Thursday, February 2, 2012

Social Learning Theories

This week I studied cooperative learning.  These strategies correlate to social learning theories.  Dr. Orey noted that it is important for students to work together and bounce ideas off of each other because it builds their confidence (Laureate, Inc., 2011).  Students are often excited to work in cooperative groups and feel a sense of pride for their role in the group.  It is important to keep groups small and have the students take responsibility for their learning.  This type of learning prepares them for the workplace where they will be required to work together on a problem using technology.

The class resources had many exciting ideas for ways to include technology in the classroom during cooperative learning.  One of the resources that I look forward to incorporating in my classroom is  On this blog,, teachers can gain ideas for how to use Second Life in the classroom.  Students can work together to solve a problem in the virtual world.  Students should be given a rubric for the multimedia project and an advanced organizer for the group tasks (Pitler, et al., 2011)

Another site that allows students to collaborate with people all over the world is  I often use this tool for students to have discussions and work with their peers.  Recently, I helped a teacher create a voice thread for her students to peer edit.  It was engaging and allowed them to collaborate in the learning.  My students are currently reading “George Washington’s Socks” and will be completing the next set of discussion questions using a voice thread.  They will have to support their ideas with details from the text and build off other students’ responses. 

On this voice thread, I worked with my colleagues to share a current problem we are having at school.  Please take a look and let me know what you would do to solve this problem.


Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2011). Program eight: Social learning theories [Video webcast]. Bridging learning theory, instruction and technology. Retrieved from

Palmer, G., Peters, R., & Streetman, R. (2003). Cooperative learning. In M. Orey (Ed.), 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.


  1. Hi Kate,

    Enjoyed reading your comments this week about the use of cooperative learning strategies with students. Agree with your comments on how these types of learning experiences prepare students "for the workplace where they will be required to work together on a problem using technology" (Flint, 2012). As evidenced in research there is a real push towards the development of collaboration and communication skills amongst today's students to prepare them for an everchanging work environment. In using cooperative strategies we are giving students opportunities to interact with their peers and engage in activities that contextualize their learning and aid them in gaining a better understanding of instructed concepts.

    There is little doubt that the meaningful integration of technology works to expedite student learning. In this week taking my first 'virtual' steps within Second Life I could clearly see why today's students thrive on the this type of environment, through this venue students are free to become whomever they choose, interact with whomever they choose, and ultimately learn whatever they choose. The opportunities for use within education appear to be only limited by the imagination of the teacher, so the future does need look to be virtual!

    Thanks for another great post.


    1. Trevor,

      I am nervous about introducing my 5th graders to Second Life. In your exploration, did you find any hidden dangers that I need to be aware of? I would like to make this experience as safe as possible. It is a great teaching tool as long as it is implemented safely.

  2. Hi Kate:

    As you, I cannot wait to use voicethread and second life in the classroom. Before this class, I did not know that a game like second life can be used with students, of course, as you mentioned, using the right tools with it, like the rubric and the advance organizer.

    You are so right about how excited students are whenever they have to work in groups. They enjoy that kind of activities so much, not to tell how much they learn.

    1. Naida,

      My students have loved using VoiceThread this year. I also introduced them to GoogleDocs for our most recent project. We are working together to create a rubric for cooperative learning. I think it is important that they decide on the criteria that I grade them on.


  3. Hi Kate,

    I really like your idea of using VoiceThread for completing discussion questions in reading. This is an activity that would be fairly easy to implement in the classroom. Students could draw and record their predictions, participate in discussions while reading, and complete after reading activities while receiving feedback from their classmates.