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[Xmca-l] Re: 3rd generation activity theory

Hi Mark

It is not clear to me from your explication why you need 3rd gen AT.

On Tuesday, August 16, 2016, Mark de Boer <mark.yomogi@gmail.com> wrote:

> Hello!
> I have not posted in a very long time. I am hoping that someone can help
> out with my question(s).
> I am working with data from a group of 4 students, they are collaboratively
> working on a project. Most of their collaboration is done using an online
> forum, although there is some-face-to-face time. They are working in the
> L2, English, their L1 is Japanese. Their project was to investigate pet
> bottle use on campus and give a poster presentation on their findings.
> They have done some preliminary work, such as a survey to students, some
> interviews, some general research and have begun to work on their poster.
> (all dialogue is being shared in the online forum).
> The dialogue in the forum looks something like this:
> 1. Student A: 'Let's begin working on our poster'
> 2. Student B: 'I made my poster, please check' (poster1 file an attachment
> in the forum)
> 3. Student C: 'I've made some small changes, and I added some information'
> (poster2 file an attachment in the forum, originally poster1)
> 4. Student D: 'Student C's ideas are good, I made some changes too.'
> (poster3 file an attachment in the forum, originally poster 2)
> 5. Student B: 'I think that we should put the following contents in our
> poster (suggesting a list of topics concerning pet bottles and pet bottle
> use) Please give me your opinion.
> 6. Student C: 'I made a poster about (topic a), please check' (poster4 file
> an attachment in the forum, originally poster3)
> And so forth. This occurs the bouncing back and forth of the file, each
> student adding or changing something, expressing what they have done in the
> online forum. There are about 120 lines of data, with over 80 files being
> shared.
> I have used Longacre's analysis to prove that this is procedural dialogue,
> and Bereiter's discussions of progressive dialogue to prove that this is
> progressive dialogue, but I have gotten stuck on the concept of 3rd
> generation activity theory to show that this is a joint construction of the
> object of the activity, and that there are a number activity systems at
> work.
> What I want to show is that there is evidence of dialogue that pushes the
> creation of content. The learners are working from basically nothing, they
> only have been given a project of what to investigate, but the rest of what
> they do is up to them. They decide content, they decide what to present,
> and they decide who does what within their group. So, as someone makes a
> suggestion, as in 1 and 5, content follows based on the suggestion.
> I also want to show that there is evidence that the content created also
> causes more dialogue to occur. So as content is uploaded, as in 2, 3, 4,
> and 6, students respond with evaluation, changes to the content, and
> additions to the content.
> I can understand what happens between 1 and 2. This is a simple case. But
> between 2, 3, and 4 it becomes complicated. In 2, B uploads a file and
> requests evaluation. C downloads the content, makes changes, and uploads it
> in 3. The language in the forum in 2, I would like to argue that it is a
> tool, to inform the others that there is content for them to look at, but
> that this is actually a case of the content in 2 creating the reason for
> dialogue in 3. But at the same time, content is changed and uploaded in 3.
> In my efforts to understand this data, I have turned to two places,
> Engestrom's chapter from 1999, Innovative learning in work teams, and
> Daniels book 2001, Vygotsky and Pedagogy, mostly chapter 3, the discussions
> of Activity theory 3rd generation as a starting point.
> I want to argue that the learners are jointly constructing the object of
> the activity, and that object is what Bereiter and Wells refer to as the
> improvable object. The dialogue influences the content and the content
> influences the dialogue. Can this be argued as 3rd generation activity
> theory? I am thinking it can be, I actually think it is a perfect fit to
> the model, but I am alone reading these materials without anyone to bounce
> these ideas off of. My confusion lies in that this is with second language
> learners in a general English course, and most of the instances of language
> learning discussions center around the structure of the language, not the
> use of the language.
> Eventually, my final argument is that through this interaction, instances
> of dynamic assessment occurs between learners, because not only are they
> sharing files and constantly changing them, but occasionally Student B may
> upload a file with content and Student A (or other) will make a suggestion
> to Student B who will then change their poster file again and upload it.
> Again, much of the discussion of dynamic assessment and language learning
> occurs around the structure of the language, so I'm certain that this is a
> new field of study with respect to joint construction of an object coupled
> with instances of dynamic assessment in a language learning environment.
> I know there is probably much more I can write, but not to bog down the
> readers here, I am interested in thoughts or opinions on what is happening
> with the data.
> Respectfully,
> Mark


It is the dilemma of psychology to deal as a natural science with an object
that creates history. Ernst Boesch