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Monday, December 05, 2011

History of use 



I looked in the mirror this morning, saw my face, and thought well there's the history of use. That's after more than 20 hours of flying; so it's not surprising. But the phrase a 'history of use' comes from a paper on distributed cognition that I've been revisiting. It's by Hollan, Hutchins & Kirsh (2000) and it occurs to me that I may use it while I'm down here in Australia, not because of the history of use, but because it connects with Ihde's idea of human and technology as an active-realtional pair, as well as elements of practice theory, and even parts of actor network theory. In particular I like the idea that '...just like a blind person's cane...so well-designed work materials become integrated into the way people think, see and control activities (178)'. The blind person's cane is, I think an allusion to Heidegg
er. But as well as this, I like the observation that 'the environment people are embedded in is a reservoir of resources for learning, problem-solving, and reasoning.' (178). It's a thought-provoking article, a good example of psychologists moving away from their fixation with individuals - and that's all before you get to the history of use bit!

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