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Mobile Phones as Mediating Tools Within Augmented Contexts for Development

Some preliminary thoughts on the nature of what I am calling Augmented Contexts for Development; an extension of Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development that takes into account the characteristics of 21st Century mass media structures and practices. Presentation at Education in the Wild, Alpine Rendez-Vous, within the framework of the STELLAR Network of Excellence. December 3-4, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Bavaria, Germany.

I will talk with colleagues in Garmisch about extending my notion of Augmented Contexts for Development to work based learning. I would welcome any comments from MATURE colleagues about how it relates to the MATURE model.

Download short paper:
Slides for my talk: available in slideshare

The full paper that the above is based on:
Cook, J. (in press). Travelling Without Moving: Design-Based Research into Augmented Contexts for Development. Journal of Interactive Media in Education. Invited paper for special issue from the CALRG 30th Anniversary Day. Contact me for a copy.

Vygotsky on knowledge maturation

"The zone of proximal development defines those functions that have not yet matured but are in the process of maturation, functions that will mature tomorrow but are currently in embryonic state. These functions could be termed the "buds" or "flowers" of development rather than the "fruits" of development." (Vygotsky, 1978/1930, p. 86)

I think there is a direct correspondence with MATURE model notion of seeding (Vygotsky calls them buds), knowledge matures along the ZPD in developmental stages, these maturations may be cyclical, with some functions matured (the actual developmental level) and some functions in a dynamic developmental state; i.e. within the ZPD, what can be done with assistance of “more capable peer”. In the Augmented Context for Development (see link to my paper above) we look for ways to use digital tools and media to form a substitute for the more capable peer. This is what the PLME is doing in some, but not all cases. Thus for Vygotsky, development follow learning, i.e. learning is an overarching structure to development, although the relationship is complex.

Some initial mappings between Knowledge Maturing model and Vygotskian theory

- artefacts This is in Vygotskian terms a tool and it mediates learning (there may be signs involved).

- cognifact - this is in Vygotskian terms a developmental experience

- sociofacts This is in vygotskyioan terms social interaction inter and intra, internalization and that of the instrumental use of a tool. “An operation that initially represents an external activity is reconstructed and begins to occur internally” (Vygotsky 1978/1930, p 56).

Vygotsky, L. (1978 / 1930). Mind in society. The development of higher psychological processes. Edited by M. Cole et al., Cambridge, MA. Harvard University Press.