Students, computers and learning : a conversation with the cognitive apprentices and their learning tools
Study and teaching (Secondary)
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AbstractThesis (M.Ed.)--University of Melbourne, Dept. of Science and Mathematics Education, 1999
Wertsch (1991) asserts the mind "extends beyond the skin", that is, it is socially distributed and is a function of activity involving cultural tools. From this perspective the mind is unlimited in the sense that it is developed and inseparable from tools of mediation of which the computer is a corporeal thing that extends out into the material world. The computer as a means of mediation can be invisible yet powerfully influential in shaping thought and communication.. In this small-scale case study in an academic independent school a representative focus group of year 9 students suggests to the Author, their school's computer specialist, that their teachers are not to be providing mediated learning with computers. The students who are the metaphoric "cognitive apprentices" feel the school as an institution has not 'grasped the idea.' Bryson and De Castell (1994, 215) observed that " ... the divisive playing field of educational technology is populated by various teams who are telling altogether different 'true stories,' each having different settings, characters and plots ..." The new age believers and the non believers were not listening to the users. Hargreaves (1996) offered a parallel critical assessment, after Plummer (1983) and Wood (1991), of the use of "voice" in contemporary educational research. He stressed the need for active participant voices outside conventional conversations, from different contexts, different positions and particularly the marginalised. In both educational practice and research, student's voice has frequently been considered " a nuisance; literal noise in the instructional system" (Cazden 1986, 448). However, if teachers and schools as agents of parents and society are to embrace computers as cognitive tools, and accept them into the educational context as a means to gaining one or more educational ends, then there is need to research the voices of the cognitive apprentices on their learning with computers. The collaborative nature of the ethnographic research was grounded in the mutual regard of the researcher and the practitioners (students) as change agents in their own school. Central to the research was the development and exploration of a clue structure to understand how student practitioners saw computers being used in their classrooms. The initial core questionnaire asked the students to position their opinion of the school's , and their teachers' use of computers in the provision of the curriculum on a continuum between; "Are computers instructional tools used by teachers to impart knowledge to you", or, "Are computers used as cognitive tools to afford students' opportunities to construct representations of their knowledge and understandings of the concepts being taught ?
TypeMasters Research thesis