A major part of the discussion in instructional research at present centers on the question of how to avoid transmitting knowledge to students that remains inert. Cognitive apprenticeship Collins considers learning as a process of enculturation and suggests that it may occur in a way that is similar to learning a specific trade. To view the acquisition of knowledge and skills as a process of cognitive apprenticeship means that first, there is a master or expert who models authentic activities which the learner the apprentice is to acquire modeling.
In the second stage, the learner will start to participate in these activities, but under the supervision of the expert coaching. To give substance to his idea of cognitive apprenticeship, Collins reviews the works of Palinscar and Brown on the use of reciprocal teaching to enhance reading comprehension, of Scardamalia and Bereiter on the procedural facilitation of writing, and of Lampert and Schoenfeld in the field of teaching mathematics. Metacognition: Knowing how and when to use a tool All the studies reviewed by Collins show that students do indeed benefit from instruction that includes modeling the behavior in question and giving them the opportunity to imitate this behavior with the possibility to be corrected by the model.
What to me seems to be important in this context, however, is that in all of these studies, modeling includes the explicit use of metacognitive activities that are then being trained in the coaching phase. During the last decade, it has become increasingly clear that metacognition plays a vital part in learning and problem solving processes.
The term was coined by Flavell and pertained to knowledge about one's own knowledge and to metacognitive experience. It has become customary to distinguish between metacognitive knowledge and metacognitive skills, i. With respect to the metaphor of knowledge as tool, to acquire metacognitive skills would mean to learn how and when to use a specific tool.
As far as teaching is concerned, this reminds us that it is not sufficient to present our students with a set of tools, we also will have to show and to train them how to make intelligent use of them. There are a number of instruction studies that show that metacognitive skills may be taught and that the acquisition of these skills turns out to be extremely beneficial. To improve students' monitoring of text comprehension, they were instructed to 1 summarize paragraphs, 2 to ask questions about each paragraph, 3 to clarify ambiguities, and 4 to make predictions about succeeding paragraphs.
In a similar study Palincsar, , students were working from the following text: Crows have another gift.
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They are great mimics. They can learn to talk and imitate animal sounds. Some have been known to learn words, and even whole phrases. They can imitate the squeak of a chicken, the whine of a dog, or the meow of a cat. Games have a certain fascination to crows. In a game of hide-and seek, a crow hides in the hollow of a tree and then sounds a distress caw.
The others rush to the spot, look around, then flap away. This may be done over and over, after which the young crow pops out of his hiding place and caws gleefully. Far from being annoyed at this, the flock bursts into loud cawing themselves.
They seem to like the trick that as been played on them. Part of the ensueing dialogue between the teacher and her students is given below:. T: Chantel, you're the teacher, right? Why don't you summarise first? Remember, just tell me the most important parts.
S1: Crows have a hundred words they can learn by imitation. They can imitate chickens, the whine of a dog, and cats. T: Okay,. We can shorten that summary a bit. S2: You could say the imitate other animals. T: Oh! Good one! There's a list there, Chantel, did you notice that? It says they can imitate the squeak of a chicken, the whine of a dog or the meouw of a cat; and you could call that "animal sounds".
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Can you ask a question? S1: Ain't no question in here. S3: The words sic. S4: That means imitate, right?
T: Right. How did you figure that out, Shirley? S4: The paragraph. T: Show us how somebody could figure out what "mimic" means. S5: They are great mimics. T: Yes, so the next sentence tells you what it means. Very good, anything else needs to be clarified? All: No. T: What about the question we need to aks?
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What is the second paragraph about, Chantel? S1: The games they play. S3: They do things like people do. S4: What kind of games do crows play? S3: Hide and seek. Over and over again. T: You know what, Larry?
This was a real good comparison. One excellent question could be, "How are crows like people? S4: They play hide and seek. T: Good. Any other question there? S2: How come the crows don't get annoyed. S5: What does annoyed mean? T: Irritated, bothered. S5: Because they like it, they have fun. If I had a crow, I'd tell him he was it and see what he'd do.
T: Let's summarise know and have some predictions. S1: This was about how they play around in games. T: Good for you.
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That's it. Predictions anyone? S2: Maybe more tricks they play. S4: Other games. T: Maybe. So far, they have told us several ways that crows are very smart: they can communicate with one anpother, they can imitate many sounds, and they play games. Maybe we will read about another way in which they are very smart. Who will be the next teacher? The training was done in a reciprocal teaching setting, i. Also, effects generalised from the experimental to classroom setting, and there was a clear and reliable transfer to laboratory tasks that differed in surface features from the training task.
There is evidence from other sources that metacognitive skills are of great importance in learning and problem solving processes and may indeed be taught. The training, however, was only partially successful, and they discuss a number of factors that might have impeded active learning. Moore , on the other hand, found that metacognitive processing of diagrams, maps, and graphs may be fostered in the context of a reciprocal teaching training progamme. He found hat experts show a close interaction between metacognitive knowledge, task-specific awareness and conitive monitoring which novices did not.
In the last couple of years, two approaches to explain learning processes as they are initiated by multimedia computer programs have evolved that are examples of constructivists theorizing and that also refer to Collins' ideas on situated cognition. I am also including the work of Salomon on a program that helps to write a story, although it is not a multimedia program in the narrow sense.
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Knowledge as landscape and cognitive flexibility theory According to Spiro, the traditional approch to teaching is insufficient. Textbooks have the tendency to simplify problems and to offer textbook solutions.