Feb 10

Design and Diffusion: Norman and Rogers (Team 3 Reflection)

This week we are experimenting with a different format for the post. Follow this link for the slideshow.

Feb 10

Team 2– 2nd post on design

Video1:MAYA’s Human-Centered Design Practice

This video supports what we read in
“Psychopathology of Everyday Things”, which argues that a good design
should include several elements
Things are visible, understandable, single function and good feedback.
A good conceptual model is made obvious and effective use of
affordances and constraints, allowing us to predict the effects of our
action. In both articles, they mention that innovation should be
examined under social system with several stages of trial and error for
an ultimately user-friendly purpose. It is related to what the video
mentions “human-centered.”

  In our daily life, there are some devices made from designer’s special consideration, but sometimes the special part will confuse consumers a lot. For
example, there is a revolving door at the library, and we can not
figure out the purpose of that door, for slow down steps? for fun? or
other purposes? Norman has raised a question that why do we as
consumers put up with these complicated designs that lead to more
headaches than they solve?
Is this because the complex design of the tool we are using makes us look like we are intelligent?

Video2:The future of design is human-centered

(This video is a little bit long,about 18 minutes. You can see some
fantastic designs, but not for everyday things, and may think about if
they are useful and really customer-centered. )

In relationg this to classroom, we could think about two questions:
1. How a classroom should be designed?
Could a more comfortable learning environment promote learning? Can we
have more ergonomic classroom designs? Does it somewhat fit into
Maslow’s two basic needs- physiological and safety needs? There is a
pie chart as reference that even colors also influence students

2. How the material (e.g. lesson plan, worksheet, activity, etc.) used could enhance student learning?
- Is material design similar to everyday things design? Whose needs should be taken care? What components should be considered and could be related to our articles?

Feb 10

Team 1: Design Response #2

Team 1 Response – Design
For this week’s submission, we created a Webspiration map. It looks great, but there is one problem – publishing it is cumbersome and unclear (bad design!).
To view our map without the notes/links enabled: Team 1 map
To view our full map, go to: Webspiration
and type in the following:
username: team 1 guest
password: team1guest
Go to Launch Webspiration – then to Recently Opened
You will get a message that says that you are just a viewer – click okay and then you can scroll around to see our map.
To see the text associated with our map, see below!
Elements of design
-Users need to be able to see what their options are and perceive what the outcomes of their actions will be. To do so, there should be a visible structure and clue which “indicates what parts operate and how the user is to interact with the device” (Norman, 1990, p. 8). Norman’s door example illustrates that the designer should provide signals for users to recognize the operation of the object in a visual way.
See our bad design section below to view a counter example.
-Users receive immediate information about what action has been done and its result. By receiving feedback, users can tell that they are operating in an appropriate and proper way.
-When they don’t receive feedback, users are left wondering if they accomplished what it was that they wanted to accomplish. The lack of immediate feedback makes it impossible to interpret the perceived actions of the device. Lack of feedback also prevents users from correcting/modifying their actions for future use.
-Mapping is the relationship between two things: what you want to do and what appears to be possible. In order to accomplish good design, those relationships should be natural and intuitive. The relationship between controls and actions need to be apparent to the user.
-If mapping is visible, clearly related to the desired outcome, and provides immediate feedback, it will be easily learned and remembered (Norman, 1990).
Conceptual models
- In the description of his refrigerator, Norman introduces what often presents a hurdle to understanding design: lack of clear conceptual model. The directions for the thermostat of a refrigerator were easier than the actual process of using the thermostat. This concept relates to Argyris’ Theories of Action. The contradiction of theory of action versus the theory in use, which establishes the difference between how something is justified/explained and what is actually going on (Argyris 1957, 1962, 1964).
-In educational research, we experience Theories of Action when interviewing subjects for a study, for example teachers. The way they might describe their teaching might be vastly different than what we observe when we are in their classroom. This contradiction problematizes our study, just like it problematizes operating the refrigerator thermostat.
-Apple products are often considered well-designed because their conceptual models allow them to contain visible clues to their operation. We can easily predict the effects of our actions when using these products.
Good Design
Examples of good design
An example of user-friendly design
Does this count as good design?
Bad Design
-Bad design perpetuates when useless/confusing things become reified and remain as part of the design despite their problems. For example, the “R” button on Don Norman’s phone at the Applied Psychology Unit in Cambridge (p. 21). The designer of the phone could not even explain what it was there for.
Examples of bad design
Yikes! Click here for a Subaru cup holder debacle

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-An innovation is an idea, practice, or object that is perceived as new by an individual or other unit of adoption. An innovation does not actually have to be something that is new to everyone, but rather if an idea seems new to the individual it is an innovation.
-”Newness” of an innovation may be expressed in terms of knowledge, persuasion, or a decision to adopt (Rogers, p.12)
-It takes time to decide on adoption of a new innovation. Sometimes decisions are made not by individuals, but by communities.
-Questions: How might this alter the relationships among members? How does it affect individual participants?
Communication Channels
-The idea that people tend to accept innovations when they view people like them demonstrating or trying out those innovations directly relates to the psychology behind commercials. While not all commercials are promoting “new” innovations, some do. That is why, for example, new mothers are depicted on new diaper commercials. How does the idea of homophily relate to our understanding of participants/members of a community?
-Are we more likely to accept innovations that are communicated to us through our established communities because of the homophily that exists? Do we think that if it works for someone who is similar to ourselves then it will work for us as well?
-How does the notion of “if it works for someone else it may work for me” fit into our own identity?
Social System
-Is a social system the same thing as community? Or are new designs accepted differently in the social system as a whole rather than in individual communities?
-What may be accepted as a new design in a certain community may be rejected by the social system as a whole because it is not acceptable to the system. There may be certain communities that deviate from the social system on a minor scale but what is accepted as a design in the community may be different than what is accepted as design in the social system.
-Maybe communities would be the “units” of the social system that Rogers mentions (p. 23 – 24).
-Motivation for students is an important issue, one that is inherently wrapped up in the design of classroom activities. If directions are clear and the activity makes sense to students (aka if the conceptual models are clear), then motivation and self-efficacy seem to increase provided that the activity is appealing to the students. In other words, if a task is “do-able”, students are more likely to engage.
-We have to make sure not to be “innovation-oriented” rather than “client-oriented” with our students. We don’t want to focus so much on the technology/innovation that we forget to take our students’ backgrounds and needs into account.
-Just as the poorly designed QWERTY keyboard has perpetuated, we often perpetuate the status quo in a system of education that is not well designed. How can we as teachers make sure that we are innovators and change agents within our education system? How do we feel when authority innovation-decisions (Rogers, p. 28-29) get handed down to us? Are we less likely to want to implement the innovation because we are now being required to do so?
-What happens if teachers do fall into the “late majority/laggards” category of adopting innovations while students are “innovators/early adopters”?
Design of Webspiration Analyzed…
-When we went to publish – ALL of the notes and links we created were no longer active!!! BAD DESIGN for sharing to a web page or blog!
-Too many thoughts/ideas = too many bubbles. There does not seem to be an easy way to keep the map from getting unwieldy and overwhelming to the user other than limiting what we choose to talk about.
-There doesn’t seem to be a way to preview what the map will look like to the final user or to preview what the user’s interactions will be like with the map.
-It was often difficult to place the linking arrows between bubbles exactly where we wanted them to be, as there was a requirement for them to attach only at specific points on the square editing area (which is only available to the editor).
-Good design was demonstrated in that it was extremely intuitive to select multiple bubbles at once (using the shift button) and change their color with just one click rather than having to change each bubble individually.
-The ability to insert hyperlinks into the map is a good function. It made it easy to insert video and other images that users could easily interact with.
- The chat function is a great one, an addition that many express need for in google docs. That said, while members can chat about their map, they are not permitted to edit the map concurrently. This provides problems, as one member has to wait for another to finish or take a break before he or she can edit.

Feb 10

Team 4 – Design

team looked at a few videos of Don Norman speaking about design.  The
below video seems very related to the Design of Everyday Things

thought the very beginning of this summed up much about design when he
says “You have to design for the people.”  The salt and pepper shaker
example shows that we have to consider what we are designing for, and
who will be using it. It doesn’t matter which one you think is
salt… it matters which one the person who filled it thinks is salt. 
The idea of WHO you’re designing for also relates to our discussions on
community.  If only one person interprets the use of an artifact (or
its affordances) in a certain way, others will either not know how to
use the artifact, or will be frustrated because it does not work the
way they expect it to (if they identify different affordances). In a
way, the community negotiates and determines what is good design. 

we negotiate meanings within our community, we are communicating with
the social system. So when we interpret the use of an artifact, we are
under influence of the social system, our community. Other members’
interpretation and norms of the community both play a role in the
process of our negotiation of meaning. If affordances cannot be visible
and compatible to the social system it is hard to diffuse in the social
system. That’s why a designer has to at least understand the social
system for his/her designs. This is proved by many famous popular
creative inventions that they are compatible to social norms, human
psychological models, or physical customs.



  • Are there social norms to help identify affordances and the meanings of those affordances(one hole and many holes)?  What are the affordances of the shakers that contribute or not contribute to the negotiation of meanings?
  • What
    are the everyday things of the learning environment?  How have they
    been optimized for their purpose?  Consider the affordances of a
    blackboard.  Its writing surface is high-contrast. It’s easy to erase.
     Chalk is cheap, and even when it breaks it still works.  It does one
    thing very well.  Now consider a “smartboard”.  Would a typical student
    know what to do without any training if a teacher called her to the
    front of the class to demonstrate a concept?  At what point do the
    affordances of such technologies actually start to counteract their
    value?  Chalk can’t change colors, but it also doesn’t run out of
    batteries.  What is the process of diffusion of such an innovation as a
    smartboard through a typical school district, and is it always
    consistent with improving learning, or are there other factors
    (prestige, etc.)?


A personal example from Yunjeong relating design and affordances to community- In
my first year of ph.d here at Penn State, I was surprised that almost
all computers in our school lab were Mac rather than pc. I feel
alienated because I didn’t have a Mac at that time and didn’t know how
to use it. Finally I got a Mac and was worried about if I could use it
well. I didn’t read any manual but I finally came to use it with ease.
Now I feel more like being a Penn State student (sounds funny though)
and belonging to this community.    

Related to learning, we thought about the conversation we had in class about a
way of teaching math. In the past, we memorized the times tables; even
if given explanations of the multiplication rules, most students just
memorized the tables.  It’s faster to see learning outcomes when a
student can correctly repeat the answer to a multiplication question
from memory.   Compared with memorization, constructivist teaching on
math takes a longer period of time to see the learning outcome. Parents
may think this is less effective to learn math so that may hope schools
could abandon this new teaching paradigm.  This could be an example of
difficulty with diffusion of the innovation because the community is
not willing to accept the change. 

Our group also talked a bit about the idea of what Norman calls the technology paradox.  In
the reading, Norman emphasizes the importance of usability, meaning a
design is for people to use. Usability is extremely important. But, of
course, aesthetics and cost are also put into consideration. Norman
calls it as technology paradox. In his later work, including “
Design: Why We Love (or Hate) Everyday Things” Norman’s studies showed
that things work “better” when they’re attractive.  More on that topic
in the following video (it’s a bit long, but you can get the general
idea by just watching a few minutes). 


paradox does not only happen in the design industry but also in
educational contexts. Take For example, in language learning, there are
a lot of language games to be used in class that can be found online.
However, not every game reinforces learning outcomes. Even those who do
not aim at having fun could turn out bringing fun to class more than
improving learning outcomes.


Questions we asked ourselves:

  • How do affordances and aesthetics interact?
  • Does a “beautiful” item appear to have more affordances? Are more affordances better?
  • How do simplicity, affordances, and aesthetics interact?

think “beauty” in educational design related to play. i.e. making a
design beautiful is akin to making it fun, and something someone would
want to “play” with. Play is a very important part of discovery. So if
we’re designing objects, tools, etc. for learning, we should ensure
that they are aesthetically pleasing (to get attention, create positive
feelings about it) and conducive to play, to ensure students are
motivated to engage with it, engage with it emotionally, and use their
creativity to discover its affordances so that the full learning
potential is realized.
we can make discovery “fun”, students are emotionally more engaged.
 Beauty (or Fun) can be related to motivation. Motivation is important
in learning that makes the learning environment more sustainable

Feb 10

Everett Rogers – “Diffusion of Innovations”

Classis on the adoption of technology broadly construed.

Diffusion of Innovations

Feb 10

Norman, “Design of Everyday Things”

Here is seminal work by Don Norman about how to design the things that we use everyday. Clearly social tools have become those types of things, so it is relevant to our consideration of design and its impact on social interactions. Like many of your readings, this is only a chapter, and thus a taste, of the whole book.

Feb 10

Class Today 02/23/2010

Today we are going to explore the relationship between identity and community in a very specific context – intellectual and creative work. To do this we will first start with you and your intellectual world and then we will try and place the academic language game into the context of the social movement around mashups, copyright and creative commons. 

My digital intellectual life:
    • Scott’s talk
    • Building searches
    • Subscribe
    • Bookmark on delicious
Video: Rip! A remix manifesto (segment)
Guiding Question:
  • Is there such a thing as shared identity?
  • How is it different than community?
  • What does it mean to be an intellectual mash-up artist?

The second half of class will focus on some of the questions that emerged from the readings and blog posts this week. Specifically:
    • Is there a “core” identity that we have that is somehow community independent? How easy is it to change your identity? 
    • Brokering is something that makes us valuable from one community to another. We are all brokers to some degree. Is one of the ways we recognize boundaries (and communities) by their reaction (interaction) to/with us around the same information (boundary objects)?
    • If we (as teacher) ask students to participate in ways that are in conflict with their “core” identity in order to become part of a community of practice is that ethical?
    • Often Wenger’s notions of communties of practice are interpreted as a theory that indicates some kind of reform of classrooms as they are not “authentic” communities of practice. If not, then what are they? 
    • [Related to the above are the issues with the apprenticeship model - teachers are not practitioners of the field they are teaching to their students, we may want students to have learnings and experiences that are in areas that they will not be direct participating members in so that they can make other civically important decisions (not all school needs to be something that students will "use" directly).]
Teams will be leading discussions on the following schedule:
  • Team 1 – March 3
  • Team 2 – March 30
  • Team 3 – April 6
  • Team 4 – April 13
Everett Rogers – Diffusion of Innovation

Feb 10

Team 3 – 2nd Group Writing on Identity

This week, we watched a YouTube video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xiV7OycDpUQ) and commented on it via various kinds of identities that we are/might be holding.

The questions are as these:

Q1. Pause at 0:02. What does the image tell you? Anything interesting, surprising, confusing, or it’s just a scene that doesn’t mean anything?

Q2. Pause at 0:18. If you were the teacher, what would you do? Why? 

Q3. Pause at 0:25. Was teacher’s reaction striking? Why or why not? If you were the parent, what would you do? Why?

Q4. Pause at 0:55. Can you guess the ending?

Q5. Pause at 0:58. Do you want to change your ending prediction? If yes, what’s it?

Q6. During watching the clip, how many identities did you take on? (e.g. nationality, ethnicity, title, position, jobs, membership of a family, a community, a society, etc.) Did they show up one at a time? Or did they show up simultaneously and somehow make you have a second thought? 


The questions were designed to seek for a more diverse conversation among the group members and, hopefully, to reflect on this week’s reading of Wenger on community.


You can’t learn just from reifications.


You can’t learn only from artifacts.


You need to learn by living in the world, by being a member of a community of practice, by participating.


Wenger argues that “the required learning takes place not so much through the reification of a curriculum as through modified forms of participation that are structured to open the practice to nonmembers” (100). Nonmembers can become members through peripheries.  ”The idea is to offer them various forms of casual but legitimate access to a practice without subjecting them to the demands of full membership. This kind of peripherality can include observation, but it can also go beyond mere observation and involve actual forms of engagement (117). Ideally, the periphery practices would grant them a chance to shift from “dismissal, neglect, or exclusion”(101) to legitimate participation to the community.


When watching the video, one of us observed that every student was looking down when the teacher lectured/instructed. This led to a thought whether those students really understood or were learning or were they “participating”?


Simply judging by the video, this is in contrast to Wegner who says that learning happens by participation.


However, taking the culture differences into consideration, we should ask ourselves this question: “What is participation?”


Here, let’s take a look at the context of the video. It is in an Asian (Japanese, to be precise.) school. In most Asian schools, the teacher is perceived as the top authority who does the most initiation for questions that are supposed to be answered with respect by students, and then the answer would be judged by the teacher again. Students’ main role in the classroom is to listen attentively and understand the lecture. Students’ silence is expected and encouraged as a sign of respect for their teachers and classmates; it may indicate students’ attentive listening and active thinking, which means that their mind is occupied by thinking that they cannot speak. Unless being expected, or ordered to speak up, students are supposed to be quiet in class, listen, and take notes. Even direct eye contact could be a signal of a challenge against the authority.


Now, are they learning through participation? Can we still see the community of practice when there’s no obvious mutual engagement, joint enterprise, and/or shared repertoire?


In a classroom, isn’t everyone, with the exception of the teacher, in the same boat? It could be assumed that all the students are part of the periphery, but the periphery of what? Of what community?  When are students asked to become part of an established community of practice?


Wenger argues that being a member of the community involves “active involvement in social enterprises” (55). However, he also argues that participation is a personal and social act, and that it can include physical, mental, and social relations. It does not make sense to argue that on one hand the activity is personal and then dictate how that personal relationship should be manifested. It is similar to telling a student to be creative and interpret a problem based on their understanding of it; then when he/she presents the final output you fail the student for not being in the way you hope. (Just as the video clip showed.) Wenger’s argument of duality of participation is recognized, but his rigid definition of participation does require a deeper reconsideration.

Another interesting finding in our discussion of the clip is that most people in our group saw “an issue (or several of them)” as a parent, a teacher, a student whereas one of us watched “a video” as an outsider, i.e. audience. Rarely had the attention paid to things other than the story itself. The video was shown to a bunch of undergraduate ESL students. Several of them guessed the ending in a very different way due to the influence of the ‘movie effects’ such as the background music (it might be a ghost story), the color tone of the video (horror movie, psycho movie), or the title of the movie (it sells something).


In this case, who is periphery in this community of viewing YouTube?


Feb 10

Team 2 – Wenger’s Office Space

Wenger’s Office Space

Feb 10

Team 4 Identity


a team our ideas about identity have been adjusted and adapted after reading
Wenger this week.  We have looked
into what it means to be part of a community and what that means for the
identity we possess in a certain situation.  Identity is formed as much by a community as it is by the
individual.  As part of our post
this week, we have proposed a few questions for which we are interested in
hearing the class’ response.

class, we have often struggled with how an individual actually becomes a part
of a community.  Gee’s examples of the “real Indian” or being
accepted as a gang member highlight the idea of boundaries that Wenger
explicates.  Gee says that to become a real Indian, one can’t just take it
upon himself to join this Discourse by adapting his identity appropriately.
 Membership requires participation and recognition by others, and as
Wenger points out, has a temporal component in that it is a continuous
negotiation with a community, never existing as a fixed state.  Boundaries
between membership and non-membership, in this sense, may be a
“fuzzy” thing, but they are reified by the artifacts and ideas that a
community establishes.  To use another Gee example, gang members dress and
speak a certain way, and even develop real, physical boundaries around their
territory.  But boundary objects exist that share common usage between
communities and can be vectors for one to cross a boundary into a community.
 Fighting can be seen as both participation in a gang as well as a
reification in that a gang can be known for fighting.  But it may also be
an opportunity for an outsider to gain respect and cross the boundary into
membership into the gang.  While a radical transformation of identity may
not be possible at this point, one’s prior life might be seen in a new light,
or even forgotten to the extent that is necessary to “create continuity in
our lives” (Wenger, p88).  Or, short of total assimilation of
identity into a single community, one may become a broker, bridging the
multiple communities.  How do
boundaries affect our ability to learn from other communities?  What
affordances of online communities help to create boundaries? ..establish
brokers? ..adapt our identity or use boundary objects to cross over into
communities?  How can these affordances improve or hinder students in a
modern learning environment?
talks about identity in relation to community and participation, saying that
“participation is a source of remembering and forgetting… through the
fashioning of identities and thus through our need to recognize ourselves in
our past. …We subsume these memories and their interpretations under the
fashioning of a trajectory that we (as well as others) can construe as being
one person.” (p88)  He also indicates that identity exists as part of
a relationship with others “Our identities become anchored in each other
and what we do together.”  We spent some time in the last Identity
segment discussing the idea of “core identity” as Gee describes it
(p34) or “meta identity”, described by Camplese and McDonald.
“With the rise of multiple online identities, users must now be cognizant
of the notion of a meta identity that is shaped by the publicly available
aggregate of these online social environments.” Our readings all seem to
support that people have multiple socially-situated identities (both online and
in-person).  Is there really one fully “core” identity? 
Can identity exist without community?  Is it possible to have 2 identities
that are in conflict with each other? 
states that “Membership [in a community of practice] is not just a matter
of social category, declaring allegiance, belonging to an organization, having
a title, or having personal relations with some people (p. 74).” 
There is much more involved in being part of a particular community.  This
has an effect on the identity of the people involved in the community. 
There must be some common part of a person’s identity shared with another
person in order for them to be part of a community.  Identity is shaped by
the interactions between these people as well as those that are not part of the
community.  Wenger also mentions “In the process of sustaining a
practice, we become invested in what we do as well as in each other and our
shared history (p.89).”  Identity is not only shaped by what we do as
individuals but what we do together and what has already been done
before.  This is important to consider when thinking about students. 
How does the way a student acts in class effect the identity of that student? If
identity is created through mutual engagement and external power does not drive
the force of creation, then in the classroom, how can a teacher help students
to form their identity of community? Is it necessary for a teacher to
facilitate the process?)
described identity as a negotiated product. The community defines the identity
itself and it is a continuing process rather than a fixed state. This idea
seems to be different from what Gee describes. Gee says that we are what we say
and do and your identity has to be recognized by members in the same Discourse
and yourself. Recognition is key to identity so you have to say or do what enables
you to be recognized by that identity. While Wegner emphasizes the importance
of doing things together being negotiated, it is mutual engagement that brings
identity to the community. On the contrary, there is also something in common
between the two. One cannot just “wear” an identity badge and
proclaim you own that identity. One has to participate in the community to
attain membership. In addition, external power could influence the formation of
identity, but it could not post an identity upon a community.

claims that learning is central to human identity and considers learning as
social participation. Individuals are active participants in the practices of
social communities and their identities are constructed through the
communities. From this understanding, it can be said that a group of individuals
participate in communal activity, and continuously create their shared identity
through engaging in and contributing to the practices of their communities. If
an identity is constructed through interaction by other members of a community,
what would his/her previous identity look like before joining the community?
Which one can be his/her real identity?