Cognitivism and Virtual Field Trips


Cognitivism is a learning theory that focuses on how information is received, organized, stored, and retrieved by the mind according to the video I posted, “Use a Learning Theory: Cognitivism” (2013). My class took a virtual field trip to visit the Grand Canyon. Cognitivism helped me figure out the best way for my students to learn this new information on a place many of them have never been to. The virtual field trip gave them more of a visual representation and created an experience to help them build their background knowledge on. The organizer we created was a compare and contrast on the Grand Canyon and Chicago, the place we are currently located. The students were becoming knowledge constructors by using these digital tools to construct knowledge and make meaningful learning experiences for themselves (ISTE, 2016). I chose a graphic organizer in which the information could be presented in the most organized way where the students could demonstrate their knowledge effectively and easily, which I learn about in my post about cognitive tools (Cognitive Tools, 2014). These two tools worked together and gave my students cognitive ways to experiences and learn new information. As I facilitated and inspired their learning and creativity by using their previous knowledge, I opened a door to a new way of building background information (ISTE, 2008).

When working with my students to complete the graphic organizer, I remembered about information processing to be the part that focuses on the ways in which learners think about and process new information from the video I posted, “Using Cognitive Development Psychology in the Classroom” (Hurst, 2003). Hurst explained how it is easier for students to learn new information when they can relate it to something they have already learned. I used this idea for my compare and contrast graphic organizer when we compared a new place to a place we all have visited since it is where we live. While my students completed their graphic organizers I found that the idea of building their background knowledge and using an experience for them to connect to helped most of my struggling lower level thinking students succeed.

I plan to use these sources and strategies in my classroom on a daily basis. I believe this idea of building background knowledge and having the students connect their new knowledge to is beneficial in every subject. With our new Reader series, I have noticed my students struggling to connect to the text and they are not used to so much informational text pieces. All this new information is making hard for them to make inferences and text evidence connections. However, if I start off the unit with a short virtual field trip and mini graphic organizer I believe my students will have an easier time connecting as they will have a visual representation of what we are reading about. Information processing, which starts off as a sensory model, then moves into short and long term memory according to Orey (2015c). The idea that we need to instill a sensory memory visual shows that we later store what we learn in short and long term to help us make more connections with new information. I can also use these sources as tools for the Genius Hour when the students can think of and visualize a passion they have. The students will be able to use the information they know, create a graphic representation of what they might want to make or do and the organization and planning process will be easier. I plan to use this idea of introducing new information by giving the students something to relate it to when I introduce the Hour of Code next year with my second graders. I found this year the students were very confused because it was nothing like they had every done before. However, if I show them examples, videos, and read some articles, the students will have a better understanding of the Hour of Code and what they are to do before we even begin.




Cognitive tools – emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. (2014). Retrieved

from Emerging Perspectives on Learning, Teaching and Technology,

Hurst, M. (2003). Using cognitive development psychology in the classroom – video & lesson

transcript Retrieved from

International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). (2016). Standards for students.

Retrieved from

International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). (2008). Standards for students.

Retrieved from

Learning for the 21st Century! (2013). Use a learning theory: Cognitivism Retrieved from

Laureate Education (Producer). (2015c). Cognitive learning theories [Video file]. Baltimore,

MD: Author.



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