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Flashcards in Distributed Cognition Deck (20)
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1

Contextual Theories (the "cognitions")

- Situated Cognition: Knowledge is situated within authentic activity, context, and culture
- Distributed Cognition: Knowledge is distributed across objects, individuals, artifacts, and tools
- Embodied Cognition: All aspects of cognition are shaped by the body

2

Roy Pea and Intelligence

- Often distributed by off-loading what could be elaborate
- Error-prone mental reasoning processes as action constraints of either physical or symbolic environments
- The 'mind' rarely works alone
- The intelligences revealed through these practices [of cognition] are distributed- across minds, persons, and teh symbolic and physical environments, both natural and artificial"

3

Judith Heerwagen on 'distributed cognition'

"We can think of ourselves/tools/collegues/toys/stories/Post-It notes/Piles of files as distributed cognition systems"

4

Distributed Cognition: Defined

- Distributed Cognition: A theory of learning in which cognition is distributed across people, tools, time and space
- From this viewpoint, cognition and intelligence occur "beyond the confines of the head"

5

Distributed Cognition: Historical Perspective

- Distributed Cognition emerged out of constructivist viewpoints that learning happens socially
- So heavily influenced by Vygotsky

- Still, many learning theories focus on intelligence as solely an attribute of the individual

- Distributed Cognition rejects this isolationist view of intelligence
- Instead, intellegence is manifested in activity
- Intelligence occurs beyond the confines of our head

6

How is Cognition Distributed?

- Across materials (tools and cognitive artifacts): - - They contain the intelligences of their designers within the
- They can augment intelligence
- But they can also shape and constrain thinking, so there are trade-offs

- Across people: Groups can accomplish more than any one person

- Across time:
- What we learn before impacts what we known now
- The knowledge of our predecessors is contained in the tools we use

- Across space:
- We access spaces, particularly in our on/offline worlds

7

Examples of DCog

- Externalizing to reduce memory load
- Diaries, reminders, calendars, notes, lists
- Post-its, piles, marked/flagged emails
- Pen and paper

8

Examples of DCog

- Externalizing to reduce memory load
- Diaries, reminders, calendars, notes, lists
- Post-its, piles, marked/flagged emails
- Pen and paper

- Modifying existing representations
- Crossing off, underlining, highlighting

- Externally manipulating into items into different structures
- Playing Scrabble, organizing cards in your hand

9

Pea and Distributed Cognition

"Education often results in making far too many people look 'dumb' because they are not allowed to use resources, whereas outside of education we all use resources"

10

Cognitive Artifacts

- Tools that mediate thinking

- Contain the intelligence of their designers within them

- They can augment intelligence

- Can also shape and constrain thinking, so there are trade-offs

- How things are designed and represented matters for thinking and learning
- Representations need to be tailored to purpose, person and task

- Human-made devices constructed to enhance cognition
- They allow us to engage in "higher-order" thinking

- Examples: The tools Hutchins observed during naval navigation

11

Cognitive Artifacts Examples

- Externalizing to reduce memory load:
- Diaries, reminders, calendars, notes, lists
- Post-its, piles, marked/flagged emails
- Pen and paper

- Modifying existing representations:
- Crossing off, underlining, highlighting

- Externally manipulating items into different structures:
- Playing Scrabble, organizing cards in your hand

12

Affordances

- The perceived and actual properties of the things, primarily those fundamental properties that determine just how the thing could possibly be used

- Provide strong clues to the operations of things

- When affordances are taken advantage of, the user knows what to do just by looking; no picture, label, or instruction needed

- Ex. Plates for pushing, Knobs for turning, Slots for inserting, Balls for throwing

13

Affordances

- Tools have affordances, or clues about how to use them

- Affordances depend on the current context and the goal

- Objects thus carry intelligence "in" them

14

Constraints

- Tools also have constraints, or characteristics that prevent us from using them in certain ways

- When creating tools, designers make choices that structure those tools in certain ways
- Those choices may limit the way we think about tools, or the way we use them

15

What is a representation?

- Representations are an abstraction of a real thing or event

16

Representations as Cognitive Artifacts

- Representations are an abstraction of a real things or event
- They are one type of cognitive artifact
- They all have different affordances and constraints, as a result of design decisions

- Strong representations can facilitate understanding, and poor representations can hinder understanding

17

Representation and Design Principles

- Naturalness Principle: Increase the mapping between the real things and the representation (ex. if making a map, make symbols look as much like the real things as possible)

- Perceptual Principle: Use spatial and perceptual representations (ex. graph vs. tables with numbers)

18

Good Representations

- Turn a problem into an experiential task, not a reflective one (Ex: Comparing flights)

- Capture only essential elements of the event or things
- Leaves out unimportant, unnecessary information

- Address the needs of the person using the representation
- Easy to interpret

- Are appropriate for the task at hand
- Help people make judgments, as well as find important patterns and structures

19

Distributed Cognition: In Summary

- Cognition, learning and intelligence are not simply "in the brain"

- Cognition is spread out across people, time, tools, and places

- Cognitive Artifacts can facilitate or hinder our ability to think, problem solve, and learn

- Representations are one type of cognitive artifact
- How they are designed and used influences our thinking

20

DC Terms and Ideas

- Affordances: Clues about how to use tools (depend on the current context and the goal)

- Constraints: Characteristics that prevent us from using tools in certain ways

- When creating tools, designers make choices that structure those tools in certain ways
- Those choices may limit the way we think about tools, or the way we use them

- How things are designed and represented matters for thinking and learning