Assignment 2 - Part A
Cognition In The Wild by Edwin Hutchins
Hutchins starts off by saying that limiting the study of cognition of an individual to the confines and constraints of a laboratory will result in incomplete and potentially false obsevations and thus proposes the idea of studying cognition in its natural habitat. He states that cultural activity systems have cognitive properties of their own that are different from the cognitive properties of the individuals who participate in them and a standalone study of either of these without taking the other into consideration is incomplete.
Using example of navigation task and how a quartermaster goes from getting introduced to, learning and then performing these tasks, first with the help of some external media such as a written procedure description or observation of a senior performing the same task and then internalizing the procedure so that it can be performed automatedly (without referencing any media), Hutchins, looks at growth in cognition or learning or conceptual change as a kind of adaptation in a larger dynamic system.
He explains that learning is not about merely importing external information into the internal system across the boundary of the skin of an individual, but it is about the way the internal systems adapt and change to be in coordination with the exterior environment and contexts, through a system of interactions among representational media both inside and outside the individual. These external representations which are tranformed into internal representations over time and with practise, alter the understading of an individual, causing actions to be automated and thus lessening the involvement of external media.Design methodologies should not only consider the end-user themselves, but also their environment and surroundings.
Information Ecologies by Nardi & O'Day
Nardi tries to explain how Technology can be thought of and visualized as a tool, text, system and ecology in a metaphorical sense. She raises the issue of autonomous technlogical change (or development as some may call it) in each of the four metaphors and questions us to think about how its evolution influences us by looking at it through the 4 metaphorical perspectives -
- Neutrality of the System - How much can a cause spread its effect
- Controling the System - How can you control the effect
- Understanding the System - Understanding this cause-effect relationship of technology development in the first place