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Gerhard Fischer and Hal Eden: “Design, Learning, and Collaboration” — Spring Semester 2006

Assignment 12: “You Being the Expert”

background paper for this assignment: Pea, R. D. (2004) "The Social and Technological Dimensions of Scaffolding and Related Theoretical Concepts for Learning, Education, and Human Activity," The Journal of the Learning Sciences, 13(3), pp. 423-451.

Analyzers and summarizers for assignment 12:

1. Mark Prazen
2. Gary Knoll

due: Monday, March 20, 2006 (10:00am contributors, 2:00pm summarizers)

You are an expert on issues about learning in a technology-rich world. The Boulder Valley School District approaches you to have your input how the school district should deal with hand-held calculators in their schools. They ask you to consider 4 options and request that you develop a principled argument which of the four options is the best one and should be chosen

Hand-Held Calculators — What Should the Boulder Valley School District Do?

  • position 1: ignore the existence of the gadget; we are not interested in technology, but in important mathematical skills; recommendation: do not use hand-held calculators in schools

  • position 2: keep the curriculum the same, make children learn arithmetic, multiplication tables, long division, drawing square root by hands; recommendation: after they have it all mastered, allow the use of hand-held calculators.

  • position 3: invent/ create new calculators, new curricula, new scaffolding mechanisms that make learning these skills more fun and create a deeper understanding of underlying concepts — recommendation: using these hand-held calculators, the learners would acquire the skills and the knowledge and eventually become independent of the gadget (“scaffolding with fading”)

  • position 4: find new ways to distribute responsibilities between humans and machines such that humans do the qualitative reasoning, use estimation skills, relate the mathematical result to the real world and machines do the detailed quantitative computations recommendation: establish new divisions of labor, rely on distributed intelligence

Please do the following:

  • develop a principled argument for your recommendation (can you provide evidence, data, …?)
  • discuss the major weaknesses of the other choices
  • relate your argumentation to the article by Roy Pea

HW12 Summary.doc (Gary Knoll)

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