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ERIC Number: EJ830247
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006-Feb
Pages: 18
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 78
ISSN: ISSN-1074-9039
Toolforthoughts: Reexamining Thinking in the Digital Age
Shaffer, David Williamson; Clinton, Katherine A.
Mind, Culture, and Activity, v13 n4 p283-300 Feb 2006
In this article we argue that new computational tools problematize the concept of thought within current sociocultural theories of technology and cognition by challenging the traditional position of privilege that humans occupy in sociocultural analyses. We draw on work by Shaffer and Kaput (1999) and Latour (1996a, 1996b, 1996c) to extend the analytical reach of "activity theory" (Engestrom, Miettinen, & Punamaki, 1999; Nardi, 1996b), "mediated action" (Wertsch, 1998) and "distributed cognition" (Hutchins, 1995; Pea, 1993; Salomon, 1993) by adopting a stronger form of the concepts of distribution and mediation in the context of cognitive activity. For rhetorical purposes, we posit this stronger form of the distribution of intelligence across persons and objects as a theory of distributed mind. Previous theories of cognition and technology show that persons and artifacts both contribute to meaningful activity. Here we explore how understanding the pedagogical implications of new media may require creating a new analytic category of "toolforthoughts". The result of such a shift in thinking provides a view of the relationship between technology and cognitive activity appropriate to the emerging virtual culture of the digital age. We suggest that this may provide a useful perspective from which to analyze pedagogical choices in the context of rapid expansion of powerful cognitive technologies. Theorizing the cognitive agency of tools provides a means to evaluate (in the fullest sense of the word) the educational consequences of new technologies. (Contains 10 footnotes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A