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Assignment 3, Phong

Briefly discuss the following issues for the paper that you have read:

1. what did you find

1.1. interesting about the article? What I found most interesting about this article is the application of the design and collaboration principles that you have been talking about in class applied to a system intended for use to solve pressing problems. Although I understand the principles advocated, such as "transcending the human minds" or "symmetry of ignorance", intellectually, hearing how you applied them and the choices that you made were the most interesting portions of this paper. Specifically I particular appreciate the nuanced use of a tactile user interfaces (i.e. the blocks) and how these blocks serve as boundary objects to mediate between the "symmetry of ignorance" between those with different expertise. I also like the description of "breakdown" events as opportunities for reflection; especially since I've been conditioned to think of breakdowns as bad things.

1.2. not interesting about the article? What was hard for me to visualize in my mind is the interaction between the table and the reflection space. I understand the portion of filling the survey when new information is added to the table. What I still don't have visually is how textual information is added to the reflection space during a design session. I would assume that there is a keyboard that someone then take turn to type in? Perhaps that would be clear when we see EDC in action this afternoon.

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

The main point I took away from the article is that true collaboration, and especially technology mediated and enabled collaboration, is a new beast. And that we are at a tipping point in having enough use of information technology to envision being to accomplish more by using the technology in different ways. Specifically using it to amplify our collective power of the mind. I also took away the principles that EDC is based upon. I find that these principles are useful as a potential developer of these types of systems.

3. are themes discussed in the article which you would like to know more about?

In the future work section you had discussed the use of EDC in actual work situations and indicated that the analysis of conversational interaction might offer some good tools and perspective. One of the facet that I would be really curious to know about is the group dynamic involved during a planning session. The discussion of these topics, such as transportation planning, is often situated in a political context. And during these discussion group often bring in personal and political histories, past interactions, and some may come with specific desired outcome. This subtext is nothing new. The question is how does EDC affect these dynamics? Does it, and the collaborative planning process espoused by the paper, help to hold some of these "dynamics" in check? Or does it help people to work through some of these potential deal breakers? I would have like to know in a different article perhaps some of these dynamics? Does it reduce the penchant for group think?

4. what did you find interesting about the “EDC” system?

As I indicated in a different answer the nice integration between tactile and traditional way of interacting with a computational environment. But beyond that I also like the idea of an open, evolvable system, and the idea of reseeding in action.

5. do you know of other papers, ideas, and systems which are closely related to the article and the “EDC” system? I don't know enough about this area so nothing comes to mind.

6. what do the article and the associated system say about

6.1. design. That design is foremost an iterative process. Design need to be increasingly interdisciplinary and increasingly with group of people. But how does it group work affect end-product unity (Fred Brooks' idea of design consistency)? But this might be another discussion.

6.2. learning. That learning requires a strong dose of engagement. Perhaps one of the required ingredient for any learning system is the ability to rouse the learner from the habit of a broadcast medium (e.g. being delivered info such as television) into active engagement. And that perhaps an additional dimension of learning is the ability to understand and use tools from beyond your own background: the acquisition of new tools.

6.3. collaboration. Collaboration is foremost is getting folks to speak a common language. And that common language may not be verbal or textual. That is the best way for collaboration may be to ensure that parties collectively build together a new language to ensure that everyone feels that no one has an advantage (by already knowing a language well). Thus if everyone trust that the common language itself is "neutral" then they may place more trust upon the common design process.

6.4. innovative media to support these activities? Innovative media needs to support the process underlying these activities. However, the medium (i.e. these innovative media) also subtly changes the process and if used judiciously will enhance the process.

7. do you have any ideas how this research could / should be extended (based on your own knowledge and experience)? Nothing comes at the moment. I'd like to see it action first.

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