1. what did you find

1.1. interesting about the article?

I find the idea of "distributed cognition" very interesting in general. As time has passed, we've increased the PC's abilities to be a personal tool for us. On a daily basis, new software programs are released in hopes that they will in someway improve our lives (Turbo Tax, Instant Messanger, software to help us learn a foreign language, etc.). This article takes this idea a step further, arguing that through distributed cognition, we can even improve computers' usefulness by several degrees.

1.2. not interesting about the article?

There are several parts that the article gets too wordy and technical, making the examples difficult to understand. Perhaps my lack of knowledge in these specific areas made these parts less interesting.

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

That through distributed cognition, we can evolve the use of computers into something greater. We've seen that computers, the way they are today, are powerful tools that can act as aides to our brains. But if we move away from the "trusty sidekick" mentality into a more distributed foundation, we can accomplish even greater goals.

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

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

The simple example is today's standard PC, one designed to help an individual. For instance, the display/keyboard/mouse setup is typical for any single user to interact with a single computer.

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

I would say they're still relavity new, meaning they aren't yet common in the public domain. I think many steps have been taken since this article was written to move towards the goal of distributed cognition, but at this moment the personal computer is still the dominant form of HCI. It will probably take several more years before distributed cognition technology is widespread because everyone is so locked into the way computers are used now.

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?

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: http://l3d.cs.colorado.edu/clever/index.html by activating the link “Load Flash Movie”

Here, the computer technology was used to "mediate" the interaction between individuals. Obviously, the individuals with cognitive disabilities couldn't use a laptop in the way other users would. Thus, by using technology to distribute the cognitive load, we can help individuals unable to use PC technology in the typical way. This is a particularly good example of "new foundations" because it shows a flaw in standard PC technology that can still be solved if we are more creative in how we design our technology.

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?

It seems to say that by creating new technologies (eyeglasses), we can improve our current state (poor eyesight). More specifically, current computing interactions are good, but they have flaws (as demonstrated in question 4). By implementing distributed cognition technology (eyeglasses) over our existing current state, we can take a much larger step in improving technology in general.

5.2. do you agree with the quote?

I would agree because the quote in no way demeans the way HCI currently is. Improvement in software for current HCI systems (single user/single PC) is still necessary. At the same time, if we think outside the box and build techologies around what we already have, we may be able to improve it on a much larger scale.