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Metacognition, Learning, and Educational Computer Environments

, State University of New York at Buffalo, United States ; , State University of New York at Albany, United States

ITCE Volume 1999, Number 1, ISSN 1522-8185 Publisher: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE)


The research corpus on the use of computer environments for enhancing children's metacognition is incomplete and inconsistent. This is attributable to deficiencies in several areas. This article reviews a series of empirical studies, designed to address these deficiencies that investigate (a) the effects of theoretically-based Logo environments on young children's metacognitive processing, and (b) the extent to which certain social-cognitive processes mediate those effects. Children working in the Logo environment demonstrated greater frequencies of behaviors indicative of metacognitive processing and scored significantly higher on (transfer) measures of this processing. There was less effect on planning processes (choosing a strategy for solving a problem) than on those processes that construct elaborated mental schemata for problems (deciding on the nature of the problem, selecting a representation, and cognitive monitoring). Logo children more frequently used cognitively-based resolution strategies for resolving cognitive conflict; the control group made greater use of social negotiation. The use of cognitively-based strategies mediated treatment differences. These findings suggest that Logo fosters development of metacognitive processing, in part by engendering high-level conflict resolution. We conclude that the significant features of the Logo environment are the comprehensiveness in both cognitive and social aspects; the interaction of these two features needs further investigation. These results have several implications for theory and research on metacognition and its facilitation by computer environments. First, we have found Sternberg's componential theory to serve as a useful framework for describing, delineating, measuring and investigating metacognitive processing. Second, evidence supports our hypothesis that Logo programming environments, properly designed, beneficially affect students' metacognition. A critical feature of the educational environment was the synthesis of opposites, including combining: (a) attention to both unconscious and conscious metacognition, (b) a general framework for metacognitive strategies and the embedded application of these strategies within a specific domain, and (c) individual and social-cognitive models of metacognition. This research also served to address existing deficiencies in theory and research on metacognition.


Clements, D.H. & Nastasi, B.K. (1999). Metacognition, Learning, and Educational Computer Environments. Information Technology in Childhood Education Annual, 1999(1), 3-36. Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE). Retrieved June 26, 2019 from .


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