Edtech 503: Chapter Readings + Summaries

This week we were asked to read 8 Chapters in the Smith and Ragan text and then complete the following for each chapter:

1) Paragraph #1: In your own words, provide a brief definition for each of the strategies.

2) Paragraph #2: Please write your thoughts about what occurred to you as you read through the different strategy introductions. How does what you read relate to what you already knew? What aspects of the strategies (if any) struck you as new or unique? From a designer’s standpoint, why might a separation of the strategies be important?

Here are my answers: 

Chapter 8

1. Declarative knowledge is flat out knowing that something is truth or factual. Although some educators think that this type of learning strategy has no place in today’s classroom, there are many important connections to be made. The learning of labels and names for instance, helps children to make these important connections to objects in their world. Learning facts and lists can be connected to prior learning to make it meaningful and helps to expand their knowledge base. Learning particular vocabulary words is important as well because it helps students explain the meaning of deeper contexts.

2. I already knew about declarative knowledge before reading this chapter, however there were a few details that caught my attention. I liked how the chapter made a point of connecting declarative knowledge to prior knowledge and how they’re both important for building upon knowledge and creating a bigger foundation base. I think that many teachers forget that declarative knowledge is important too, and many students are missing out on these basic building blocks.

Chapter 9

1. There are two basic strategies for Concept Instruction: inquiry and expository. Inquiry strategy involves presenting examples and pushes the reader to discover and explore the topic. At the end of the exploration, students might be asked to come up with a hypothesis or statement about what they found and try to connect it to prior learning. The expository approach involves giving students many examples and then prompting into a discussion of the best example of a concept. However in this approach, the concept is discussed in depth to give students a foundation to base their ideas.

2. I have done inquiry and expository strategies in my classroom. I find that expository works best in my inclusion classroom because the students are more directed when they have a foundation to start from. The honors students do well with an inquiry system in place due to the independence and creativity that they are able to have in their learning. Separating these two strategies is probably efficient for situations that I mentioned above. Learning ability need to be taken into consideration.

Chapter 10

1. This chapter focuses on the strategies that lead to procedural learning. In the introduction, students are engaged, understanding a purpose for their learning and previewing what they will learn. In the body, they are recalling what they already know, processing new information, and  practicing the new concept and getting academic feedback from the teacher. In the conclusion, they are reviewing the information learned and connecting that knowledge to other ideas previously learned .

2. I think that the most familiar strategy explained is the practicing portion. When I teach procedures, the students actually practice them over and over. We are never actually done practicing. Another idea from this chapter was to use a mnemonic device to teach a procedure, which might work but it would have to be for specific students that could remember it. I think that from a design standpoint, these strategies work well together. The set up of the procedures seem to flow together rather than hinder each other.

Chapter 11

1. In this chapter, the only two strategies that I could really find that had to do with principle learning again were expository and inquiry. Learning principles is a complicated process that involves deep thinking and making connections to prior learning in order to discover an undeniable truth or something concrete.

2. When I think of principle teaching, I think more of subjects like science and geometry that have concrete rules and principles. There are still examples in English with grammar, but not as many. This is another set of strategies that would be broken up due to the type of class. A class with honors students would be capable of learning principles with an inquiry type setting where they had extensive background knowledge and would have little problem making a connection. In an inclusion class, you would want to use an expository approach that guides students by giving them more examples and background information.

Chapter 12

1. In this chapter, I focused more on the macrostrategies, which included: cognitive apprenticeships, anchored instruction, Socratic dialogue, simulations, microworlds, expert systems, problem-based learning and case studies. Cognitive apprenticeships are basically job-shadowing activities that allow the student to learn from a master worker. Anchored instruction is when you give students a scenario that is rooted in the real world. Socratic dialogue is when a student is lead to a desired principle or concept through the use of questioning by an instructor. Simulations are real-world activities and scenarios for students without real-world consequences (like playing the stock market with pretend money in economics). Microworlds are simulations that are meant to be learning centered around the student. Expert Systems are computer systems that when inputted with information, give out the correct answer. Problem-based learning is when learning is through problem solving activities that are specific to job or career or educational goals. Case studies are are realistic scenarios in which students have to go over a plethora of principles already learned in order to solve it .

2. I knew about many of these strategies before reading, however it was interesting to learn about how they could ineffectively be used. Curriculum needs to be closely looked at in Cognitive apprenticeships so that students are getting the most out of it. Anchored Instruction should be used in groups to be most effective. Socratic Dialogue means that teachers have to be prepared for questions from the pupil being lead, which can get tricky. Simulations can take time to create and costly as well. Microworlds can also be costly, but groups are not a primary focus. Individuals achieve better. Expert Systems take away the thinking portion from students. It is a good strategy if you were being tutored on how to solve a problem. Problem-based learning can increase students’ motivation to do the work because it is based on something that interests them. Case studies are extremely useful due to the fact that there is more than one correct answer.

Chapter 13

1. In this chapter, it primarily discussed organizing strategies, elaborating strategies, rehearsing strategies, and comprehension monitoring strategies in order to teach cognitive strategy instruction. Organizing strategies have to do with how information is stored in memory. Elaborating strategies have to do with making connections with new ideas and prior knowledge. Rehearsing strategies have to do with information retrieval. Comprehension monitoring strategies have to do with the student identifying whether or not they are learning.

2. I knew about a few of these strategies before reading the chapter. Depending upon what lesson is being taught will depend upon which strategy is used. If the lesson asks them to recall, then it would be a rehearsing strategy. If the lesson asked them to think about another piece of information that is related to the new idea, it would be an elaborating strategy. If the students were asked to reflect upon what they learned it would be a comprehension monitoring strategy.

Chapter 14

1.    The three strategies used in attitude learning are cognitive, behavioral and affective. The cognitive component is essentially the precursor to the activity; do you know how to do this? Behavioral suggests that the student practice that certain behavior or attitude. Affective means that the students know why something is the way it is instead of how.

2. I knew about behavioral components because I use it on my own students when practicing procedure, because attitude goes along with it. They practice the procedures for good attitudes over and over in order to make sure that they know how they are expected to behave. I didn’t know much about the other two, but they make complete sense to me. I think that again, these components could be used together in a designer standpoint.

Chapter 15

1. In this chapter, the authors discussed massed versus spaced practice when it came to psychomotor skill learning. Massed practice basically means cramming a lot of activity into a few extended periods of time with little or no breaks. Spaced practice is the opposite. It includes short practices over time with breaks.

2. I didn’t realize that there were technical terms for what I was doing, but spaced practice is what our schools mandates that we do in our classes. We are suppose to have 3, 25 minutes activities per block. That allows a little transition time in between. During some of my higher energy classes, I allow students to walk around for a minute in order to be able to refocus. I have found that smaller activities do increase student success. Cramming too much in can have negative affects on students and their ability to perform.


Smith, P.L, Ragan, T.J. Instructional Design: Third Edition. 2005. John Wiley and Sons, Hoboken, NJ. 


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