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ETEC 512 Thought Question

ETEC 512 Thought Question

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Thought Question 3 – Group Response Activity Theory is the most comprehensive method for studying learning in context, putting

the emphasis on our actions. The theory considers all four constituent elements – object, subjects, actions and operations. Actions are goal-oriented processes and behind the object there is an instrumental driver in the learning process. AT discusses how “the activity itself is the context” (Nardi, 1995) and in Distributed Cognition the context is the actual environment, culture and people. In AT context is not just external – people purposely and consciously create contexts (activities). Both AT and DC recognize that activity has to be structured by motives and goals; however, in AT, the object motivating the activity is driven by human consciousness. The learner is the “central force in defining activity” and sees that activity and consciousness are “mutually supportive”. The transformational process of people participating in actions, then gaining knowledge while affecting their actions and changing their knowledge is central to the AT perception of learning (Jonassen & Rohrer-Murphy, 1999). Thus, it is difficult to rule out the role of consciousness and its influence on structuring purposeful activity. A key learning from our recent group presentation on Constructivism, is the need to understand and clarify what the goal is and how it will be achieved. Each of us "will read the literature with other eyes, and assimilate [[appropriate]] it in a different way." (Tolman, 1988) Our various readings of the same material do not elicit the same response, but a plurality of opinions on education supports the activity of studying. People are capable of performing operations at a conscious level and controlling artifacts to serve their goals. AT provides the most comprehensive and useful way of studying learning in context, as Nardi asserts "you are what you do" (Nardi, 1996) whether studying, learning or deep-powder skiing. References: Jonassen, D. & Rohrer-Murphy L. “Activity theory as a framework for designing constructivist learning environment.” Educational Technology, Research and Development; 47, 1; Research Library p. 61. (1999). Retrieved from: http://faculty.soe.syr.edu/takoszal/IDE800-Adv-ID-andET/IDE850_sp06/additional_readings/Jonasson_Murphy_Activity-Theory-todesign-constructivists-learning-environments.pdf Nardi, B. A. “Studying Context: A comparison of activity theory, situated action models, and distrubuted cognition.” In B. A. Nardi (ed.) Context and Consciousness: Activity Theory and Human-Computer Interaction (pp. 35-52). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press (1995). Retrieved from:

http://www.ics.uci.edu/~corps/phaseii/nardi-ch4.pdf ---. “Concepts of Cognition and Consciousness: Four Voices.” Australian Journal of Information Systems. Vol 4, No 1 (1996). Retrieved from http://dl.acs.org.au/index.php/ajis/article/view/377/343 Tolman, C. W. “The basic vocabulary of Activity Theory.” Activity Theory, 1, 14-20 (1988b). Retrieved from at: http://www.comnet.ca/~pballan/AT2.htm

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