Course Documents
     Main Page
     Contact Information
     Course Announcement
     Course Participants
     Discussion Forum
     Lecture Material
     Previous Course
     Schedule and Syllabus
     Swiki Basics
Swiki Features:
  View this Page
  Edit this Page
  Printer Friendly View
  Lock this Page
  References to this Page
  Uploads to this Page
  History of this Page
  Top of the Swiki
  Recent Changes
  Search the Swiki
  Help Guide
Related Links:
     Atlas Program
     Center for LifeLong Learning and Design
     Computer Science Department
     Institute of Cognitive Science
     College of Architecture and Planning
     University of Colorado at Boulder
The Social Life of Information: Home Alone

Payal Prabhu

Homework 14

  1. What did you find interesting about the article?

    I found the chapter very interesting to read since it presented its main idea and then explained the problem in applying new technologies to office-like settings with good examples from Chiat/Day, Xerox PARC, and other smaller examples.

  2. What did you find not interesting about the article?

    This chapter made a good point of showing where and why the problem lies in the binding between new technologies and its usage, however, it only goes over some solutions for this problem very sketchily. I would like to see some more exploration of the solutions they promoted on Pg. 88.

    As an aside, there wasn't any way for me to look up the end-note references in the chapter. Curiosity got the better of me!

  3. What do you consider the main message of the article?

    One line from the chapter summarizes the main message very well, "Technology design has not taken adequate account of work and its demands but instead has aimed at an idealized image of individuals and information." The authors say that new technologies have to adjust to the people and not the other way around. Knowing that social relationships in an office setting are very important to the functioning of a person, new technologies should not try to isolate the person from these resources that are available in a group setting.

  4. Think of a couple of persons who are in a position to use computer by being "home alone"! Characterize the major problems that these persons have!

    My mother has been a high school Math and Physics teacher for nearly 20 years now. She is now involved in a project (with other fulltime working teachers like herself) in writing a high school Math text that would incorporate learning as "fun". They are attempting to move away from the "present-theory-then-present-problem" structure to a more "self taught" approach. In doing so, she finds that resources for such "fun encouraging" material are hard to find. Since my mother is not an expert at using the Internet, she almost always gives me the task of looking up information from high school curriculums across the world and then sending her the direct URL(s) to the sites. She is not able to successfully conduct searches while going through hundreds of hits per query (in a search engine). This is a perfect case of technology not adapting itself to the user but rather expecting the novice Internet user to know how it works and use it effectively.

    Another person that often works-at-home is my friend Ritu. She works with Avaya in Westminster and is allowed to spend most of her workdays at home with company allocated technology (laptop, software, Internet connection, etc). She is an expert user of such technology and is able to find solutions for problems that she encounters at home. In cases where the solution is not "at home", she often calls up her collegues and asks them for help. This is another way of her reaching out to her social office group for help from similar experience. Ritu, being an active developer of new technologies herself, is able to make the transition from the office to the home almost seamlessly. However, to keep her social group from disintergrating, she finds herself having to regularly socialize with them (outside of office hours) and makes sure they share their experiences both in and out of the office.

  5. Describe briefly some new innovative technologies that you can think of which would address these problems!

    The short video that we saw in class a few weeks ago where a man was communicating with people via phone/email/audio-video channels would be a nice addition to any workplace (whether at home or at office). It would incorporate the idea of mental, visual and auditory integration of work-related entities.

View this PageEdit this PagePrinter Friendly ViewLock this PageReferences to this PageUploads to this PageHistory of this PageTop of the SwikiRecent ChangesSearch the SwikiHelp Guide