The computer has stimulated a new view, as scholars have been forced to come to terms with tools and technologies. Ray Peas and David N. Perkins seem to have formed the cutting edge in the most recent explorations of distributed cognition. But they are not the first. Proponents of manual training knew of and promoted the connection between hands, tools and intellect well over a century ago. But I welcome the current thoughts are as follows:
"Usually we view ability, regardless of definition as the potential of a person's mind, the property of the individual. But, once we couple intelligent technologies with a person's ability, the emphasis might shift to examining the performance of the joint system. After all, the system, not the individual alone, carries out the intellectual task." --Partners in Cognition: Extending Human Intelligence with Intelligent Technologies, Salomon, Perkins and GlobersonThis essentially describes the long history of man's relationships with his tools and their use. In our great universities, the tools of the tradesmen have been regarded as mindless and of little meaning. I can assure all, despite intellectual predispositions, that to use a hand plane, one of the simple tools of the woodworking trade, to artful effect, requires skill and attention that are highly dependent on mental capacity. Try it. You might like it and learn something from the experience.