow - great post! Most of my high school teachers and my two college history professors were just like yours - and I don't remember a thing from those classes except how BORING they were. I got through on pure rote memory, and this course has really enlightened how short-term that is.
    I am so excited that we can introduce our students with the kind of technology they can connect with and enjoy. We are also preparing them for their real future!