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Beyond Amplification: Using the Computer to Reorganize Mental Functioning
Computers are classically viewed as amplifiers of cognition. An alternative conceptualization is offered of computer as reorganizer of mental functioning. Software analyses illuminate the advantages of the latter approach for new visions of the potential cognitive benefits of computers. A new result emerges: Because the cognitive technologies we invent serve as instruments of cultural redefinition (shaping who we are by changing, not just amplifying, what we do), defining educational values becomes a foreground issue. The demands of an information society make an explicit emphasis on general cognitive skills a priority. The urgency of updating education's goals and methods recommends an activist research paradigm: to simultaneously create and study changes in processes and outcomes of human learning with new cognitive and educational tools.