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What does distributed cognition tell us about student learning of science?
journal contributionposted on 2012-06-01, 00:00 authored by Lihua XuLihua Xu, D Clarke
This paper reports multi-layered analyses of student learning in a science classroom using the theoretical lens of Distributed Cognition (Hollan et al. 1999; Hutchins 1995). Building on the insights generated from previous research employing Distributed Cognition, the particular focus of this study has been placed on the “public space of interaction” (Alac and Hutchins 2004, p. 639) that includes both participants’ interaction with each other and their interaction with artefacts in their environment. In this paper, a lesson from an Australian science classroom was examined in detail, in which a class of grade-seven students were investigating the scientific theme of gravity by designing pendulums. The video-stimulated post-lesson interviews with both the teacher and the student groups offered complementary accounts (Clarke 2001a) that assisted the interpretation of the classroom data. The findings of this study provide supporting evidence to demonstrate the capacity of Distributed Cognition for advancing our understanding of the nature of learning in science classrooms.