Firstly, thank you very much for your work in this topic. It is quite useful for conceptual understanding and discussion in research.
The discussion of 'cognitive tool' seems from two views. One is from the view of Lajoie and Derry, and another is from the research of Jonesson, Kommers and Mayer. The previous one is more related to cognitivism perspective whereas another is by constructivist views. However, I didn't find any papers in distinguishing those two perspectives.
Certainly, monitoring cognitive issues of cognitive processing and providing relative cognitive support will be definitely important in thinking or problem solving. On the other hand, Constructivism approach directly points out or provides the methods / scaffolds for the learners to interact with for constructing knowledge (structure). It seems the later one wants to jump some discussion of specific cognitive processes into the ways of facilitating the cognitive processes, such as by drawing diagrams, using paper/pencil or computer to externalize the internal thinking. Of course, those approaches will definitely solve the cognitive problems such as 'cognitive overloading' or 'organization/elaboration'. But, the question is 'is that still useful to understand the specific cognitive processes which have to be facilitated?'
Nevertheless, I haven't seen many existing cognitive tools except concept mapping. Other tools such as for discover-learing, modelling or simulation/visualization, inquiry-based learning, or collaborative-learning are not so strong that they could affect current learning environment. How to develop the cognitive components or middleware for learning tools or learning objects will be quite attractive in the future.
Jackie, 22th April 2006 firstname.lastname@example.org
reply by DSchneider 22:14, 24 April 2006 (MEST)
Cool, you are the first person ever here who started a discussion .... almost missed you :=)
I must admit that I always sort of just used this concept without really digging into the literature very much, so the draft of this article really needs a lot of work.
Anyhow, I will try to find answers to your questions (not this week, since totally busy)
- Indeed, in a constructivist perspective one ought to be able to specify better what exactly should be scaffolded.
- I do not agree with you assessment on tools. I think that some very simple tools could also qualify as cognitive tools
- E.g. I have a project to write an introduction to edutech. Wasn't able to sort out ideas so I adopted this mediawiki which is not just a writing device but it also has features that make connections between concepts easier (e.g. Categories, the Java visualization, hyperlinks, etc.)
- E.g. we have our students use XML grammars to write projects (the structure is supposed to help them writing a coherent research plan). Same goes for their papers. I must admit though that these tools are maybe not cognitive tools, but just behaviorist control kind of things.
- E.g. we use community portals with several little CMSs in order to create an information and collaboration space (this is the same argument as the Wiki one).
So the idea is that specialized writing tools (in some sense of social constructionism) are very much missing from so-called e-learning platforms and furthermore that more or less useful tools can be alread had by repurposing some non-educational environments. There is a unfinished project (since funding ran out): http://tecfa.unige.ch/proj/seed/catalog/