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Exploring Distributed Cognition and Situated Learning
Transcript of Exploring Distributed Cognition and Situated Learning
Nobody knows everything.
Knowledge does not live in books.
(Yes, it is stored in books,
but book-knowledge is inert.)
Knowledge is encoded into the tools we have developed and shared across generations.
It is rooted in our efforts to communicate.
is an exploration
of how we think together
and depend on each other
and how we outsource complex
processes so that tasks become
is the system overview...
is the streetview.
It explores what that distributed
system looks like through
the eyes of a learner.
Jean Lave's anthropological work in the 1970s included a study of the apprenticeship of Liberian tailors, which helped her and her American colleagues rethink the process of learning.
Building on sociocultural theory, Brown, Collins, and Duguid (1989) cite Lave's work in expressing that:
“Activity, concept, and culture are interdependent.
No one can be totally understood without the other two. Learning must involve all three..." (p. 33)
Exploring Distributed Cognition
and Situated Learning
The sociocultural theorist's critique of traditional schooling goes like this...
"Teaching methods often try to impart abstracted concepts as fixed, well-defined, independent entities that can be explored in prototypical examples and textbook exercises.
"But such exemplification cannot provide the important insights into either the culture or the authentic activities of members of that culture that learners need”
(Brown et al., 1989, p.33).
Standing Rock, North Dakota, 2016
Students become makers who learn through participation and experience.
Indigenous knowledge ties people to place and is thus inherently political. It is both situated and distributed.
Educators will require adequate resources, training, funding and time to implement this new curriculum.
"When attempting to provide Indigenous learners with a culturally responsive mathematics curriculum, educators found learners’ engagement and interaction notably increased as math concepts were integrated with cultural knowledges; for example, crab traps, fishing, and bentwood boxes." (Nicol, Archibald & Baker, 2013).
In 1990, Athabascan Traditional Chief Peter John reflected publicly on a series of failed interventions carried out by a group of scientists intending to 'help' his people.
“In western terms, competency...does not
address whether that person is really capable of putting the knowledge into practice. In the
traditional Native sense, competency has an unequivocal relationship to survival or extinction. You either have it, or you don't, and survival is the ultimate measure”
(Kawagley & Barnhardt, 1998).
Everybody has their own perspective.
So far we've been exploring situated practice from the student's perspective.
But what if we look at the situated role of the teacher through the lens of sociocultural theory?
What insights and wisdom might be uncovered through an anthropological study of the tools and activities of teachers?
Kenneth Ruthven (2012) identifies five key structuring features of classroom practice:
1. Working Environment
2. Resource System
3. Activity Format
4. Curriculum Script
5. Time Economy
refers to the physical surroundings where the lessons take place, both the technical and the physical infrastructure.
includes all the tools and resources a teacher uses including any textbooks, whiteboard, projector, web resources, computers, and other equipment.
Learn more about the Maker Movement by
watching this 2 minute video:
Makerspaces can actively engage
students in relevant and meaningful learning.
are able to
facilitate collaborative knowledge creation.
Students are challenged in an authentic learning environment to fully participate.
Using background knowledge
Engaging in discussion
Becoming active producers rather than passive consumers
Makerspaces provide students access to tangible materials in a rich, fun-filled environment.
The options for meaningful learning are limitless!
one exciting example. It opens possibilities for students to situate their learning by...
From this space, students can adopt the tools and knowledge to be responsible, autonomous members of a community of practice.
As a final example of situated learning, consider the current effort to incorporate Indigenous knowledge into the British Columbia curriculum.
Indigenous knowledge is now to be included at every grade level and in nearly every subject...
But what does this actually mean for teachers?
B.C.'s curricular embrace of Indigenous knowledge can be seen as a move towards situated learning.
Indigenous knowledge is inherently situated.
Indigenous knowledge has been shown in educational research to be pedagogically effective for teaching all students, and especially for teaching and engaging Indigenous students (Lok, 2011; Nicol, Archibald & Baker, 2013).
As we face the immanent collapse of the Paris Accord, Indigenous knowledge is needed more critically than ever before.
Situated Indigenous knowledge is in direct contrast to the pedagogical approach used historically in residential schools.
Still, it will take more than new curriculum standards to change the culture of education in Canada.
Perhaps we should also be looking to Ruthven's sociocultural framework...
Please join our group discussion re: how teachers can adapt to makerspaces and situated Indigenous knowledge.
is the pattern of activity in the classroom, the choreography, so to speak. Are students sitting in a circle on the floor? Is it a lecture? Or a casual conversation?
is the flexible plan that a teacher has in their head about how the lesson will unfold, including how to deal with unplanned changes. (After years of experience, most teachers know what to expect.)
refers to the constant calculating that a teacher does around time management. How do you convert classroom time into teaching time? How do you manage class focus and cover the required curricular material within the available time?
But if we aren't to
teach school the traditional way, it is still not clear what situated learning means for our classrooms and schools.
The traditional model of education separates knowing from doing;
whereas, makerspaces link knowing and doing.
Ruthven's framework of 5 key structuring features brings the insights of a sociocultural analysis to the particular situations faced by practicing teachers.
*In our Prezi, we are using the new award winning Authagraphic world map from Japan!
Cueva de las Manos, Argentina
What are appropriate activity formats?
Can we talk as teachers about our internal curricular script?
What kind of resource system is needed to teach Indigenous knowledge in the classroom?
Can we ask the same sorts of questions about our efforts to create Makerspaces?
For further inspiration on makerspaces, click on http://tinyurl.com/makerspaces101
Sister Children Ft.Res, 1913
Please join the discussion @ the MET Social Lab.
Scheduled live chats on:
Thurs, Nov 24 at 4pmPST
& Sat, Nov 26 at 3pmPST
or drop in any time!
Also, please check out our visual and academic references and additional links about makerspaces and Indigenous knowledge on the remaining slides -->
that we need to consider when designing makerspaces?
What are the:
The First Peoples Principles of Learning poster was developed by the First Nations Education Steering Committee and can be downloaded at:
As educational researchers Kawagley and Barnhardt (1998) note, "the gulf between their compartmentalized, limited-time-frame view of the world and the holistic, multi-generational perspective of Peter John appeared insurmountable."
Traditional Chief Peter John
in human consciousness.
As a shared human resource, knowledge is inseparable from the languages we have developed to co-construct it.
Adarsha Saula Yubak Higher Secondary School, Nepal
Laurentia Elementary School, Canada
Olabi Makerspace, Brazil
Brown, J. S., Collins, A. & Duguid, S. (1989). Situated cognition and the culture of learning. Educational Researcher, 18, 32-42.
Harvard Educational Review. (2014). The maker movement in education: Designing, creating, and learning across contexts, 84(4),
492-494. Retrieved from http://hepg.org/her-home/home
Hutchins, E. (2000). Distributed Cognition. Available online: http://eclectic.ss.uci.edu/~drwhite/Anthro179a/DistributedCognition.pdf
Kawagley, A.O. & Barnhardt, R. (1998). Education indigenous to place: Western science meets native reality. Alaska Native
Knowledge Network. Retrieved 5 November, 2016, from: www.ankn.uaf.edu/curriculum/Articles/BarnhardtKawagley/EIP.html
Lave, J., & Wenger, E. (1991). Situated learning: Legitimate peripheral participation. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Lok, K. (2011). Maori students need respect: Schools trial cultural teaching programme. The Dominion Post. Retrieved from:
Martin, L. (2015). The promise of the Maker Movement for education. Journal of Pre-College Engineering Education Research, 5(1),
Nicol, C., Archibald, J., Baker, J. (2013), Designing a model of culturally responsive mathematics education: Place, relationships and
storywork. Mathematics Education Research Journal, 25(1), 73-89.
Oliver, K. M. (2016). Professional development considerations for makerspace leaders, part one: Addressing “What?” and “Why?” Tech
Trends, 60(2), 160-166. doi:10.1007/s11528-016-0028-5
Perera, N. (2011). Constructivism, social constructivism, and situated cognition: A sliding scale [Web page]. Retrieved from
Rosenfeld Halverson, E., & Sheridan, K. (2014). The Maker Movement in education. Harvard Educational Review, 494-505.
Ruthven, K. (2012) Constituting digital tools and materials as classroom resources: The example of dynamic geometry. In G. Gueudet,
B. Pepin & L. Trouche. (Eds.), From text to 'lived' resources: Mathematics curriculum materials and teacher development. (83-103) New York: Springer. doi:DOI 10.1007/978-94-007-1966-8
If you are new to the MET Social Lab, please register:
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Then follow this link:
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Then register for the Social Lab.
Once you are there, join the 512-64B Conference Channel.
Trinity College Library, Ireland
Tam High, USA
1. AuthaGraphic World Map. (2016) http://www.authagraph.com/top/?lang=en
2. The long room at Trinity College Library in Dublin, Ireland. (2012). by Sam via
3. Hands at the Cuevas de las Manos. (2005) by Mariano via
4. Preparing navigation chart. (2006) by John Beeman, US Navy via
5. Marine sextant. (2005) by Kevin O'Brien, US Navy via
6. Plotting a reading on navigational chart. (2009) by Gabriel Weber, US Navy via
7. Relaying chart information. (2003) by Novia Harrington, US Navy via
8. Amphibious assault ship USS Saipan. (2004) by US Navy via
9. Liberia. (2016) by Google Maps via https://maps.google.com
10. The apprentice, Congo. (2008) by Julien Harnels via
11. The master and apprentices, Congo. (2008) by Julien Harnels via
12. Jean Lave biopic (n.d.) by M. S. Whyte via
13. Youth empowerment, Liberia. (2012) by Victoria Ahmed, CAFOD via
14. Laurentia Elementary School. (2011) by US Embassy Canada via
15. Adarsha Saula Yubak Higher Secondary School, Nepal. (2014) by N. T. G. Kakshapati, GPE via
16. Olabi Makerspace, Brazil. (2015) by Miriam Jeske, Olabi Makerspace via
17. Markerspace at Tam High, USA. (2015) by Fabrice Florin via
18. Image of students using technology. (2014) by Frysk Lab via
19. Image of child peering up through project. (2014) by Frysk Lab via
20. Coğrafya (“Geography”). (2015) by NFKUCom via
21. DNA Origami by Alex Bateman. (n.d.) by Darren Hull via
22. Jinan. (2009) by Walt Stoneburner via
23. Image of student working on project. (2014) by Frysk Lab via
24. Image of students linking bananas to piano keyboard on laptops. (2013) by Frysk Lab via
25. Female students & teacher. (2013) by Engineering at Cambridge via
26. Makerspace corporate shoots. (2015) by Makerspace SP via
27. Makerspace at Tam High. (2016) by Fabrice Florin via
28. Students working . (2014) by FryskLab via
29. Boy pondering structure. (2014) by FryskLab via
30. Awesome teens participating in Rockwood Library programs. (2015) by Multnomah County
Library via https://www.flickr.com/photos/multnomahcountylibrary/21904098931/
31. Show and tell. (2008) by Woodleywonderworks via
32. Indy the teacher (n.d.) by Nerdreactor via
33. Kick off research Rotterdam Open Data. (2011) by Sebastiaan ter Burg via
34. Setting up my classroom. (2012) by BarbaraLN via
35. Classroom layout. (n.d.) by Pixabay via
36. Fractions display. (2007) by Misskprimary via
37. Monopoly. (n.d.) by Pcdazero via
38. A visual history of calculating. (n.d.) by TCB via
39. Spines of New Math paperbacks from 1960s. (2014) by Jengod via
40. Heath Middle School Science Project Ongoing at Paducah Site. (2011) by Energy.Gov via
41. Teacher leads classroom in group work. (n.d.) by U.S. Department of Education via
42. Karo + palmolive + wesson = messy science fun. (2008) by WoodleyWonderWorks via
43. Beautiful chaos in the grade school band. (2010) by Woodleywonderworks via
44. Time management. (2010) by Ryan Hyde via
45. Blurry classroom. (n.d.) by Wate 6 via
46. New classroom. (2005) by Bart Everson via
47. B.C.’s new curriculum: Science 3. (n.d.) by British Columbia Ministry of Education via
48. First Peoples building canoe with tipi in background. (n.d.) posted by Indigenous and
Northern Affairs, Government of Canada via
49. First Nations fisherman. (n.d.) posted by Canku Ota online newsletter via
50. Tsimshian box. (2009) by Leoboudv via
51. Sister Children Ft.Res, 1913 (2014) by H. Jones via
52. Traditional Chief Peter John. (2007) by Tanana Chiefs Conference via
53. North Dakota state troopers at Standing Rock. (2016) by Daniella Zalcman via
54. Girl writing. (n.d.) by National Post via
55. Students visiting a First Nations longhouse. (n.d.) by Museum of Anthropology, University
of British Columbia via http://moa.ubc.ca/school-programs/
56. Aboriginal traditional knowledge trail. (2010) by Michael Gil via
57. Drums. (n.d.) by Restoring the Circle via http://www.restoringthecircle.com/
58. Meeting. (n.d.) by Restoring the Circle via http://www.restoringthecircle.com/
59. A is for assimilation. (n.d.) by Strong Nations via
60. Pam Robertson, Grade 12A Teacher at Sinenjongo High School, Joe Slovo Park, Cape Town,
South Africa. (2013) by Vgrigas via
61. Students working in an electronics lab. (2013) by i3Detroit Bluecam via
62. Scribble bots. (2014) by San Jose Library via
63. Makerspaces. (2016) by Embajada de los Estados via
64. First Peoples Principles of Learning poster. (2016) by fnesc via http://www.fnesc.ca/wp/wp-
65. Makerspaces YouTube video:
Makerspace opens in IU School of Education. (2015) by Indiana University Bloomington via
University of Cambridge, United Kingdom
Tam High, USA
Multnomah County, Oregon
Heath Middle School, Kentucky, U.S.A.
Rhode Island, U.S.A.
Show and Tell, USA
Tsimshian Bentwood box; found in Port Simpson, B.C.
Band practice, USA
First Peoples, Canada
Longhouse, British Columbia, Canada
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Smithers, BC, Canada
For UBC MET ETEC 512 November, 2016