Multi perspective view to affordances of tools

June 5, 2008

Today at master defences commission i played a bit with my data collected from students’ course.
Here is the demo tool to play with your dataset:

The formation of learning spaces happens through the social definition of several learning and teaching related environmental gradients that define the niche as the multidimensional space. In general, any gradient is a peak of the fitness landscape of one environmental characteristic, which can be visualized in two-dimensional space as a graph with certain skewness and width, determining the ecological amplitude. The shape of the fitness graph for certain characteristic can be plotted through the abundance of certain specimen benefitting of this characteristic. Each niche gradient defines one dimension of the space. Any learning and teaching gradient is determined as a characteristic that learners and teachers as creative knowledge constructing organisms perceive and actualize as useful for their activities and wellbeing individually or in groups. These niches gradients that make up learning and teaching spaces may be ecologically named learning affordances of the space – they are defined mutually in interaction both by the learner and the surrounding system.

Niche gradients emerge in the course of the embodied simulation processes of several individuals. Both the environmental cues and activity traces from surrounding environment, as well as, learner’s embodied knowledge involving the use of this environment in action, would trigger the actualization of certain learning affordances.

The activity system model provides a meaningful framework for describing the components of the surrounding environment where the learners and teachers are embodied during their activities. These involve individuals with certain objectives aiming to work together and defining certain rules and roles within their community when using tools and artifacts as mediators of their actions. Hence, the learning affordance descriptions involve the learning action verbs, people who are involved in action, and mediators of actions (various tools, services and artifacts). Any individual conceptualizes learning affordances personally, but the range of similar learning affordance conceptualizations may be clustered into more general affordance groups eg. pulling social awareness information or searching artifacts by social filtering etc.

Since in the learning design models the choice of the software tools plays an important role, niches may be defined by the frequency each learning affordance is perceived useful when making use of the certain tool.

The most useful affordances of each tool are demonstrated at upper right corner.

Here are the affordances of blog and wiki.

Affordances of social bookmarks and google search engine

Affordances of chat and aggregator


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