Paul Allison's Summer Reading Blog
Friday, 16. August 2002
Connecting abstract concepts with technological design (Dourish, Chapter 5)

Chapter five has a little bit of everything. Dourish begins with a clear problem (finally). He returns to a motivation for reading through all of this philosophy: “to understand how to approach the design of technologies” (p. 128). And “we need to understand how current approaches to software and interactive system design constrain and enable aspects of embodied interaction” (p. 128). This is how teachers should approach technology, by asking: What gets constrained and what gets enabled in this particular software system or Internet environment?

What I like about this chapter is that Dourish connects abstract concepts like “establishing intersubjective understandings” with the “design of interactive technologies” (p. 132).

Dourish refers to “the oft-repeated assertion that Eskimo languages feature dozens of words for snow… whether or not it is accurate” (p. 129)… as an example of how “our place in the world and what we do there determine how we understand the things around us” (p. 129). This made me think about all the details that teachers know and understand about the “things around us” that is unique to “our place in the world and what we do there” (p. 129). There are things we know about the uniqueness of individual students—which is why teachers should be trusted to do assessments, and paradoxically why teachers should seek out others’ views when assessing students. But I’m way off from where Dourish is going.

Dourish has helped me to understand the value of “tailorable software systems” (p. 131). Manilla is such a system, I’m beginning to understand, but it isn’t easy to “tailor,” is it? I still have to see if I can make it work for my purposes—or ways I “go about my work” (p. 131) with students.

Dourish talks about researchers who look at how language creates socially constructed understandings that allow for cooperative work. I think teachers would find it useful to “analyze linguistic communication” (p. 132) in our classrooms “in terms of the [students’ and teachers’] mutual establishment and exploration of common ground”—“a set of commonly held and mutually established facts that provide the background necessary for interpreting and understanding utterances” (p. 132). The emphasis that I like is that the common ground is established linguistically.

Dourish claims that a software designer “must somehow communicate to a user a set of constraints and expectations about how the design should be used” (p. 132), and this made me wonder if the same is true of Web site designers too. Isn’t designing a Web site similar to designing software?

If my experience with designing Web sites for students is any guide, then Dourish is at the heart of what teachers who use computer-mediated curriculum struggle with when he is discussing “the way that people [e.g. teachers and students] develop and communicate shared ways of using software systems and ways of doing their work with software systems” (p. 133).

The school where I’ll be teaching, beginning this fall has just joined eChalk, an example of an “organizational information system” (p. 133) that Dourish describes. I wonder how “tailorable” this system will be. Specifically, will students be able to put HTML pages up and will we be able to link to those pages? But before and after I get to specific questions like this, Dourish provides us with good questions to be asking at East Side Community High School as we begin to use eChalk:

What is important is not just what the system CAN do, but rather WHAT IT REALLY DOES DO for people in the course of doing their work. This includes what decisions people make about when and how to use the system, what expectations they have of when the system is useful and what sort of information it contains, what they know about what other people do with the system, and so on. When we look at what goes on, we begin to see systems as embedded within the specific practices of filing, storing, categorizing, organizing, and retrieving information that surround it. So, we encounter such issues as the collective tailoring of information schemes; the central roles that certain documents or information sources play in coordinating a range of activities; the importance of question of completeness; issues of accuracy, authenticity, and authorship; and so forth. (Dourish, p. 133)

Can’t get more practical than that! I’ll re-read this when I start wondering how to help people integrate eChalk into their work at East Side Community High School.

There are several other examples of Dourish connecting abstract concepts to technological design. For example, I really like his re-statement of Heidegger’s concept of equipment moving back and forth from being ready-to-hand to being present-at-hand: “The effective use of tools inherently involves a continual process of engagement, separation, and re-engagement” (p. 139). This fits so squarely with a learning model that emphasizes creating projects, reflecting through process logs and cover letters, them creating more projects. “Being able to disengage and re-engage in different ways… makes our use of equipment effective. It allows us to act with and to act through artifacts” (p. 139). Ah! Like “Inquiry WITH Technology.”

Another example, Dourish talks about the “dual nature of abstraction and implementation” of computers. This became important to me a few years ago. Computers began to be as physical as other tools. And I fear that this is something that many teachers do not really grasp. Instead they see computers as merely a tool of implementation (word processor) or when something goes wrong, the computer is seen as hopelessly abstract, even mysterious. The power of computing is to get the abstract aspects of the computer moving in the same direction as the implementation aspects are going.

Finally, I think that the concept of “coupling”–that Dourish describes and gives several good examples of—is very useful! The example he gives of technology in a media center interfering “with the relationship between action and meaning” (p. 148) is a good one because similar interruptions happen like this all the time with technology. And learning how to establish “new coupling over time” is a large part of what learning with computers is about.
Dourish describes the researchers in this media center example in a way that I would love to use to describe teachers involved with computers: “They were not concerned with technological development per se, but rather with exploring the new working practices that technology might afford” (p. 145). This is what teachers who use computer-mediated curriculum might think of as our purpose: to explore new learning experiences that technology might afford.

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Tuesday, 13. August 2002
An aside about critical thinking and e-mail (On Language New York Times Magazine, 8/11/02)

I wanted to add a quick response to this Sunday’s (8/11/02) New York Times Magazine On Language column by Patricia T. O’Conner and Stewart Kellerman. First I saw the title, “Welcome to the e-mail combat zone,” with the word “virtual” printed in gray fuzzy letters behind. I quickly glanced down to see that the authors had recently written “You Send Me,” a book “about e-mail and other online writing” (p. 22). “That’s interesting,” I thought. “I wonder what they have to offer?”

Then my eyes scanned down to the end of the column to a bulleted list that takes up nearly one-quarter of the print on the page. It’s the authors’ “Platonic ideal of e-mail perfection…. what [their] dream e-mail looks like”—a prescriptive list of how to stamp out “bad e-mail” (p. 22). I can hear some teachers who are beginning to experiment with computer-mediated communication asking themselves: “Is this what we’re supposed to teach?”

The reason I’m taking the time to read and respond to Dourish’s book—and part of what the design was for this summer’s New York City Writing Project’s Advanced Institute—is to be able to read columns like this one critically: “No! Don’t try to teach this list to students. Stop and use e-mail with them long enough to find out what it might mean to you and your students.”

The authors of this column go wrong with their answer to an important question that they pose for themselves: “What is e-mail, anyway?” Is it just flip journalistic style or did their research into this question only go as far as polling “friends and acquaintances” (p. 22)? What they found out is that some friends tend to think of e-mail as a letter and others think of it as a phone call. Of course, the letter-friends write better, more civil e-mail, and the phone-friends are “good people [who] send bad e-mail” (p. 22).

The real problem here is that the authors didn’t seem to stop and think that maybe e-mail is neither a letter, nor a phone call, neither writing, nor talking—but something radically different. It’s this lack of attention to such differences that leads to these authors—and I fear teachers in the near future—to think that they can prescribe a list of what e-mail should look like.

Compare this to Dourish’s approach which would take time to look at the language being used, the specific context of particular e-mails, and would describe with much more attention to detail what is actually happening between sender and receiver. It’s this kind of approach that we need, not more prescription!

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Monday, 12. August 2002
Phenomenology through a teacher's eyes (Dourish, Chapter 4)

I recently finished Dourish’s “whirlwind tour through the work of many people who have addressed the issue of embodiment in one way or another” (p. 124), and I think there are plenty of stops along the way of interest to teachers. It’s also true that at times I found myself wondering what the purpose of all of this was.

For example, I think I got how “tangible computing” is moving computing “into the same phenomenal world as our other sorts of interaction” (p. 103). And I see how this is related to social computing’s “use of sociological approaches in the design of interactive technology” (p. 103). But as I was reading through the philosophical summaries in chapter four, I found myself loosing track of why any of this matters. Still I found the philosophy interesting; it’s a line of philosophy worth teachers’ attention.

Early in the chapter Dourish discusses graphical interfaces again. His comments make clear what people like the author that Joe quoted seem to miss when they say that graphical interfaces and metaphorical software design make things easier. It’s not that it is easier for the user; it’s more familiar. “[Graphical interfaces] make interacting with the computer seem more like those arenas of everyday action with which we are more familiar and in which we are more skilled” (p. 100). I think that “arenas of everyday action” is a clear, concise description of what we mean when we talk about literacies, and this then connects to Brant’s notions of accumulating literacies. Yes more kinds of literacy are expected in computer environments, but these literacies are what younger people are more skilled in already.

I wrote this earlier (in another entry about Dourish’s book), but it seems worth repeating here in response to this chapter about phenomenology: Teachers are natural phenomenologists. “We encounter the world as a place in which we act. It is the way in which we act—the practical tasks in which we are engaged and how they are accommodated into the world—that makes the world meaningful for us” (p. 108). What a good description this is of a teacher’s intellectual life! Teachers are, in effect, practical educational theorists and researchers, solving the problems of teaching and learning for themselves and their students every day (p. 113).

Another example of how some of this material is affirming and grounding (foundational?) for teachers is Dourish’s summary of Heidegger’s distinction between “ready-to-hand” and “present-at-hand.” This distinction is good for teachers who work computers to remember: “That with which our everyday dealings proximally dwell is not the tools themselves. On the contrary, that with which we concern ourselves primarily is the work” (Being and Time: 99) (p. 109). Like the concern for grammar fades into the background for the writing teacher, so the concern for teaching (or learning) software fades for the technology teacher (or professional developer)—because the focus is on the work, not on the tool.

Another project summarized by Dourish that is worthy of teachers’ attention is “ecological psychology” and “affordance.” After all, isn’t reflective teaching all about assessing the “three way relationships between the [learning] environment, [skills and abilities of] the organism [student], and an activity [assignment]” (p. 118)!

Next, Wittgenstein’s notion of “language games”—a form of action by people in “the setting in which language is used” (p. 124) seems like further support for my interest in language variation in different Internet and other computer environments.

At the end of Dourish’s “whirlwind tour,” he lists “three notable common elements to the approaches outlined in [chapter four]” (p. 125). Here’s my translation of these elements as seen through a teacher’s eyes:

1) Like “embodiment” teaching involves being grounded in everyday, mundane experience. I love thinking deeply—and this book is a good excuse to do so—but I also love the practical reality of needing a lesson plan for Monday morning!

2) For teachers “action in the world” of their schools (and beyond) is what defines our “understanding of the world and our relationship to it” (p. 125). We can theorize all we want (or others can for us), but it is the actions we take in our classrooms that are fundamental to who we are and how we understand our worlds.

3) Teachers “find the world meaningful primarily with respect to the ways in which we act within it” (p. 125), not what we think about it. And at our best, we model this action-oriented process of meaning making for our students.

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Tuesday, 6. August 2002
A few notions that floated my way while I was at sea (Dourish pp. 77-97)

The second half of the third chapter left me feeling like I was swimming in pretty deep water. This isn’t a bad feeling. In fact, reading material that I’m not immediately understanding makes me think sometimes. However, I feel like I’m approaching the heart of this book where Dourish is explaining his own research program, and I’m feeling a bit at sea, like I’ll have to read this section again.

Here are a few notions that floated my way in this section of the book. One important concept that I want to keep thinking about has to do with how designing software requires one to use abstractions and metaphors. And this relates to the comments that Joe wrote in response to one of me earlier postings about Dourish’s book. Part of an answer to Joe—and others who might wonder whether graphic interfaces and metaphoric designs artificially cover complexity—is Dourish’s comments that “abstraction makes it possible for us to treat a complex set of computational behaviors as a simple, higher-level object out of which we can build something new and even more useful” (p. 82).

It’s interesting to follow Dourish’s complication of the notion of abstractions of interfaces hiding features of interaction. His example on pages 83 and 84 of how folders on a desktop might represent files that act differently depending whether or not they are on the desktop of a computer helps explain the problem of abstract representations that the user can’t control.

So if I’m getting this right—and I think I have more questions than answers—Dourish is asking for computer software and systems that provide the user with specific, detailed, ethnographic information. Is changing from WYSIWYG to HTML an example of “computational reflection"? (p. 85) Not really, right? Because you can’t reconfigure the program. Ah, but with Manilla you can, if you have the patience.

Dourish makes a distinction that I like between “space” and “place” (p. 89 & 90). This is something that I could relate to, thinking about how I’ve designed chat rooms (spaces or places?) in my office in the TappedIn MOO. And he also mentions what has been my theme of late when it comes to computers: language variation. “Structure of the environment is often a key issue in controlling how interactions develop” (p. 90). Yes, that makes this seem worth slugging through if it helps me to understand how computers structure environments that control linguistic (and other) interactions.

In general, I do get this notion of providing “frameworks that help system designers invest interactive systems with sociological understandings” (p. 96). At least I think I do, but I’m spinning a bit from all of this theory.

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Sunday, 4. August 2002
Sociology, Ethnography, Technology and Teaching (Dourish pp. 55-77)

I found the difference between chapter two and three pretty dramatic. While chapter two reports on concrete examples of “tangible computing,” chapter three traces the roots of “social computing” in sociology, ethnography, ethnomethodology, and phenomenology. In the first chapter Dourish promises to bring the tangible computing and social computing together, in chapter four. So I read this more theoretical chapter with anticipation.

Once again, many of the approaches found in this unfamiliar territory of “Sociology in HCI [Human-Computer Interaction]” were familiar to me as a teacher who has learned a lot from ethnographic research in education and descriptive processes. So far, this chapter has been a good reminder of why teacher research and description of the details of the classroom experience are important. Although Dourish doesn’t seem to make connections to education, I find it easy to translate much of what he says into my world. I like thinking about the computer-mediated classroom as an “interactive system” (p. 55).

When I read Dourish’s claim that “computation is part of a richer fabric of relationships between people, institutions, and practices that sociology can help us explore” (p. 56), I was thinking: This is an important perspective to have and it should be the focus of any professional development around computers and software. Although it’s true that teachers need to learn how to use new software, develop Web pages, moderate discussion boards, and manage curriculum systems like e-chalk or Blackboard, we also need to center this learning in a study of how computers might be used in the “richer fabric of relationships between, people, institutions, and practices…” of our schools.

Another important concept that Dourish mentions—and one worth remembering when computing is seen as isolating—instead: “Even the most isolated and individual interaction with a computer system is still fundamentally a social activity” (p. 56)—at least between designer and user.

In general, it’s hard to imagine a perspective that would overlap more with ethnographic research in education than Dourish’s notions that sociology in studies of human-computer interaction should be about detailed, real, case studies (p. 57). Again, the distinction Dourish draws between work processes (the stated procedures) and work practices (how people actually get the work done) are important to think about in a school setting. I know I will be thinking about this difference as I begin learning what makes East Side Community High School work this fall.

I think teachers who are interested in seeing technology integrated into the schools would do well to adopt Dourish’s approach of “ethnographic investigation” of their schools “with an eye toward the technological opportunities it offers or design constraints that it imposes” (p. 64). “Computer supported cooperative work” (CSCW) is exactly the domain of study that should be done in schools (p. 65). I wonder if there are any examples of CSCW focused on schools. Dourish doesn’t refer to any, but the examples of ethnographies that he summarizes in the first half of chapter two make me jealous for education. I do wonder though, how these descriptions of what IS move to changes toward what SHOULD BE.

If I may, I’d like to quote a longer passage from the middle of chapter two because this shows how nicely Dourish’s notions of sociology and ethnography fit with the agenda of teacher research and ethnographic studies in education:

“In the course of everyday life, everyone, always, is engaged in ‘practical sociological reasoning,’ when as part and parcel of what they do, they have to figure out what other people mean and in turn figure out how to act themselves in order to get things done” (p. 75).

So to apply this reasoning to teaching: The knowledge teachers bring to bear everyday in their classrooms is no less valid than the theoretical models that professional researchers might offer when THEY try to figure out what good teachers do. Seen this way, I find this to be a profound equation of research and practice—a way of seeing this that I hadn’t really understood before.

As a final example of how sociology in HCI and the work of teaching overlap, notice how “the theme of ethnomethodology” seems similar to descriptive processes: “to look for the emergence of social order out of the details of what people do rather than from abstract theory” (p. 75). Isn’t this what reflective teaching is all about?

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Friday, 2. August 2002
Sci-Fi Visions, but when will we see them? (Dourish, Chapter 2)

Reading chapter two was a lot of fun. I kept telling my sons about something new I had read. Dourish describes several projects where the computer is released from its box. As he points out the computer is a fast changing technology, but the ways people use it have not changed much. We’re still chained to our desks. But not in the examples of “Tangible Computing” that he provides in this chapter.

Throughout the chapter, I kept having two reactions. On one side I felt like I was reading the research report for a science fiction writer. The marble answering machine especially reminded me of Spielberg’s movie, “The Minority Report.” I also kept envisioning applications in the classroom for the visions and designs reported on here.

The idea that integrating computers into the classroom might have actual physical reality is very exciting, though I fear that it will be a long time until we see any of these examples on the ground. But what educator wouldn’t want the computers to “disappear into the woodwork; computers would be nowhere to be seen, but computation would be everywhere” (p. 29)!

Ubiquitous computing is cool! I can see a lot of benefits to the classroom of computerized post-it sized tags, notebook-sized writing pads, and computerized whiteboards working all together (pp. 30 – 33). The Digital Desk has obvious applications to the classroom too. How exciting is it to imagine paper and electronic documents moving back and forth fluidly (pp. 33 – 36)! Also, the reactive room seems to be a wonderful (if a bit sci-fi) notion for a classroom. Part of a teacher’s job would be to prepare the room for class (pp. 37 – 40).

Toward the end of this chapter there’s a gem of an idea. It’s not really a new idea; it’s just well formulated, because I think it will be helpful when considering whether to use computers for a particular project. Dourish writes, “While digital and physical media might be informationally equivalent, they are not interactionally equivalent” (p. 44). However this does not mean that digital media is automatically less interactive (as I fear many teachers assume). In some cases it draws on more skills and conversations than physical media does.

To sum up, I think that progressive, visionary educators share a vision with the “tangible computing” designers: 1) no single point of control or interaction (no mouse or coursor); 2) interaction not necessarily sequential; 3) there’s a relationship between physical design and possible action. But when will we see any of this in the classroom? When will we be able to unchain students from their desks in those dreary computer labs?

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Wednesday, 31. July 2002
Philosophical Foundations Longing to be Embodied (Dourish pp. 14-23)

Dourish ends chapter one with general introductions to the themes that he promises to develop in the rest of the book. I found his description of the trends in “tangible computing” (p. 15) both exciting and a bit disturbing. Do we want to wear tags that introduce us to each other? On the other hand the idea of interacting with the computer with actual objects instead of just with a mouse—which is two-dimensional—is exciting to imagine!

As I was reading the pages where Dourish introduces the philosophy of Embodied Interaction, I had two thoughts. One was that one of the things that I have always liked about working with computers is how physical the work has seemed to me. Planning a course, for example, is an abstract process, but building a Web site for the same course is physical, real. So I it’s because of this work that I think I understand what Dourish means when he says that “we act in the world by exploring its physical affordances.” Second, for me teaching in general has always been about embedding thought in everyday action. So I think this helps me to understand the notion of “embodiment” too.

I kept seeing parallels to teaching and recent trends in educational research as I was reading further about the philosophical foundations of Dourish’s book. I think teachers who see themselves as intellectuals are natural phenomenoligists because our thinking must quickly face “Monday morning with students.” It’s about as real as you can get.

Dourish mentions that some of the implications of a Phenomenological approach to studying computing and interaction is that anthropological looking and case studies are important. This is true in education too, with ethnographic research, for example.

I really like—and again can see lots of parallels to artifacts in teaching—Dourish’s example of how “the artifact of daily interaction can play many different roles” (p. 20). Medical record cards contain important information because of how they are written on and this can’t be easily replaced technologically! This is a wonderful reminder of what computers can and can’t do—And how computer applications need to be studied in real situations.

The story about medical record cards helped Dourish flesh out this introduction. I was happy to see him mention toward the end of this section that the material the he was presenting “has all been presented so far in very broad strokes” (p. 22). I look forward to more stories like the one about the medical record cards as Dourish embodies the philosophical models he sets out in chapter one.

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Tuesday, 30. July 2002
A Skills & Abilities History of Computing (Dourish pp. 5-14)

In the first chapter, Dourish traces the history of computers from a perspective of human interaction. I’m not very familiar with the people, the machines and the programs that he casually refers to in this history, but it’s clear that this is more than a history of technological change. Dourish also shows how humans changed the ways they worked with computers over time.

For educators, Dourish’s perspective seems to be quite useful! What could be more natural to a teacher than to think about computer interfaces “in terms of the different sets of human skills they are designed to exploit” (p. 5)? In fact, having read this section, I’m convinced that this is a critical question for educators involved with computers. Instead of asking, “How hard is it to learn this software,” or “How steep is the learning curve,” we might ask, “What everyday “skills and abilities” (p. 14) from our daily lives are used when we interact with this software or in that Internet environment?”

This history didn’t grab me much, but I do applaud Dourish’s purpose of drawing our “attention to the fact that” different computer systems and programs “exploit quite different sets of skills” (p. 9). I wonder if this is comparable to noting how different Internet environments exploit quite different sets of skills and uses of language.

My interest perked up in the middle of Dourish’s history lesson when “the move from textual to graphical interaction… opened up whole new dimensions for interaction… two-dimensional space rather than one-dimensional stream of characters” (p. 11). This sense of organizing information in space is important in my own growing understanding of Web design. I feel this change personally in my own writing process: “The task of managing information becomes one of managing space” (p. 11).

Inside the history of graphical interfaces, Dourish identifies four “areas of human ability” that are exploited by “two-dimensional interaction.” Although his examples come from software such as Windows, my experiences in using space to manage information have to do with designing Web pages. So I was thinking that Dourish’s four areas might be useful categories for planning or assessing Web page designs. I’ll re-present each area here as questions Web designers might ask themselves. (I need to work on making the questions simpler for young students.)

  1. Peripheral Attention:
    Is the information arranged in such a way that it can be selectively attended to? Is there a large, primary area and smaller areas off to the sides or edges?

  2. Pattern Recognition and Spatial Reasoning:
    Is the data organized into patterns to convey collections of information as a whole—the way graphs and charts do?

  3. Information Density:
    Are graphics used to convey information more succinctly than words might have been? And is text used effectively with images?

  4. Visual Metaphors:
    Are visual metaphors used to help the user to manage the information? Is there a metaphorical model (e.g. office or desktop) that uses graphics to indicate the activities one may do with the data that is presented?

I plan to use these guidelines next time I design a Web site, and I want to think about ways of introducing these concepts to adolescents who are designing as well.

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Sunday, 28. July 2002
Technology as Philosophy (Dourish pp. vii-4)

I was very busy yesterday, packing, traveling and unpacking, but I did sneak in a few moments to start Where the Action Is. I liked the preface and the first few pages of the first chapter because it was easy to translate Dourish’s more general introductions into pedagogical concerns.

For example when he says (on page viii.) that developing and using computers is “philosophical” because all computer technology introduces “some kind of formalization of the world,” I was think that this is true for pedagogy too: Using computers changes the ways students interact with content, each other, the teacher… also computer environments often engender different forms of language than we had before.

Again, when I translate Dourish’s general aim for this book, I find a friend who also feels that “we need to uncover the assumptions” about language and learning that run throughout both the theory and practice of using computers in the classroom, “and understand what kind of intellectual commitments are being made” (p. viii.) In other words, I think this book will help me to understand—and perhaps be able to explain to others—ways in which computer use is in fact ideological.

Dourish seems to be positive too. He celebrates and says that we need to understand “the contributions and opportunities emerging from dynamic new forms of technological practice” (p. ix). And he observes that computers have brought “whole new forms of interaction and activity that we would never otherwise have imagined.” I would agree that this is true in the classroom.

But Dourish also questions the degree to which the development and use of computers is still tied to old notions of what we can do with computers. The example he gives comes from early times in computing when it was expensive to use the computer. This led to finding ways to minimize computer time, which led to development of complex computer language and programming. Dourish claims that this notion is still with us: that we have to take a lot of our human time to make the computer run quickly. (At least that’s how I understand it.)

While reading this, I was wondering whether Web design is an example of “performance over convenience” (p. 2). I guess, for example, that Web authoring programs—and perhaps the bloggers—are attempts to replace complex HTML and other such methods of Web design which place “a premium on the computer’s time rather than on people’s time” (p. 2).

So Dourish seems to be saying that we need new ways of interacting with computers—ways that won’t take our total attention. This would be good in teaching—finding ways to use computers and talk and do others things at the same time.

Dourish finishes this section by suggesting what his philosophical approach and model of study will be. As far as I understand it, I really like his notions of looking at how computer programs are used instead of what they are supposed to do. What a good approach this would be for questions like, “Which is better: Dreamweaver or FrontPage or Manilla?” Better we should ask how each system gets integrated into teaching. What we need as teachers are models of interaction with computers—descriptions of computer-mediated teaching and learning that describe the “ecosystem” (p. 4) of the classroom.

Dourish has me wanting to read more.

... Link


Saturday, 27. July 2002
What I'm packing for vacation

Ah... tomorrow my family and I go to the Berkshires! I always take more books than I can read, but I look forward to quiet times at the lake and in the evenings reading.

In the summer, I like to read books that take concentrated time. Here's list of the books I've packed, in the order that I plan to read them.

Dourish, Paul. Where the Action Is: The Foundations of Embodied Interaction.

Miller, Daniel and Don Slater. The Internet: An Ethnographic Approach

Chabron, Michael. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay: A Novel

I'm also planning to re-read Louise M. Rosenblatt's Literature as Exploration.

And I'm taking another book and a journal to dip in and out of:

Packer, Randall and Ken Jordan. Multimedia: From Wagner to Virtual Reality

Leonardo: Ninth New York Digital Salon (Vol. 34, No. 5, 2001)

I've decided to open this blog as an experiment... to see what it's like keeping a blog about my reading.

... Link


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Connecting abstract concepts with technological
design (Dourish, Chapter 5) Chapter five has a little bit...
by paulallison (8/16/02 6:21 PM)
An aside about critical thinking
and e-mail (On Language New York Times Magazine, 8/11/02) I...
by paulallison (8/13/02 4:03 AM)
Phenomenology through a teacher's eyes
(Dourish, Chapter 4) I recently finished Dourish’s “whirlwind tour through...
by paulallison (8/12/02 2:54 PM)
A few notions that floated
my way while I was at sea (Dourish pp. 77-97)...
by paulallison (8/6/02 5:20 AM)
Sociology, Ethnography, Technology and Teaching
(Dourish pp. 55-77) I found the difference between chapter two...
by paulallison (8/4/02 6:14 PM)
Sci-Fi Visions, but when will
we see them? (Dourish, Chapter 2) Reading chapter two was...
by paulallison (8/2/02 4:43 PM)
Philosophical Foundations Longing to be
Embodied (Dourish pp. 14-23) Dourish ends chapter one with general...
by paulallison (7/31/02 4:43 AM)
A Skills & Abilities History
of Computing (Dourish pp. 5-14) In the first chapter, Dourish...
by paulallison (7/30/02 3:45 PM)
Technology as Philosophy (Dourish pp.
vii-4) I was very busy yesterday, packing, traveling and unpacking,...
by paulallison (7/28/02 6:03 PM)
What I'm packing for vacation
Ah... tomorrow my family and I go to the Berkshires!...
by paulallison (7/27/02 5:05 AM)

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