Applying How Students Learn to How We Teach-Utilizing technology

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


4 thoughts on “Applying How Students Learn to How We Teach-Utilizing technology

  1. You can not be more correct when you say that when we ceate a lesson it must be with the students in mind. I used to think that once I completed all of the powerpoints, activiites and assignments fo a course that all Iwould need to do is put the class on auto pilot. I was so wrong. Each class is different. I currently teach high school Geometry. I have five classes of Geometry. Each of these classes need different things. It is my responsibility to figure out what they need and provide that to them.

    Thanks for the links! You have a lot of great resources here!

  2. Exactly, Leann! If only all teachers had that same mindset! We cannot teach to our comfort level, we have to worry less about ourselves and more about our students. Students need technology to be engaged. That is a proven fact. We can no longer ignore that. If we expect our students to push themselves, we have to push ourselves.

    Thanks for reading! 🙂

  3. What I love about being a teacher is stretching world views and deepening lessons. I think you hit it square on about the lack of funding and our ability to transcend that issue. Taking students (who primarily haven’t left the 30 mile radius around my school) across the world or into the shoes of another not only adds longevity to the lessons, but also gives me my purpose as an educator. Great post!

  4. Allison

    I love how you focused on the Dual coding theory. I am such a visual learner that I always make sure to have visuals to go along with my lessons when teaching. I know how much they help me, so I know that they are going to help the students develop a better understanding of the material. I teach fourth grade Social Studies and some of the concepts are really hard to understand. So anytime I can find a video or other graphic tool to use, I do. Our school subscribes to a site called United Streaming and on there, there are many different video and clips that I use for my lessons. I also use BrainPop, Youtube (I have to save it to a flash drive at home, then play it at school), and Teachertube. If you can’t tell, videos are my favorite thing to use because it really brings the material to life, which helps them understand it better. The virtual field trips are awesome too. I never really thought to use a concept map for them to take notes, but it worked out nicely. It was a great activity!

    Crystal Moyer

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