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Distributed Cognition: Teachers' Perceptions and Implications for Learning Outcomes and Instructional Technology

Distributed Cognition: Teachers' Perceptions and Implications for Learning Outcomes and Instructional Technology
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Author(s): Sherah Betts Carr (Mercer University, USA), Nneka Johnson (Mercer University, USA) and Lucy Bush (Mercer University, USA)
Copyright: 2017
Pages: 31
Source title: Educational Leadership and Administration: Concepts, Methodologies, Tools, and Applications
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Information Resources Management Association (USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-1624-8.ch042

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Abstract

This work uses the framework of distributed cognition for understanding the way that educators perceive cognition in classroom application. The focus is on the elements of technological tools and peers as extensions of students' cognitive capacity. A qualitative study was conducted with teachers at a combined middle and secondary school in an urban area. Data from interviews in this exploratory case study revealed that teachers had minimal awareness of distributed cognition especially in terms of developing and assessing student learning outcomes. Teachers particularly struggled with ways to label, quantify and apply this construct. One unexpected finding was the concern about a lack of student expertise in utilizing tools. Suggestions call for systemic changes in curriculum, instruction and assessment. A focus on instructional technology as a mediator for critical thinking and problem solving is advocated. Additional reform measures include a renewed look at educators' epistemology through transformative professional learning.

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