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

Small point here Mark about the 5/6 transition, but as an American English
speaker, and given the further clarification that you just provided, I feel
like Student C's comment in 6 is lacking something about how to connect it
to what came before. I would have expected some kind of linking clause or
transition like "[to student B] that's a great idea. I am attaching a

I would suggest two possibilities for why this didn't happen:
1a. this is a metapragmatic difference between their native tongue and
1b. they don't have the linguistic resources to accomplish this kind of
bridging (although "that's a great idea seems grammatically and
semantically simple enough that I would assume that, based on their other
utterances, would have been easy enough to produce).
2. It is unnecessary given the medium in which they are working (i.e., the
collaborative nature of Student C's comment in 6 is obvious given what has
come before).

Of course there may be others, but each of these options point to how
collaboration is mediated by the means of communication (whether the means
are metapragmatics, linguistic resources, or the medium of communication).
That doesn't get you to 3rd gen activity theory but it seems to be
something that is old school activity theory. It seems to be clearly there
in the data. What's more, it is this aspect of collaboration that is
entirely left out of many models of collaboration (see the virtual
communication system that Mike sent an email about shortly ago).

Just one thought among many.


On Wed, Aug 17, 2016 at 11:00 PM, Mark de Boer <mark.yomogi@gmail.com>

> Hello!
> Thank you for your replies. For some reason I did not get them in my
> mailbox, so I am consolidating
> the mail here from the XMCA archive site and replying to everyone
> below each of your messages.
> Hi Mark,
> I think the issue is really complex.
> Are the students using the open forum to make the poster better for
> presentation
> or to advance the thinking that the poster represents.
> If it is the first then I don't think you can think of it as the type of
> progressive thinking the Knowledge Forum for instance is looking to create
> through student interactions.  It is instead the students looking to use
> the
> technology to advance their needs within the larger system (a good
> poster means a better grade).
> On the other hand if you can show that the students are really
> changing each other's
> thinking about what's on the poster (and I am not sure you can from
> the dialogue you
> presented here) then you can make an argument for augmented thinking,
> for progressive
> development of thinking, I am guessing for 3rd generation activity theory.
> I think Kai Hakkarainnen and Sammi Paavola have written some really
> interesting stuff on this.
> Take a look at some of their articles.
> Michael
> Hello Michael,
> The students are doing both. They use the forum to better the poster,
> but as they are doing this,
> the poster is evolving to change from data to 'a message', i.e. the
> data are facts concerning pet
> bottle manufacturing, recycling, and usage, which evolves into a
> message that pet bottles are harmful for
> the environment, harmful for our bodies, and that we should stop using
> them. So although the dialogue
> I  showed here doesn't show this (there is a lot of dialogue that is
> not shown in my short example),
> the majority of the dialogue moves the process forward, what should be
> done, what message should be put in the poster,
> but the content in the posters provides the most evidence that there
> is influence of content, content added
> often has an influence on other content, and the message evolves. The
> issue is complex, it is a language learning classroom,
> and I am attempting to show that through the student interaction, they
> are dynamically assessing each other.
> Hi Mark
> It is not clear to me from your explication why you need 3rd gen AT.
> Mike
> I concur with Mike, Mark.  There is not a *system *of activity being
> negotiated here as I see. Beliefs, motives, goals, division of labour,
> subject, object, outcomes. It's seems like overkill in your situation,
> where content is being negotiated and renegotiated.  I am at a loss to
> offer you anything more than what you are dealing with in terms of
> dialogue, except you might like to see what Eugene Matusov might have to
> offer.
> Carol
> Hello Mike and Carol,
> Originally, my thoughts were to examine what the learners were doing
> in the forums, and came up
> with the conclusion that this was an object oriented activity. The
> thinking came from reading
> 'Toward overcoming the encapsulation of school learning' by Engestrom,
> as learners are working on their
> understanding of the different concepts of the topics they are going
> to present on. I showed division of labour,
> subject, object outcomes, tools. My dilemma, was that I wanted to show
> that on one side there was the language which was driving
> the process forward, this can be easily proven using different
> analytical tools, but I also wanted to show that as a result of
> collaboration, the students would develop content.(this can also
> easily be seen from the data). But as they developed content,
> they would discuss it, thus the content was also responsible for the
> collaboration. This would be done up to the point of where
> they would present. Thus the division of systems (in my mind).
> I also wanted to show that the object (poster) was not the end
> product, it was used as a tool for their presentation
> (tools-and-results activity).
> I am confused now, because I have written, submitted, and passed 2
> literature reviews towards my PhD with these concepts in mind and
> now I am currently writing the final paper, showing the analysis of the
> data.
> > On Aug 16, 2016, at 9:04 AM, Mark de Boer <mark.yomogi@gmail.com> wrote:
> >
> > I can understand what happens between 1 and 2. This is a simple case. But
> > between 2, 3, and 4 it becomes complicated.
> Mark, I don’t yet understand what happens between 1 and 2!
> > 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)
> How did “our poster” become “my poster”?
> Martin
> Dear Martin,
> Because this is a group of 4 students, even though they are developing
> a poster as a group, they
> (as is seen later on) end up dividing the work and each start to
> create 'their part of the poster',
> so the dialogue moves from 'let's make our poster' (as a group) to 'I
> made my poster' (contribution to the
> group's whole poster). Later on in the dialogue, the group leader
> divides the work of the poster into
> topics as I showed, but then after a number of days, he decides to
> assign these topics to the other
> students in the group. The dialogue moves from one poster being
> created - moving from student to
> student, to 4 sub posters being created by 4 students, and the
> dialogue shows evidence that the
> students are looking at each others posters, making suggestions about
> what gets written, and in
> some cases altering other student's posters. At the end the posters
> are printed and put on the wall
>  ready for presenting.
> Mark,
> I don't understand what happens between 5 and 6:
> "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)"
> How did poster3 get changed into poster4 that is "about topic a". Or was
> poster3 already about topic a? If so, then why the need to introduce to
> everyone with "I made a poster about (topic a)"? Was "topic a" something
> that was introduced by Student B in turn #5? Is this due to the students
> not having the resources in English to indicate how their turn relates to
> the previous turn?
> The continuity/discontinuity (aka "old/new information") is what is unclear
> to me. The fact that this poster4 is a revision of poster3 suggests
> continuity and old information. But the statement "I made a poster about
> (topic a)" suggests discontinuity and new information.
> -greg
> Dear Greg,
> I'm sorry I wasn't clear here. Even though the poster is starting to
> get developed, the leader of
> the group decides that there should be specific themes running though
> the poster, thus topics (a-d) are decided
> and written into the forum. Poster 3 file already contains some
> information, but now student C takes that poster
> and adds topic-a information. (Topic b information was already there).
> So the poster begins to get built by adding
> topic information. So although there is continuity and old
> information, there is discontinuity and new information added.
> Later some of the students also put information into the poster that
> begins to link the different topics together.
> At one point though the group leader decides that instead of listing
> topics and having a free-for-all, each student randomly
> adding information, he assigns the topics Student A gets topic a, etc,
> and then there is a discontinuity and new information.
> The poster that they have been sharing is somewhat abandoned (although
> some information is pulled) and each student begins to
> work on their own topic as a completely separate file, uploading it to
> the forum as changes are made.
> Thank you everyone for your replies. If it is at all possible, would
> someone be willing to skype about this? I promise not to
> take up much of your time. My skype handle is yomogi-cello. I would be
> very grateful for any help or advice after you have read this post.
> Warm regards,
> Mark

Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Anthropology
880 Spencer W. Kimball Tower
Brigham Young University
Provo, UT 84602