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2010 Summer Meeting

2011 AAPT Summer Meeting
July 30-August 3, 2011
Omaha, Nebraska

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Learning for Transfer: How Much Does Context Matter?
  Location: SS Ballroom DE
  Date: Wednesday, Aug.3
  Time: 2:30 PM -3:00 PM
  Author: Joseph Wagner
Xavier University, Department of Mathematics & Computer Science
  Co-Author(s): None
  Abstract: “Transfer in pieces” is a theory of knowledge transfer that stands in contrast to longstanding theories of “transfer by abstraction.” It seems almost self-evident that knowledge of mathematics or science should be applicable across different contexts by virtue of its abstractness or distance from the contexts in which it was learned. Surely this has served as a basis for traditional instructional practices in mathematics and science. A transfer-in-pieces approach, however, suggests that the utility of abstract knowledge is somewhat illusory, and that the cognitive mechanisms of transfer are much more attuned to specific features of the contexts in which knowledge is applied. For learning theorists, this presentation offers an introductory tour of the basic tenets of a transfer-in-pieces consideration of the problem of transfer. For teachers, it suggests that the role of learning contexts and initial applications of knowledge may be both more significant and more limiting than we think.
  Footnotes: Sponsored by John R. Thompson, University of Maine
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