Beyond amplification: Using the computer to reorganize mental functioning


Book: 
Cognitive science and mathematics education
Authors: 
Pea, R.
Editors: 
Schoenfeld, A. H.
Type: 
Category: 
Pages: 
89-122
Year: 
1987
Publisher: 
Lawrence Erlbaum
Abstract: 

This paper considers the possibilities of using computers not only to amplify, but to reorganize children's thinking and mental functioning. These two different conceptualizations of the transformational role of noncomputer cognitive technologies (such as written language) in human intelligence and cognitive change are sketched, and the different implications to be drawn from these conceptualizations are considered in relation to human thinking and the educational processes. Several examples of software as cognitive technologies are analyzed, and the advantages of the reorganizer approach are detailed. It is argued that since the cognitive technologies we invent can serve as instruments of cultural redefinition (shaping who we are by what we do), the selecting of values for educational goals becomes important. Finally, it is suggested that the urgency of updating educational aims and methods recommends an activist research paradigm for simultaneously creating and studying changes in the processes and outcomes of human learning with new cognitive and educational technologies.

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