The distributed cognition perspective is that the

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Unformatted text preview: Distributed cognition. Distributed cognition is the idea that “people appear to think in conjunction or partnership with others and with the help of culturally provided tools and implements” (Salomon, 1993, p. xiii). Knowledge and the tools for processing that knowledge are located both within the mind of the learner and within the social-historical environment of the learner (Cole & Engeström, 1993). For example, as a cultural tool, the computer allows the learner to engage in problem-solving activities that would be nearly impossible without the support of the computer. The computer in this case becomes a tool for distributing cognition (Perkins, 1993). The distributed cognition perspective is that the collective knowledge of a society cannot be completely understood by one individual, but is distributed among the individuals in a society. The same may be said of classrooms where students and teachers may possess different parts of the distributed knowledge in that environment. From a distributed cognition perspective, therefore, the goal is to create communities of practice where students and teachers can interact 50 actively with each and with the available cultural tools. Note the following example from Joanne Lawson’s sixth grade classroom. ⇒ “Students in my classroom have developed expertise with different available computer programs. They then serve as teachers and resources for other students. They will eventually learn something about every program, but they will be class experts on at least one.” Self-Regulated Learners According to Simons (1993) constructive learning is self-regulated learning. Constructivist learning environments engage students in experiences that teach them how to set goals, reflect on their own learning and that help them become independent problem solvers. Teachers might implement this suggestion by allowing students to have a voice in selecting their learning goals, how they will meet those goals, and how their progress will be evaluated. Mr. Peterson tries to encourage self-regulated learning in the following manner. ⇒ Students often come to me unprepared to be researchers. I try to spent time at the beginning of the year helping them learn basic research strategies like differentiating fact from opinion, etc. I want them to be able to apply these skills to guide their own research later.” Cognitive Developmental/Constructivist Learning Principles 51 The major ideas that have been discussed in this chapter can be summarized in terms of three general learning principles. These principles are discussed below, and they will serve as organizers in later chapters for our discussions of constructivist approaches to teaching, instructional design, and classroom management. Principle 5.1: Learning is More Powerful if Learners Actively Construct Their Own Understandings. Piaget, Vygotsky, Bruner, and the constructivists believe that learners develop a more meaningful understanding if they are active participants i...
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