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RE: [xmca] adult affordances

Think about the cellphone not as a toy to be played with, but as a node in a
social network that connects your students to other members of that network.
Then think about your classes as a relatively small activity within the much
greater activity system that motivates the behaviors of your students.

I don't think students that use cellphones in class are victims to their
phones. They simply dedicate their attention according to the perceived
importance of the multiple interactions in which they are potentially
engaged at any time. They are exerting self-control when they use their
cellphone: they are effectively ignoring their teacher in order to do
something else that they perceive as more important. 

If it bothers you, you might want to try to integrate texting, tweeting,
and/or facebooking into class by enabling students to send messages to a
chatroom or stream that is projected to all in the classroom. I recently saw
John Seely Brown at the DML conference in San Francisco, and while his talk
would have been fantastic on it's own, having access to the twitter back
channel that was projected on multiple screens in the room certainly added
to my experience. 

Just the two cents of an XMCA lurker (for the most part)

-----Original Message-----
From: xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu [mailto:xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu] On
Behalf Of Martin Packer
Sent: Wednesday, March 14, 2012 6:31 PM
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: [xmca] adult affordances

An odd conjunction of issues of content and management  in my undergraduate
developmental psychology course has me puzzled, and so I'm appealing for
xmca help!  A few weeks ago I was expounding on the notion that the toddler
lives in a world not of permanent objects but of affordances - irresistible
offers to action, made by the things and people and places that surround him
or her. Gibson, filtered through Vygotsky.

At the same time, I was waging an unceasing war against the use of cell
phones in the classroom. (Today I actually got to the point of confiscating
them when I saw them, and telling the students they could buy them back from
me later in the city center. With humor, I hope!)

Finally, it struck me. These young adults, too, are victims of irresistible
offers to action, made by their little iPhones or Nokias or whatever.

So what is it about a cell phone that completely overwhelms any and every
facet of self control? Why is it that I can forbid cell use at the start of
each class, yet in seconds they start to appear? What is it that transforms
a young adult into no more than a toddler?


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