FW: social relations and mediation

From: Carol Macdonald (macdonaldc@educ.wits.ac.za)
Date: Thu Aug 05 2004 - 23:23:37 PDT

Here is a message from George, which he has been trying to send to the
correct xmca address, but with no success.


Dear all,

I have tried to send several messages to the group but it does not seem that
my messaged had been sent so that I am trying to send it again. Elsewise, if
my questions are inappropriate to the group, please feel free to let me
know. My apologies if you have received it:

I have been trying to read through a number of papers but have not been
successful so that I would like to ask for your views, opnions, and
consensus of the accuracy and validity of my reflections:

1. Individual learning in an e-Learning environment and sociocultural theory

I would like to know how sociocultural theory looks at 'individual
learning'. Putting this question into a practical context, I made a course
last year through the ACM. So, although other people might have taken the
same course, I felt like I was studying by myself i.e., individually - yet
using the internet, .pdf files, etc. and whenever I had questions, I could
send an email to a tutor. Now that I am in the process of reading through
sociocultural theory, I have come to understand the central idea of the
social learning process while at the other hand, sociocultural theory does
not look at the fact, like I did in reality, that one could study by
oneself - be it intentionally or unintentionally (e.g., what about if there
were no other fellow students a course?). Hence, this leaves me to wonder
about the standpoint of sociocultural theory towards this aspect?

2. The role of e-Learning artefacts and e-Learning tools

Taken from here, I would like to continue my thoughts with regard to more
intelligent, pedagogically and psychologically valid e-Learning artefacts
such as ITS (intelligent tutoring systems) and AHS (adaptive hypermedia
systems). On the basis of and under the umbrella of sociocultural theory, I
am trying to understand how intelligent e-Learning artefacts should or could
be i.e., at this stage, at a conceptual level while understanding the term
intelligence under the solid standpoints of neuroscience and cognitive
science. Do you think that this is a socioculturally valid research question
and what work does exist in this direction?

Or, alternatively, does sociocultural theory not look at the need of
intelligent e-Learning artefacts which would take on similar roles of an
instructor? What is the perspective of sociocultural theory towards
separating the roles and responsibilities of a system <-> learner <->

3. Child learning versus adult learning processes in an e-Learning

Furthermore, Vygotsky's theory mainly discusses issues in the context of
children. However, while reading on Vygotsky, I have observed and compared
my behaviour and preparedness in view of comparative learning in a social
context at the time that I was a child and contrasted this behaviour with
now being an adult. Now being a mature person, I feel that I have become
much more critical towards 'the world' and towards that what I am being
taught - simply because my net of internal associations in my mind and
percpetions towards to world are larger than those of a child. Saying so,
does this imply conflicts of learning under sociocultural perspectives?

4. Sociocultural theory and course delivery in an e-Learning environment

Thinking of e-Learning course delivery, I am wondering about the coherence
between cognitive apprenticeship and sociocultural theory? or,
alternatively, could you possibly direct me towards which 'instructional
design methods' cohere with sociocultural theory?

I would deeply appreciate your ideas, input, thoughts on the validity of my
questions due to my beginner's knowledge on sociocultural theory, and

Best regards,

Hansjoerg (George) von Brevern
Institute of Information Systems
Research Group Information Engineering
Engehaldenstrasse 8
CH-3012 Bern
Tel.: +41.31.631-3914

email: mailto:Hansjoerg.vonBrevern@iwi.unibe.ch

-----Original Message-----
From: von Brevern Hansjoerg [mailto:Hansjoerg.vonBrevern@iwi.unibe.ch]
Sent: Thursday, August 05, 2004 6:15 PM
To: macdonaldc@educ.wits.ac.za
Subject: RE: social relations and mediation

Dear Carol,

I am sorry for contacting you off list. I am just wondering if you have
received my messages to the list as I have tried to send several messages. I
have mailed them to xmca@weber.ucsd.edu.

I would appreciate if you could kindly let me know.

Kindest regards,

attchment: copy of my message

-----Original Message-----
From: Carol Macdonald [mailto:macdonaldc@educ.wits.ac.za]
Sent: Thursday, August 05, 2004 6:00 PM
To: xmca@weber.ucsd.edu
Subject: RE: social relations and mediation

Ana wrote:

So I can only add to the three-way relationships you started to enumerate:
Person-artifact- another person (community);
Person -another person - object;
Person - tool/symbol - object;
Person - tool/symbol - another person (community);
Person - roles - another person (community);
Person - rules - another person (community);
Person - tools/symbols - roles ;

          for me, another perspective, i would emphasize the Person -
rules - another person (community) aspect, since i believe that a big part
of social relations is structured around multiple "rules" both implicit and

            especially when social relations between social classes is part
of the activity, and even more so when the power relationships between the
classes are involved. and within education, as with all social activities,
issues of race and gender should be critically explored, I'm thinking.

Phillip-could these rules be construed as values? If so, you have helped me
towards solving my problem.

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