When preparing a lesson to teach to your students, what are you thinking about? Do you think about meeting the standards? Do you think about the different levels of your students and how you are going to reach them?
Do you think about what you are teaching or how you are teaching?
When we look at cognitive theories such as Paivio’s Dual Coding Hypothesis, we learn that students can remember images better than remembering text and if there is an image associated with the text, they have a better chance of remembering that (Laureate, 2011). That does not mean that we throw out all of our books and workbooks because their are words in it, that means we have to understand that our students need visual aids when we are teaching the content.
Straight lecture is not going to work most of the time.
Students need to feel the content. Students need videos, pictures and models to fully grasp what you want them to learn. We need to use their senses to get that information from short term memory to long term memory.
It is no secret that funding for schools is not where it should be. We want our students to experience the topics we are talking about in class, but we cannot afford to make that happen.
Does that mean we just give up and hope that the pictures we are showing our students will do the content justice?
There are many ways we can bring the content to life and one great way to do that is through Virtual Field Trips. Here are some great sites that will guide you to finding the perfect Virtual Field Trip for your students.
These experiences allow the students to use visual stimuli to put that information into their long term memory. These are also great ways to allow the students to explore a topic on their own. They are able to interact with the content they are learning which will encourage them to dive into their episodic memory and use schema when trying to learn new concepts.
Once your students have explored the different VFE’s, they can put what they have learned into a concept map. There are many great sites that allow the students to create many different types of concept maps. Here are just a few:
When the students are able to organize their thoughts, they again, will be able to take the information from short-term memory to long-term memory. Students need to chunk and piece together the information. They cannot just learn an entire concept and be expected to remember it when it comes time for an assessment.
Our focus has to be on the learner first, content second.
Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2011). Cognitive Learning Theories [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