Thursday, October 30, 2008

Engeström, knots and nodal points

Divagazione lavorativa...

A few weeks ago, at the mLearn conference I have attended a very interesting keynote lecture by Professor Yrjö Engeström one of the main exponent in Activity Theory. The title of the keynote was "Wildfire Activities: New Patterns of Mobility and Learning".

He analyzed new modes of learning that characterise emerging communities and networks of social production or peer production, such as community of bird-watchers, volunters of the Red Cross or skateboarders.

While the movement in traditional apprenticeship learning is centripetal (from periphery toward centre of mastery and authority), and in standardized mass production settings the main movement is linear (from initiation to completion of an assignment or process); in wildfire activities the dominent movement is pulsing (gathering and dispersing, gathering and dispersing). For instance, volunteers of the Red Cross gather al the time there is an emergency, or bird-watchers will gather depending on the bird migration.

I find Engeström's talk interesting because he was looking at less traditional learning settings, stressing the importance of the social aspects in these learning processes.

So I started gathering information about his research on wildfire activities. He was also referring to his last book "From Teams to Knots".I started wondering about many things. First of all, What does he mean by "knots"? Would this theory be relevant for what we are looking at?

I started looking at his book but the very last part about wildfire activities is not further developed there. So while looking at resources on the net I found a few interesting things:

- an interview to Yrjö Engeström here
- I found out that he is not the only Engeström looking at social activities and networked learning, here an interesting video of Jyri Engeström. He talks about nodal points. Are these similar to waht Yrjö calls Knots?
- founded out about many other interesting talks in the 12th CHI Nederland conference, like this one by Kars Alfrink

I'll keep looking but I thought to keep track of these foundings, or maybe I should say "leave traces" about them as both Y. and J. Engeström say?

Maybe more to come, or maybe I'll move this stuff about work on a different place...


ondainlove said...

perchè non "Keep trace"?

iLa said...

Ciao Onda,
(é piú semplice ora lasciare commenti? ;-))
Engestrom dice che in sistemi come wiki (e.g. wikipedia)e io aggiungo anche blog, é possibile risalire alla storia di una comunitá legata da un interesse. Chi lo usa oggi lascia tracce e chi un giorno scoprisse lo stesso interesse, potrebbe seguire quelle tracce per farsi un'idea della storia di quella comunitá.

Ecco allora che io lascio tracce ("leave traces") perché siano utili ad altri o a me stessa tra un po'.

O solo complicato la cosa o sono riuscita a spiegarmi un po' meglio?

Anonymous said...

i miei colleghi parlan sempre di activity network e io non l'ho mai capita bene. brava che scrivi di queste cose cosi' mi ci impegno un po'. grazie che mi hai trovato il ba'o di sonic onyx