Learning Environments – Week 8 – Reading Assignment


“Imagining the Cognitive Life of Things”, Edwin Hutchins, 2006
“A sociohistorical approach to remediation”, Michael Cole and Peg Griffin, 1986

“… the insight that language gives us the world twice. As Alex- ander Luria (1981, p. 35) put it:

The enormous advantage is that their world doubles. ln the absence of words, humans would have to deal only with those things which they could perceive and manipulate directly. With the help of language, they can deal with things which they have not perceived even indirectly and with things which were part of the experience of earlier generations…

” Cole M. & Griffin, P., 1986 pg. 1

New technologies and forms of communication will hopefully give us the world thrice. These two readings coincidentally linked to a few other readings and experiences I had this week.

“We seem to forget sometimes that speaking is an embodied activity.” (Hutchins E., 2006 pg 1). I made the obvious association with a lecture by Janet Vertesi (Links to an external site.) speaking about her research “Seeing Like Rover: Visualization, embodiment, and interaction on the Mars Exploration Rover Mission (Links to an external site.)”. The scientists would twist their bodies to be able to figure out what would be the Rover’s next moves. Their thinking, learning and communication was enhanced by their bodies.

It also reminded me of Kuhl’s research showing that babies exposed to Mandarin through speakers did not learn how to recognize certain speech syllables. The ones exposed to the same content but delivered by humans were able to recognize the speech syllables.

So intrinsically, we learn from human beings. We need classrooms. But we need scale. Technology scales. But so far it seems like effective learning has not scaled along with technology or its promises.

How might we deliver this invisible exchange and engagement that only happens between humans with technology? The written word has brought us thus far and we are now exploring with new interfaces. These new interfaces one day could be able to tap into the necessary wavelengths to facilitate or scaffold learning in a more scalable fashion.

I also saw a lecture by Sean Follmer about his work with space displays (inFORM – Interacting With a Dynamic Shape Display) and other “Tangible User Interfaces (TUI)” Ishii, H., 2008. If we think ahead we will see interfaces that will be able to transmit with much greater resolution, educational concepts, enhance remote interactions between humans and hopefully enable more effective learning to happen.

“I do believe that TUI is one of the promising paths to his vision of invisible interface.” Ishii, H., 2008


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