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Formal Languages and Grammars. Tree Data Structures: Building a Dictionary. Simulation of a Moving Camera. Part IV: Artificial Intelligence. The Equivalence Between Programs and Data. Production Systems. Is It a Mammal? Who Are the Children of Adam? Part V: Linguistics. Conjugating Verbs. Forming Plurals. Linguistic Explorations. Part VI: Games. Hunting the Wumpus.

Knowledge Creation. This knowledge includes attitudes, values, and perspectives, which are difficult to formalize. Providing a means for capturing this knowledge is important for three reasons: 1 doing so causes us to begin to move from vague mental conceptualizations of an idea to a more concrete representation of it; 2 the externalization provides a means for others to interact with, react to, negotiate around, and build upon the externalized idea; and 3 the externalization provides an opportunity to create a common language of understanding around a particular problem Resnick et al.

Knowledge Integration. A challenge for supporting informed participation is in providing a mechanism that allows various participants to integrate their perspectives Stahl, in a meaningful way. By supporting the process of reflection within this shared context, opportunities arise for building upon these breakdowns in ways that integrate the various perspectives and expertise while enhancing shared understanding.

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Supporting informed participation requires processes that integrate the individual and the group knowledge through collaborative constructions Arias, These collaborative constructions result in work products that are enriched by the multiple perspectives emerging through community discourse. Knowledge Dissemination. The knowledge created and integrated during collaborative design sessions needs to be made available for on-demand learning Fischer, and on-demand use Fischer, during subsequent sessions.

Because humans have limited cognitive resources, they need less decontextualized information, but they do need resources and assistance to make information relevant to the task at hand.

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By integrating the processes of working and learning as collaborative practices, learning webs Illich, are created that support the availability of and access to knowledge that is needed. Our Perspectives on These Processes.


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Our research is focused on complex, real-world problems in which the knowledge for resolving these problems does not exist a priori , but is generated though collaboration among stakeholders. We have found, specifically in our work with physical games, that the use of external representations such as game pieces and processes such as game rules serve to focus discussions upon relevant aspects of the framing and understanding of the problem being studied Arias, ; Brown, Effectively supporting informed participation and empowerment is a socio-technical problem in which the social support and the technical infrastructure for open-ended problems go hand in hand.

At the technical level, providing access to information cannot imply allowing users to simply select from preexisting information. Passive technologies television, closed systems offer some selective power, but they are fundamentally limited by the inherent model of the system: they can not be extended in ways that the designers of the systems did not already foresee.

In closed systems , the essential functionality is anticipated when the system is created. Important activities and changes that were not anticipated by designers are not only lacking from the closed systems, there is no way for non-designers to accomplish these activities. Closed systems force individuals into consumer roles because of their implicit constraints. In contrast, open systems provide opportunities for significant changes to a system at all levels of complexity.

Creating the opportunities to shape the system allows the owners of the problems not just the system designers to be involved in changes that are essential in using a system to address real problems. Our experiences in applying some of our systems in real contexts Brown, ; Fischer, b have helped us support a number of principles for designing open systems.

First, software systems must be able to evolve. Because problems are inherently open and software developers cannot fully anticipate every context in which software will be used, all software must be able to change as new situations and demands arise. Second, software must be able to evolve at the hands of the users.


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Giving the owners of problems in charge the opportunity to effect changes creates a situation in which users can take part in addressing the problems that they encounter. Finally, software systems must be designed for evolution Fischer, b. By providing the opportunity for people to change systems, we encourage users to become owners of problems.

Of course, not all users want to be intimately involved in all phases of a problem-solving activity. Fostering communities in which individuals can spontaneously find appropriate roles and responsibilities is important Nardi, People are motivated to participate if a problem affects them and if they see a benefit to participating Grudin, Supporting authentic problems in which people have a personal stake is an essential part of motivating a community.

There must also be a reward for investing time and effort to becoming knowledgeable enough to act as designers. The nature of these rewards may range from a feeling of control over the problem, to being able to solve or contribute to the solution, a passion to master tools in greater depth, an ego-satisfying contribution to a group, or a sense of good citizenship in a community Raymond, While we understand that systems should provide these affordances for informed participation and empowerment, we also realize that its use rests on the predisposition e.

To move beyond frameworks that provide more than access to existing information, we are developing the Envisionment and Discovery Collaboratory EDC , which addresses the goals of informed participation, empowerment, and the social and technical challenges that these goals present. Figure 2 shows the current realization of the EDC environment. Using the horizontal electronic whiteboard, participants work "around the table" to incrementally create a shared model of the problem. They interact with computer simulations in the action space by manipulating three-dimensional, physical objects, which constitute a language for the domain.

The position and movement of these physical objects are recognized by means of the touch-sensitive projection surface. In the figure, users are constructing a neighborhood through the use of a physical language appropriate for the problem by placing objects representing houses, cars, traffic lights, and so on. This construction then becomes the object through which the stakeholders can collaboratively evaluate and prescribe changes in their efforts to frame and resolve a problem.

In the upper half of Figure 2 is a second electronic whiteboard that serves as the reflection space , where information related to the problem-at-hand can be presented, explored, and reframed. In the figure a user is filling out a survey constructed from the model presented in the action space.

The results of this survey are stored in the reflection space for future exploration and are also fed to the action space, where the ramifications of the decisions specified in the survey can be explored. Utilizing novel computational and physical tools is a critical part of supporting this dynamic face-to-face interaction. Languages of physical objects provide affordances for the construction of shared, tangible representations that are used to frame problems in a collaborative manner Alexander et al. In both the action and reflection spaces, creating an open seed Fischer, b that can evolve through use is an essential element.

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The reflection space is built using DynaSites, a substrate for evolving and maintaining dynamic Web-based information spaces Ostwald, The action and reflection spaces are independent computational entities that utilize the Web as a communication medium. The EDC focuses on face-to-face collaboration when possible, but provides opportunity for distributed collaboration by allowing people to participate at a distance and by providing a persistent representation of what takes place at individual meetings.

The vision behind the EDC is to shift the focus of future developments away from the computer toward an increased understanding of the human, social, and cultural system that defines the context in which systems are used. The EDC instantiates the conceptual frameworks and requirements outlined earlier and serves to create an immersive social context in which a community of stakeholders can create, integrate, and disseminate information relevant to their lives and the problems they face. The EDC supports stakeholders in creating knowledge in a form that other people can understand.

The basic idea of the paper is illustrated in Figure 1 : rather than buying jewelry as a finished product, these children create their own jewelry — they act as designers.

Meta-design: A Framework for the Future of End-User Development

The store supports this process by providing a great variety of basic materials, tools, and a social setting including space and a human coach or facilitator to help the children. The concept "designer" in the context of this paper is used very broadly for a person who wants to act as an active participant and contributor in personally meaningful activities. Depending on work, learning, and leisure activities, different people will consider different activities as personally meaningful and important. In today's world with more information available and delivered to our homes, classrooms, and entertainment centers, the consumer perspective is well supported, and can easily and completely fill our lives thereby reducing "doing" activities even more in favor of "watching" activities.

In the early days of computing, humans were considered the "servants" of computers. As computers became cheaper, the basic economic criteria started to change and considerations of how to use computational power to augment and empower human beings were pioneered by some early visionaries Engelbart and English, ; Kay, These new ideas were neither known nor embraced by the community at large.

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The artificialintelligence community developed expert systems such as MYCIN [Buchanan and Shortliffe, ] , which were behaviorally unacceptable because they restricted knowledgeable and skilled human professionals to a consumer role by allowing them only to answer "yes" or "no" to questions generated by the system.

Other disciplines such as human factors Norman, often considered humans as system components with specific characteristics such as limited attention span, faulty memory, and easy distractibility along with other "undesirable" characteristics. Little consideration in the first decade of HCI research was given to the following perspectives:. New design philosophies introduced important new research objectives such as user-centered design Norman and Draper, , learner-centered design Communications of the ACM, , and human-centered design Flanagan, et al. Some members of the AI community started to consider the true goal of AI not as the replacement of human beings, but as the empowerment and augmentation of humans Fischer and Nakakoji, ; Terveen, My arguments in this paper rest on the fundamental belief that humans not all of them, not at all times, not in all contexts want to be and act as designers in personally meaningful activities requiring convivial tools which are defined as follows: "Convivial tools allow users to invest the world with their meaning, to enrich the environment with the fruits of their vision and to use them for the accomplishment of a purpose they have chosen.

They worry about tasks, they are motivated to contribute and to create good products, they care about personal growth, and they want to have convivial tools that make them independent of "high-tech scribes" whose role is defined by the fact that the world of computing is still too much separated into a population of elite scribes who can act as designers and a much larger population of intellectually disenfranchised computer phobes who are forced into a consumer role.

First Monday, Volume 7, Number 12 - 2 December 2002

The experience of having participated in the framing and solving of a problem or in the creation of an artifact see Figure 1 makes a difference to those who are affected by the solution and therefore consider it personally meaningful and important: "People are more likely to like a solution if they have been involved in its generation; even though it might not make sense otherwise" Rittel, A fundamental challenge for the next generation of computational media and new technologies is not to deliver predigested information to individuals, but to provide the opportunity and resources for social debate, discussion, and collaborative design.

In many design activities, learning cannot be restricted to finding knowledge that is "out there. From this perspective, access to existing information and knowledge often seen as the major advance of new media is a very limiting concept Arias, et al. By arguing for the desirability of humans to be designers, I want to state explicitly that there is nothing wrong with being a consumer and that we can learn and enjoy many things in a consumer role e. I also do not assume that being a consumer or being a designer would be a binary choice: it is rather a continuum Repenning, et al.

Good designers should be well-informed consumers e. In thinking about the role of new media and new technologies for the future, the consumer asks: "Is a new future coming?