Computer Instruction

T14 b

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Would computer instruction have a place in the learning theories of Piaget and Vygotsky? How do the cultural dimensions from each body of work translate into digital delivery? While educational professionals embrace the seminal works of Piaget and Vygotsky, some assert that there is no place for computer-based education in either theoretical base. This paper argues that, if these two theorists were operating in the 21st century, their theories could easily incorporate both computer and media delivery of instruction. Piaget viewed children and adults as active learners—the learner interacts with both physical and social environments to construct understanding. Children in and out of classrooms today interact in a digital environment. They interface with technology in very deliberate ways¬, such as using a remote control to manipulate visual programming. This same technology is integrated into their social existence. They are Skyping with distant relatives and building and maintaining relationships through social media and digital devices. Vygotsky’s socio-cultural theory of how humans develop suggests that adults promote the cognitive development of children by communicating cultural meanings. Neo-Vygotsky theorists have effectively combined those ideas with information processing theory to further develop the roles of inter-subjectivity, social construction of memory and adult-child collaboration intellectual development. If culture is central to teaching and learning, a culture highly steeped in the use of technology in the classroom can be more fully integrated into the field of education if they can become a part of the seminal theory dialogue, rather than a means of oppositional discourse.