In week one of this course I thought about my own beliefs on learning theories. Here is what I stated:
There are four main learning theories, behaviorism, cognitivism, constructionism, and social constructionism (Laureate Education, Inc 2009). In terms of my personal theory on learning I would have to say I pull ideas from all of the different theories. All theories believe that the learner must be active in the learning process as Dr. Orey stated (2009) and above all aspects of learning theories I feel that the most important aspect of any learning theory is the aspect of student involvement and engagement. For learning to have a powerful effect on the students they must be involved and active in the process. This active learning can take the form of a rewards and consequences system such as a behaviorism idea, a scaffold approach to learning as suggested by the cognitivism theory, or a more hands-on approach to learning as stated by both constructionism theories.
I have to say that I feel the same way now as I did in the beginning of the course. I think that it is important for teachers to structure lessons around all learning theories because there are many types of learners within a single class. By supporting and planning lessons around one learning theory there maybe a group of students who do not gain as much knowledge as they could have. It is crucial that teachers create a well-balanced classroom with instruction and activities that support all learners.
Within my current classroom I use technology on daily basis for instructional and learning purposes. I must say that I have used technology to assist in instruction more than as a learning tool. For the remainder of the school year, I am going to continue to use technology as an instructional tool but include more ways that students can use technology as a learning tool. Two tools that I would like to integrate into my classroom is the use of pod casting to record oral readings and improve fluency. Another tool that I would like to implement would be the use of voicethreads. It is an easy way for students to synthesize and share their learning and understanding.
In terms of next steps to further my professional career I can pinpoint two goals for improvement. First I would like to use technology as an assessment tool. It is hard to show exactly how my students have grown in fluency from September to June. At the end of each month next year, I am going to give my students a leveled text that they are successful in reading to record their voices. I will grade these pod casts on a fluency rubric. This way, students, parents and administrators will be able to hear the difference from month to month. Secondly, I am interested in using technology as a homework option. Given that I teach second grade I am not sure how much typing I would have my students do. I feel that through the use of a blog with links to educational website, postings of classroom activities, photographs of classroom activities and interactive games I could give extra support to the students. It would not be a requirement but more of an enrichment opportunity for them to further explore and understand classroom topics.
Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2009). Program 3. Instructional Theory vs. Learning Theory. [Educational video]. Baltimore: Author.