cognitive sciences and
     technologies:
 the “nouvelle vague”
   and its effects on
       education
        elena pasqu...
contents
• 1. give a panoramic view of the “new wave
  of studies” in cognitive sciences and
  technologies
  • cognition ...
1. Nouvelle vague in cognitive sciences


                                       different
                               ...
•   the mind-computer metaphor “Boiled down
                      to its essence, cognitive science proclaims
            ...
decentralization
•   a flock of birds sweeps across
                                      •   they follow the leader
    th...
Mitchell Resnick,
     1997
 •   LEGO Papert
     Professor of Learning
                                 •   StarLogo crea...
embodiment
             and situation
Rodney Brooks,     •   Parallel, reactive robots
      1991
  subsumption          •...
distribution
  Edwin           •   cognitive structures are not
 Hutchins,            inside the individual
   1995;      ...
emergency and complexity
 Esther Thelen, 1997
   dynamic systems     •   new skills emerge from
       approach,          ...
externalism


Andy Clark,     •   external reality drives cognitive
  1995              processes and behaviors of the
   ...
enaction and self-organization
  Varela, 1991;
                   •   cognition is the result of the
                     ...
2. Nouvelle vague and education


                              how do these
                            approaches affect...
epistemological
                   pluralism
•   another expression of decentralization, embodiment, situation
    and dis...
concrete knowledge
•   contextual and social
    construction of
    knowledge, role of social
    factors vs role of
    ...
Piaget: genetic epistemology
•   explain the acquisition of (scientific) knowledge through its
    genetic development (sta...
Bruner: enactive knowledge
•   Stages are forms of knowledge and learning; learning is re-
    organization

•   3 forms o...
Bruner: educational
              principles
•   instruction should be based on knowledge about cognition

•   knowledge =...
Bruner: constructivism
•   constructivism =
    discovery, through
    manipulation and      •   "The concept of prime num...
Papert: constructionism

• Seymour Papert (1991) : proposes a form of
    education in which learning passes through desig...
constructionism &
                 technology
•   computers make the kindergarten become lifelong

    •   “computers prov...
•   Logo turtles for teaching mathematics

•   turtles are robots connected to a computer; the child drives
    the turtle...
3. The two aspects of construction: physical and
                 metaphorical

                                     which...
two aspects of
             constructivism

•   constructivism/concrete knowledge =
     hands-on as a physical process of...
hands-on
                                         •   one can have hands on and
•   hands-on:                             ...
•   epistemological pluralism
    rehabilitates concrete
                                     constructivism
    knowledge...
•   Concrete knowledge and
    decentralization are not
    necessarily alternatives to
                                 c...
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La nouvelle vague des sciences cognitives et les modèles constructionnistes d'apprentissage

  1. 1. cognitive sciences and technologies: the “nouvelle vague” and its effects on education elena pasquinelli
  2. 2. contents • 1. give a panoramic view of the “new wave of studies” in cognitive sciences and technologies • cognition is decentralized • 2. discuss related educational models • constructivism • 3. analyze the relationship between 1. et 2.
  3. 3. 1. Nouvelle vague in cognitive sciences different approaches that can be described as the “nouvelle vague” in cognitive sciences ... ... only family resemblances
  4. 4. • the mind-computer metaphor “Boiled down to its essence, cognitive science proclaims that in one way or another our minds are computers” [Dennett, 1993, p. 126] • critical attitude towards the “classic cognitive sciences” (...another gerrymandered group of approaches to cognition) • cognitive processes are not (necessarily) centralized • criticism towards the massive recourse to internal representations: cognition is not (limited) to being the mirror of reality • cognitive processes are not necessarily formal, logical operations
  5. 5. decentralization • a flock of birds sweeps across • they follow the leader the sky. Like a well- choreographed dance troupe, the birds veer to the • there is no leader bird, there is self-organization: left in unison. Then, suddenly, they all dart to the right and swoop down toward the • no bird has a sense of the overall flock pattern ground. Each movement seems perfectly coordinated. ... How do birds • each bird follows a set of rules and reacts to keep their movement so the movements of the orderly, so coordinate? (Mitchell Resnick, 1997) birds nearby
  6. 6. Mitchell Resnick, 1997 • LEGO Papert Professor of Learning • StarLogo creatures (Resnick, Research Academic 1997): language for creating and Head, Program in Media Arts and exploring decentralized systems Sciences Co-Director, Center for Future Civic Media • the idea of decentralization is • Lifelong kindergarten largely diffused (era of http:// llk.media.mit.edu/ decentralization): • LEGO MindStorms robotics construction kit • decentralized models in biology, ethnology, market economy, • Scratch epistemology, mind, computers • Crickets • Computer Clubhouse • technologies are a vehicle of project decentralization • Author of Turtles, Termites, and Traffic Jams, 1997, MIT Press
  7. 7. embodiment and situation Rodney Brooks, • Parallel, reactive robots 1991 subsumption • Multiple layers of direct perceptuo-motor loops architecture > intelligence • Memory and internal representations are without externalized in the representations environment > cambrian • The world is its own best representation intelligence
  8. 8. distribution Edwin • cognitive structures are not Hutchins, inside the individual 1995; • cognition includes external David Kirsh, states such as language and 1994 different technological devices epistemic • the notion of representation is actions extended to the complex of the individual + its environment and actions
  9. 9. emergency and complexity Esther Thelen, 1997 dynamic systems • new skills emerge from approach, • local interactions between no specific commitment with an • maturation approach to • and different bodily and perception, external conditions nonetheless stress • each condition is weighted on perception, differently in time and its action, embodiment evolution is monitored by the model
  10. 10. externalism Andy Clark, • external reality drives cognitive 1995 processes and behaviors of the individual and of groups of individuals
  11. 11. enaction and self-organization Varela, 1991; • cognition is the result of the coupling between environment and Thompson, 2002 organism enactive cognitive • at the evolutive level sciences: theory • at the level of the ongoing interaction of epistemology, organisms, • crucial role of perception and evolution action • for any kind of skill • each condition is weighted differently in time and its evolution is monitored by the model
  12. 12. 2. Nouvelle vague and education how do these approaches affect theories of learning and knowlege acquisition through education?
  13. 13. epistemological pluralism • another expression of decentralization, embodiment, situation and distribution of knowledge is the challenge to the egemony of logical, abstract, formal reasoning > • validity of multiple ways of thinking and knowing > • rehabilitation of concrete, informal, sensori-motor forms of knowledge acquisition in face of abstract, formal, logical cognition and knowledge acquisition
  14. 14. concrete knowledge • contextual and social construction of knowledge, role of social factors vs role of reasoning and experimentation • “formal reasoning is not a stage but a style” (Turkle & Papert, • feminist approaches to 1992) epitemology • sociology of scientific knowledge
  15. 15. Piaget: genetic epistemology • explain the acquisition of (scientific) knowledge through its genetic development (stages): successive development of cognitive capacities, from concrete to abstract • sensorimotor stage of cognitive development: 0-2 > perceptual concepts that cannot be manipulated; preoperational: 2-7 > language and symbolic play, but still hands-on and learning by doing • concrete operational, formal operational: 7-11 > logical concepts (reversible), from the concrete (personal experience) to the abstract • scholar curricula reflect this view
  16. 16. Bruner: enactive knowledge • Stages are forms of knowledge and learning; learning is re- organization • 3 forms of knowledge/representation: • symbolic: language-based representations (manipulation of symbols) • iconic: image-related representations (mental images tht cannot be manipulated) • enactive: learning by doing, action-related representations (the action is the representation: i.e. driving) • enactive knowledge is lifelong (as Resnick’s lifelong kindergarten)
  17. 17. Bruner: educational principles • instruction should be based on knowledge about cognition • knowledge = re-arranging • learning is an active process through which learners build their knowledge based on past knowledge experiences and readiness (will and capacity to know): spiral curricula • knowledge = co-presence of stages • education should propose the three forms of representation in sequence for each new task/material; any material can be taught at any moment of the life of the child
  18. 18. Bruner: constructivism • constructivism = discovery, through manipulation and • "The concept of prime numbers appears to be perception but also more readily grasped when the child, through construction, discovers that certain handfuls of through more beans cannot be laid out in completed rows and abstract columns. Such quantities have either to be laid out in a single file or in an incomplete row- transformations of column design in which there is always one extra information, or one too few to fill the pattern. These patterns, the child learns, happen to be called construction of prime. It is easy for the child to go from this step hypotheses to the recognition that a multiple table so called, is a record sheet of quantities in • manipulation both completed mutiple rows and columns. Here is factoring, multiplication and primes in a in the physical and construction that can be visualized." in the metaphorical sense
  19. 19. Papert: constructionism • Seymour Papert (1991) : proposes a form of education in which learning passes through design (rather than through observation or instructions) • importance of tangibility, personal access and construction (also in the metaphorical sense) •
  20. 20. constructionism & technology • computers make the kindergarten become lifelong • “computers provide a context for the development of concrete thinking” (Turkle & Papert, 1992) • because of the possibility of perceiving abstract things: computers are at the interface between abstract things and physical things • because of the possibility of designing and personalizing
  21. 21. • Logo turtles for teaching mathematics • turtles are robots connected to a computer; the child drives the turtle by using directional and distance commands • “the turtle makes possible a new approach to thinking about geometry, contrasting sharply with the Euclidean methods traditionally taught in the classroom. ... The turtle connects to the children’s experience in the world - children can ‘play turtle’, imagining themselves as the turtle • Logo turtles can be purely virtual: manipulations and transformations of computer, digital repesentations
  22. 22. 3. The two aspects of construction: physical and metaphorical which is the relationship between decentralization (of mind processes) and constructivism (as a model for education and learning) ?
  23. 23. two aspects of constructivism • constructivism/concrete knowledge = hands-on as a physical process of tangible manipulation • constructivism/concrete knowledge = hands-on as a metaphorical process of transformation, discovery and design = hands-on head-on
  24. 24. hands-on • one can have hands on and • hands-on: follow a set of instructions • interfaces based on action • constructivism is design: and perception: virtual creating things objects are manipulated • “create tools that engage • representations of learners in construction, invention, experimentation. concrete objects This process involves at least • representations of two levels of design: abstract objects educators need to design things that allow students to • haptic sensors and design things” (Resnick, actuators: haptic perceptuo-motor loop 1997)
  25. 25. • epistemological pluralism rehabilitates concrete constructivism knowledge as enactive/ sensorimotor/embodied & knowledge decentralization • at least it makes it a form of knowledge which is as adult and 1 worth of respect than logical, formal, abstract constructivism as knowledge metaphorical hands-on has no other relation with • but it does not say decentralization than the anything about indirect, metaphorical metaphorical (non- analogy with physical hands- tangible) hands-on on
  26. 26. • Concrete knowledge and decentralization are not necessarily alternatives to constructivism internal representations and computational models: they & can be integrated • Kirsh, 1991: defends the role decentralization of perception in epistemic actions but reproaches 2 Brooks’ representational constructivism as physical eliminativism for hands-on in not implied as a misunderstanding the role of necessity, but admitted; concepts in many human the relationship with adaptive behaviors, thus for abstract, formal, logical bounding the explanation of knowledge and with other human cognition to a reduced forms of instruction than number of animal behaviors hands-on is still an open question

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