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ERIC Number: ED497578
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2003-Jun
Pages: 44
Abstractor: Author
Reference Count: 18
Pedagogical Praxis: The Professions as Models for Learning in the Age of the Smart Machine. WCER Working Paper No. 2003-6
Shaffer, David W.
Wisconsin Center for Education Research (NJ1)
Successful curricula are not collections of isolated elements; rather, effective learning environments function as coherent systems (Brown & Campione, 1996; see also Papert, 1980; Shaffer, 1998). The theory of pedagogical praxis begins with the premise that computers and other information technologies make it easier for students to become active participants in meaningful projects and practices in the life of their community. Rather than designing from first principles, pedagogical praxis suggests that professional practices such as architecture, mediation, and journalism can provide constructive models for helping students learn from such experiences. In this vision, new technology reinvigorates Dewey's (1915) idea of linking school with society. Technology builds a bridge that allows young people to participate to the learning practices of professionals; in the process, they develop epistemological frameworks that organize the skills, habits, and understandings they need to thrive in a complex, post industrial society. Although further work needs to be done to explore the processes through which such learning can take place, studies suggest that this perspective may be a productive avenue for continuing study. This paper presents an overview of the theories and methods that inform such work. (Contains 2 figures.) [The research reported in this paper was supported by the Foundation for Ethics and Technology, the Waitt Family Foundation, the LEGO Corporation, and the Wisconsin Center for Education Research, School of Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison.]
Wisconsin Center for Education Research. School of Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1025 West Johnson Street Suite 785, Madison, WI 53706. Tel: 608-263-4200; Fax: 608-263-6448; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Wisconsin Center for Education Research, Madison.