The title is a mouthful (as is the quote), but the idea is simple. Here is the excerpt (from a text on Vygotsky’s philosophies) that got me thinking.
The simplest example of the transition from direct to mediated functions may be the transition from involuntary remembering and remembering that is guided by the sign. Primitive man, having first made some kind of external sign in order to remember some event passed in this way into a new form of memory. He introduced external, artificial means with which he began to manage the process of his own remembering. Study shows that the whole path of historical development of man’s behavior consists of a continuous perfecting of such means and of the development of new devices and forms of mastering his own mental operations, and here the internal system of one operation or another also changed and sustained profound changes. … We shall … say that the cultural development of the behavior of the child and the adolescent is basically of the same type. (Rieber & Robinson, 2004, p. 472 )
In my mind I can trace our historical development (as a race) from scratches on a cave wall all the way to blogging in the 21st century. :) This blog is absolutely an effort to manage the process of my own memory… a “new form of memory” even. And as edubloggers like Will Richardson have often pointed out, it is also a process to facilitate and manage my thinking as well. Even more importantly, the processes – the memories and the thinking – are shared with readers of the blog
Rieber, R. W. & Robinson, D. K. (Eds.). (2004). The essential Vygotsky. New York: Kluwer Academic / Plenum Publishers.