Lateral learning in the last two decades can be seen in peer-to-peer learning that is being promoted by new technologies where there are apps that allow students to work together in real time through virtual space, a method which thereby shifts the focus from the solitary self to the interdependent group which lives an educational experience of a collaborative and distributed nature, whose focus lies in instilling the principle of the social nature of knowledge. The ideological bases of lateral thinking are sustained by issues such as emancipation of the student from the authority of the teacher, the relationship of collaboration, permitting the development of individual appreciations and ideas, based simultaneously on those of their peers, on the democratization of knowledge, and so on, which ultimately refers to a collaborative creative education, to a democratic education, and to an education for democracy that assumes the new technologized context in which we live. Because of this, lateral thinking is increasingly influencing everyday life and areas such as education and the arts, as it happens in the post-Internet art, and more specifically net.art (i.e., an online art), which is a collaborative creative experience that has become an instrument which allows us to see a “new type of art in the 21st century.” Net.art, Internet art and the most experimental design, therefore constitutes a community experience that hypertextualizes computerized languages and generates poetic perspectives as artistic practices of lateral thinking. It has bestowed upon us a series of mechanisms to devise collaborative development strategies for lateral learning based on those creative ludic educational experiences of using and interacting with new technologies. This is essential to bear in mind because, as Jeremy Rifkin says, collaborative learning helps students to expand their own self-awareness, including their “self” in reference to diverse “others,” and promotes in-depth participation in more interdependent communities. It extends the territory comprised within the boundaries of empathy.
Lynda Avendaño Santana
Stoo Sepp, Steven J. Howard, Sharon Tindall-Ford, Shirley Agostinho, and Fred Paas
In 1956, Miller first reported on a capacity limitation in the amount of information the human brain can process, which was thought to be seven plus or minus two items. The system of memory used to process information for immediate use was coined “working memory” by Miller, Galanter, and Pribram in 1960. In 1968, Atkinson and Shiffrin proposed their multistore model of memory, which theorized that the memory system was separated into short-term memory, long-term memory, and the sensory register, the latter of which temporarily holds and forwards information from sensory inputs to short term-memory for processing. Baddeley and Hitch built upon the concept of multiple stores, leading to the development of the multicomponent model of working memory in 1974, which described two stores devoted to the processing of visuospatial and auditory information, both coordinated by a central executive system. Later, Cowan’s theorizing focused on attentional factors in the effortful and effortless activation and maintenance of information in working memory. In 1988, Cowan published his model—the scope and control of attention model. In contrast, since the early 2000s Engle has investigated working memory capacity through the lens of his individual differences model, which does not seek to quantify capacity in the same way as Miller or Cowan. Instead, this model describes working memory capacity as the interplay between primary memory (working memory), the control of attention, and secondary memory (long-term memory). This affords the opportunity to focus on individual differences in working memory capacity and extend theorizing beyond storage to the manipulation of complex information. These models and advancements have made significant contributions to understandings of learning and cognition, informing educational research and practice in particular. Emerging areas of inquiry include investigating use of gestures to support working memory processing, leveraging working memory measures as a means to target instructional strategies for individual learners, and working memory training. Given that working memory is still debated, and not yet fully understood, researchers continue to investigate its nature, its role in learning and development, and its implications for educational curricula, pedagogy, and practice.
Danielle S. McNamara, Laura K. Allen, and Andrew Potter
Writing is a crucial means of communicating with others and thus is vital to success and survival in modern society. Writing processes rely on virtually all aspects of cognition (e.g., working memory, motivation, affect, self-regulation, prior knowledge, problem solving) and are naturally embedded in social contexts. Social factors include writers’ objectives, audience, genre, and mode of writing. For example, the increased use of the Internet has rendered writing for informal purposes more frequent, and writing mechanics (e.g., deleting, spell checking) and search for information more efficient. Research on educational interventions to improve writing points to the importance of providing students with instruction and practice using writing strategies, writing practice with feedback (e.g., instructor, automated), and collaborative writing (including peer feedback). Given the inherent complexity of writing, it is important to help students learn how to write across various situations with varying purposes and demands. This necessitates reading many types of text genres (e.g., narrative vs. informational writing), writing frequently, and revising based on feedback. Since the turn of the century, there has been a substantial increase in research on writing processes, including methods to improve writing. However, there remains a substantial need for additional experimental work to understand writing processes as well as more evidence on which types of interventions are most beneficial in helping students to improve their writing. Feedback from both cognitive and sociocultural researchers should inform future revisions of the standardized guidelines and assessments with the long-term goal of developing a clearly defined set of standards for academic excellence in writing.
Stephen M. Ritchie
STEM education in schools has become the subject of energetic promotion by universities and policymakers. The mythical narrative of STEM in crisis has driven policy to promote STEM education throughout the world in order to meet the challenges of future workforce demands alongside an obsession with high-stakes testing for national and international comparisons as a proxy for education quality. Unidisciplinary emphases in the curriculum have failed to deliver on the goal to attract more students to pursue STEM courses and careers or to develop sophisticated STEM literacies. A radical shift in the curriculum toward integrated STEM education through multidisciplinary/ interdisciplinary/ transdisciplinary projects is required to meet future challenges. Project-based activities that engage students in solving real-world problems requiring multiple perspectives and skills that are authentically assessed by autonomous professional teachers are needed. Governments and non-government sponsors should support curriculum development with teachers, and their continuing professional development in this process. Integrating STEM with creative expression from the arts shows promise at engaging students and developing their STEM literacies. Research into the efficacy of such projects is necessary to inform authorities and teachers of possibilities for future developments. Foci for further research also are identified.