(CONCEPT CAR) Image taken from: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Saab_Aero-X_Concept_Car_(195993839).jpg
Over the past three weeks I have learned a lot about cognitive sciences and feel that by taking the learning style inventory this past week I have been able to really hone in on what type of learner I am. By seeing the results of the inventory it supported my initial understanding that I was an “active and visual learner” as well as opening my mind to new concepts of the “global and sensing learner”. Although by completing this inventory it made me focus on the type of learner that I am personally it also opened my mind up to the realization that everyone learns in different ways and in order to teach students in a diverse population you must differentiate and vary teaching styles. There are so many variables that go into students understanding and their learning process. Focusing on “Concepts, Logic and Rules” as well as “problem solving” and “artificial intelligence” as related to cognitive theory has given me the opportunity to come to some new realizations.
I find that some students struggle in my courses when I introduce new concepts or topics to the class, After reading various articles and watching videos I have a better understanding of this idea of a “Concept”. My understanding is that it is an abstract idea that information is learned and mentally categorized into mutual groups over time. In the future as I introduce new concepts to the class I will make an effort to relate it to prior knowledge in order to help students to mentally categorize the information.
To me, Logic is coming to some sort of hypothesis based on what information is provided to you. “It is used to critically evaluate information and make inferences from that information” (Parker, 2013). Simply, I would describe logical thinking as an educated guess. And I say educated guess because in order to come to a conclusion you must be able to analyze and think about the information that has been provided before inferring or coming to any conclusion. The problem with this thing called logic is that students are not always logical in their thinking. Many times my students are just looking for the answer to all questions to appear in the same form as the question. (ex.- What color is the sky?…The color of the sky is blue). Students should be able to pick out key information and analyze it in order to make inferences that are logical and reasonable. As their teacher it is my job to provide them with the opportunities to think logically and give them strategies to do this. In order to think logically my students will need to first have some base knowledge. In the past, I as a teacher have not done a great job helping my students to read for understanding. At the beginning of each unit that we do, students read a chapter in the text book and answer some key questions at the end. I have not really supported them as well as I could. In the future I plan to review the chapter as a class and discuss the main points of the chapters in order to help student understanding. I think that once they have an understanding of content they will have a better chance of thinking logically because they will have something to base it off of.
While reading about Rules it was repeated numerous times that these rules are broken down into these if…then…structures. What this means is that when looking at these rules there is always going to be a condition, which is the “If” and because of that condition there will be some sort of action which is the “Then”. Rules are based on an understanding that if something happens then there is an action that will immediately follow it. Especially at the beginning of each school year I, as a teacher, try to make some general rules for my students. They understand that if they do not put in the effort then their grades as well as their knowledge and understanding will also suffer. Or if they misbehave in my class then they will have to face the consequences for their action (detentions, referrals to the office etc.). When students understand that if they do something there is a consequence that goes along with it whether positive or negative they will tend to make the right decisions. Many times it is as simple as “if I listen well in class and participate then I will have an easier time understanding and completing the subsequent lab work and quiz at the end of the unit.
Problem solving is a cognitive process of the brain that searches a solution for a given problem or finds a path to reach a given goal (Wang & Chiew, 2010, para. 1). “Problem solving often requires the process of planning, namely, formulating a method for attaining a desired goal state” (Barbey & Barsalou, 2009, p.35). This process is one that both children and adults use daily. Although many times the problems that adults are solving are a bit more complex and may have various steps that need to be taken to solve. In my own classroom my students spend a lot of time problem solving. Whether students are figuring out how to replace spark plugs on a vehicle or trying to design and construct a smaller scale vehicle that fits in a 4”X4”X6” box while protecting a raw egg inside of it when rolling down a ramp and into a cement wall at the bottom. Student’s cognitive processes are all very different so it is my job as a teacher to scaffold and give them ideas and strategies to help them to be good problem solvers. I have found that by giving students structure and helping them to create a learning process it helps them to be independent learners who can think logically and solve problems on their own.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is defined as a branch of computer science dealing with the simulation of intelligent behavior in computers (Merriam-Webster, 2013). In my personal educational setting AI may be used to do many things. For one, AI affects the way I research and the way that I find and interact with information. As a whole, AI constantly effects the information we see and find on a daily basis. “Google adapts its results to its users based on location, Siri adapts to your needs and commands, and nearly all web ads are geared toward the user’s needs” (Heick, 2012, para 8). With this idea of AI being such a great resource for information I think that it would be a great asset when problem solving and understanding concepts in class.
Barbey, A.K. & Barsalou, L.W. (2009). Reasoning and problem solving: models. Emory University, ATL, GA: Elsevier Ltd. Retrieved from http://psychology.emory.edu/cognition/barsalou/papers/Barbey_Barsalou_Enclopedia_Neuroscience_2009_reasoning.pdf
Yao, Y. (n.d). Concept formation and learning: A cognitive informatics perspective. Retrieved from http://www2.cs.uregina.ca/~yyao/PAPERS/concept_formation.pdf
Wang, Y., Chiew, V. (2010). On the cognitive process of human problem solving. Cognitive systems research. Retrieved from http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1389041708000417
Parker, R. (2013, September). Unit 2 – Logic, Rules and Concepts [Presentation slides]. Retrieved from http://www.coursematerials.net/edu/edu510/unit2/index.htm
Heick, T. (2012). 10 Roles for artificial intelligence in education. Retrieved from www.teachthought.com/technology/10-roles-for-artificial-intelligence-in education/
Werriam-Webster. (2013). Artificial intelligence. Retrieved from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/artificial%20intelligence