lunes, 22 de octubre de 2012

Theorizing III. Task 9 (some people numbered it 10). NIE2012.

I have made a great effort of turning computer technology, to the extent of my abilities, into more than a medium. My very limited experience has taught me to be very cautious about the expectations I place on it. It is difficult for anyone nowadays to dispute the impact of artificial intelligence, accessible everywhere to most (ubiquity?). Equally hard is to generalize in terms of how refined our maangement of these tools is. We might be at a point where everyone understands these technologies are a medium, but most do not know how to put them at their own service of manipulate them in a way that can influence transformations, tactically to reach ends or purposefully.
Every student is enabled to participate of the digital economy exchange, starting from the email addresses and their information systems at universities, facebook and other resorces available to connect and even associate, I guess the effort we are doing at the co-create project reflects just that. However, when I "force" upon mine to take full responsibility for the management of their tasks, trying alternative producs (mindmap software, net meetings, and even the very same Prezi), they refuse, and get irritated by the need to lean additional and seemingly unrelated skills. Generalizing is not my aim. Some are very engaged and learn fast, feeling confident and doing it very well, but for the most part they get lost and waste a lot of time, protesting openly. At the end, I re-focus onto traditional lectures and the typical readings combined with report like submissions. This is to say that eventhough the potential of these technologies is imense, it remains unexplored by many. Progress and "penetration" of these as tools will take place later, I see it like an evolving process where people first need to learn to the point of being competent enough to be creative. The confidence is still not there.
I´ve studied it from the legal and political perspective and in this context we talk about a new technology paradigm all together (On this a respected and prolific author is Carlota Perez. She talks about the large scale transcitions, and the role of public policy in these processes), one that turns every single known institution (rules, formal and informal of any level) around, reshaping and compromising social, political and economic patterns. Consequently, when I read the author´s reference to this : "No political revolution is comparable with computer based globalization. This urges us to reflect on digital information and telecommunication technologies as catalysts of a new social system emerging."  I can relate very well and understand its actual reach.
I was again surprised to find on the readings sections compatible to what discussed earlier and posted about on one of our previous assignments. I feel relieved at the realization that some ideas that arise when I ponder about these issues are not so alien and extraordinary. For example, in this lecture the author also questions the implicit biased that the political context could have imposed onto Leontive´s works: "Maybe Leontiev got into ideological pressure trying to adjust his theory to the logical constrains of historical Materialism?" (Page 4). He goes about exploring this statement much further exposing the possible contradictions of this theory and further considering leontiev´s context a possible factor to be taken into consideration:  "May be these theoretical restrictions are owed to the social historical situation of Leontiev´s and to the theoretical possibilities or limitations of Historical Materialism in its specific understanding of man and society at that time. It would be a very important and interesting program of historical research to show this." (Page 6).
I was very confused by the use of the word "systemic" in here. Earlier, I viewed it as a growing interdependence among subjects and objects, to a lesser degree that it seems to be explained or suggested in this text. In addition the reference to cognition was not, to my mind, what meant the most if we were to take this approach. To put it differently, I might be misplacing the applicability of systemic development because I clearly get its applications to organizational management and development control but hardly to a single relationship between a technology and individuals unless connected into networks, so again we could say this is organizational theory. I remain confused trying to associate these approaches.
Was the author trying to say in the last section of page 6, that Lompscher claims activity theory incapable of solving theoretical challenges of our times? Is this also a call for transcending the theory?
A bit off track but still interesting to me: Is the following paragraph refering so any sort of communication and hence justifying dialog and dialectical exchange, or even negotiation at every other level of human interaction (different from computer technologies)? Can this be applied to conflict management all together?

"To Luhmann social and psychic systems are forced to communicate their fundamental differences and inevitable contingencies in order to stay alive. To get rid of irritating differences with its environment by destroying environment is no real option to a social or psychic system because this finally destroys the system itself, for there is no system without environment and without difference to it."
Among the most compelling concluding remarks I found the 3 last to be the most applicable to my field of interest and research: 9th , 10th and 11th.


martes, 9 de octubre de 2012

Theorizing II. Task 8. NIE2012.

Some salient thoughts that the reading gave rise to, this week:

-The following paragraph: "The last conclusion implies, in particular, that objects of activities are dynamically constructed on the basis of various types of constraints. These constraints include the needs that the given activity is striving to satisfy; available means; other potentially related activities; and other actors
involved, with their own motives and objects. When some of these
components change—for instance, the importance of a certain need
increases—or new means become available, the whole configuration of
constraints may require a redefinition of the object of activity to meet
the new constraints (see Hyysalo 2005)." is a very relevant one and serves as a feedback to one of the exercises we made with Terje, when we explained how to decide on what to do, when. It seems this reflects very closely what I actually do when acting. See the post on that below, and a graphic summary of compatible elaborations. I do not remember now but I guess I received no individual feedback on these earlier tasks.
-I was moved by the same intuitive need to simplify and regard all of those very interesting, articulated and surely important theories redundant as they put in many more or less words the same analysis that I have been exposed to in other disciplines. It is not unique to these authors to explain these processes, so (heuristic as I like) I kind of relate to them and know that I have already perceived these patters. For instance, what the authors expand on pages 205, 206, 207 seems far too similar to systemic analysis. There is no centralized control or one head thinking all of the data but a person delegating, distributing tasks, TRUSTING others, and therefore reducing redundancy to the minimum. Even if at the end Kaptelini and Nardi find that these are insufficient and should be combined with the rest and even transcended with activity theory. Probably that is a generic claim, that activity theory transcends earlier proposals. (This is about conserving resources and energy, as I see it. Why, if an artifact can be precise of certain tasks one needs to redo them, revise them, etc? Intentionality, though was also mentioned and I would say that the processes of surrendering to comfort and rational distribution o roles is natural but one could OPT for not getting into that course of events, for example, I have always have  a very good sense of orientation, seldom if ever get lost, and can go anywhere without even reading a map, literally. Our family traveled between my country and Peru more than 3000 kilometers without map and back home safely and educated about the geography of 3 countries! I never read instructions when I get new appliances but use common sense, I do not want to loose this resourcefulness and also impose to my children the effort of figuring out where they are, so they observe and pay attention and look around and find clues and signs (as I mentioned earlier I made it a rule not to be connected to any of their devices when in the car, walking with me or strolling around in the city). I will never buy anything to tell me in a silly voice what side to turn to and what street is next. I force my self to keep a notebook even if I have a tablet an android device and a laptop with me. Why to loose that human dimension or debilitate our commitment with the capacity we are naturally equipped with? Why to go to a web page like Luminosity to train the brain on elementary tasks if we could do it without any app teaching, just by training on everyday basis, making intellectual efforts and controlling the growing tendency to delegate it all on technology? Could not we think about balance and moderation?
-I think this is a disservice to his brilliant analysis: "Characteristic of Leontiev’s view of the individual was his opposition to understanding the individual as merely a component part of social systems and processes. When discussing the idea that an individual could be completely described through a set of roles defined by the social context, Leontiev (1978) called the notion ‘‘monstrous.’’But again, I am no expert on his work. I would rather use the same argument I pointed out earlier, that this probably what the person had to say so it fit to ideological constrains. It is refreshing to read that the authors give more credit to the individuality, and more or less can state this is what I try to suggest all of the time. That one plays an important role if one is empowered to do that and committed to control one´s life.
-Subjective refraction that Leontiev mentions (cottage cheese incident, page 210, I have also make some comments on this before)= sounds a lot to me as intuition or tacit knowledge...The reflections on learning are valuable and I would have liked to read much more on that or many more examples on the same field (p.211-214). Phenomenology?
-The sections I would be more likely exploring further start in page 220 (9.4.2).
"To give some structure to those places where we might seek creative
fissures at different levels of collaborative activity, we refer to Raeithel’s
(1996) three-part scheme based on earlier work by Fichtner (1984):
Distributed cognition seems a valuable field to explore since my interest is networked teaching and learning. This happens, naturally, but can one somewhat modify the patterns of distribution? Would this be recommended? Should people be let to learn to the best of their abilities? I would think so, because the result can be genuine and effective development.
-The book reads: "In Spinuzzi’s analysis the workers were active subjects. Traffic safety was the collective motive in the activity. The workers ‘‘made decisions,’’
‘‘transformed data,’’ and otherwise acted as aware subjects. Spinuzzi’s
discourse was not of small adjustments or the application of simple rules.
He described how the workers faced a mountain of narrative data—
filing cabinets full of thousands of accident reports. It is a tribute to their
creativity that they figured out how to transform such voluminous data.
To do so, they employed specialized domain knowledge and conceptual
tools including mathematical and statistical analyses to create more
revealing representations of the data (Spinuzzi 2003)." I thought if it has to do also with phenomenology (page 235: "Phenomenology
responded to the overformalization of science and mathematics in which
the everyday world of practical experience had little place).
Could not we in  a cooperative effort get together and "draw" the theory, adding some data (experiential theorizing) to explore and test the result?
-By the end of chapter 9, in page 234 I found this statement worth commenting: "Such social activity involving complex negotiations and discussions among diverse groups of humans requires a theory that allows for intentional activity enacted by beings capable of imagining and planning the future." Yes, this theory exists and is developed by conflict studies, literature on this abounds as well as methodologies, tactics, models and a diversity of studies. The use of existing studies associatively to integrate knowledge can be useful. At least I see compatibility here. Of course the book cannot be comprehensive of all knowledge available on every aspect they mention.
-Will there be any theory explaining a total synergy between humans and artifacts? Does this activity theory apply to artificial intelligence or will there be a post-activity theory forming for that? I would like to know the reach of these explanations.
-The conclusions of the chapter are extremely clear.

Sebastian, I do talk about many aspects on every post instead of counting 5 or 3 and sectioning the flow of thoughts. I am not really thinking about the quota necessary to pass the task. I hope this works out well this way. In fact I could divide this alone into 6 parts. Let me know please if that is needed.