Garden Drops by "Steve took it"

“I suspect that part of the answer will come from their study of those things that do stand the test of time, such as some music, literature, and art. In all these cases, the works are rich and deep, so that there is something different to be perceived on each experience” (Norman, 2004, p. 110).

The picture above is intriguing. At first glance it is a picture of beads of dew on a stem. As one looks closer at each bead, a bouquet of colour is realized. Looking even closer individual flowers are seen within each drop. Standing back and looking at the  entire photograph the colour, framing, and composition become visible. Quality art is often defined in this context. Each time a work is examined a different image, quality or meaning is observed. Is it fair to have this expectation of our technologies? Is it  possible in the context of a teacher learning tool to expect that the user be provided with a rich, new experience every time? “Great design – like great literature, music, or art – can be appreciated even after continual use, continued presence” (Norman, 2004, p. 107).

One way to achieve this in a teacher learning tool is to take a page from the developers of Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPGs). “(M)ore and more, these games are involving groups, sometimes scattered across the world,  communicating through computer networks… some are environments, simulated worlds with people, families, households and communities. In all of these, life goes on even when you, the player, are not present” (Norman, 2004, p. 133). By placing the
learner in a larger community you provide a constantly changing landscape where the “world” is different with each interaction. The actions required by the environment are driven by the needs of the user and his or her collaborators.

If learning is to occur however, these interactions need to be natural. “The conditions required for flow to occur include lack of distractions and an activity paced precisely to match your skills, pushing you slightly above your capabilities” (Norman, 2004, p. 125). A “benevolent invisible hand” (Vicente, p. 75) is required that seamlessly directs the interaction focusing the user’s consciousness on the rich collaboration and interaction.

Concept map of Chapter 3 Vicente and Chapter 4 Norman

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