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Re: [xmca] Learning Sciences / Science of Education

Will do...thanks, Mike...

The thread has given me a lot to think about and I'll need to digest before responding fully - I must say that I'm not getting the exact reading of this literature as David and Tony, particularly if you move past Bransford work, which is represented early in the Sawyer edited handbook...I do agree that there is a degree of re-branding going on, but I'm naive enough to sense there's a legitimate project going on here in terms of bringing together several disciplines including cognitive science - again, the handbook has contributions from educational psychology, mathematics & science education, computer science, and educational anthropology...

As I noted previously, what concerned me about the literature was a lack of deference to the debt many of the authors owe to Vygotsky, much less so to Piaget...

Again, I appreciate the creation of this thread and hope to contribute more once I've had a chance to think more about it...


On Sep 15, 2009, at 6:38 PM, Mike Cole wrote:

Oh, now there is another super connection!! I did not know Keith had put together a handbook using this moniker. In support of your impulse to bring
together Vygotsky and the learning sciences, Michael, you might
google Keith Sawyer from the lchc home page at lchc.ucsd.edu.



On Tue, Sep 15, 2009 at 1:26 PM, michael a evans <mae@vt.edu> wrote:

I have a very keen interest myself as I've just begun offering a course under the rubric "learning in social contexts," where I'm trying to bring together readings from the learning sciences and Vygotsky - although it may
be ill advised, I've decided to use the following texts in class
(supplemented by readings):

* Sawyer, K. (2006). The Cambridge Handbook of the Learning Sciences. New
York: Cambridge
University Press.
* Daniels, H. (2007). The Cambridge Companion to Vygotsky. New York:
Cambridge University
* Vygotsky, L.S. (1986). Thought and Language - Revised Edition. Boston,
MA: The MIT Press.

I went primarily with Sawyer last yer, but found it essential to bring in Vygotsky since his work (and that of other Vygotsky scholars) are essential to the argument made by Sawyer, Bransford, and all...I'd be happy to share a
syllabus if anyone's interested...

Tony, if you think you'd have a slot, I'd like to be considered...

michael a evans
dept of learning sciences & technologies
virginia tech
+1 540 231-3743 (o)
+1 540 257-4965 (m)
+1 540 231-9075 (f)

On Sep 15, 2009, at 4:06 PM, Tony Whitson wrote:

This is something that I'm very interested in. I'm planning a paper for a
narrow audience this winter, and a more ambitious paper for a wide
audience in Winter 2011. If others would be interested in a 2011 AERA
symposium, let's talk.

I'll see if I can put together a post tonight with some fragments &
bibliography that people might be interested in.

Meanwhile, I think there is a short answer, which of course is not the
complete answer:

I think a good deal of the impetus behind "Learning Sciences" comes from the political hostility to Education faculty in favor of positive(istic) psychology, as in Reid Lyons' statement that "If there was any piece of
legislation that I could pass, it would be to blow up colleges of

This has created an environment in which an Educational Psychologist (like John Bransford, for example) would lose out in the funding for competition
to a Learning Scientist (like John Bransford, for example).

Folks in Seattle, Nashville, etc. see little cost in a name change that keeps the dollars flowing. I'm not concerned about the name change, so much, but I have continuing concerns about the enterprise in general.

On Tue, 15 Sep 2009, Mike Cole wrote:

Thanks Em-- And I googled Goswami neuromyths. Also very enlightening.
Goswami did early work with Ann Brown, former collaborator with us at

Now if we go back a step and look at the people who created the label of learning sciences, and their backgrounds, the shift from "developmental psychology" to developmental sciences, the appearance recently of the handbook of cultural developmental science, ......... what a tempest!
be a teapot in there somewhere. Simultaneous, fractilated paradigm

Does anyone have the luxury of being able to organize a science studies
interrogation of these movements? Seems really worthwhile.

On Tue, Sep 15, 2009 at 12:16 PM, Duvall, Emily <emily@uidaho.edu>

Thanks Mike... :-)
    In general I like Goswami's work; I find her discussion of
neuromyths compelling and have had my grad students do additional
research on some of them. I am also particularly interested in ways to try to negotiate across different fields. I've attached my favorite
Goswami and a nice intro to neuroeducation.
    As a side note: Monica (Hansen, who frequently shows up on the
list serve and is one of my doc students) and I took a neuroscience journal club/ seminar last spring and found ourselves trying to make sense of the work that is done with regard to education. We are taking another seminar right now and some of the folks who were in last year's class are presenting journal articles in their field, but are trying to make the links to human experience, particularly education. It's been interesting to discover how open minded the students and faculty are... one of the computational neuroscience faculty has taken up some Vygotsky reading as well as neuroeducation... of course Luria's work is a door
opener and a point of mutual interest.

-----Original Message-----
From: xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu [mailto:xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu ]
On Behalf Of Mike Cole
Sent: Tuesday, September 15, 2009 9:41 AM
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: Re: [xmca] Neuroscience connections to learning and relearning

No one picked up on your interest in neuroeducation, Emily. A lot of
what I
read in this area strikes me as almost entirely without any appreciation
education, or human experience, as a culturally mediated, co- constructed process. Do you have a favorite general ref you could point us to that
resonate to??

On Sun, Sep 13, 2009 at 8:50 AM, Duvall, Emily <emily@uidaho.edu>

I thought some of you might one or both of these article summaries
interesting. The first really speaks to the new field of


with regard to cellular learning... the nice thing about the summary


it gives you an overview of learning at the cellular basis... very


and easy to understand. Plus an introduction to astrocytes... :-)

The second piece actually discusses re-learning, which has been a



What I personally find so interesting is the role of experience in learning and relearning... I found myself thinking back to Shirley


Heath's work... it would be fun to go back to her work and look at her
study through a neuroeducation lens.

1. Star-shaped Cells In Brain Help With Learning

Every movement and every thought requires the passing of specific
information between networks of nerve cells. To improve a skill or to learn something new entails more efficient or a greater number of cell contacts. Scientists can now show that certain cells in the brain --


astrocytes -- actively influence this information exchange.

2. Forgotten But Not Gone: How The Brain Re-learns

Thanks to our ability to learn and to remember, we can perform tasks that other living things can not even dream of. However, we are only just beginning to get the gist of what really goes on in the brain


it learns or forgets something. What we do know is that changes in the contacts between nerve cells play an important role. But can these structural changes account for that well-known phenomenon that it is much easier to re-learn something that was forgotten than to learn
something completely new?


Emily Duvall, PhD
Assistant Professor Curriculum & Instruction
University of Idaho, Coeur d'Alene
1000 W. Hubbard Suite 242 | Coeur d'Alene, ID 83814
T 208 292 2512 | F 208 667 5275 emily@uidaho.edu | www.cda.uidaho.edu

He only earns his freedom and his life, who takes them every day by
-- Johann Wolfgang Goethe

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Tony Whitson
UD School of Education
NEWARK  DE  19716


"those who fail to reread
are obliged to read the same story everywhere"
                -- Roland Barthes, S/Z (1970)
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