Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Social Learning Theory

Cooperative learning is just one of the many strategies that fall under the category of the social learning theory.  The social learning theory allows students to work in groups for a common goal.  According to Emerging Perspectives on Learning, Teaching, and Technology, cooperative learning is actively involving the student in their learning. It is a process for students to discover their own learning opposed to hearing a lecture from a teacher.  Students may create a project together or apply the jigsaw method.  The jigsaw method is where each student learns about a particular topic and then teaches or shares it with their group.    

Technology can be used in multiple ways with the social learning theory.  A class blog allows students the opportunity to write about something that is meaningful to them and have their classmates give feedback.  See my posts on Kidblog from January for more information. 

Skype is another tool that I use in my classroom.  My students have Skyped with two veteran marines and twice with classrooms around the country. This was a great opportunity for them to learn what it was like to be in the military.  We also learned what other schools and states are like.  My students may never have an opportunity to visit these states and this gives them an experience to learn about other children their own age.  My students worked together to create questions to find where in the United States another class was located. 

In addition to blogging and Skype, students can also create a Voice Thread.  Voice Thread is a tool that can be created individually or as a group.  What makes this a strategy for the social learning theory is that once posted, people can comment to the author or anyone else to watches it.  This is a great learning tool to gain additional knowledge on a topic. This is my first Voice Thread and it is on the Titanic.

In conclusion, there are many activities students can utilize while working together.  Technology definitely lends itself to the new era of online collaboration. Whether it is blogging, Skype, podcasts, or Voice Thread, students are gaining knowledge at a rapid speed by working together.

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


  1. Right now my students do not have access to create blogs at school- but it is coming. However, for right now, I think that the voice thread would serve the purpose. Students could voice thread about topics in class and check back to their voice thread for comments from their peers and teachers.
    My daughter has used Skype and several of my friends use it, as well. It certainly opens up a brand new opportunities for our students to interact with others in places they have only read about. I hope that voice thread will give them a chance to get started.

  2. Christina, I really enjoyed your idea about having your students Skype with other classes in other states. It definitely provides a good perspective into lives that they may never see without such technology. I am curious how you set up these virtual "meetings"- did you personally know the other teachers? Or how did you make the initial connection? Thanks, Lara Bushon

  3. I did not personally know these teachers. Both teachers were found on ProTeacher. What grade do you teach? We could try it!

  4. Fantastic! You are doing a great job incorporating technology tools into your classroom and your students are benefitting! It sounds like you have social learning down in your classroom.
    I never thought of using skype in the classroom. I personally have not tried it yet, but that is a great idea.
    I plan on using blogs next school year- do you like kidblogs for our grade levels?
    I like how you pointed out that social learning can allow kids to "discover"- discovery is a good way for them to learn.

    Renee Scott

    By the way- Great voice thread!

  5. Christina,

    You have some great ideas on how to use collaboration with technology as a teaching tool. How often have you used Skype as this type of learning tool? I have always wanted to set-up a Skype for my students to communicate with a real sports writer.

    How did you set-up the process of the original Skype? Did you have to instruct your students first on what type of behavior is expected of them? Do you have them write out questions in advance? Is the whole class connected to one computer/projector for the communication to occur? Sorry for the numerous questions. I have always wanted to implement this into my classroom, but I ever never had someone actually succeed at it. My district is very behind the times when it comes to allowing certain technology in the classroom.

  6. Mark,

    We have used it three times. All three times we were under one Skype account and projected it onto the SmartBoard. The first time, studentss prepared questions for a teacher's sister who was in the marines.

    The second time, we played a Mystery Location game. Here is a link to the original idea:

    We did the questions through e-mail and then just asked questions about school, city, and state on Skype.

    The third time, we Skyped with a class from the Northeast. They were studying the Mid-West so we asked predetermined questions about each region.

    Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions.