Activity Theory in 20 slides
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Activity Theory in 20 slides



[First Draft] of a presentation on Activity Theory.

[First Draft] of a presentation on Activity Theory.

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  • Acting with Technology: Activity Theory and Interaction Design <br /> <br />
  • Most people go to Daytona for Spring Break <br /> <br /> I read this book on Activity Theory <br /> Activity theory gives you an Framework and some analytical tools for thinking about Web Development in a broader perspective <br /> <br /> Previous sentence suggest is was wize I didn&#x2019;t go to Daytona Beach for spring break <br /> <br />
  • Web Science tells us people are part of the equation <br /> Psychology and other external sources are ripe. <br /> We tend to focus too much on code and features. <br /> We need a theory for understanding Social and Sensors. <br /> I think Activity Theory can be useful in guiding one&apos;s focus <br /> <br /> It&apos;s so easy to get lost in a single tool, but 21C centruary web development is about people, sensors, and a bigger picture. <br /> <br /> <br /> <br />
  • The main advantage of activity theory is in determining which components and functionalities the system should provide. <br /> It stresses big picture thinking. <br /> After reading this book and thinking from an Activity Theory perspective, I was left with some pretty trippy metaphysics. <br /> Theory is easier to grok from a historical perspective. <br />
  • Lev Vygotsky created the field of Educational Psychology during his 10 years career, not to shabby. Died of tuberculosis at 37. <br /> <br /> We learn from each other. All inventions and discoveries are pregnant in society before they are internalized by the individual. Story telling like the Wright brothers inventing flight are critical to learning and communication, but aren&#x2019;t accurate records of history. <br /> <br /> Scott Berkun &#x201C;The Myths of Innovation&#x201D; <br /> <br /> Photo: <br />
  • You can measure someone&#x2019;s current proficiency and grade them <br /> But a missing piece is to measure someone&#x2019;s proficiency against material beyond their reach with the support of peers and mentors <br /> <br /> This leads to the Constructivist educational system, Alan Kay, and Object-Oriented Programming, the Laptop, and other important things from the 70&apos;s. <br />
  • Leontiev studied under Vygotsky. <br /> Aleksei Leontiev systematically studied the evolution of the human psyche. <br /> What is reality? What is life? In Reality there is only activity. There is only needs, motives, and a subject using objects. <br /> Photo: <br />
  • Subjects are alive and fulfill biological or cultural needs through physical or constructed objects. <br /> The psudeopod may have less complexity than Susan Blackmore, but they are both &#x201C;alive&#x201D;. <br /> There is no magic sauce added that makes humans &#x201C;intelligent&#x201D;. It&#x2019;s a natural pile-on of complexity that adds more and more Agency to the Subject. <br /> In this way, objects such as memes are as real as sea sponges. <br /> Photos: <br /> <br /> <br />
  • Phew we&apos;ve made it to the 80&apos;s. SO diagram -> expanded <br /> Yrjo Engestr&#xF6;m into this triange. <br /> It&#x2019;s like Dayona Beach... for your mind. <br /> Engestrom stressed the context of activity. When creating web applications, we need to think broadly and look at organizational, cultural, and external technical factors. <br /> <br /> Photo: <br />
  • Development - Research must be conducted against a moving target (web analytics) <br /> Internal - External is along two scales. <br /> Social (individual verses collective), Physical (internal versus external) and <br /> Let&apos;s drill down on the concepts on the right <br /> <br /> <br /> <br />
  • AT breaks down Activity into these hierarchical layers Goals, Tasks, and Operations. <br /> A subject has many goals, some conflicting <br /> An activity may serve many goals <br /> Tasks may have sub-tasks <br /> A task may have many operations <br /> Operations are tiny, insignificant automatic actions such as creating a new text file. Or &#x201C;liking&#x201D; something, etc. <br />
  • Agency - Subjects have Agency. It&#x2019;s a sliding scale from Chess AI to Fish to Humans <br /> <br /> Activity does not exist without Objects <br /> Example using the Firefox web browser&#x2019;s AwesomeBar feature: <br /> Construction - Initially conceptualized, imagined, discussed, and then realized <br /> Instantiation - Now routinely used when you type in the address bar <br /> Linking - often referenced when constructing new Firefox Objects - &#x201C;Imagine a feature like the Awesome Bar, but for your Address Book Contacts&#x201D; <br />
  • Average driver is in a NASCAR like state of flow. When you were first learning, you had to put all your attention into the gear stick to shift. When you rent a car and it has a funky shifter, you&#x2019;ll need to temporarily divert your attention to shift. <br /> <br /> Internalization is learning and improves efficiency <br />
  • Although internalization makes an individual incredible efficient, going the other way is important too. Maybe you are better than anyone you know at a JavaScript technique. By documenting it, you&#x2019;ll help advance the community and heck, maybe you&#x2019;ll go down in history as the inventor (AJAX) <br />
  • Another idea in Activity theory is the connectedness of people and things which combine like Voltron to create a new organ. <br /> <br /> Add-ons are real. No I mean really real! <br />
  • Activity Theory explains why some social networks rule and others fall down. Flickr provides rich tools, objects, and roles such as Curation. <br /> <br /> Jyri Engstrom, son of Yrjo Engstrom and creater of Jaiku talks about SocialObjects and why Linkedin has weak objects. A social graph alone is pointless. <br />
  • Kaptelinin (1999). Methods & tools: The activity checklist: a tool for representing the space" of context. interactions, 6(4):27-39. <br />
  • When using the Activity Checklist and your new Activity Theory perspective, these are some strategies you might apply to a web application. <br /> <br /> Activity Theory is not a black and white set of rules, but a framework for understanding. <br />
  • 2 slides left, so here are some Meta-Physics <br /> <br /> Empirical research is embedded in Activity. <br /> Wood is softer than my axe. Marble is harder than my axe. Axe - a tool with thousands of years of understanding encoded into it&#x2019;s physical shape and cultural meaning. <br /> <br /> In a literal sense, your text editor is part of you. <br /> <br /> Although empirical research is &#x201C;objective&#x201D; it&#x2019;s still relative to objects which are themselves subject to development, are only used because they motivate us. Which parts of reality are we blind to, because they are of no use to us? <br />
  • 420 BRO - A little more brain candy to hook you on Activity Theory <br /> Language and tools are the crystallization of activity. <br /> All life is just activity <br /> Use the AT triange to broaden your mental landscape when hacking the web. <br />
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Activity Theory in 20 slides Activity Theory in 20 slides Presentation Transcript

  • Activity Theory in 20 Slides Search
  • State of the Web Software in 21C Data + Algorithms + People Code and Features -> Think Bigger It’s all Social and Sensors
  • What’s the Point Gathering Requirements from a Humanistic POV Activity Theory doesn’t replace UI Design Computer Science Industrial Design Suggests trippy Metaphysics
  • Noone has ever invented anything ?!? All higher mental functions appear first on the interpsychological plane and then on the intrapsychological plane. Lev Vygotsky (1896-1934) because it’s social first, then individual.
  • The Zone of Proximal Development The distance between the actual developmental level as determined by independent problem solving and the level of potential development as determined through problem solving under adult guidance, or in collaboration with more capable peers. No Child Left Behind to take a test Alone
  • Life = Activity Subject Object Aleksei Leontiev 1978 Aleksey Leontiev (1904-1979) sat down and tried to document the evolution of the human mind. Woah. In Soviet Russia, Theory Activates You
  • Subject has needs Objects provide motives Subject Object Biological Needs Food Object Cultural Needs to understand Memes Object
  • Activity in Context Tools Subject Object Outcome Roles (and rules) Community Division of Labor Yrjö Engeström 1987
  • Activity Theory is... [Arrested] Development Activities are Hierarchical Interpsychological vs Agency Intrapsychological Object-Oriented Mental processes vs Internal vs External External Behavior Mediation (Functinal Organs)
  • Elements of Activity Level Element Execution Example Improve High Level Goal Intentional Firefox Create Task Intentional AwesomeBar Low Level Operation Automatic New IDL
  • Actors have Agency •Power over objects •Attraction to objects Objects have a Lifecycle Construction Instantiation Object Linking
  • External <--> Internal (Learning) Tools mediate reality to accomplish Goals This becomes internalized enough to be considered an action This becomes internalized so far that it’s an operation Shifting Gears Student Driver New Car Average Driver Goal Task Operation
  • Internal <--> External (repair) Externalization of operations helps others learn Online Help API Documentation Blog Posts Tutorials Automated Tests
  • Mediation/Functional Organs Any temporary combination of internal and external forces which is capable of attaining a definite end Eyeglasses Text Editors Add-ons Continuos Integration Env Schemas Programming Languages CrashKill team
  • Activity Theory describes Social Networks It’s bigger than CODE Tools Roles Rules Subject Object Outcome Community Roles (and rules) Community Division of Labor Open/Generative
  • Webapp Checklist Activity Checklist is a useful analytical tool List of questions in 4 categories Means/Ends Environment/Object Orientedness Learning/Cognition Development (of application)
  • Drive requirements from User Goals Allow for reuse with other sites/tools Allow users to capture goals and tasks into a visual representation to aid their memory App terminology should mirror user’s mental model of the Activity Be inherently social, allowing for subjects, roles, rules, and objects Be generative instead of prescriptive Take resistance to technology changes into account
  • Trippy Metaphysics The Border between the mind and the physical world is not closed
  • Trippy Metaphysics (cont) The Mind is a stream of social artifacts, each artifact is constructed between people acting in the world and then gradually internalized until it is indistinguishable from the mind Reality is a consensual hallucination built out of thousands of years of Activity. Each perception of reality is unique, but neither accurate or necessary for the existence of external reality
  • Activity Theory in 20 Slides конец