How to write an affordance description?February 1, 2007
Today i got an idea that to be able to write down the pedagogical affordances of social software, we need the affordance-writing rules.
Affordances are not objective properties of the software. Rather they are properties that are relative and dependent of the subjects who perform some activities with the tools or artifacts that support them to realise their objectives.
Gibson (1977) distinguishes between the affordances of the environment and the effectivities of the subjects. The relationship of the subject with certain effectivities performing some actions in this environment with some tools or artifacts, and the environment with certain affordances enables each person to perceive a unique set of affordances related to the environment. The perception of affordances is dynamically changing during the activity.
Gibson, J.J. (1977). The theory of affordances. In R. Shaw & J. Bransford (eds.), Perceiving, Acting and Knowing. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
Thus, the three imoprtant elements of affordance description are:
SUBJECT (effectivities e.g. objectives what to do);
ACTIVITY, ACTION; OPERATION (how to realise objectives);
MEDIATOR (ENVIRONMENT, TOOL, ARTIFACT) (affordances e.g. properties that support/hinder to reach the objectives through certain actions).
Earlier i have referred to one great article about affordances in this blog:
Recently i made some attempts to intuitively describe the pedagogical affordances of social software functions. I stumbled into the fuzzy set of soft ontology of pedagogical affordances. Initially i believed that these affordance descriptions might be decreased into specific categories. However, my trial failed quite soon realising that i need certain canonical way how to write down the descriptions..a set of affordance rules.
Now my conclusion is that affordance description should involve AT LEAST 2 OR 3 components:
ACTION VERB; SUBJECT NOUN – e.g. TRACK_PERSON; CONNECT_COMMUNITY
ACTION VERB; ARTIFACT NOUN – e.g. COMMENT_ARTIFACT
ACTION VERB; SUBJECT NOUN; ARTIFACT NOUN – e.g. REUSE_COMMUNITY_ARTIFACT
ACTION VERB; SUBJECT NOUN; SUBJECT ADJECTIVE – e.g. REFLECT_COMMUNITY_MEANING
ACTION VERB; ARTIFACT NOUN, ARTIFACT ADJECTIVE – e.g. SHARE_AGGREGATED_ARTIFACT
ACTION VERB; ACTIVITY NOUN – e.g. CAPTURE_LECTURE; RECORD_BRAINSTORMING
ACTION VERB, ACTIVITY NOUN, ACTIVITY ADJECTIVE (SUBJECT OR ARTIFACT RELATED PROPERTY) – e.g. PRESENT_LECTURE_ONE’TO’MANY; REGULATE_AUHENTIC_PROBLEM’SOLVING
Next, I am presenting the list of affordances:
Social bookmarking, tagging, folksonomies, tagclouds
same with monitor, analyse, assess, report, illustrate
Each pedagogical design exploits specific pedagogical affordances of the system.
For instance; Martin’s tagging and tagcloud activity is built upon some of the pedagogical affordances listed above.