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Exploratory study on the physical tool-based conceptions of learning of young students in a technology-rich primary school
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Paper presented at the 10th International Conference of the Learning Sciences (ICLS) 2012, Sydney, Australia, 2-6 July, 2012
This paper explores young students’ tool-based conceptions of learning in a
technology-rich primary school in Singapore. By examining how young children represent the
images of learning through their drawings, we have distilled the types of learning tools that
are being accentuated from students’ emic perspective. We contend that the prevalence,
absence or peripheral representation of tools (in particular technology) in students’ drawings
will help us make sense of the collective cultural roles tools play in their world. Interviews are
also conducted with students and teachers to further tease out the underpinnings of children’s
conception of learning. The content analysis of 183 drawings revealed that technological tools
were more prominently featured in mix-achievement classes than high-achievement classes.
The reasons for such discrepancy emanate from the distinct learning priorities of and
strategies used by these two groups of students. We also extend our discussion to explore the
pedagogical implications of our findings with regard to 21st century learning dispositions.
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