This comic strip represents the other classroom that I observed in this semester. My mentor teacher, Ms. Manzuk, teaches seventh and eighth grade social studies and language arts. The lesson depicted in the comic integrates technology swiftly and efficiently into learning, while also touching on the concept of distributed cognition, which states that intelligence can come from multiple different systems, including our mind, as well as other artificial and technological systems (Martin 89). An example of distributed cognition would be using paper and pencil to complete a math problem, as this is a resource that helps enhance our intelligence.
For the lesson shown in this comic strip, the eighth graders in my observation classroom were working on a presentation of one of the thirteen colonies. Each student selected a colony to center their presentation around and on the day she introduced the assignment, my mentor teacher went through each component and the rubric, which was all posted on the class’s Google Classroom page. First she went over the rubric and instructions and then she moved on to her example template, where she had a sample Google Slides presentation where she laid out what information the students needed to include in each slide. With everything being organized in one place, the students could go back at any time to reread the instructions, review the template, and eventually turn their work in there as well.
Each student in the class has their own personal Chromebook, which definitely helped make this assignment much more efficient. However, despite their Chromebooks being a vital component of this assignment, they are not doing the work for the students. If the students solely relied on their Chromebooks to do everything for them, that would be off-loading, which Martin expands on 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). Despite their Chromebooks being the device their presentation will be created on, the students still have so much of this assignment that comes from them and their own creativity. They have to do their own research and decide which sites and information will be helpful to them. Also, they are responsible for making their presentations visually appealing and ensuring that all of the required information is included.
Moreover, this presentation assignment relates to the concept of translation related to distributed cognition that Martin described, “The function of connection, whether technologically enhanced or not, always involves some translation of information” (Martin 92). By making a presentation on their selected colony, the students are first translating information by putting it in their slides in a visually appealing way, but then also translating it orally when they present their slideshow to their classmates.
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.