Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Constructivism in Practice

First off, to those of you those are in my blog group that have yet to change the reply settings on your own blog to allow for “anonymous” posting, can you please do that so that I have two blogs I can post to.  Thanks in advance.

The constructivist theory involves the learner being more integrated and active in there own learning.  A great way to accomplish this is to have the students use real-life problems to enhance critical thinking (Orey, 2001).  Problem-based instruction puts students within the conflict and forces them to really connect with the problem to find a possible solution.  Often anchored by an example, this form of instruction can build a sense of community worth, social correspondence and teamwork (2001).

One thing I discovered this week while exploring constructivism and constructionism is that outlining expectations and explaining possible pathways to reach a potential outcome is a strong way to begin within these learning theories (Orey, 2001).  With this in mind, the need for generating, teaching and creating a clear hypothesis is essential.

Having a clear hypothesis will help students consider variables, create a solution set, hold an investigate, create, test and make decisions based off a the foundation with which the activity was created (Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhl & Malenoski, 2007, p. 203).  Also, with the incorporation of many technological tools, time that was once spent on testing and gathering data and now rerouted to finding additional data and focusing more on evaluating the hypothesis (p. 203).  When more data is available for collect and inserted into a technological tools, the likeliness of patterns forming becomes more prevalent and more accurate conclusions can be derived (p. 207).

As an undergrad, I had to take an Anatomy and Physiology class online.  As with any science-based course, labs were a major portion of the class.  For the first time ever though, I found the labs working out perfectly, because they were done online.  It was great to expedite the tedious process and get a better understand for the concept at hand.  Sometimes it is just better to keep things simple and make the solution more attainable.

Orey, M. (Ed.). (2001). Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved from
Pitler H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007). Using technology with classroom instruction that works. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Cognitive Note Taking

Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn and Malenoski wrote about cues, questions and advance organizers (2007) as a single chapter, and for good reason.  A cue has the ability to preview the experience (p. 73), just like a posing an essential question can do (p. 74).  These lead-off devices help students to get focused on important details.  Because some information outlined in a lesson is simply supporting context that is not significant on a grander scale, these appetizers allow students to cognitively recognize where their focus should be.

Organizers are also a great way to aid students down the correct learning path.  By using structures such as a concept map, ideas can be built of a main idea, outlining the importance of each portion of the unit as well as putting it in context.  A note-taking skeleton, or outline, helps to set up the information in advance for the students and allows them to stay up to speed during a lesson (p. 76).

To organize even further, technological devices foster more organization and can help create things such as brainstorming sessions (p. 75).  Beyond brainstorming, integrating multimedia interface creates a mental picture that students can draw back on when recalling this information down the road (p. 82).  A new way to help build a memorable image is known as a Virtual Field Trip.  This cyber journey brings images to life and gives a student a stronger emotional connection with the topic.

Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn and Malenoski also paired together summarizing and note taking in a chapter (2007).  While note taking in Physical Education classes is rare, it is important to summarize to condense content so that important details are focused on and maintained (p. 119).  As mentioned earlier, it is essential to delve deeper than just the surface when discussing a topic, but some of what is explored must then be forgotten (p. 119).  With this said, bringing the lesson or concept back around at the end of the class or of the unit helps to drive home the important points.  This is why a concept map can be so beneficial, because it has the ability to lend greater weight to a part of the map by making it larger, more central, or higher up, depending on the outline.

Students learn in a variety of ways, and it is important to immerse them in the topic to allow them to connection with the lesson.  However when taking details away from the episode, they must be able to grasp what is the most important and these strategies are a great way to enable that.

Pitler H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007). Using technology with classroom instruction that works. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Behaviorism Still Efficient in Physical Education

The popular trend in education today seems to gravitate towards the belief that behaviorism is washed-up and outdated.  Throughout my time in education, and more specifically, during this week of behaviorism evaluation, I do not see how components are not even more necessary today.  Conversely, the ability to be a 21st Century Learner is needed for students and there are a number of key concepts that must be developed cognitively.
Effort is the foundation of success in Physical Education.  Almost the entire grade a student received is based off of effort.  A student’s ability to throw a ball or lift a barbell has almost no weight in the grade they receive.  The goal in any subject should not be just to get the best grade, but considering that effort will lead to the best grade in Phys. Ed., this should be the focused.  Effort is essential because the reinforcement of it builds a connection between hard work and achievement (Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn & Malenoski, 2007, p. 155).  Students need to be encouraged for their effort and because it is intrinsic to seek approval, reinforcement either by a teacher or by data can be very beneficial (p. 161).
Any way that effort can be reinforced is helpful, but when technology can be integrated, it is even more beneficial.  Technological components go beyond a teacher’s suggestion or comment and therefore reinforce and then continue down the path (p. 162).  This leads into the benefit of utilizing the behaviorist cornerstones of homework and practice. 
The best way to build on the concepts or motor skills explored in Phys. Ed. class is to go home and dive into it further (p. 187).  For many years, kids have gone home and played either around their residence or with peers in the neighborhood.  Interestingly, this great physical practice has been hindered by technology with the influx of computers and video games.  Because of this technology takeover and free time revolution, obesity is becoming even more of an epidemic. Thankfully, this epidemic is attempting to be curtailed.
Organizations such as the National Football League have established initiatives such as Play 60 to encourage students to be physical active each day.  Practicing is the only way skills can be learned in Physical Education.  Without actively experimenting with the concepts in their neighborhood that were debuted in class, there is no way they can strike with a club, dodge a ball or maybe even jump a rope.
            There are some concepts taught in Phys. Ed. that do not require physical activity to learn more about.  Proper training techniques, nutritional habits and rules of a sport need to be learned just like history or biology might be.  This means a more traditional “homework” structure can be effective to reinforce what was taught during the day.  PE Central, a leader in the subject area, created a Kids Quiz Page that is an interactive resource with the capability to provide instant feedback.  Websites such as it help students to be more aware of what leads to a healthy lifestyle, the true focus for any Phys. Ed. Teacher.



Pitler H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007). Using technology with classroom instruction that works. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.