Handbook of Research on Educational Communications and Technology

Handbook of Research on Educational Communications and Technology

Handbook of Research on Educational Communications and Technology

Handbook of Research on Educational Communications and Technology

Synopsis

Sponsored by the Association of Educational Communications and Technology (AECT), the second edition of this ground-breaking handbook updates and expands its review of the research, theory, issues, and methodology that constitute the field of educational communications and technology. Organized into seven sections, it profiles and integrates the following elements of this rapidly changing field: theoretical foundations, hard technologies, soft technologies, instructional design, instructional strategies, instructional message design, and research methodologies. All chapters have been updated, some extensively. New chapters include those on programmed instruction, everyday cognition and situated learning, ecological psychology, Internet-based learning, library media centers, foreign language labs, microworlds, automated instructional design, cognitive apprenticeship, case-based learning aids, and conversational analysis. All articles are organized around a numerical cross-referencing system that permits the construction of front-end databases, hypertexts, and summaries. This handbook is intended for graduate students, professors, instructional designers, and researchers in educational communication and technology.

Excerpt

Since the first publication of this chapter in the previous edition of the Handbook, some changes have occurred in the theoretical landscape. Cognitive psychology has moved further away from its roots in information processing toward a stance that emphasizes individual and group construction of knowledge. The notion of the mind as a computer has fallen into disfavor largely due to the mechanistic representation of a human endeavor and the emphasis on the mind-body separation. Actually, these events have made B. F. Skinner's (1974) comments prophetic. Much like Skinner's discussion of use of a machine as a metaphor for human behavior by the logical positivists who believed that “a robot, which behaved precisely like a person, responding in the same way to stimuli, changing its behavior as a result of the same operations, would be indistinguishable from a real person, even though, ” as Skinner goes on to say, “it would not have feelings, sensations, or ideas. ” If such a robot could be built, Skinner believed that “it would prove that none of the supposed manifestations of mental life demanded a mentalistic explanation” (p. 16). Indeed, unlike cognitive scientists who explicitly insisted on the centrality of the computer to the understanding of human thought (see, for example, Gardner, 1985), Skinner clearly rejected any characterizations of humans as machines.

In addition, we have seen more of what Skinner (1974) called “the current practice of avoiding” (the mind/body) “dualism by substituting 'brain' for 'mind. ” Thus, the brain is said to “use data, make hypotheses, make choices, and so on as the mind was once said to have done” (p. 86). In other words, we have seen a retreat from the use of the term “mind” in cognitive psychology. It is no longer fashionable then to posit, as Gardner (1985) did, that “first of all, there is the belief that, in talking about human cognitive activities, it is necessary to speak about mental representations and to posit a level of analysis wholly separate from the biological or neurological on one hand, and the sociological or cultural on the other” (p. 6). This notion of mind, which is separate from nature or nurture, is critical to many aspects of cognitive explanation. By using “brain” instead of “mind, ” we get the appearance of avoiding the conflict. It is, in fact, an admission of the problem with mind as an explanatory construct, but in no way does it resolve the role that mind was meant to fill.

Yet another hopeful sign is the abandonment of generalities of learning and expertise in favor of an increased role for the stimuli available during learning as well as the feedback that follows (i.e., behavior and consequences). Thus we see more about “situated cognition, ” “situated learning, ” “situated knowledge, ” “cognitive apprenticeships, ” “authentic materials, ” etc. (see, for example, Brown, Collins, & Duguid, 1989; Lave, 1988; Lave &Wenger, 1991; Resnick, 1988; Rogoff &Lave, 1984; Suchman, 1987) that evidence an explicit acknowledgment that while behavior “is not 'stimulus bound'… nevertheless the environmental history is still in control; the genetic endowment of . . .

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