Thursday, October 6, 2011

Connectivism and Social Learning in Practice

I believe that social learning theories correlate with cooperative learning.  These strategies are used to bring students together in a group setting in order to create an artifact to deepen their knowledge.  As Dr. Orey stated, social learning theory occurs when students are actively engaged in constructing artifacts while conversing with others.  Learners may develop a deeper understanding of the content when students teach their peers (Laureate Education, Inc., 2011). 

After reading an excerpt from the book entitled Using Technology with Classroom Instruction that Works (2007), I learned how a math class incorporated multimedia to research famous mathematicians by creating artifacts through a movie project.  I thought this would be a great way for students to learn about the mathematicians who discovered the mathematical rules students learn today.  This is also a great way to connect the mathematician to what they are learning. 

After reading how Ms. Ortiz used cooperative learning in her math class, I began to think how I could incorporate cooperative learning in my math class.  For the past few weeks, I have been teaching the rules of exponents and radicals.  In order for the students to distinguish the rules, I could create a project where a group of students would be assigned a rule and they would have to present their rule to the class.  They could use social media sites by creating a YouTube video, voice thread, podcast, or a movie maker.  The students could create a one minute song, short video, or a skit to teach the class the proper usage of their exponent rule.  With this project, students would be working together, creating an artifact, conversing with their group members, as well the class, and developing a deeper understanding of the content of the rules of exponents and radicals.  This project will help students in the group to present their information as well as to help students to remember the rules of simplifying exponents. 

I find that when students collaborate together in a group setting to discuss the concept, I tend to see more light bulbs turning on as they are talking about the concept and making the connections themselves.  Therefore, social learning theories and cooperative learning go hand in hand.

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

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


  1. I completely agree with how collaborative/cooperative learning affects our students and the learning process. Orey states that collaborative and cooperative learning submerses learners in a context where they create meaning through their interactions (2001). Business does this all the time by using multimedia to video conference with team member’s half-way around the world. Think about the countless conference calls that occur every day. Business-folk collaborate and learn together on a regular basis. Additionally, think about how our culture supports collaboration and cooperative learning through Facebook and Twitter. When posting a problem or sincere concern of yours, how did you your “friends” react? There was immediate response with various ways about how to remediate your situation, wasn’t there?

    Social learning instructional strategies do not come without baggage. We as teachers may need to plan more thoroughly. We also need to shift from being the primary source of information for our students to one that guides and facilitates learning. Thankfully, we live in a time where technology can help organize and structure our new lesson format. It may be a lot of work up front, but think of the benefits our students will be gaining.

    Great job this week!

    Orey, M. (Ed.). (2001). Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved from

  2. Malissa-

    Your idea fits right into Orey’s description of social learning constructionism (Laureate Education Inc., 2011). I imagine your students will be learning a lot about the various rules as they work together to create and share their projects. After working on such detailed and specific projects I believe students have a deeper understanding of the concept. After your students are finished with the project I was wondering what you plan to do with their video, voice thread, podcast or movie? I would hate to see the hard work be set aside. You could upload the students’ projects for other classes to view on a class web site if available. If you have access to video conference equipment, you could have the students share through a conference with students from another school. As they are talking with their peers you could show the video, etc. that they completed. This moves their learning one step further to a more global level.

    I am so excited about the many methods and tools we are experiencing to include in our class instruction. As an elementary teacher I include technology in several ways but I have never thought of using it in math projects. Your idea stimulates my thinking into ways I can now modify it to use in my class. I teach third graders and your strategy will work when the students have to analyze the combination of two dimensional shapes. It will help them understand the concept as they not only work in their teams but also as they share their project with the class. A different tool I may use is the Smart program that came with my board. It has a record portion where students can record what they are doing as well as their voice. This is just a different form of podcasting. Great post!