Students’ Problem Solving as Mediated by Their Cognitive Tool Use: A Study of Tool Use Patterns

M. Liu, University of Texas at Austin
L. R. Horton, University of Texas at Austin
S. B. Corliss, University of California - Berkeley
Marilla D. Svinicki, University of Texas at Austin
T. Bogard
Jung-In Kim, School of Education and Human Development at the University of Colorado Denver
M. Chang


The purpose of this study was to use multiple data sources, both objective and subjective, to capture students’ thinking processes as they were engaged in problem-solving, examine the cognitive tool use patterns, and understand what tools were used and why they were used. The findings of this study confirmed previous research and provided clear empirical evidence supporting the theoretical notion that technology-based cognitive tools play an important role in assisting students’ problem-solving. Students’ tool use patterns were discussed in the context of their problem solving.