My personal research and key notes from academic sources.
The theory is about making everyday tasks fun. Not ‘gamification’ where menial tasks are given game-like objectives and point accumulation, but to add a real sense of enjoyment. An example is the piano staircase, where each step plays another note, that made people use the stairs more than the escalator.
Spreading out your thinking processes. Distributed cognition is a topic that deals with how cognitive processes can be enhanced and hastened by using tools around you. A child would use their fingers to help them count, an adult, a calculator. These tools can help our brains understand concepts and problems that are too complicated to hold all at once and using this understanding in education will help develop new tools that students will find useful in their studies.
Vygotsky’s (1962) theory of socially mediated cognitive development
The development of cognitive concepts is conceptualized as resulting from interactions between maturation and instruction. From Vygotsky’s perspective, mental functioning develops through mediated experience with cultural tools. As such, humans use physical tools, make new cultural tools, and teach others how to use tools. This development of mental functioning, in turn, expands mental tools (e.g., internalized tools that extend a human being’s capacity to remember, attend to, and solve problems) and promotes the development of higher mental functions (e.g., mediated perception, focused attention, deliberate memory, self-regulation, and logical thinking) that are deliberate, mediated, internalized behaviors acquired through learning and teaching (Bodrova & Leong, 1996).
Scaffolding strategies include such actions as pointing to the task, reminding, suggesting, and questioning (Schetz & Stremmel, 1994). Previous research has found a positive relationship between teacher-provided scaffolding in computerassisted instruction and children’s cognitive development (Shute & Miksad, 1997).
Based on Vygotsky’s (1962) notion, it has been hypothesized that computers programmed with developmentally appropriate, interactive software can serve as a mediating tool to scaffold cognitive performance and concept development among young children. Computers, by providing assistance to children’s learning, will act as scaffolding agents and lead to increased cognitive development.
Li, X., Atkins, M. S., & Stanton, B. (2006) ‘Effects of Home and School Computer Use on School Readiness and Cognitive Development Among Head Start Children: A Randomized Controlled Pilot Trial’. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly. 52(2). pp. 239-263.