Blog Post 11b: Distributed Cognition

Technologies, such as EPIC!, that were depicted in Blog Post 11a help make us smarter. However, there are also other technologies that help advance classroom learning as well. I have had various opportunities to observe the class participate in math lessons and have noted how technology is integrated into this subject.

Last week, the class was finishing up their unit on arrays. The teacher started off the particular math class that I observed by gathering the students onto the carpet with their white boards and dry erase markers. A projector is located right above the carpet, and its images are displayed on a screen directly in front of the carpet. The teacher used the projector to write down and explain examples of the array problems that the students would be working on. Projectors are a useful form of technology because they offer a way of reaching the learning needs of students. They allow for the teacher to interact with the students better, use a multimodal form of teaching, and provide a visual to get objectives across. Projectors also expand images to be large enough for a room full of people to see.

After the carpet meeting, the students went back to their desks to complete a few pages in their math packet on the array problems they just learned about. Once finished, they check their answers in the answer key, log into their class-assigned ChromeBooks, and go to Happy Numbers. The class just received a set of ChromeBooks this past school year and use them frequently for educational purposes.

Happy Numbers is an independent math center that provides individualized instruction for students. My teacher likes this program because it demonstrates to her where her students are performing well and where they need more help. It also hits on topics that are not necessarily covered in lessons taught by the curriculum (Eureka). The helps advance a student’s math ability. Happy Numbers is another example of a technology that can improve student performance.

Sources such as Happy Number can be described as what Salomon and Perkins (2005) refer to as an effect with technology. Their article states, “effects with technology emerge through the interaction when certain intellectual functions are downloaded onto the technology, this establishing an intellectual partnership with the user” (pg. 74). Effects with technology allows for an interdependence between the individual and technology. As previously stated, Happy Numbers recognizes the strengths and weaknesses of individual students and creates problems that pertain to their current knowledge. Therefore, cognition is distributed between the student and the technology as the technological device creates questions that relate to the needs of its students while the student takes the material and applies it to their current knowledge of mathematics. Without this form of technology, the students would not be able to touch on the areas of math in which they need more practice, causing a decrease in their math ability. Technology, such as Happy Numbers, allow for positive development in one’s education.

Sources:

Salomon, G. & Perkins, D. (2005) Do Technologies Make Us Smarter? Intellectual Amplification With, Of and Through Technology

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