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Research Assisgnment

Research Assisgnment

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Published by: kstooshnov on Dec 15, 2012
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Kyle Stooshnov57133084Research Assignment:Wikivygotsky: How a New Word Leads to New KnowledgeIn 1994, acclaimed filmmaker James Cameron reportedly took two weeks to write an 80-pagescriptment of what was to become his most recent box office success,
 Avatar.
Ten yearsprior, he had coined the term
scriptment 
, a portmanteau of the word script and treatment,when working a film adaptation of the Spider-Man comic series. His plans for 
 Avatar 
were tobegin filming in 1997, once he had wrapped up production on his award-winning film,
Titanic 
.While the production didn’t start until much later, owing to the filmmaker’s demands for moreinnovative technology in order to tell his story, the 80-page
 Avatar 
scriptment was leakedonto the Internet during pre-production, thus bringing the term scriptment into public attention.(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scriptment#Origin) While there is much to learn from thetechnologically ground-breaking 2009 movie, the coining of this portmanteau plays asignificant part in the growth of the Internet as a cultural artifact for information andcommunication. As word of the next big project for James Cameron spread across the globe,starting with fans of the filmmaker’s work and fanning out to others with interests in box officeblockbusters, the actual word scriptment just as quickly became adopted into the collectiveconsciousness. This paper will make use of this production as an example of the Internetculture and the changes it has brought not only to Hollywood films, but the fields of socio-cultural psychology and modern pedagogy, particularly how ideas defined take on a life of their own due to the technological tools.1
 
Seventy years prior to the above event, in an entirely different world from the cultural capitalof Hollywood, a great scientific contribution was achieved when Lev S. Vygotsky began topublish his psychological findings. His main theories were concerned with the cognitivedevelopment through cultural mediation, or tools as they are often translated from the originalRussian. He furthered the field of developmental psychology by investigating the “conceptsand the language that infuses and instruments them” (Bruner, 1961, p. ix) especiallyinvestigating children’s acquisition of language. One important step forward is hisunderstanding of inner speech as a child’s tool for understanding unfamiliar concepts, as hedescribes it as “thinking in pure meaning… a dynamic, shifting, unstable thing, flutteringbetween word and thought” (Vygotsky, 1964, p. 149) later to be internalizes as thinking.Cultural mediation occurs through this process of internalization, inspired by the actions andspeech of adults and other children who model behaviour to be adopted by the child.In 1934 Vygotsky died of tuberculosis, and two years later his writings were banned by theCommunist Party. Western counties would not become familiar with his cultural-historicaltheories for another couple of decades but in 1936, a German inventor named Konrad Zusestarted building “the first electrical binary programmable computer.” Zuse’s invention, the Z1,was the world’s first computer, and was constructed in his parents’ apartment. Within a year,Iowa State College professor John Vincent Atanasoff and his graduate student Cliff Berrycollaborated on the first “digital computer” known as the Atanasoff-Berry Computer 2
 
st
, 2010). It would bedifficult to prove that Vygotsky’s work directly inspired these technological achievements, yetthere is the accepted tradition in the scientific community that one contribution in the fields of science and technology “raises the water level” (Suzuki in Gunnarson’s
Force of Nature
,2010) for others to draw from their own ideas and inventions. As the scientist David Suzukifurther points out in the documentary
Force of Nature
, his study of fruit flies could just aseasily helped develop a weapon of mass destruction, in a more positive way, Vygotsky’sdiscussion of tools and cultural mediation may have brought about the computer. For bothcommunication and information technology, just as much as it has become for educationaltechnology, computers and the Internet are allowing people to expand the way things aredone.One example of this expansion comes from more recent times. At the start of the 21
st
Century, and organization called New Paradigm began to investigate the Internet’s impact onbusinesses “to understand how the new Web (sometimes called the Web 2.0) changes thecorporation and how companies innovate, build relationships, market and compete.”(Tapscott & Williams, 2006, p. 2) Don Tapscott, the Toronto-based founder and chief executive of New Paradigm, began to collaborate with research director Anthony D. Williams,based in London, England, on a book to describe these changes.In the process, we, as authors, learned something about3

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