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paper: Hollan, J., Hutchins, E., &
Kirsch, D. (2001) "Distributed Cognition: Toward a New Foundation for Human-Computer
Interaction Research." In J. M. Carroll (Ed.) Human-Computer Interaction
in the New Millennium, ACM Press, New York, pp. 75-94. (distributed on paper)

Briefly discuss the following issues:

1. what did you find

1.1. interesting about the article?

I thought that the
section on culture and cognition was a very interesting facet of the distributed
cognition approach. I think it is very important to mention that culture has
an immense amount to do with how people perceive an environment and how they
cognitively process information. It is also interesting to note that the environment
that a person lives in encompasses their resources for cognition. After thinking
about that statement for a few minutes, I began to realize how powerful that
is. Perspective in this world shapes policy, and if perspective is shaped by
resources, than the quality and fairness of those resources becomes largely
important and can affect everyone.

1.2. not interesting about the article?

I found the whole
article interesting.

2. what do you consider the main message of the article?

The main message
of the article is that in order to understand human cognitive accomplishments
and to create and design usable HCI's , it is extremely important that we understand
the nature of cognitive distribution. In observing these interactions, a more
effective system can be built.

3. the article talks about “new foundations” for HCI

3.1. please discuss a couple of “old foundations” for HCI

The old foundations
of HCI mainly deal with human interaction with the keyboard, mouse, GUI, etc.
Research in this field dealt with the interactions of humans with these objects
and how to better design them to make them easier to use.

3.2. how “new” according to your knowledge are these “new

The example of ship
navigation in the 1980's is a relatively old study, but the principles it showed
(that navigation depends on more than just a single human-computer interaction,
but rather the reactions between people and groups of machines) are still fairly
new. A good example the article provided of a newer use of these principles
was the PAD++. This type of interface seems similar to the EDC and services
like mapquest.

4. in the class on Jan 14, 2004, we showed a multi-media show about the CLever
project ‡ question: which elements of distributed cognition are described
in this video?

There were elements
of distributed cognition throughout the video. The CLever project uses the tenets
of distributed cognition from the article to help Amy have a more successful
outcome on her journey. For example, having the scripts use pictures (not just
icons) for things like bus stops and money helps her relate those things to
her environment and interact with them more effectively.

remark/hint: in case you have to rely on “distributed cognition”
to remember what was shown — you can refresh your memory by watching the
multi-media show again (it only takes 6 minutes) at:
by activating the link “Load Flash Movie”

5. here is a quote from Neil Postman: “anatomy is not destiny: The invention
of eyeglasses in the twelfth century not only made it possible to improve defective
vision but suggested the idea that human beings need not accept as final either
the endowments of nature nor the ravages of time. Eyeglasses refuted the belief
that anatomy is destiny by putting forward the idea that our minds as well as
our bodies are improvable!”

5.1. argue what the this quote has to do with the article?

This quote seems
to apply to the authors discussion of work environments improving human capabilities.
The eye-glasses were a physical example of essentially "improving"
our minds, while a virtual workspace that is designed with distributed cognition
in mind can provide powers to control information and data.

5.2. do you agree with the quote?

I do agree with the
quote. We are constantly improving many things about or bodies and our minds.
And those improvements are being improved even further (eye-glasses to contacts
to Lasik for instance). I think it is simply human nature to constantly improve
ourselves and our minds, and we will always strive for it until it probably
dooms us. I think there is a notion of being too advanced.


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