Re: [xmca] Artifacts, tools and classrooms

From: Mike Cole (
Date: Sat Jan 21 2006 - 15:55:49 PST

Geraldine-- what, for my persective, is the duality of artifacts, means that
how we interpret their
positioing in action/activity is always problematic, never mind my views,
which are equally

Perhaps we need to post the Wartofsky text in order to figure out what he
meant by his three "levels" of artifacts
and what range of meanings we construct using those terms. ideas. For me,
for example, it is simply unclear
your example of a reading practice functioning as "an exercise with
survielllance by the child as teacher" qualifies
according to my interpretation of Wartofsky.

That would probably be a good text to have available for discussion anyway.
I'll see if I can find it or perhaps someone
on xmca could tell us where it might be found in byte sized bits.

On 1/21/06, <>
> To bb re the literacy artifacts. When my colleague Jo
> Higgins and I saw the classroom you had photographed we both
> said "That's just like a New Zealand classroom." The last
> time I was in one, the walls were completely covered with
> children's work but the open plan had acquired room dividers
> consisting of lines of string on which were pegged more
> work. I had to keep ducking to move about the room.
> The interest for me in written artifacts lies in how
> children come to understand them and, broadly speaking, how
> they acquire institutional knowledge in the form of typified
> action sequences, the norms and rules applying in specific
> settings such as homes or classrooms, and children's own
> judgements of success or failure in achieving understanding.
> They know how well they are doing. The state of their minds?
> Tools may hinder performance, "My pencil always breaks". "My
> black felt missing - Jason stealed them all."
> The action sequence with the written artifact reported in
> our paper could be interpreted in two different ways; as
> reading practice, or as an exercise in authority with
> surveillance by the child as teacher. Only the second
> conformed to Wartofsky's third category of artifacts. The
> episode could have been interpreted in other ways of course
> because it opens up the whole area of the role of writing in
> both culture and learning. Look forward to hearing your
> results bb.
> Geraldine
> ----- Original Message Follows -----
> >
> > -------------- Original message ----------------------
> > From: Geraldine McDonald <>
> >
> > > I appreciated the child's eye view of the classroom
> > > provided by bb. Lots of artifacts on the walls. Do they
> > > function as wallpaper? Or, do they function as
> > mediating tools? (Treat these as proxy questions for the
> > AERA presentation!)
> >
> > In the panorama, scroll to the far right and you'll see in
> > the blue corner the set of rules for behavior acceptable
> > in the classroom that the children created with the
> > guidance of the teacher. It is their text. Scrolling
> > left, the shark is an historical artifact from an earlier
> > class with a prior teacher. It's there perhaps because it
> > takes no effort to leave it there, and it does not occupy
> > space that could otherwise be used.
> >
> > On the windows are child-created artifacts. These kinds
> > of artifacts are constantly appearing and dissappearing
> > from public display around the room. They are part of the
> > shared literacy practices through out the school (and in
> > many elementary classrooms across the US where firecode
> > can be supportively interpreted). "Reading the room" is
> > an independent reading lesson where children use
> > supportive materials such as a pointer or cardboard tube
> > to go around the room and read everything that is readable
> > in the room! The complex arrangement of textual artifacts
> > is highly functional. Thanks for asking!
> >
> > bb
> >
> >
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> >
> >
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