Before taking Educational Technology, I had never heard of nor researched the topic of distributed cognition. Due to being unaware of this topic, my research was very enjoyable and I feel as though I have learned meaningful information. When the use of technology in the classroom is discussed among educators, it is common to hear answers ranging from it is absolutely necessary to it is not needed in the classroom at all.
In order to connect distributed cognition to my observations at Gesu, it is important to define what distributed cognition is first. The idea of distributed cognition originated from Edwin Hutchins, and states that cognition and knowledge are not limited to individuals. Instead it offers the thought that cognition and knowledge can be distributed across various things, such as: objects, individuals, and other tools. With this definition in mind, the question posed by Solomon and Perkins should be addressed. Their question states, “Does technology make us smarter?” This question should be explored through three ways, which are effects with (how use of a technology often enhances intellectual performance), effects of (how using a technology may leave cognitive residues that enhance performance even without the technology), and effects through (how technology sometimes does not just enhance performance but fundamentally reorganizes it). These are the three ways that cognitive technologies could enhance people’s cognitive capabilities, or to “make us smarter” (Salomon and Perkins, 81-82).
I reflected on the lessons/activities I have been able to observe and assist in at Gesu in the attempt to make connections with these lessons to distributed cognition. It was clear from my first day at Gesu that the school as a whole puts a large emphasis on incorporating technology on a regular basis in a hands-on way. One reason Gesu is able to provide such learning experiences for their students is due to the technology wing that was recently build within the past three years. In this wing of the school, as I have mentioned in previous posts, 3D printers, laser cutters, sewing machines, and coding devices are among some of the various tools available for students. It is up to the students’ homeroom teacher to incorporate activities that take place in this wing of the school into the students’ classes.
Salomon, G. & Perkins, D. (2005)”Do Technologies Make Us Smarter? Intellectual Amplification With, Of and Through Technology.”In: Robert Sternberg and David Preiss (Eds.).Intelligence and Technology: The Impact of Tools on the Nature and Development of Human Abilities. Mahwah, NJ : Lawrence Erlbaum and Associates, Publishers. pp. 71-86.