The Social and Technological Dimensions of Scaffolding and Related Theoretical Concepts for Learning, Education, and Human Activity

Roy D. Pea
2004 The Journal of the Learning Sciences  
I am perhaps not the only one who feels that the concept of scaffolding has become so broad in its meanings in the field of educational research and the learning sciences that it has become unclear in its significance. Perhaps the field has put too much of a burden on the term, and we need a more differentiated ontology to make progress. Perhaps scaffolding has become a proxy for any cultural practices associated with advancing performance, knowledge, and skills whether social, material. or
more » ... oduciblepatterns of interactivity (as in software systems) are involved. Thls is surely too much complexity to take on at once. Given these burdens at the level of a scientific account of learning by the individual. I feel it is premature to be extending scaffolding considerations by metaphorical extension to the level of a whole classroom of learners oreven to acultural level, as Davis andMiyake (this issue) suggest in their introductory essay. I first see whether I can garner some clarifications and leverage from uses of the term scaffolding for specific instances and classes of its uses by individual learners (where the articles in t h s issue focus their attention). As with many such concepts that are felt to have useful power in theoretical and practical schemes, it will be worthwhile to do some historical excavation, identify and circumscribe the early uses and roots of the concept, and then determine Correspondence and requests for reprints should be sent to Roy D. Pea,
doi:10.1207/s15327809jls1303_6 fatcat:jcda7nyi6vdlzcityrzuwi7ymm