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The role of artefacts in mathematical thinking: A situated learning perspective. (English)
Watson, Anne (ed.) et al., New directions for situated cognition in mathematics education. New York, NY: Springer (ISBN 978-0-387-71577-3/hbk; 978-0-387-71579-7/e-book). Mathematics Education Library 45, 179-204 (2008).
Summary: This chapter aims to explore and discuss the notion of learning as participation with artefacts in social practices. It uses insights and evidence from the empirical field of ardinas’ (young boys aged between 12 and 17 years, who sell newspapers) practice in Cape Verde to support a discussion that combines a situated learning approach with elements of activity theory. Two artefacts are analysed - the calculator and the record table used by the ardinas. We claim that the regulation of participation made possible by these artefacts does not come from the artefacts themselves but from the way they become present in the everyday and the functions they have in the practice. The artefacts do not represent something fixed and external to the practice; their usefulness is not revealed in the characteristics identified outside of its use in the practice. Artefacts are artefacts in the practice, though they have to be read in the interaction with the forms of use that practitioners put into action. Our final discussion goes into two key concepts in situated learning that we connect with the notion of artefact and resource: technology of practice and shared repertoire. The two concepts are complementary: giving visibility to particular aspects: firstly, to the process of construction; secondly, to the history. In both the key idea of participation is present, and it is through participation that one contributes to construction and has access to history.
Classification: C30 C60 C70
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