Distributed Cognition Comic & Essay #1

This comic strip represents one of the two classrooms I had the opportunity to observe in this semester. My mentor teacher, Ms. House, teaches fourth grade at Hilltop Elementary and one of the classes she teaches is a Writing Enrichment course. Using many different passages from a variety of genres, the students learn to respond to different style prompts based on the passage. Last week, while the students were working on their writing, Ms. House showed me the “Go Guardian” software she uses where she can see the screens of her students’ Chromebooks. This program allows for her to not only make sure the students are staying on task, but she can also see what they are writing and make comments to assist in their writing process. She told me that she really likes using this program because it can make it much more efficient to assist her students when they are writing because rather than walking around to look at everyone’s work and interrupting their writing, she can look at everyone’s screens from her computer and write in comments and suggestions for them.

By utilizing the program “Go Guardian”, the monitoring function of technologies is being performed. Martin explains the monitoring function further, “Information from a monitoring technology can be used by one or more of the systems themselves in real time, as when a word processor flags spelling errors, or in a summative fashion, as when software delivers a score for an end of unit test. The feedback can also be used by a third party, such as a teacher, to assess a student’s progress” (Martin 95). “Go Guardian” allows for my mentor teacher to assess the students’ progress as they are writing. She can also monitor her students’ work on their Chromebooks by looking at everyone’s screens to make sure they are staying task and also provide comments and feedback for them. Furthermore, this system helps advance the function of translation, which is a factor whenever people are communicating in any way. No matter what method of communication is in place, information is always being translated amongst one another. With the “Go Guardian” system though, translation becomes more technologically involved and advanced because my mentor teacher is able to translate information to her students as they are working on their writing.

I believe that this classroom example shows how technology can be used to make things more efficient, while not letting it do the work for us. Martin explains this concept further, “One of the chief uses of technology is to perform tasks that are tedious, difficult, error-prone, or time- consuming. This is the function of off-loading” (Martin 94). Off-loading in this situation would be if the teacher had a program that reviewed and revised her students’ work for her. Instead, she uses technology to make her own personal revising more seamless and efficient for her students.

Source: Martin, L. (2012). Connection, Translation, Off-Loading, and Monitoring: A Framework for Characterizing the Pedagogical Functions of Educational Technologies. Technology, Knowledge & Learning, 17(3), 87-107.

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